The storm overhead was growing worse, threatening us with freezing rain and bolts of lightning. But we took the time to claim anything of value from the multiple bodies around us before taking refuge in the cave. There could be weapons or potions to help us in the battles ahead. And what we couldn’t use could be used by those in our village to defend themselves.
The entrance tunnel was large, as one would expect of the home of someone over twelve feet tall. Deep inside the mountain the tunnel opened up into a huge, dry cavern, which was a blessing as we could hear the heavy rain now falling outside the tunnel. In almost every way the cavern was what I would generally expect of monster’s cave. There was a definite musky smell in the air, unpleasant but not as bad as it could have been. Bones and other accumulated debris of years littered the floor. And in one corner of the cave a depression had been worn into the stone floor, presumably where the huge creature slept. The one thing we found inside the cavern that I hadn’t expected was a ghost.
We had just started sifting through the rubble when the ghost of a dwarf appeared before us, head bowed. “At last you are here,” it said. “It was foretold long ago of the arrival of you four…”
At that point the ghost raised his head and looked at us for the first time. As odd as it sounds I think we scared him. His eyes widened and he let out a high pitched squeak of surprise and fright. Then he shouted, “Your mutants!” With that he vanished.
Perhaps our little group has grown jaded after all the horrors we’ve seen. Or perhaps there just isn’t anything one can say after frightening a ghost. Whatever the reason, we all just looked at each other for a while and then continued our search for the key.
We found what we thought were the remains of the dwarf beneath where his ghost appeared. Among his crushed remains we also found a sealed scroll case. Inside the case was a mysterious ancient map. I felt it was only right that we should bury the remains as best we could. The beast’s former bed seemed a good spot, being the closest thing to a hole in the ground. I began digging out the garbage and as luck would have it that’s where the key was hidden. What I found was a crystal disk about four inches across. And as the goddess is said to be trapped in a crystal coffin this had to be the key we came looking for.
We discussed our journey home but, as the rain was coming down even harder than before and we were exhausted after our battle, we decided to spend the night in the relative safety of the cavern. The dwarven ghost never returned, but we did all share a very strange dream.
We found ourselves standing in a sunny forest. A crow landed in a nearby tree and spoke to us. It said there was an amulet nearby that let its wearer cheat death. The crow transformed into Morr, god of dreams and death, and continued speaking. Morr asked us to retrieve the amulet for him. If we retrieved the amulet from the one who now had it he would allow us each to use it once. We then found ourselves standing near a waterfall in a cliff face which we understood to be our destination.
We all awoke from the dream at the same time. It felt like dawn was near but it was still dark outside save for the flashes of lightning that still filled the sky. While my night vision enabled me to travel in the dark, it wasn’t worth the risk of trying to lead the others down the mountain in a lightning storm. So we decided to build up the fire, fix something to eat and examine the items we’d claimed. The pile of items wasn’t huge, but it was certainly interesting.
1) 4 Healing Potions (we each took one)
2) 80 gold in coins (20 gold each)
3) Belt Buckle (+1 to movement speed which Dar claimed)
4) Crossbow (+2 damage and sharp shooter skill which Felix claimed)
5) Hand Axe (+4 damage on successful will check which Markus claimed)
6) Dagger (impact quality)
7) Sword (+1 damage and glows sun colored)
8) Potion Bottle (wing design on bottle)
9) Scroll Case (mysterious map)
Shortly after the sun came up the storm blew itself out. We’d talked about our shared dream as we examined the collection of weapons. I don’t think any of us doubted that the dream was real. We ran errands for one god, battled a demon sent to kill us by another god and we were retrieving a key to release yet another god from imprisonment. Why shouldn’t the god of death talk to us in our dreams? So we decided to check out the waterfall before we returned home with the key.
A bright blue sky and cheerful bird songs greeted us as we exited the cave, as did several goblins. They appeared to have been drawn to the area by the smell of dead bodies. While my friends have repeatedly told me I have questionable eating habits, even I found the sight of goblins ripping into human flesh for breakfast to be somewhat disturbing. On the other hand, I do enjoy some light exercise first thing in the morning to get my blood pumping. The goblins didn’t last long against the four of us.
As Morr had promised, the journey to the cave with the waterfall flowing out of it was not a long one. We followed a path leading up to the cave mouth and cautiously went inside. Two things became quickly apparent to me; the inside of the cave looked like it had been carved out by dwarves and the chamber was filled with beastmen. I didn’t necessarily notice them in that order.