While crossing the Tors, on their way to Larith, The Cauldron, a band of strangers were forced to take shelter by a violent storm. Calling for a Storm Truce the band of travelers set up camp. It was an interesting group of characters: One, a rogue, Bandaid, a cleric of St Cuthbert, Clark, a gem merchant, Sally, his daughter, jaraq, the Barbarian, and Belacore, the mysterious Magus.
Setting up camp at the base of an abandoned fort known locally as “high tower” the adventurers found a small opening into the forts basement had recently been created by an unknown force. Hesitant to delve too deep into the newly exposed belly of the fort the party were taken by surprise when the storm outside sent some of the forts residents into a frenzy. Bursting through the doors Dire rats came upon the party and were quickly dispatched by the deadly blade of Jaroq, One and Belacore. However, sometime during the battle the young girl, Sally, was grabbed and taken deeper into the fort by a pair of hobgoblins.
Quickly taking up pursuit the adventurers clashed with the hobgoblins and easily won the girl back. However, their curiosity go the best of them and as they entered the back room of the fort they woke a sleeping guardian. An undead Bugbear anti-paladin. After a vicious battle the adventurers stood bloody but triumphant.
With nothing left to do but search the fort for treasure and spoils of conquest. The heroes found a sizable amount of loot, including 2 mysterious magical rings. However, little did they realize that not all treasures is meant for the taking and as One placed the ivory ring on his finger he knew that he was cursed. The ring of truth had found a new master…
Unable to lie, One, began to panic as his newly found allies ask him seemingly innocuous questions like. “Where are you from?” and “What is your name?”. Unable to fight the compulsion of the ring One laid his soul bear. He was not what he seemed. He was in fact a half-orc/half-drow, an escaped slave, a rogue, and his true name was Eldron. Fearing that his secrets would forever be exposed One pulled his dagger and was seconds from cleaving his finger from his hand, when Bandaid said he knew of a cleric that could remove the curse.
Aided by his new found friends the band of heroes were able to get One past the city guard and into the city of Larith. However, before they could remove the curse they found themselves running to the aid of Ruphus, a cleric of St Cuthbert. Ruphus had been looking into the recent disappearance of 4 children from the local orphanage when he was set upon by 3 members of the Last laugh, the local thieves guild. Warning the cleric and the party who came to his rescue to “not look into the missing children”.
Escorting the poor cleric back to the temple of St. Cuthbert, the party was introduced to Jenya, the acting high-priestess of the temple. Removing the curse from One, Jenya made the group a proposal. Having heard of the parties expertise in battle and their ability to find missing children made the heroes an offer. Help the Church find who had taken the children and other citizens and in turn be rewarded by the church (2,500 gp). Casting a powerful spell upon the belongings of the missing children. Jenya asked the gods to aid the church in their quest. Cuthbert replied as follows"
Locks are the keys to finding them
Look beyond the curtain, under the cauldron
But beware the doors with teeth
descend into the malachite hold
where precious life is bought with gold
half a dwarf binds them, but not for long
Seizing the opportunity to save the lives of 4 children the heroes set off to solve the riddle. First they visited the orphanage and found few clues as to the disappearance of the children. the locks had not been broken nor picked and the orphanage had only the one entrance. Speaking with gretchyn tashykk the head mistress of the orphanage they could find no real clues as to who could have stolen the children.
With no real evidence to work with the heroes followed the clues offered by the gods. They followed the locks. It seemed that all the locks in the city could be traced back to a single lock smith Keygan Ghelve, a gnomish locksmith and descendent of the first gnomes to live under the city. However, when the party confronted Keygan about his locks they were promptly thrown out of his shop by a nervous and almost afraid gnome. Again the heroes confronted Keygan, this time in the alley behind his shop, however, again he dismissed them and threatened to call the town guard if bother again. One last time the party confronted the gnome. this time barging into his shop and making threats. However, little did they know that Keygan was a wizard and as he cast color spray 2/3s of the party fell victim to the spell and were rendered helpless. Tired of the games Jaroq threatened the gnome saying simply “The truth of your life”
scared for his life the gnome spilled the beans:
- He was working for strange creatures. Forced to make skeleton keys for all his locks. The creatures had taken both Keygan’s grand-daughter and his familiar and promised to release them if he helped them.
- The creatures would take their prey into the abandoned gnomish city below. A city cursed by gnomish magic and only accessible via a secret door in Keygan’s shop was a place of death. Where a gnomish plague known as the vanishing had killed most of the Gnomes who once lived there and whose every door, floor, and feature were designed to kill intruders.
-The creatures have been working with him for 2 months.
-he has a map that he gives to the heroes of the The city of the gnomes called Jzadirune.
Afraid to leave the treacherous little gnome unguarded the heroes escort him to St Cuthbert before entering the city of Jzadirune. Having only made it into the entrance of the city the heroes were greeted by a magical voice: Warning certain death to those who wished to plunder. Not long after wards the heroes understood another verse of the gods clue. The door with teeth were the doors of Jzadirune, giant gears that acted as doors for the gnomish city.
It was not long before they came face to face with the vile creatures responsible for the cities kidnappings. Skulks… Jumping from behind a partially opened door they two creatures attempted to kill One with a blitz attack. Failing the cowardly humanoids ran away.