The Shield of Heaven

Into the Duuskën Mines

Upon returning to Bishop Walter Cunningham, he revealed that Korgoth was merely asleep rather than dead as the heroes had thought.

Captain Daryl Smith gave Gimli 500 gold pieces out of his own pocket, which Kirkmoor owed for the use of his horse. Smith’s grim visage suggested to the heroes that he knew something they didn’t — when pried about this, he told them that the king of Kirkmoor was not pleased with adventurers, and suggested the heroes leave Sawtooth and go on the run. Also, he was denied his request for backup, leaving him to fend off the northern barbarian hordes on his own. The kingdom is currently strained by a war fought in the west with the Dragos Empire, and the southern borders have been invaded by powerful plague zombies released from Shieldus.

The heroes returned to the kobold encampment and made their way to the room Krakmoor of the Blackscale Tribe had holed up. When they burst through they were attacked by a half-orc barbarian, but Krakmoor held his spells in check and attempted to make contact with the heroes. After the half-orc barbarian knocked both Konrad and Hand-Over-Fist unconscious, Uncru and Emerald managed to overwhelm him. Meanwhile, Korgoth beat Krakmoor into submission and threatened to throw him into the Shadow Maw. Krakmoor explained — in draconic — that he was attempting to close the Maw. A missive on the dead barbarian revealed that a Grimhook Fellmaster had ordered him to force Krakmoor to open the Maw in the name of Alabaster. Krakmoor revealed that the Grimscale Tribe intended to work with Grimhook to open the Shadow Maws.

The heroes released Krakmoor and his minions and continued exploring the system of caves, finding what they believed was a Bag of Holding in the rubble of a failed goblin mining operation — of which Tuggy, their goblin cohort, was the only survivor. A wayward magic missile sent by Hand-Over-Fist revealed the presence of a gelatinous cube, which the heroes defeated.

Satisfied that the dungeon had been fully explored, the heroes returned to Sawtooth and learned that an adventuring group by the name of the “Double-Blooded Crusade” had arrived and were planning on plundering the abandoned Horror of Sawtooth. Also, a group of paladins had arrived in town and were searching for adventurers, presumably at the king’s behest. The heroes questioned Beth at Gozreh’s Apothecary about the mystery of the platinum coins, and she suggested that the only place near town that could generate such magic would be the Duuskën Mines.

The heroes decided to investigate the mines. When they reached the hill leading to the only known opening, they found the partially uncovered skeleton of a dragon, an abandoned mine cart, an overturned wagon, and a smattering of fresh goblin corpses. As they approached the tunnel into the mine, they could hear voices — one of which distinctly belonged to Mayor Kipling. The other voices, they assumed, belonged to the Double-Blooded Crusade. From what they could gather, the mayor intended to pay the Double-Blooded Crusade to throttle the town in place of Gavin Keane, whose posse had failed to intercept the town’s incoming shipments of goods.

The heroes ambushed the mayor, but their ambush was subsequently interrupted by an ambush of his own. The Skull Bandits appeared and took aim while the remains of the skeleton animated and attacked the heroes from the behind.

Deciding they would be unable to overtake both the bandits and the skeleton, the heroes retreated into the cave and stumbled into Mayor Kipling, who was waving around a wand and commanding somebody named “Reaper”. Hand-Over-Fist snatched the wand away and immediately took control of the animated dragon bones. As the battle wound down, the ground shook as some large object suspended in midair parked itself over the town of Sawtooth — the citadel had finally arrived.

Mayor Kipling explained that the mines were shut down after a dragon named Reaper — whose hoard was deep into the mines — cast a curse on the area and forced the miners out. He warned them that they should not go further into the mines.

But the heroes are the masters of their own ship, and will sail it as they please… they tied up the mayor and headed deeper into the mines in search of the Double-Blooded Crusade and the cure for the coined citizens.

The tunnel opened into a cavern that dripped acidic water into an acidic lake, home to a gnarled old sea hag who claimed to have last seen adventurers in Shieldus. In return for passage, the heroes offered the mayor as collateral. She agreed to hold him until they returned.

The heroes ventured deeper into the mines…

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