“Moonwatch” – Eighth Adventure night (Day 7, part 2 of 3).

The Heroes return to the Cistern Room to find an encouraging sight: their Dwarven allies are entering the Moonwatch fortress through the cistern outflow tunnel.  Several Dwarven Defenders and one of Captain Ironhaul’s lieutenants have arrived, and another well-armored Dwarf emerges from the tunnel opening every fifteen or twenty seconds.

New arrivals set aside their heavy packs and take up arms up in case of immediate combat.  Some Dwarfs have dropped large bundles wrapped in canvas, into a pile by the foot of the cistern silo.  Lester sees the contents of one such bundle; it is pitch-covered torches, unlit, and many of them.

The Party is spotted by one of Captain Ironhaul’s officers, LIEUTENANT MINETTE.  Minette hustles over and requests a situation report.  The Heroes explain what they have found so far – starting with the Duergar Rogues and Minotaur in the hallway and ending with the attack in the storage room and discovery of a tunnel, which they sealed up.

Their words are overheard and the other Dwarfs pass the information amongst themselves and down the chain of soldiers in the tunnel.  Immediately, particular defensive measures are set at the doorway leading out of the Cistern Room.  The Dwarves know the Invisibility trick of the Duergar and expect that their despised distant-relative foes could infiltrate anywhere, especially here in the staging area.

Minette says that Captain Ironhaul was coming in the middle of their force as it slowly funnels into the secret entrance at the far end.  The Lieutenant states that their force was delayed slightly by an ambush of Hill Giants disguised as Fire Giants, and mercenary Dwarves.  It was a lopsided fight but even so, a Dwarven Defender on the allied side was lost.  Minette also says he will quickly and efficiently inform his commander of the Heroes’ findings when Ironhaul emerges, saving the Heroes from repeating themselves.

A few minutes pass as the pool of Dwarf allies continues to grow.  Torches are lit, placed at strategic points, and the Cistern Room and its new compliment of allied Dwarfs takes on a completely different feel than before.  Everything is done with a tactful respect for quiet.

A Paladin has emerged from the tunnel.  Wobberts seeks him out and requests healing, but for his own reasons the Divine champion suggests the Swashbuckler heal himself by other means.  Wobberts politely withdraws and sucks down a few Potions of Light Healing.  Finally the familiar bulk of Captain Ironhaul emerges from the tunnel.  He takes stock of his surroundings.

Ironhaul’s friendly demeanor is gone. What remains is a hard-eyed, determined warrior that is all business. His Lieutenant is immediately at his side.  Minette briefs the commander in what many Party members translate from Dwarven as a form of battle-language; blunt, slang-heavy, efficient communication that gets the point across in a fraction the time it took the Heroes to relate to Minette.

Ironhaul nods, and orders his subordinate to go arrange the soldiers.  The commander moves on to the Heroes.  He speaks in no uncertain terms.

While the Heroes have authority to direct his forces, Ironhaul first wishes to personally examine the spot where the Duergar entered the base.  The Captain is displeased that there are Duergar lurking about in a fortress of Khör’s ally.  He is disappointed to hear that the tunnel has been sealed up, as he would have liked to send scouts in, but admits it was the best idea.

Once Ironhaul has seen the entry point, his intention will be to send his forces out from the Cistern Room to secure the entire floor, illuminating the hallways and rooms with torches (as Duergar despise bright light) and checking the perimeter of this level of the fortress for any other tunnels the invaders may have used.

They assemble a party; the Heroes, plus a Paladin, Scout, Delver, and four Dwarven Defenders, plus Captain Ironhaul and six Defenders.  The Heroes hand over the +3 Icy-Burst Dwarven War-Axes taken from the Duergar, to members of this squad.  No time to waste, the group departs the Cistern Room and retraces its steps back to the Storage Room where the Duergar camp was found.

When they get there, the Heroes stand aside and look on as the Dwarfs fan out and examine the camp, Duergar bodies, and surroundings.  Ironhaul is satisfied with the Wall of Stone seal over the tunnel.  He examines the grit and scree tracked into the room by the invaders leaving the erstwhile tunnel.  He is not a Ranger and has no skill at Tracking, but recognizes that “a significant number” of Duergar have passed this way.

The Heroes, consulting their maps, wish to make for a stairwell that will take them up to the 4th underground level, near the office of the base commander. Their intention is to obtain the commander’s key to allow them access past the security doors.

Captain Ironhaul understands.  He will return to the Cistern Room and send out squads of Dwarves to begin securing and lighting this floor of the fortress, and check the perimeter.  The Dwarf commander leaves behind his squad of Defenders to aid the Heroes in getting to the stairwell destination.




About d20horizons

D&D player.
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