Having spent some months collecting the necessary reagents and materials to complete the ritual to destroy the ancient dwarven blood-ward sealing the Temple of the Old Miner, the Bucket Brigade set off back to the Tindred Falls region to explore those ancient halls.
With the massive stone doors finally ajar, the Brigade faced an odd sight: billowing out from the temple’s interior was a steady flow of dense, vibrant purple mist. Even given time to air out, the mist continued to flow at approximately knee-height (to a human). Seeing no alternative but to brave the mist, the Brigade sent a request to the Water Company via pigeon that a number of mining canaries be brought to the hillside entrance. Thus emboldened, the Brigade delved into the mountain in search of the Crown of Might.
The first of many holy chambers encountered within this temple complex appeared to be a sort of coat check, with a goodly number of dwarven implements resting therein. A full accounting revealed the presence of 89 cloaks, 48 short swords, 22 shields, 83 daggers, and 12 coats of mail, all of dwarven size and make, all of master quality*. All items remain in such good condition that it becomes difficult to believe that they have lain unattended for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
The Brigade next encountered a massive 60’ by 120’ chamber with carved and painted murals, and a dark secret concealed beneath the billowing purple mist. Unseen until they very nearly fell into it, the floor of the massive room was completely covered in the aftermath of a massacre. Hundreds of dwarves in naught but small-clothes bearing fatal injuries lay intermingled with a couple dozen human bodies adorned in bronze plate armor and shields. All of the humans, and a small handful of dwarves appear to have no injuries, and instead have died with their hands at their throats and their eyes bulged from their sockets, as if they had been suffocated. To the last, all of the bodies give the appearance of having died no more than moments before the arrival of the Brigade.
On the far side of the site of this massacre, the Brigade found a pair of doors and an altar, which concealed a secret door of its own. Following their adventurer’s instincts, they explored the secret passage to find a bewildering sight: A small underground lake with three large cranes attached to odd steel tubes, evidently designed to be lowered down through the whirlpool in the center of the small lake. After some natatorial exploration by the resident druid determined that the ride down the whirlpool would be over four hundred feet straight down, the Brigade opted to explore other areas of the complex before making any hasty decisions about things.
This course of action led to the discovery of a memorial or perhaps records room dedicated to the chronicling of the life and times of Herond Simrak, the last dwarf to ever be King of the Mountain Throne. This section of the complex is constructed differently than the rest. The story of Herond Simrak is written into the very walls, in an ancient dwarven style known as Rune Walls. However, the story isn’t carved in runes upon the walls. Rather, the walls themselves are made out of carved and assembled runes, and layered, with about three inches between layers. Some of the rooms have in excess pf 7 layers!
Beyond this monument, the Brigade found a passage leading many hundreds of feet due north, until it breached out into an unfathomably massive underground chasm, crossed by a lonely little dwarven bridge. Braving the dark unknown, the Brigade set out across the bridge, finding it to be a most unnerving experience. For several hundred feet of gently rising bridge, all they could see was black, yet they could hear the sounds of a thriving ecosystem all about them. At the apex of the bridge, approximately four hundred feet out, Phelan had a notion, casting the Daylight spell upon a torch, he dropped it over the side of the bridge and watch it fall… and fall… and fall.. and fall… out of sight.
Feeling a sudden urge to not be on the bridge anymore, the Brigade made for the far side, finding it over nine hundred feet from the start of the bridge, and yet before they could attain the solid ground on the far side, they also found a creature of the dark that defended it’s ledge until the Brigade drove it off.
*these master quality items are so well made that they are able to withstand twice the amount of abuse or misadventure that other more common items could survive.