The dwarves (both in the party AND out) had a dream. It was an odd dream..
A dwarven King was being confronted by a shadowy figure who exclaimed “The Old Miner is angry with you, Herond Simrak! The gods gave you your crown, yet you use it to work against one of them? You should know they can take it away again!” And with a blinding speed, a giant-sized mining pick emanated from the shadowy figure and took the king square in the chest, killing him instantly. The dream faded out with the crown falling deep into the earth and coming to a rest on a rough-hewn granite altar.
Through consultation with a wandering dragonborn monk, and some investigation among the libraries of Tindred Falls, it was determined that Herond Simrak was in fact the very last dwarf to ever be King, and that his reign ended more than three thousand years ago! What’s more is that history seems to have no record of how Herond died, just that the dragonborn were able to use divination to confirm he was dead.
Despite their efforts, the Bucket Brigade was unable to find any information on who this Old Miner might be, though a clandestine midnight meeting revealed both a lead to the south and a stern warning to be extremely circumspect in discussing the Old Miner.
Following the lead, the Brigade trekked south along to old semi-abandoned southern trade road towards the completely abandoned pass through the southern mountains, the only land route to the neighboring nation. On the road, the Brigade faced a midnight ambush from a group of dwarven agents who were found to be carrying orders to eliminate “the adventuring party on the southern trade road, between the Spur and the Pass”. During the encounter, the Brigade managed to take a prisoner, and subsequently interrogated him. They learned that a dwarven government organization known as the Cultural Ministry seems to have a vested interest in keeping any and all word of the Old Miner utterly silent. Silent as the grave, even.
Arriving at the pass, after a brief sighting and watching-from-an-exceedingly-safe-distance of a wandering owlbear, the Brigade met up with a dwarven cleric named Kristryd Torunn who was in the middle of having a rather significant gargoyle problem (possibly also a gift from the Ministry). Working with Kristryd, they made some adjustments to the situation and then help her clean the rubble out of her foyer. From her they learned some details on the Old Miner, and that from the details in the dream, it is likely that the Crown rests within an ancient and secret temple to the Old Miner. A temple that can, conveniently, only be found by one who has seen it before. Kristryd offered to point them in the direction of one who had seen it before if they would but help her re-open the pass by clearing out the tower opposite to her own.
Within (and without) this tower, the Brigade engaged with such amiable creatures as a Spectator (the Beholder’s friendly cousin), a very hungry rug, a zombie, a ghoul, a ghast, and even a mummy! Within a secret basement chamber of the tower, a massive polished obsidian altar was discovered hiding beneath a head-sized floating green gem that emanates an unholy green light. With Kristryd’s assistance, the gem, which was determined to be creating undead from any corpse nearby, was destroyed, and the mummy’s corpse was interrogated. They learned that the tower had been filled with horrors and the undead by the Witch King 80 years ago, as a retaliation against the two neighboring nations for so staunchly supporting the campaign against him during his ascension.
Upholding her end of the bargain, Krystryd pointed the Brigade in the direction of the Storm Giant Thiazzi as being the only one who can help them find the temple. She also warned that finding and opening the temple might just be the single most efficient way to become the Cultural Ministry’s number one enemy.
XP for the jaunt works out to 855 each, bringing the current total up to 1814, which is 886 shy of level 4.
With the tower cleared and cleaned out, the majority of any supplies, equipment, and valuables has been found to be broken and or spoiled, though a few things can be liberated:
-The unholy gem was shattered in hundreds of fragments, roughly a dozen of which are of salvageable size. To a jeweler skilled enough to re-cut them, they would be collectively worth 350gp
-A collection of purses of varying plumpness yielding a total of 345cp, 148sp, 17ep, 31gp, 8pp (total: 137.75gp)
-A Bag of Holding. In the new edition, a Bag of Holding weighs 15lbs, can hold 500lbs or 64 cubic feet, and retrieving an item from it takes an action.