The Rule of Law
Finding themselves underneath Hammerfast with the prospect of the Winter King’s leaderless rabble following on behind them, it doesn’t take long for our heroes to destroy the portal and thus end the threat.
Tracing their way out through the dusty tomb-stacked corridors the party stumble into a grand chamber of ancient design: a circle of sarcophagi surrounding an altar upon which rests a giant golden hammer – something the more historically minded instantly recognise as a relic of the great Moradin himself, and valuable beyond imagining.
It is not something for the taking however, as the ghostly occupants of the chamber reveal themselves as the Paladins of Moradin, under their leader Lord Gathrak, who take their disturbance as a sign that Hammerfast must be under attack by a horde of orcs, rather than the clumsy meanderings of a bunch of exhausted adventurers.
Managing to persuade the spirits that they could in fact go back to sleep, the party eventually emerge from the tomb, only to be surrounded above ground by a detachment of town guards who are shocked that the hallowed Iron Tomb seems to have been disturbed by this raggedy bunch of ne’er do wells, among whom the figures of Bodin and Benedict are recognised, which is bad enough, but to have elves with them – well, there is only one thing for it – off to the Halls of Justice with the lot of them.
As they are led to the cells the party notice the town is starving – no grain shipments have arrived from Fallcrest, despite the weather having now turned from unseasonally freezing to unseasonally boiling in the space of a couple of days, although this does not seem to have stopped preparations for the approaching great masked carnival that is Founders Day, although some discontent can be seen with the preaching of a wild-eyed dwarven priest who warns a sizeable crowd that the pact with the orcs is an affront to Moradin and all dwarven kind, and that it won’t be long before bare orcish feet will again be marching through the Nentir Vale towards the town.
Faced with the inquisition led by the town’s High Master Marsinda Goldspinner, Mordzan decides to engage in a deft bit of stealthy acrobatics and manages to escape undetected, making his way to the safety of the nearest bar.
Meanwhile, the party’s only friend appears to be a slippery dwarven lawyer, Beldrin Longbeard, who soon makes them realise that their only chance of escaping the wrath of the town is to engage his services. They come at quite a price, although he is keen to inform the party that he can also provide all sorts of other, more clandestine services that incude ransom organisation, banking and tax avoidance schemes, particularly tailored for the adventuring kind.
Despite the fact that noone trusts him, it is soon apparent that the old adage is true. Dwarven law is so complex and arcane that it is thought only three people understand it – unfortunately one is dead, one is mad and the other has forgotten.
So, considerably lighter in the purse, and after a trying time in court, the party are finally believed and freed, enabling them to make for the nearest seedy bar – The Foundation Stone, where, reunited with Mordzan, they take part in a variety of ridiculous drinking games and feats of acrobatics.
Finally, they are brought to their senses with a job. Find the grain shipment which is still out there somewhere, on the road between here and Fallcrest.
Getting out to the Five League house on the trade road the party manage to track down the grain on the track to Nenlast, where they are faced with the same dodgy traders they had met in Fallcrest before their departure to the lair of the Winter King, all of them pointing out that the grain is rightfully theirs . . .