The next day, we speak to Lady Chauntessa and find that she’s updated Quintus already about the situation with the slavers. We decide to go to Mr. Silverheel’s place first with the charcoal rubbings we did of the door with the runes.
“My friends!” he exclaims. “You’re back! I have news for you. I know what this is!” He holds up the map we found in the ruins. “This is a place you should go – it’s Castle Whiterock – I’m pretty sure of that!”
He explains that Castle Whiterock is a place that has been occupied by all sorts of people for the past 2000 years. Every time it was invaded and taken over by a new people, they would expand it. There are tons of levels and all sorts of magic in there.
“At first,” he says, “There was a monastery on a hill…”
Errich holds out the rubbing of the runes.
“Where did you find this?” Silverheel asks.
“Maybe a monastery somewhere near here,” Errich grins.
“Less than a day away,” Fin adds.
“We could go in and take it and make it OUR castle,” Helion muses. “We can kill the rest of them.”
Errich wants to work on the codes on the paperwork we confiscated from the slavers. It describes all the people they’ve been kidnapping and bringing down to the orcs.
“We may still have a chance to save this chick,” Fin says.
Silverheel goes on to tell us that thirty years ago an order of paladins tried to take the top of the castle and make it their base and cleanse it. They were wiped out by a group of mercenaries. Since then, very few people have tried to claim the area. He expects us to find the Clockwork Academy – where gnomes used to build strange devices. I dunno about the rest of the group, but I’m having nasty flashbacks to the rooms with the blue gigglers and Drash bleeding everywhere.
Silverheel takes me aside and shows me how to unlock the door with the runes. I have to read the symbols and touch them at the same time. After some practice, I feel confident that I can do it!
We decide to spend the rest of the day in town, resting up, drinking, shopping, and then leaving early in the morning.
At the inn there’s a note waiting:
Congratulations. I see you were able to solve a few things. Our faith in you was not unfounded.
There is a letter of marks worth 1000 gold pieces. My friends buy me a nice magical holy symbol. It’s way shinier and prettier and feels more… Moradinier. Helion hands me some chainmail with the same crest as my frosty hammer. It’s a little tight, but it seems sturdier than the old stuff.
We head back to the monastery. As we’re climbing the hill, I’m huffing and puffing. I am so tired of this hill! I don’t remember it being so steep last time. I have to call on all the strength that Moradin can give me to get up the rest of the way.
We send Errich up to the window where he killed the sleeping guard to see what he can see. The room is empty and everything seems like we left it. We climb up into the monastery and back to the room with the runes door. I read and touch the runes just like Silverheel taught me and the door opens quietly revealing a staircase heading down into pitch black darkness.
Helion goes down first. There are tripwires on the stairs that we bypass. Errich signals to us that he can hear orc voices ahead. Helion comes back and whispers that there are at least four – two in each corner. We decide to run in and surprise the orcs. We group at the bottom of the stairs and Helion throws a sunrod into the room. We hear the orcs cry out as they are blinded by the sudden burst of light.
Errich’s dagger makes quick work of the first orc. Fin whips out his firepower (thank Moradin I am far away from the burst this time!), and I hear the sounds of orcs hitting the ground, crackling and burning. I sparkle the biggest orc, who shifts towards Fin and smacks him really hard. Really, really hard. Fin is bleeding everwhere. It’s disgusting. I rush to heal him.
Drash runs in, hits the orc and dragonbreaths him.
“No more, stop stop!” the orc cries, covering his head. He says something to the other remaining orc and it drops its weapon.
“They’re orcs,” Helion growls. “They have to die. They are an abomination of nature.”
Dang, I’ve never seen the elf so riled up.
“Why should I let you live?” Fin asks the orc.
“I will give… information…”
He tells us about the slaves the orcs keep in the pits.
“Do you have a map?” Fin asks.
“I can draw one…”
I’m transfixed by the nasty dried blood on Fin’s shirt. I hear someone mention that the orc should draw the map with his blood and the orc is so terrifed that it soils itself. Ew. I mean, really guys, was that necessary? Gross.
“I didn’t think you could get any smellier, you foul beast!” Helion sneers.
The orc tells us that if go through the door there’s a little man, no match for us, and pits for the slaves.
“Lock him up,” Fin says.
“They’re orcs,” Helion says. “They need to die. They cut down trees, slay animals. They’re an abomination against nature and they need to die.”
He slays both orcs. “Their blood is on your hands,” Fin says.
“That’s fine,” Helion shrugs. “The more orcs I kill, the happier I’ll be.”
We walk up to the door and listen. We hear voices on the other side. Opening the door carefully, there is a short hallway leading to a room. There are three orcs and a pygmy minotaur creature. They don’t seem to notice us.
Drash dragonbreaths them and two of the orcs die. Helion steps up and sinks arrows into them. Fin runs into the room with his flaming cyclone. My sparkles, of course, miss. Errich kills the minotaur.
“Surrender or meet your maker!” Errich cries.
Helion adds, “You’re going to meet him anyways!”
“That’s still on YOUR conscience,” Fin mutters.
There’s nothing on the bodies except for a small key on a chain worn around the pygmy minotaur’s neck.
The boys offer to pay me to stick my tongue to my frosty hammer. Um, no thanks. Definitely not.
Errich goes over to pick the lock at the end of the room. We open the door and enter a long room. The center of the room is recessed and divided into 20 cells with thick iron bars. Some of the cells are occupied. There’s an access corridor on the wall to the right. There are doors in the corners and on the far wall we can see two hallways.
The slaves begin to murmur. We’re probably the first non-orcs that they’ve seen since they were kidnapped.
“We’re here to help you,” Helion says.
“Is Lyssa down there?” Fin asks. The slaves murmur among themselves and one speaks up.
“She’s working in the mines.”
Helion thinks we need to take these people back to safety before we go further into the mine. Drash says we should go out the way where we killed the spiders.
An idea comes to Helion. “Hey, Mielka can bang on the iron bars with her hammer until we alert the orcs and they all come and we can kill more orcs!” The bloodlust Helion is showing is really freaking me out. I mean, I’m not a fan of orcs, but he’s really a bit over the edge here.
As we try to get into the slave pens we hear an alarm and noise coming from one of the hallways. We jam the doorway mechanism with rocks. We see eight small orcs and two big ones coming at us. Helion shoots and misses. One orc tries to press the lever for the door but it’s making crunchy noises and won’t move. They’re yelling to retreat. Helion sinks an arrow into one and it dies.
The slaves are very concerned with the welfare of the other slaves, but we tell them that we will go back for the others after bringing the first group to safety.
Long story short, I’d just like to say that it was really sweet to see the looks on the faces of the people when we got them back to the town. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The town guards are impressed with us and say they’d be grateful if we could get rid of the rest of the orcs. They agree to send ten guards with us – a group of five to stay in the monastery and stand guard looking for slavers and another group to come into the slave pens with us.
This should be fun – more friends to fight with and getting to rescue people! Moradin has truly blessed me with a destiny – cleansing the world of evil and helping people. Oh, and making pretty sparkles. Mmmm… sparkles.