Out of the Abyss
Journey to Blingdenstone
Journey to Blingdenstone
Now clear of the Drow Garrisson of Velkynvelve, the haphazard party of slaves set forth northward under the guidance and navigation of the Deep Gnome gambler, Jimjar. Pushing forward at a steady pace, the band spent their days seeking out clean water and trying to sort the edible insects and fungi from the poisonous or toxic. In matters of travel, the dwarven scout, Eldeth seemed the most capable, filling roles as forager, hunter, lookout, or tracker with equal ease. But alas, there is but one Eldeth Feldrun, and there is an entire parade of escaped slaves with levels of capability closer to that of the bumbling Derro dwarf, Buppido, or the seemingly useless Shuushaar the Kuo Toa. But so long as the path has some food and water to offer, the group seems able to collect enough to sustain them. Prince Derendil made efforts to cover the group’s tracks, but Eldeth advises the group during camp on the second night that the expedition is moving too quickly for even an expert tracker to properly conceal tracks, let alone an unskilled one such as the elven quaggoth noble.
On the 4th day, the group moved into tunnels of strange volcanic rock, and both vegetation and sources of water began to fade as the heat rose. Growling bellies and dry cracked lips became an enemy as dangerous as their former captors as the igneous tunnels delved deeper down over the course of 2 days. As the heat grew intolerable, and steam vents burst from the walls, the band’s morale began to falter. When spirits were at their lowest, disaster struck. With a rumbling vibration in the stone itself, the tunnel cracked and broke apart. The tunnels shifted as the earth itself flecked it’s muscles of rock, and it’s glowing orange blood sprayed into the corridor. What was a solid pathway became are ruinous river of magma, leaving the party to grasp at wavering pillars of stone floating in a river of lava. Forward they pressed as strange lava dwelling insects poured into the corridor. Dodging the bites of these pests, and avoiding the splashing gobs of molten rock, the group did their best to push forth, climbing up to the northern tunnel and continuing.
On the 5th and 6th day, the volcanic tunnel gave way to more forgiving travel, within the remnant tubes of great burrowing worms. A tangled web of channels through the stone, weaving and crossing like strands of hemp within rope. The worm tunnels gave way to a massive cavern infused with a strange violet light and a vast fungal forest. Foraging eased, though the band was badly exhausted. Jimjar kept the group moving, unwilling to slow pace, but as they scaled the cavern wall to their exit, they spied danger on their trail, far back in the cavern. From an elevated vantage point, they could see the drow of Velkynvelve in the dim illumination of the ambient cavernlight. They forced another hour of marching, barely able to keep steady on their feet, before making camp.
But the drow seemed better provisioned, and unrestrained by fatigue. Early in the night’s watch, a trio of forward scouts, led by a familiar, and particularly unpleasant, guard from the garrison, came upon the camp undetected. From cover, poison dosed bolts sailed into the group’s midst, but did not successfully silence the 2 watchmen. Alarum! cried Eladrin, as battle befell the weary heroes. The battle raged furiously, and the drow attempted to fall back. The leader of the forward scouts cried for one of the others to “fall back and report!”. But the party would have none of that. Finding inner reserves of strength, they stopped the scouts’ retreat, and finished off the leader. They quickly assembled their camp and pressed on for 1 more hour of forced travel before collapsing into another camp. Jinto, grasping a purpled bruise on his side, demanded that they rest… he coughed blood and could travel no further. A number of party members could barely make their feet move at this point.
Several days passed and the group regained their strength. Jimjar seemed a capable guide, at times requiring the group backtrack and try alternate paths, but for the most part, you sensed that not too much time was being lost. However, one such delay occurred on the twelfth day, when the corridor narrowed and became unstable. Moving forward cautiously, the party sought to avoid further collapse, but when they attempted to excavate the way forward, the instability of the tunnel got the best of them. Not only did the stone collapse from above, but below them, the floor gave way, and the entire group tumbled down a web of slopes and collapsing cave pockets, eventually landing in an unfamiliar tunnel. The haze of the disturbed stone and dust made it difficult to see, but they appeared to be in a ruinous tunnel, but partially buried in the collapse to the north, they came upon a strange and alien stone fixture, a strutted worked by tools that baffled even Eldeth’s stonecutting. A debate ensured, as Eladrin and Jinto convinced the group to investigate…