I’m at the end of my rope (literally) and suspect that I am still far from the bottom of the sliding, spiral staircase. I want to know how far from the bottom I am, but the only idea I have is to drop an item and listen to it fall. I don’t want to drop any of my gear, though. I call up to Evan and tell him to kick down a small stone. A few moments later, a human skull slides past me! Ahhh! Wait, is that the “stone” Evan kicked? I listen, but it only fades away. There is no thud or smashing noise. Damn, this is really deep!
Travis suddenly slides into me, smashing me free of my grip on the rope!
We both slide down screaming to the pool at the bottom. And we find Lotech alive! I report back to Evan that it seems safe to slide down into the pool. He, Lily and Aeryn descend to join us.
“Have we found the bracer yet?” Lily asks the group.
“No, they’re not around here,” we answer. This room appears simple. There is the pool, the staircase and a floor that rises above the level of the water, forming a sort of shore. But there isn’t a doorway anywhere. I hope this isn’t a dead end, forcing us to try and climb all the way back up.
Aeryn dives under the water and searches around for a bit. She jumps back up, announcing that she found route under the surface of the water! It is a carved hole large enough for us to pass through, though Evan barely fits. There are no traps on this hole, but it does go on for a ways. Evan leads us through, into a large room with a shore. We climb out of the water and look at the three passages in front of us. None seem to be particularly special and none appear to be trapped.
Without any way of making a clear decision, Evan forgoes choice and let his quarterstaff decide. He sets it vertically and lets go, watching it fall toward one of the three portals. It lands, pointing to the right-most passage. We wait for the rest of the party to catch up and then go down the pathway. It leads us to some stairs leading down. Lily wants to wait and dry our clothes, which are soaked through. Whatever, they can’t stay wet forever, can they?
Several hundred feet down these stairs, we suddenly hear a loud metal object tumbling down the stairs above us! We all step to a side hoping to dodge the mystery object. It rolls right past us, so close that Evan is able to catch hold of a piece of it. It’s a foot! The footed thing yells at us, but I can’t understand a word with such a heavy accent! Evan speaks in another language, enraging the thing, which now seems to be a short, stocky human. As the stranger reaches for his axe, Evan grabs the weapon and holds it. “Who are you? You are in my cave!” he states.
“I am Travis Neos. Who are you?” Travis quickly replies.
We tell him that the dragon gave us permission to enter. “The dragon is still out there, then?” he asks. We explain to him that indeed Iregor is there. The stranger seems to calm down after hearing the news, so Evan gives the axe back to him. He introduces himself as Durn the Dwarf, and we in turn give him our names.
Lily asks him as to when was the last time he saw an Elf or Half-Elf. He saw a Half-Elf fifty years ago, but it has been over one hundred and fifty years since he saw a full Elf. He’s been alive for over 150 years? He goes on to say that he is nearly two hundred years old, but as he speaks, his speech gets more and more slurred. Evan is the only one in the party who understands his words. “Do you know how often my father got drunk in the forge?” he explained.
“Ahh! Your father was a smith?!” says Durn, excitedly. He hands some ale to Evan, who accepts it and drinks it after a moment. He seems to not enjoy it, and Durn seems to not notice.
Durn has now forgetten our earlier conversation, so it’s easy to convince him that he was about to bring us to his clan’s leader. He leads us down confusing twists and turns for several minutes, until we are all thoroughly lost. We come around the last turn and enter a huge chamber. It is carved to fit dozens of forges, each with anvils manned by dozens of smiths.