It seems my logistical proposal must wait. Upon finding my adventuring companions in the merchant quarter they were already occupied with a new acquaintance: a hysterical dwarf of the dishonoured caste babbling of nightmares haunting his sleeping hours; visions of a great tomb and a Destiny that called to him.
For all his wild talk though there was something odd about the stranger that I found compelling, and I bore him close attention as he hounded Hrothgar for our aid. Our self-appointed leader was unmoved by the wild paranoid pleas of the dishonoured dwarf until I intervened. I had discovered what it was that had piqued my interest. This deranged individual was a being of latent power, a possessor of the arcane spark marking him a potential mage!
With Hrothgar’s attention caught our aberrant associate seized the opportunity make his case, urging us to help him discover the cause of his haunted dreams and bring him peace. In payment he offered an heirloom of his discredited family, a necklace Hrothgar appraised to be worth aroud 250 silver pieces. That clinched the deal. For all his big talk of the Honour and Glory of us Dwarves, it’s a rare day Hrothgar will lift his axe without some exchange of coin!
The very next day, freshly provisioned we dauntlessly set forth along the Dwarf Roads to find the place that tormented our ignoble employer. His name is Fundgar and to his shame he has no clan or family at all, and no memory of any. Born nameless into the dishonoured caste he was also without any profession as between his low birth and delirious ravings he had found no master of any craft willing to take him as apprentice; not even a thieves’ guild!
Hrothgar has made one stipulation in addition to accepting Fundgar’s necklace as payment for this mission, that he join the Dauntless Mercenary Company as an apprentice under my tutelage. An outstanding turn of events for which I thank the gods, as by so appointing me the company’s Arcane Tutor our leader can count on me to provide him with detailed and regular invoices for magical supplies required and appropriate fees for the use of my new premises in Kaz Dorn.
Approximately two weeks into the journey we happened across a Stonebeard patrol beset by orc and goblin intruders. With the aid of our axes the interlopers were soon dispatched, and in gratitude Borenorn Stonemasonsson (the patrol leader) warned us of a nearby Breach from which the creatures had most likely come and to be wary of others until the Runecrafters could seal it.
Before long we came to a point where Fundgar’s dreams no longer called him along the road but beyond the very walls. It seemed the tomb he envisioned may be near as this part of the tunnel housed a noble crypt. Impossibly as Coran pointed out, the runes identifying the crypt’s clan seemed to have been chiselled away; a simple vandalism the warding runes should have easily repaired. There appeared to be no way to gain entry to the crypt to continue Fundgar’s quest until Hrothgar bade him touch the stone doors. They slid open at once revealing a long narrow corridor which Coran insisted on checking for traps. Hardly necessary I’d have thought; traps are to prevent trespassers and in Fundgar we obviously had a key. Obvious to me anyway; I sometimes forget my companions are less intellectually gifted. Needless to say, there were no traps.
Partway down the tunnel a small burrowed passage had broken through the wall which we ignored to our detriment. Several giant ants emerged behind our party leaving us no choice but to deal with the monsters and investigate their burrow lest we be set upon again. At the end a nest of many more of the oversized insects and after a hard battle against those guarding the nest we felt it prudent to seal up the breach with rubble than risk the wrath of the entire colony at our backs.
With that distraction taken care of we returned our attention to Fundgar’s predicament. As we advanced deeper into the crypt his madness grew and deep within we found ourselves at the entrance to an enormous square chamber.
The vast room appeared to be at once both a tomb and a prison. A ledge around the perimeter gave access to three shrines, each housing a giant statue of a god gazing into the chamber. Good-aligned deities according to our company priest Yosive, silent sentinels standing guard over the body interred within. At the centre of the mausoleum a single stone sarcophagus sat on a stone column, seemingly unreachable.
Upon further investigation we found secret mechanisms that lowered elaborate gantries at the mid-point of each side of the chamber. Once lowered Fundgar’s madness took full hold and he could not be restrained from crossing to the tomb. Dauntless, we followed.
What awaited us at the heart of the place was an abomination. An example of the corruption that comes with power and the greed for it that can consume any of us. The spirit of a long dead dwarven mage named Silverbeard whose lust for absolute power had annihilated him and his Clan as he perverted the purity of runic spellcraft with the evils of blood magic.
The mage councils of his time uncovered his wicked ways and ended his insane works, imprisoning his remains here lest he rise from the dead. Never willing to accept defeat, Silverbeard had one last trick to play. A powerful ritual to retain his essence here indefinitely until such time as he could claim a new body and return to his evil practices.
Hence Fundgar’s nightmares. It is rare that a dwarf of such raw arcance potential as his is born outside the noble clans, are rarer still they exist unseen by the Council. Perhaps Silverbeard’s invasion of young Fundgar’s mind has shielded him from the Council? In any case, the task before us was as simple as it was dangerous. We had to utterly destroy Silverbeard’s remains before he could complete his possession of our companion.
The battle was harsh and the fighting fierce against our deadliest foe to date. We were triumphant however, against the odds Silverbeard was finally slain and Fundgar saved. With his mind clear of Silverbeard’s polluting influence at last we had hoped he might recall his lost memories. Alas, it seems he will bear the cruellest scar of all and be forever seperated from his ancestors.
Having spoken with Fundgar at length on the return journey to Kaz Dorn I have made the decision to adopt him into the Ironstone Clan. Formally becoming my cousin will elevate him from the ranks of the dishonoured and make him eligible for the proper training he will receive under my tutelage.
Welcome home, Fundgar Ironstone!