Zizzlehoff provisioned the group for their journey, and presented his pair of matched longswords to Quarion before seeing the Eldritch Blades off on their next adventure. Before they could fins the next part of the Colossus, they had to cross the desert that surrounded Trektoplika.
For several days and nights they traveled, and the dangers of the desert wore on them. Quicksand, dehydration, and sandstorms were a constant threat.
But on they journeyed, until they came upon a wall in their path. The wall’s gate was the only way forward, and it was guarded by a troop of halfling bandits who demanded toll. The Eldritch Blades attempted to barter with the gatekeepers, but as they did so, the real danger slithered into being.
A great maw rose from the sand, instantly consuming the bandit leader. Tentacles rose from the sand around them, and Drakorgamort identified the beast as a “silt horror.” They fought bravely, trying to preserve the lives of the halflings as they fought off monstrous tentacles. The combat raged for many hours, but, finally, the blinded and bloodied behemoth fell.
As it died, it released a cloud of toxic vapors, and the group fell unconscious…
They awoke to a familiar voice. It was Wally, the old dwarf from Lourwa! He told them that he had given up fighting to become a healer, and it was he who nursed them back to health. He also explained that they were in a camp lead by Jorik Stonefist, father of Helga and Olga Stonefist!
Feeling refreshed, the Blades set off for Jorik’s tent. Jorik recieved them warmly, but he grew grimmer when his daughters’ fate was explained. He became determined for them to have the best dwarven funeral he could conceive – a burial at Stonefist Barrow!
Although Stonefist Barrow was once the burial ground for all of the Clan Stonefist, it was since overrun by a psychotic druid of The Infernal, and its halls are now cursed. The Blades did not back down from this challenge, however.
They set off for the barrow the next morning, before the first rays of dawn could be seen. Before they entered, they were greeted with the spirits of Wally‘s dead companions, who blessed them all.
Inside the barrow, they were ambushed at once by spiders in a room laden with their crystalline webs. The dwarves, who could not commit violence on the sacred ground, were of little help, but the Eldritch Blades quickly slew the beasts.
As they delved deeper, they came to a room of coffins, with a white carpet stretching to a high chair. In the chair sat an emaciated corpse. As they approached, they saw that a portion of the carpet had been dyed with blood, and a dead dwarf, carrying flowers, was sprawled on it.
The corpse looked up at the adventurers, and spoke:
“I know why you have come here. I can give you what you seek. For. A. Price.”
The group tried diplomacy with the guardian, but, when Quarion saw that it wasn’t working, he conjured sheets of blue fire to intimidate it. The corpse struck back with vicious mental warfare, but the wizard resisted, and, finally, the guardian submitted. His chair turned about, revealing a stairwell.
The stairs lead to a small study. There was a desk, on which sat a book surrounded by a field of distortion. There was also a bookshelf, on which tomes concerning knowledge of The Infernal were found.
Quarion approached the book on the desk, and touching it, was instantly muted! He had to speak telepathically with the others. However, the distortion was gone, and the others read the book. They learned that, in this very barrow, the man who had called forth The Infernal committed his ritual.
Through a trapdoor, they continued deeper into the barrow. In the room, there were several dwarven statues, and three large coffins at the front. The floor was covered in blood, forming elaborate designs and the repeated symbol of The Infernal. Rising from the large coffin was the conjurer himself, along with several faceless specters. There was great slashing of weapons and casting of incantations as the Eldritch Blades did battle with the profane spirits.
When it seemed that they were laid to rest, Red Horn discovered an indent in the bottom of the coffin. He fit his axe into it, and a passage opened. A stair lead to the top of the barrow, where the first rays of dawn could be seen peaking over the horizon. Two matched coffins were there, as well.
Helga and Olga were set in the coffins, and Jorik said his piece. Several members of the Eldritch Blades also spoke, and that was when the air began to shimmer.
Descending from the heavens was a golden staircase, and it lead to a mountain in the sky. The spirits of the dead shopkeepers rose from their coffins, ascended the stair, and went into the mountain.
The journey back was made in silence.