The Adventurers Kastel, Kerkash, and Ventari returned to hammerkeep to claim their prize for their victory over Dagantha. King rendogar was pleased, and bestowed a handsome sum of wealth to each of them. He then apologized for not lending more aid against the dragon, and stated that, until now, he couldn’t be sure that the party could be trusted. He explained that recently tall, humanoid figures had been spotted in Hammerkeep and scores of Hammerkeep’s citizens had gone missing. These troublesome developments had rendered the city on high-alert and most of the guardsmen occupied. Rendogar had hired Floyd Jones, a prodigious human private investigator, to solve the case of the missing citizens. Weeks had gone by without results, so Rendogar sent the party after Floyd to gain his intel and report back. The city guard convinced the party that Floyd could be found drinking at the Guzzling Grimlock; Hammerkeep’s oldest bar and a cultural hotspot for local nightlife.
So Kastel and company made their way to the Guzzling Grimlock. Inside its hewn-stone walls were typical scenes of bar patronage. A drow bard, Anuven Do’urden, was having a tough time maintaining the crowd’s attention, due to being a drow in a dwarven pub. One particular drunkard, however; a Dwarf Barbarian named Thorn, was roused by the music, dancing and reveling at the bard’s musical and comedic talent. The two of them had drinks after Anuven’s act. Meanwhile, the party met up with Floyd Jones, and discussed the case with him there. Jones was experiencing something he had never before in his career as an investigator; Failure. This case was a trifling one indeed, he had explained that whoever the culprits are, they leave no trace of evidence whatsoever, and the only thing the victims had in common was that they were all nobodies – Drunkards, Homeless, Prostitues and the like. These were dwarves that likely no one in particular would miss. Which meant that either the culprits are snobs and purists, or they were trying to keep a low profile.
Just then, Kerkash and Ventari took note of a hooded figure who had just entered the pub, and sat himself at one of the corner tables. Kerkash used his Heart of Stone to gaze into the figure’s mind, But instead of reading the figure’s thoughts, Kerkash was able to hear the thoughts of everyone in the room, as if the figure acted as a sort of psychic prism. The thoughts became too multiple and loud to understand. But when he concentrated hard enough, a low whisper could be heard, in a language too bizarre and alien for his understanding. Kerkash casted a Comprehend Languages spell in an attempt to understand these whispers. The only information he was able to gather was that about something called “The Great Old One” and gathering slaves to build a city of darkness. Ventari, against Kerkash’s protests, approached the figure and greeted him, but for reasons beyond his comprehension, he was turned away and lost all memory of the hooded figure. This too, did happen to Kerkash. A new act was on the stage at the bar during this time; A dwarf bard, who sung a song he had written about Fodell The Redeemed’s deeds in Bladecrest. The crowed cheered, and the bard bowed and introduced himself as “Brad the Bard”. Floyd Jones was immediately concerned upon hearing the name, for “Brad the Bard” was the most recent kidnap victim. He alerted kerkash to this fact, at which point, the hooded figure rose from his seat and every bar patron reared it’s head toward the party. It was clear they were the victims of some sort of mind control. The patrons turned against Kerkash, Anuven, and Thorn, who were able to flee the enthralled dwarves with barely a scrape.
Meanwhile, Ventari engaged in a chase with the hooded figure, who led him through alleyways and slums in increasingly older districts of the city. The figure seemed to blink and psionically teleport short distances, leaving Ventari at a disadvantage. The hooded figure eventually led ventari to a Giant stone door and phased through it.
Ventari decided that at this time it would be best to report his findings to the king, and so he and Kerkash went to the king’s throne, and told Rendogar everything they knew. Rendogar became concerned, for the giant stone door they mentioned led into Old Hammerkeep; which haden’t been opened since the 3rd age. Rendogar was convinced some kind of evil had taken root in the old city, and he couldn’t stand idle any longer while his subjects suffered an unkown fate. So, he decided to take matters into his own hands and venture into the ruins of Old Hammerkeep himself. He, Kerkash, and ventari set off, and along the way they met Anuven and Thorn, who they recognized from the Guzzling Grimlock, along with a human mage, Saffronia Hendrickson. Kerkash and co. enlisted their help, seeing how they handled themselves well in the pub. And so, the party ventured to the ancient stone door. Rendogar insterted a stone he had been carrying into the wall and and the door gave way.
In old Hammerkeep, the party encountered many emaciated dwarves; some of the kidnap victims no doubt, enthralled by the same mind-control that the hooded figure had wielded at the pub. The dwarves took no notice of the party; they all seemed to be chiseling stone away, defacing the craftsmanship of the city and twisting them into haunting visages of nightmarish, otherworldly beasts. It was at this point that the hooded figure appeared again, doffed its hood to reveal its true appearance. It was a mindflayer; a psionic abberation from another dimension. The mindflayer hissed through it’s gibbering tentacles and blinked deeper into the dungeon, sending the enthralled dwarves after Rendogar and the Party. Ventari chased the mindflayer while the party dealt with the thralls.They were forced to kill scores of enthralled dwarves, until finally the battle came to an end. When they found ventari, he was locked in a gladiator-style battle against an orc chieftan with a sickle-and-chain in lieu of a right hand. The two clashed until Ventari seized the victory. The other orcs cowered at ventari’s might and scurried away, leaving him to reconvene with the party.
Together they ventured through the dungeon until they found a lost shrine to Vionna, the Goddess of Earth and creator of the dwarf race. The shrine had been untouched by the evils that had surrounded it and the hallowed ground was sealed from all evil. The party bathed in the fountain’s holy waters and Ventari reforged his weapon in the hearth of vionna, imbuing it with the fury of earth. The party then hunted down the mindflayer and engaged in battle with it. The mindflayer almost claimed Anuven’s life (And Brains) but a final blow concussed the mindflayer and released Anuven from the head-crushing grasp of it’s tentacly maw.