75th Year, 10th Month (2/25/12)
Praise be! A sign frae Amaunator! But now I’m puttin’ the cart before the horse.
We traveled tae Green under assumed names. Everitt and I were to be guards, Everitt takin’ the name Norman and for some reason plasterin’ on a false beard. I would be Hordor, half deaf and wholly glaikit, makin’ my disguise simple. Auld Dahlwhinnie would be Erwin, the driver, and wee Eli would be Jade, a bumblin’ noble frae Hammerfast come tae Green to buy wine and spirits.
We first headed tae the Cliffside Brewery to discuss purchasin’ some ale and to test the waters with the Ironbeards, who auld Dar Gramath hinted might be sympathetic. We soon met a solid auld dwarf named Danerk and a fair dwarven lass named Datilda. We played at negotiatin’ for a time but auld Danerk soon saw through the con. Soon he ken our true identities as the “heroes of Goodbridge” and as Dar Gramath had guessed, offered us help in our plan to free the baron. Mainly, though, he offered us a deep discount on any ale we purchased and even offered to throw in a free wagonload should we succeed on our quest. Not wantin’ to haul a full load of ale aboot town, Everitt purchased two casks to “test” and we set off for Nonnie’s Inn.
At Nonnie’s we tried the con again but Aunt Nonnie was nae bampot. Fortunately she was also sympathetic to our cause and nae friend of the Iron Circle. She told us of the whereaboots of Auld Kellar, and it was then that Everitt hatched a plan that was pure dead brilliant. Under the guise of merchants hopin’ to purchase a large shipment of ale, we would give away the two barrels he’d bought to the patrons of the town. In the excitement and confusion, we’d be able to meet privately with Auld Kellar.
The plan went off withoot a hitch, and soon we were face tae face with the grizzled auld dwarf. While the patrons got pished and began singin’ tales aboot the heroes of Redbridge, the dwarf explained the history of keep atop the cliffs overlookin’ the city. He had been involved when the new bailey had been built, and still had detailed plans he could share, includin’ the location of certain secret passages. Dahlwhinnie would shadow him home and return with the plans under cover of darkness. Before he left, I questioned Auld Kellar aboot his familiar accent. I’d not heard proper dwarven spoken since I arrived on this world.
Turns oot Kellar ken much aboot my home, hailin’ frae the Savage Coast not too far frae my home of Lakeside. Like me, he was sucked through a portal and had spent many years searchin’ for a way back. He suggested buildin’ a kirk to Amaunator and bein’ as he was a master builder, he would take the job himself if I desired.
On the morn, we had formulated a plan. Based on information frae Auld Kellar and Nonnie, we would hide ourselves in a shipment of supplies that would be soon delivered tae the keep. Dahlwhinnie would replace one of the usual drivers, and once we were inside, would slip away and hide. Then, at the right moment, we would come oot frae our hidin’ places in the supplies and slip intae the dungeon where Auld Kellar was sure the baron was held. As we rolled up tae the gates, Dahlwhinnie laid it on thick with that smooth tongue of his, and the guards let us on through. A teiflin’ lass the guards called “lieutenant” seemed more interested in hurryin’ the wagons along that searchin’ them, bless Amaunator.
Soon we traveled tae the kitchen in the upper bailey. As fate would hae it, a dwarven cook named Kergut was more than willin’ to aid us against the Iron Circle and warned us aboot the new leader, a fearsome human lass. At Kergut’s suggestion, Eli and Dahlwhinnie disguised themselves as porters while Everitt and I hid in a cart that was wheeled over tae the bastion where the baron—and the Iron Circle mistress—waited.
Once inside the main entrance, Eli and Dahlwhinnie surprised the guards with a quick ambush while Everitt and I clambered up the stairs to join them before they could close the gate. Then we closed the gate and barred the doors so that none of the other numpties could distract us. Usin’ a secret staircase frae Auld Kellar’s map, we burst in and surprised the Iron Circle quine in her chambers.
A fierce rammy broke oot and though the battle was hard fought, it soon became clear that we had the upper hand. The daft tert tried to bargain with us, claimin’ that “Lord Strife” offered 10,000 coins for mere information on the location of auld Dahlwhinnie (known as “Lord Death”). She tempted us with a million coins if we could kill the poor shade. But in the end she realized we wouldnae be swayed by her mince, and agreed to surrender if we’d turn her over tae Dar Gramath.
Talkin’ to the lass afterward shed some light on our companion, auld Dahlwhinnie. She ken auld Yisarna, and this prompted Dahlwhinnie to explain a bit aboot his past.* Unfortunately our respite was short lived as we heard poundin’ on the doors as the tieflin’ tert we’d seen before decided to come tae rescue the latest prisoner in the keep.
*[When he was a young man finding his way , he discovered a prophesy and a ritual. The prophesy foretold of a great sundering of his home world, the Shadowfell, and the ritual provided great power to those who performed it in order to stop the sundering. He persuaded his five closest friends to swear a pact that each would use the power to save their home world. But something went terribly wrong.
Soon after the ritual, each of them began to fade gradually from existence, becoming light and ephemeral and occasionally translucent. Dalbrech felt a strange hunger—a craving for vitality and experience. His friends, however, became mad and destructive. Now, instead of protecting the world as they swore to do, they seek to bring it and other worlds down with them. They have apparently named themselves Strife, War, Hatred, Doom, and Terror, and they have dubbed Dalbrech Death.]