The company that went out was Jasmine, Gamrar, Scar, Bjorn and myself. Our intent was to cleanse as much of the evil within Degtorum as possible. I had not dared hope we would be complete in our purging, and yet, it seems we were.
A fair journey took us from Backwash to Degtorum, and Gamrar finally was able to manufacture a lift to allow easy access to the entrance. It later proved very useful, and I bow to the excellence of his craft.
Once prepared, we went within, and travelled up the central elevator shaft to the Altar of the Deep Flame, described by my companions as a conduit through which the vile entity responsible for the Deep Flame’s evil exerted it’s influence. With Jasmine’s Apotropaic Circle wreathing us all in arcane protection, we went forth and strove against the Flame. By might of our zeal and faith, we did indeed overcome it, and though our spirits were shaken by the affair, no permanent harm came upon us. Twas a glorious victory.
Having dealt with the malevolence in the room, we were free to peruse the carvings that lined the wall, which detail some of the religious lore of the Eternal Tower (I will add appropriate records to the Guild Archives forthwith).
Satisfied, we descended down on the lift, lower than we had ever ventured before. So in going, we saw the mine shaft below, and a dozen dwarven miners, now thralls of the Flame that still resided below. With the might of the Immortal Lords, Scar seized and bound half of them in place, and we fell upon the others and drove them into the pit. Gamrar and Bjorn showed mighty skill in this fight, hammer and bolt falling upon them like rain.
The Will of the Lords of Life and Death dealt with the rest.
It was then we checked the lift would take us up again, and found it would not: Gamrar’s keen eye saw the flicker of the Deep Flame faintly within its gears, and we deduced that only Jasmine’s magic had any chance of overcoming it’s influence. And yet, injured and weary as she was, she doubted her might against the Flame now.
So instead, we ventured into the dark tunnel beyond. And when we emerged in a new cavern, we saw a hundred more miners, maybe more, rank upon burning rank in the pit below us. They perceived us immediately, and charged up the single tunnel-ramp that led to the bridge we stood on.
It was then that the strength of faith and wits of the dwarves saved us again. Bjorn and Gamrar took their tools to the supports of that tunnel, and collapsed it, even as Scar and I brought the Fury of the Lords upon the forerunners that began to pour through.
After that terror was dealt with, we began scouting the three other tunnels that led from that hall. There was a sagging room where 5 crates of silver coins had been stacked, and now supported the ceiling. There was a ransacked storeroom, where we found a barrel of explosive in a chest and some canned dwarven bread.
Finally there was the tunnel to the room I shall call the labyrinth. It was once some hall of artifice, with dwarven machines for the refinement of ore perhaps. When we saw it, though, those machines flamed with the unholy orange light of the Deep Flame, and were melded and fused with flesh. Moving quietly, we watched from a gantry and saw beasts of flesh and metal and fire prowl among the paths of the place.
Again with stealth, we explored the mineshafts coming off the room. One held an un-cursed dwarf skeleton with some gems on their person. The other led deeper into the dark depths, and part way down we heard a noise from above, and saw another metal beast, huge, scorpion-shaped, and malevolent. Who knows what it might have wrought upon us, had the faith of Scar not bound it and sent it crashing into the abyss. Thenceforth we required Jasmine’s magics to float across the hole it’s fall hewed in the path behind us.
Ever deeper we pressed, guided by metal pipes burning with the Deep Flame, which seemed to lead it’s power up above like veins.
Finally, we came to a cavern with a camp and two dwarf skeletons before a bridge to a coppery spike of a building, which pointed down and pierced the flowing magma below. The eyes of Jasmine and Bjorn perceived this as the source of the evil in this place. The foe we had travelled so deep to finally face.
The last testament of those dwarves, writ in stone, told us of the mighty dwarf warriors that guarded the interior of the spike, so we concocted our plan thus: Bjorn and I to throw the barrel of explosives into the room, Jasmine to guard us with another Arcane circle. Gamrar to use his crossbow to repel the guards that tried to stop us, and Scar to bless us with the protection of the Lords of Forges.
And so we did. The barrel, fuse lit, flew into the building, towards some burning, writhing machine, past several guards. Gamrar’s bolt pinned back one who lunged at us, and the rest of us dived clear of the flames spewed by the staff of another.
And then the explosion. It began some complex chain of events in that room, until the spike collapsed behind us as we fled. Had we not been protected by Scar, I can only imagine we would have been incinerated several times over. We were forced to flee, however, from the collapsing earth, and the detonation of the Deep Flame went on up the pipes to even the labyrinth, and through that twisted metal maze we fled until we came to the pit of damned dwarves, and saw, in the silence, that they were still and dead, no flame upon their fallen forms.
We had won. We sent their souls on to the Dry Lands, though there was little indeed to usher on. We retrieved the silver coins by propping the roof with masonry and carpentry. We even returned down to the buried ruins of the spike and confirmed it’s cessation of being. And Gamrar repaired the lift, which thankfully was only a little damaged by it’s own explosion.
And so we went back, richer in wealth and wisdom and pride. The Immortal Lords truly blessed us that week in the dark, and we did just work under their gaze.