From the Journal of Sharak Langenbart, Weaponsmith:
2 Veltom: Opening Day! Delayed to avoid tramping on yesterday’s Bitter Feast of Chorrolis, Kaer Ardanyan has been officially opened! There have been feasts and speeches all day long, not to mention the dancing and music, which have been lovely, or the drinking, which has been prodigious. It seems like it has been weeks since we were captured by the elves just on the other side of this gate, but it has really only been a few days. This will also mark the beginning of a new journal, as the old one was severely damaged when we were captured by the elves and the residents here wanted to keep it in any event. They promised to get me a copy of the contents at some point so I will have the information on hand for future reference.
The feasting has wound down enough that I was able to slip away by myself and catch up om my writing. I enjoy such things, but in smaller doses I think. I could eat nothing for a week and still feel full I think! Ah if my parents could be here, how proud they would be.
We were going off to surrender to the guard when I last wrote and when we went out they kept the mob away from us as promised. The guards were led by Jaren Hardhelm, an ork as it turned out, who accepted our surrender without allowing us to talk, and took us off to jail.
Laran and Parth had gone south, and negotiated with the guards at the gate and learned there were two main areas beyond the cavern we initially found ourselves. One inhabited primarily by elves and one with primarily dwarves. They reported their real names to the guards and said they were going to the dwarven section. The guard indicated he thought they were stupid and possibly insane, but let them through. They moved through the gate and found themselves in a large cavern with two main outlets. They explored the dwarven section and in talking to a passing dwarf discovered that the elves and dwarves hated each other and the dwarf seemed not displeased that the elves had mostly “died” some years previously. The pair had decided to go investigate the elven section when a group of guards appeared and demanded their surrender.
This was because I had told the guards where Laran and Parth had gone, since there didn’t seem much point in damaging our already shaky credibility by lying. The four of us were separately bound, gagged, hooded, and led off to jail and chained to the walls in a common cell. We all requested that we be able to speak to someone in authority. It seemed unlikely we would be able to escape this time.
After some time, it was difficult to tell how long, a large group came in and the leader said that he would ask us in turn several questions and if he felt we were lying that he would kill us. He introduced himself as Sham-sin, a dwarf apparently, and started off with the hardest question which was “Where are you from.” He started with me and I said “Throal” which he said was impossible but didn’t kill me, which I took for a good sign. The others, excepting the troll who claimed to have come from the Dwarven section of the city which was true as far as it went I suppose, also named their true homes which all sounded equally impossible. He asked me to explain what I meant and I told him that we were from outside the kaer and that there was a conspiracy to keep the kaer in ignorance of current events. I also said there was an Illusionist who had followed us around and caused problems, unseen, and he mentioned the name “Leldren” to his fellows, though I did not catch if it was as suspect or investigator. He accepted that the story had a ring of truth but he logically wanted proof. We described the tunnel warren where the temple to the Mad Passion had been and said if he could get us back to near where we had come into the main cavern that we could take him and whomever else he liked back there. I suggested he take a great many guards with him since I expected a fight in the temple if the elves were there. He said he knew a way to the caverns which would avoid the mob that still wanted to kill us (apparently) and we went back to the illusion-covered entrance.
It was difficult for us to get back through the entrance, but with a bit of persistence and some mild head trauma we managed it. The dwarves were a bit surprised, and took us back to the jail for our own protection while he called the caer council.
We were brought before the council the next day. Jaren Hardhelm brought the council to order and asked Master Leldren to comment on the temple of the mad passion that we had found. Things got confusing at that point. Jaren left and Master Leldren yelled “Traitor” and followed him. After some confused milling around, Sham-sin took us back to the jail and gave us back our equipment. We headed off toward the tunnels after them. We were seen by some townspeople and another mob started to follow us, but we fought our way through and managed to get far enough ahead to start tracking. We followed the tracks to a y in the tunnel and the tracks dissapeared. We stopped and looked around, but before a moment had passed Leldren’s voice came out of nowhere and started accusing us of ruining everything. Nels was struck down, stricken by agonizing waves of pain. Laran went mad and started flailing around him with his greatsword. I cast around with my mace but was unable to find the illusionist. I felt certain we were going to die, but as suddenly as it started it all faded away. Since we clearly were only alive because Leldren had decided to leave, we headed back toward town. We found a guard and he took us to Sham-sin by some back ways. After some guards were gathered we went to the temple of the Mad Passion only to find it empty. The jail beyond was also empty, as was the town hall above it. The entire town council of Ardanyn had vanished. We introduced Sham-sin to the merchant’s council and we began planning and preparation for opening the Caer.
It has been a amazing few days and everyone has been very grateful. We have been given ownership of a villa in the nicer part of town that had been owned by one of the councilmembers. There is a small forge there, as well as a large garden. It will be more than sufficient for all of our needs, at least for the time being. I suspect that in the end we will depart on other adventures, but for the time being I feel a strong calling to help these two communities, treated so badly by their former masters, come to some kind of peaceful equilibrium.
Someone has come to fetch me back to the festivities. Apparently some young women have been asking after me. I shall have to treat them delicately, as I have no wish to take advantage of them due to my transient fame. May the passions guide me in these difficult times.