"Death in Darguun" Recap
"I once mistook a cockatrice for an easy supper, but the time I was mistaken for a hobgoblin... that was a real adventure."
The kobold snatched the last sugar beetle and leapt onto his seat. "Daring the feted waters for the Ghaal River, we escaped the crumbling tomb to see another day," he barked. Shzill knew it was over dramatic, but his small audience gapped at him in rapt awe. He learned long ago that bored travelers lavish delicacies on anyone with exciting tales to help pass the time. Shzill loved the impromptu patronage almost as much as he loved the adventures, and as a member of the Diggers' Union, Shzill was full of stories.
Across the isle, Amarand troubled over the map tucked discretely among the pages of his Korranberg Chronicle. Whether or not it led to anything of value, Matron Marta would demand a good explanation why they returned with this document of questionable worth rather then the item they were sent to recover especially when they had the Khyber dragonshard in their hands and willingly gave it away. "Flint and kindling," swore the gnome as he surrendered in his attempt to read the enigmatic map. Leaning back, he closed his eyes and listened to Shzill's fourth recounting their adventures as a new batch of anxious patrons arrive with candied offerings.
Professor Lilla Jorgenvelt of the Dhakaani Studies department at Morgrave University had a lead on an important historical site in Rhukaan Draal dating back 5,000 years to the collapse of the Dhakaani Empire. In addition to its historical worth, the site was rumored to house a powerful Khyber dragonshard of immense worth. Lilla contacted the Diggers' Union to recover the dragonshard for her, and Matron Marta selected a small team of resourceful diggers who recently came to her attention. The team set out immediately. After a perilous journey, they arrived in the Jhollo Ghetto of Rhukann Draal were they were to meet Lilla's contact, a warforged named Chopper.
Although Jhollo was filled with difficulties common to all exotic travels, the team encountered a number of unexpected obstacles placed in their path. Another group of adventurers had also learned of the tomb and the dragonshard, and they had their own plans for the relic. Reaching Jhollo ahead of the diggers, these shady characters disabled Chopper and stashed her body in the basement of the mill. Putting a changeling in Chopper's place, they intended to lure the diggers to an abandoned church where their undead minion lay in wait. Ever perceptive, the diggers saw through the changeling's disguise and uncovered the plot to hinder them. Towing the changeling, Moll, with them, the diggers revived the real Chopper and learned that agents for the Order of the Emerald Claw were responsible for their troubles. Determined not to be out done, the diggers prepared to enter the ancient tomb.
The tomb of Juulak Vrek was a series of long-buried passages and rooms created by the ancient Dhakanni. Magically sealed and trapped the tomb itself posed a formidable challenge without the additional meddling of the claw. The tomb also featured several bizarre magical features. Upon entering the initial chamber, the diggers discovered themselves transformed to appear as Dhakaani warriors outfitted in the ancient style of that empire. Shzill was horrified that he may actually become a hobgoblin, but Amarand seemed to think this was merely a way to symbolically prevent the presence of none goblins from defiling the tomb. Moving from the entrance chamber to the adjoining crypt, the diggers also discovered they could suddenly comprehend engravings on the walls and even speak goblin. Amarand saw this as further proof of his speculation and as an indication they where successfully bypassing the facilities magical defenses.
Defeating undead minions left behind by the Emerald Claw and surmounting another series of traps, the diggers happened upon a strange goblin. Initially mistaking the diggers as reinforcements for the Emerald Claw operatives, the blue tinted goblin unleashed a pair of strange creatures to assault the party. Realizing his mistake, Blue called off the attack and parlayed with the diggers. An heir of the ancient Dhakaani clan, Blue learned of the tomb and dragonshard and ventured here to retrieve the relic for his people. Offering the diggers a valuable treasure map if they defeat the claw and recover the dragonshard for him, Blue won the diggers over to his side. Struggling with the fine line between theft and historical preservation, the diggers felt they couldn't deny the rightful heirs their heirloom.
Penetrating to the heart of the tomb, the diggers discovered the shard chamber. Before the pedestal holding the dragonshard stood the agents of the Emerald Claw preparing to free the crystal from its resting place. Sneaking into the room unnoticed, the diggers surprised their opponents and attempted to subdue them. The claw would have none of it a fought back with lethal force. Outnumbering their adversaries, Shzill hoped to leverage their advantage by also having possession of the shard. Skittering to the pedestal, he wrenched it from its resting place.
The tomb shuttered and a powerful wave surged through the room. Knocked from their feet, the combatants all looked toward the pedestal and Shzill. A second wave wracked the chamber, and a subtle trembling began to shaking dust and debris loose. The shaking grew more intense until it was difficult for everyone to gain their feet and remain standing. Above the rumble, the tomb creaked and groaned. Dislodged form the ceiling, a massive stone crashed down on one of the Emerald Claw agents. It was time to go!
The flight from the tomb became a running battle with the remaining member of the claw. Refusing to forfeit the dragonshard with out a fight, the remaining agent pursued the diggers with spell and steel. Battling their way back toward the entrance, the diggers soon discover that way was block, but there was still hope for escape. It was likely a water filled chamber they discovered earlier was feed by the Ghaal River and provided a way out. Finally throwing off the last opponent, the diggers reached the chamber, plunged into the water, and struggled along with the current to emerge banged and bruised in the filthy shallows of the Ghaal River.
Spotted by Blue as they struggled to shore, the Diggers exchange the shard for the map promised by the goblin. With the tomb destroyed and a large section of Jhollo still sinking into the hole created by the collapse, the diggers decided it was time to discreetly make their way out of Darguun and back to the waiting arms of Matron Marta.
As Shzill finished his tale and Wroat's skyline appeared over the horizon, Amarand grimaced. Perhaps they should consider returning to Jhollo; it might be safer than what lay ahead.
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