Chapter 01 – Blingdenstone
05 – Meet the Pechs
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While resting, everyone engages in their various downtime rituals. The elves go to bathe and engage in exercises that seem like a type of yoga. Gnomes look on at the exercises with curiosity, with a few trying to copy them. The young gnomish men steal lustful looks at the female elves; Kade and Calidor get the same from the young gnomish women. Each elf takes turns leading the practice. They gently correct the gnomes that joined in when they do things wrong. Those gnomes can’t believe how much better they feel after the workout. They start gossiping about it.
Puggter engages in deep prayer, expressing his devotion to Moradin, and asking that he blesses the party with success. Rynox and KalEl workout by running together with Pugg joining the lap of their run after his prayers. They then engage in some sparring, as strong fighters are apt to do. This turns out to be a real show, with gnomes in the area forming a circle around the combatants while cheering them on, and some gnomish warriors even jumping in even though they are no match. It’s easy to see admiration that the gnomes are feeling for these mighty heroes. More gnome gossip ensues.
These are much needed bright moments in these dark times for the gnomes. The gnomes provide the party with meals. The elves and KalEl have a harder time with the mushroom based diet of the gnomes – well, mostly the elves; though they only do so we the gnomes give the group their privacy, as elves would find it unseemly to insult their hosts and KalEl is very stoic to begin with. The dwarves tease them for being such lightweights and that they’ll need to get used to it since they will all be there for a while. Everyone shares a laugh around the whole thing.
The group finally gets ready to head out – donning their armor, sharpening their weapons, organizing their backpacks. They check unnecessary equipment with the staff at the barracks, like their tents, the mushrooms gathered for Mialee, etc. They expect to come back. The gnomes are not so sure.
The gnomes point out to the party which way to go to the old Guild of Armorers and Weaponsmiths. On their way, the party encounters another gnome barricade.
“You are going to see those pechs? They are nothing trouble! You’ll see when you go in there. They ruined the whole Guild space! Those vandals would cover everything over here with stone if they got past us!” rants the gnome sentry.
Pugg says with dwarven matter-of-factness, “Doesn’t matter. We need to get through.” He points at the barricade. The sentry looks at the group, then he shakes his head. Lets the group pass through the barricade. Issues a final epithet as the party walks in, “Don’t trust those weirdos!” The party heads in.
Past the barricades, the tunnels of the ruined city are eerily quiet. There is no light here, so the elves start having trouble seeing. Pugg pinches some glowing moss from his component bag and touches Calidor’s waist sash, which beings to glow, saying “Tag, you are it, new guy.” Calidor looks down a little surprised but quickly regains his composure as he and the other elves can now see clearly. The party draws their weapons, not knowing what to expect.
The guild cavern comes into view. Stalactites hang low from its ceiling, sometimes touching the stalagmites jutting up from the floor, and the walls are blackened with ancient soot. At the very edge of your light, a small form—too lithe to be a deep gnome—flits behind a stalagmite and out of sight. The group rushes over to where they last saw the figure, but they see nothing. “It’s like they disappeared into the stone, I don’t get it,” mutters Kade. His eyes open wide (rolled 20 on Perception!), “Wait, who ever that was DID go into the stone!!!” he exclaims as he tries to whisper.
Forges at the far eastern end of the cavern are still and dark, partially covered with stone that looks as if it has flowed over them. Alora kept thinking about what Kade said. She gasps lightly as the realization suddenly hits her (rolled 17 Arcana). “Brave friends, sheath your weapons and drop your guard. Kade is right, the pechs can travel into the stone. In fact, they can speak to it and coax it into growing like we see with those forges there. They are known to be cautious and will mean us no harm, so we need to show them that we mean them none either. I will use the language of the elementals to express to them this fact. I ask that you, friend Puggter, do the same in your tongue.” Both Alora and Pugg take turns expressing that the party comes in peace and wish to talk on behalf of the deep gnomes. One pech comes out of the stone and approaches the party, as other pechs peek out of the stone to bear witness. “I knew it!” Kade thinks to himself. He lights a candle on his head.
He speaks in Primordial, Dwarvish and finally Common saying the same thing, “My name is Gallus. I will speak for my people. Why have you come here?”
Pugg answers Gallus in Dwarvish, “I thank you for speaking with us. We are trying to help the community and we need your people’s assistance dealing with earth elementals under the power of an evil entity.”
Gallus looks at the group intently, esp. the elves. He responds in Dwarvish, “You speak of the Raging Spirit? The Raging Spirit dwelling in the Wounded Cavern?” He can tell that the elves do not understand him, so he speaks in Common, “Your companion asks about the Raging Spirit dwelling in the Wounded Cavern. But I ask YOU,” still looking at the elves, “what is YOUR purpose here? Have you come to kill another of my people?!” he ends with a raised voice in accusation. more so than the rest of the group Pugg can sense he is angry but he is also afraid, more on the afraid side in fact but is incredibly keeping his composure. Gallus is keeping a safe distance, though.
Alora exclaims with wide eyes, “By the Moon Goddess, no!” She puts her hand over her mouth. Gallus watches intently. “We would never…what happened? One of your people was murdered, noble Gallus? Someone that looks like us?” She moves to step forward without thinking, but immediately Gallus moves back a little. Alora takes immediate note and stops. “I’m sorry, we will not take another step. And we are not the murderers you speak of.” (persuasion +1, rolled 16). There is silence with Gallus just looking at Alora and then scanning the group and then back to Alora.
“Your skin. Your skin is pale under the candlelight.” He pauses. “And you do not look the same in the dark either.” He pauses. He looks at Kade, “Your hair looks like hers. But her eyes, her eyes in the light were red and her skin black. Her two monsters look like him.” He points to KalEl, “But smaller, and with more hair. Hair all over and bigger point ears. One white. One black. They held him down while she tortured him before us. She delighted in it, so very much. Ending him was the most merciful thing she did when she was done. She told us the same fate awaits us if we help the Grey Ones.”
Kade would think about it for a moment, “Looks like me, white hair like me, black skin, red eyes.” He’s been to the Underdark before. He and Alora (who was also thinking about it) would say almost in unison, “A Drow!” Kade would look to the others, “Traako! (Shit! in Elvish) A dark elf. And a woman. She should be particularly sadistic.”
Pugg looks at Kade and can’t help to grind his teeth. “Those oily, lily-livered, clan-betraying, spider-licking oathbreakers,” he mutters in Dwarvish. He then speaks up (still in Dwarvish) and looks back at Gallus, “My friend here believes you are speaking of a Drow. An evil form of Elf like our friends here. The Drow, delight in torture and conquest and will stop at nothing, not even killing their own kin, to gain power. If this evil bitch lurks around the area, I swear, by Moradin, we will bring her to justice! Until that time comes, can we count on yer help?”
Gallus pauses. He looks back to his people. He turns again to the party. He says in Common to Pugg, “You offer to bring the Dark One to justice? In exchange for our help to expel the Raging Spirit?”
He looks to the whole group. “We are not friends of the Gray Ones but we are not their enemies. We have avoided the Gray Ones. We do not like the way they alter the caverns and wound the stone. We have worked so much for all this time to heal the stone here.”
Gallus continues looking at each member of the party in turn, “They treat the Earth Spirits badly.” The party members think he means the earth elementals. “We think the Spirits in the Wounded Cavern are wild because how the Gray Ones force them to do what they want. The Raging Spirit uses their suffering to excite them and make them dangerous. We avoid them rather than risk receiving the result of their anger.”
“The Raging Spirit itself has much power. Even when the Gray Ones were here in far greater numbers many years ago, the Spirit drifted about, freeing the Earth Spirits and driving them into great anger. You see, it takes the form of a cloud of dust. Your weapons cannot harm a cloud of dust. Only magic can.”
Pugg got him on a roll. “You see, the Gray Ones called on the great Entemoch in a cavern about a day’s journey from here. Entemoch is the powerful Ogrémoch’s twin brother. Entemoch is the consort of Sunnis, Princess of Good Earth Creatures. He granted a blessing in the cavern, the Giving Spirit.” The group thinks he’s referring to Entemoch’s Boon. “The Giving Spirit makes magic from the Clean Earth more powerful. But like the Moon Goddesses are in eternal war with one another, there is also a war between Entemoch and Ogrémoch. To spite his brother, Ogrémoch must have brought the curse of the Raging Spirit. It is here only to destroy the Giving Spirit. But it must not be able to do it alone or with the Earth Spirits because it would have succeeded by now. The Gray Ones deeply love the Giving Spirit, enough that they would never want to harm it even if it means lifting the curse.”
“By telling you all this, I have given you much. I have trusted you enough to give you this knowledge. Now you must earn our trust. "
“The Gray Ones have sent you to request our help, yet they put defenses up against us like we were the Savage Ones. We who have done nothing to them, brought them no harm. They do not even come themselves to speak to us and instead send you in their place. This is not fair treatment. We insist on getting respect. We want to discuss with them how we can live in peace. We do not like what they do, but we understand that, like us, they need a home too. It is better that they stay in the remains of their old homes where the damage to the stone is already done. And yes this cavern was once their old home too but it is our home now. We have worked hard here for many years.”
“The Savage Ones attack the Gray Ones, but we watch them. They avoid us for the moment. It will not be long before their fear gives way to their savage nature and they also attack us. We will not be able to stop them.” The group thinks he means the orcs.
“We know this because we are not able to stop weaker enemis, the Small Lizard Dogs. They have no fear of us. They come to our cavern looking to feed or to steal. They are not welcome here. We ask the stone to help stop them but they continue to invade. We would like to never see them here again. If the Savage Ones ever learned that the Lizard Dogs come here, I fear the worst. The Lizard Dogs must be stopped immediately.” Everyone figures he means the kobolds here.
“Prove to us that you can be trusted, you mighty warriors, that you are friends of the Pechs. We help our friends.”
Pugg smiles widely, “Sounds good to me! We all love killing kobolds. Just point us in the right direction and we will destroy them for you.” Kade says, “Kobolds indeed.” Alora says, lost in thought, “Kobolds? I have never killed any of those…” Kade, Calidor, and Mialee start chuckling. “Alora, you haven’t changed,” mutters Calidor as he laughs. KalEl raises a brow and looks to the dwarves, who shrug.
Alora blushes, “Well we should probably try to reason with them first, like civilized people…” At which point Puggter and Rynox start laughing. KalEl joins them. “Aye, you can try. Just make sure our axes are there when you do,” says Pugg, enjoying the laugh.
Gallus just looks on. The laughter dies down quickly when the party notices the pechs are not laughing. They seem to be a very dry people. “You can go back the way you came here. Rather than go to the home of the Gray Ones, just take the other tunnel by their barrier. The Lizard Dogs seem to be coming from there.”
With that, the party bids Gallus and the Pechs farewell and head back. Rynox remembers, “That gnome bard wanted us to get those stones for him too.” Pugg nods, “We need tools from the gnomes then.” Rynox responds, “A few good picks for sure.” As the party turns the corner out of the Pech’s cavern, they see the tunnel that Gallus was talking about. They hear a frantic gnome yelling from the barricade, “Warriors! Are you there? Help! Help! It’s the infirmary! It’s under attack! By the dead!!!”