Concerned about the fate of the blacksmith Rhundorth after the failed negotiations with the earth cultists, we made haste as best we could looking for this staircase that lead to the lower levels of the earth cult’s domains. During our search, we interrupted a vile sacrificial ceremony to the cult’s foul deity…this Ogremoch. There was a desperate battle against the cultist forces in which both the sacrificial victim and Aszh were both killed, and unfortunately Gorm had only bestowed upon me enough of his blessings to bring Aszh back to the world of the living. There was…not enough of the cult’s sacrificial victim for me to work with as most of its body had been dissolved by a living blob of foulness that the cultist priest had summoned. Aszh was understandably shaken from the experience of having died and returned (I surely was when I had gone through my own experience), but he was not dissuded in our cause and we proceeded on.
We eventually found what we believed was the staircase we were looking for. A massive pillar of stone with a staircase descending even further into the depths of the earth. It had a lone guardian, an earth elemental encased in metal armor. Despite it taking us by surprise, we easily vanquished the creature, Aszh unleashing several mighty strikes infused by the raw divine power of Titania.
The end of the staircase found us truly in the bowels of the earth. I don’t think that any of my companions, with the exception of Dovak, had been this deep underground. The massive chamber we found ourselves in offered only two ways out- a single door and an unnatural cold black fog that totally blocked vision and caused sickness in those that entered it. We elected to take the path offered by the door and found ourselves in an ancient iron ore mine that had probably not seen any use since Besilmer was still a dwarven kingdom.
Shortly after entering the mine tunnel, Tobias and Dovak were attacked by the spectres of some fiendish-looking creatures that I have never seen before. Most of them were quickly banished when I invoked the power of Gorm’s name and the one that remained was quickly dealt with by the rest of my companions. As the last spectre was vanquished, a ghost of a dwarven female bearing the holy symbol of the dwarven/halfling goddess of Ulaa materialized briefly and pointed to a section of the mine that had collapsed. Upon investigation, we found the decomposed body a female dwarf that must surely have been the same person that apparition depicted. This appeared to be a cleric of Ulaa and it clutched a beautiful, golden glowing hammer of incredible craftsmanship. Dovak recognized the hammer as a mighty artifact called the “Hammer of Ulaa.” A powerful magical item said to be given by the goddess herself to her most blessed champion on Elrond. We had found another Delegation member…Thandarth Rumblerock.