The party, battered and beaten but victorious over the guardian golem, recovered its power source and began to make their way out. With Sudixth Merrin’s help, they eventually emerged from the mazelike network of lava tubes and into a great limestone cavern.
Su, recognizing the signs of Dwarven traffic, tried to lead the party the opposite direction. Dav saw through her lie easily, however, and she confessed to not wanting to venture into dwarven lands, even if it was the fastest way to the surface. Sephori and Falemo, however, insisted they attempt to speak with the dwarves; that the dwarves might have some information about The Forgotten City they could use.
Su took her leave of the party, and they ventured toward the dwarven settlement. They came upon the outskirts of a settlement, and encountered some frail, haggard looking dwarves. These dwarves immediately fled, all but one stern looking dwarven woman who insisted the party leave, as the Riders of Flame would soon be coming. She would say no more and returned to her hut.
Two bear riders rode forth and confronted the party, breaking off an attack after seeing they were outnumbered. These dwarves, dressed in shabby armor and covered in war paint, tried to intimidate the party into leaving. Sephori brandished her holy symbol and the dwarves reacted as if offended, spitting on it and casting it to the ground. When the party would not yield, the riders turned and left.
Afterward, a dwarven child was curious enough to talk to the party. Sephori offered him some food which eased the child’s fears, and he answered some of their questions. He told them that they work here, gathering food and minerals for the army. He seemed perplexed that the party was not there to kill him, as he’d always been taught that humans and elves would only kill dwarves. He also didn’t understand the holy symbols worn by the party, and simply said, “No gods. Gods tell lies.”
The sounds of more riders approaching scared the child off, and this time 4 riders attacked, lead by a dwarf carrying a battle standard and riding a trained war bear. The fight was brief, and after the lead rider was slain the remaining dwarves fled. Dav intimidated the bear and it ceased attacking, but he was unable to convince it to follow him and the bear wondered off into the darkness.
After the battle the dwarven woman emerged from the hut and brought the party inside. She offered what little food she had and thanked them for driving off the riders, at least for a time. She said her name was Bruna, and asked them to draw their names on a stone slate which she kept hidden in her hut. She told the party that the riders came regularly to her village and took their food, water, and whatever minerals they had mined, leaving them little to subsist on. The riders took this to supply their armies to fight against the humans and elves.
Bruna escorted the party through her tiny village and set them on a path to the surface. They emerged onto a bright mountainside in the middle of a snowstorm after over a week underground in the darkness. After several days, they made their way back to Bysorth.
They took some time to clean up then sought to meet with King Orren II. Kelton, still in possession of the strange rod and the infernal tome, stashed them somewhere in his family’s grounds. They gained immediate admittance to the King’s castle, and Orren wasted no time granting them audience.
The party told Orren everything, save their recovery of the rod from the golem and the ritual book. Orren seemed overwhelmed with the tale, and fought his initial skepticism. He confessed that there was little he could do legally right now, and the Miner’s Guild and the drow would undoubtedly be sending further expeditions into the city. He hoped the awoken undead would keep them at bay until something could be done.
In the meantime he suggested that the party tell Senator Guldanni everything they had told him, because keeping secrets would be pointless and only make an enemy of the Miner’s guild unduly. The King then turned the conversation toward the party’s encounter with the dwarves.
He confided in the party that he had secretly been in talks with the Jorga, Lord of Songs, regarding a truce between Bysorth and the Dwarf Lords. However, these talks have been sabotaged by the Miner’s Guild alliance with the Drow. He expressed empathy for the plight of the dwarven people, especially those subjugated by the Lord of Flame. Sephori told King Orren that she wished to help the dwarven people, and King Orren said he was happy to hear that, and hoped he could find some way for them to aid in the future.