"Magh Kuldohr, city of the roaring mad? No thanks. We're leaving."
"I promised to guide you through the deepmountain in exchange for my life. I can't take you through the Empyrean road, it's caved in. anyway"
Dael suspects that he is lying, and Rilken and Illiaph cast Zone of Truth to prevent any further dishonesty. Thozmolim is happy to answer additional questions as he strips the dead orc of his armour and begins to put it on.
"I apologize, I can't guide you through the Empyrean roads as I've never been through them all. I know of three entrances to the surface, but two of them are under the control of the doppletrogs. I'd rather not cross them now. They were nice enough when they weren't hungry. The last one I know of will take us to the peaks. I don't know about you but I'd rather not be exposed to the Scara mountains right now. It's... what is it called... Winter? I'm not prapared for that kind of cold desolation."
Thozmolim explains to them that the Empyrean road may be passable, but he'd rather not take the chance. He knows a sure-fire way through the "quarantine zone" which should lead them farther North to the Illden mountains. The party take their chances with the Empyrean road, leaving the polluted city to fend for itself against the possible outbreak of the ancient ghast plague.
It takes days. During this time Thozmoim explains to the party that he was once a member of the cult of Vis, but 15 years ago, Vis stopped granting spells to his followers. Suspiciously, this corresponds with what Findleites refer to as the "year of misfortune" when Findle signed the treaty with Danasia, and was sent into deep debt. Parun priests also began to disappear at this time and famine and natural disasters spread across the land. Thozmolim goes on to claim that he left the cult at this time and began worshiping Morrigan, goddess of magic and in the wake of Vis' disappearance, the cult was fractured. Some turned to a figure they called the "Godslayer" claiming that this elf killed Vis and now rules in his stead, while others were rounded up by a lich named Funiku Doboro. What he hopes to do is unknown.
They reach the final gate after approximately six days of travel. A steel and stone door blocks their path. Runic inscriptions refer to the Granitegrind Mine.
Dael tries a new spell that she's been working on. Her divination tips her off to a large dragon powder trap on the door. Any attempt to open it will cause a massive explosion on the other side.
The party brainstorm for some ideas. Rilken and Alistyr eventualy come up with a plan. Alistyr focuses his heat metal spell on a point in the door and softens the metal enough for Rilkens flametongue sword "Roar" to penetrate. The resulting opening is worked large enough to get a line of sight for Illiaph to conjure his demonic familiar on the other side.The familiar sabotages the dragon powder with enough water to saturate it. The door is opened into a large storeroom. Barrels of goods, food, ore and dynamite. A lit torch sconce tips them off to some recent activity in the mine, but where is everyone? They pick through barrels and rooms, finding some items and weapons but nobody here. In a desk they find a vellum manual and a pistol along with some papers bearing a serpent symbol. The language is similar to the language in London's Journal. Perhaps this can be used to translate it!
A cold draft and the crisp sent of fresh snowfall flows through the cave. Voices echo through the cave. The party creeps out towards the entrance. Two guards man the front gate.
Shalazar makes his move. He rushes out to the guards, dancing seductively out of the shadows. The guards are taken by surprise.
"It's a devil! He's trying to cloud our minds! Kill him!" "Wait just a moment... I want to see where this goes."
The second guard watches Shalazars swaying hips with intense interest. Illiaph and Rilken further cloud the guards minds with magic.
"Good day mortals! I am Shalazar! Prince of Devils! Your bodies will be mine as I take you to hell for my amusement!"
The two guards panic and flee into down the mountain towards Illden. The rest of the party are speechless. They travel down the mountain and enter the city of New Illden. Olahorn and company stay in the Governors home, while the party purchase rooms at the Walnut Knob Inn.