Last time, the party had reached the outskirts of the mining town of Irontown on the northeastern edge of Karrnath, having arrived there on the Centennial Raptor, captained by their new friend, Cahl Zephyr. As the Raptor disappears back into the skies above, they head in to the town. They find a well-kept inn called the Griffon’s Nest, and enter, looking to find a meal and a room for the evening. The Nest is owned and operated by Sarel Bankdown, a friendly half-elf woman who relates how she came to own the inn after her husband ran off and then left her a widow. When asked about Galrus Ironfist, she tells them that the dwarf runs a general goods store a short ways up the road, but that the store would be closed at this hour. Instead, Sarel provides them a home-cooked meal and a couple of rooms for the night.
The following morning, the party meets in the common room for a hearty breakfast. Garl, as usual, sleeps in, and a daring Fenora volunteers to go wake up the sleeping dragonborn. Once breakfast is completed, they settle their bill with Sarel, then head over to Galrus’s shop. Though the store is not yet opened, they knock on the door, and are greeted by a dark, suspicious eye. When Gremkyl is mentioned, Galrus throws open the door, and orders the party to enter the shop, with an admonishment not to touch anything.
As they enter, Galrus quickly pokes his head out the door, looking up and down the street. Satisfied, he closes the door and throws a series of three locks in place before he finally turns back to fix them all with an appraising eye. Without a word, the dwarf limps his way past them, a metal brace that covers most of his leg keeping the limb from bending with his gait. He makes his way behind the long counter and settles himself onto a stool with a pained sigh.
Galrus Ironfist: So now’s the part where you lot tell me how it was that ye came t’find that there scroll that Gremkyl is so sure leads to Khundrukar. (sits back in his stool, fixing them all with a steely gaze as he strokes his beard, waiting for a response)
Quinton Greymane: Well, not to make too long of tale of it, we went into this dungeon called the Sunless Citadel near the Mournland. Well, there were these two missing kids and a knight that went in to stop what turned out to be one them evil druid types. And we went in to find them.
Galrus Ironfist: I’m fallin’ asleep here, laddie. Get to the point.
Quinton Greymane (nods as he continues): Well, inside there was this young white dragon, and in it’s horde was this scroll type thing with dwarven runes on it. I think Civic’s got it.
Civic (holds out the scroll): I didn’t know what it says, but when Gremkyl saw it, he became very excited and told us it was a significant step toward finding Khundrukar.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, so what does it say?
Galrus Ironfist (leans forward and takes the scroll): Hmmph. Gremkyl always sees signs of Khundrukar where there are none. I’m sure this is just another wild goose chase. You’ve probably come all this way for noth… (his voice trails off as he opens the scroll and glances down at the parchment) Onatar’s forge, could it be? After all this time…
Garl Auraspeaker: Ha, sounds pretty real to me!
Galrus Ironfist (begins reading aloud from the page): “…the remaining few. By the order of Durgeddin the Black” (pauses) Ye got t’be shittin’ me, Durgeddin?! (continues reading) “…we have created a secret dwarven redoubt. None shall find us; however…” (looks up from the parchment, a look of astonishment covering his face) I never thought… we never thought… that we’d EVER find even the smallest scrap of proof that Khundrukar even existed, and yet… (holds up the parchment in a shaking hand) Here is that proof! By the gods, this is… this is… I’m sorry, words fail me right now.
Quinton Greymane: If you want to find it, just point us in the right direction.
Galrus Ironfist (snorts in laughter): Eh, laddie, it’s not gonna be as easy as that. Hints is all we have, all we have ever had. Gremkyl and I spent nearly half our lives searching for Khundrukar, or rather, proof that it existed at all as anything but myth and legend. Truth be told, I’d given up hope of ever finding anything. (looks back down at the parchment)
Garl Auraspeaker: Now who’s not getting to the point?
Galrus Ironfist (makes a rude gesture at the dragonborn, but continues.): This.. this gets us that much closer to reclaiming a part of our history. Speaking of which., how much of the history of the continent are ye familiar with? Particularly in regards to the dwarves of the Mror Holds? More to the point, do any of ye lot know the name of Durgeddin the Black?
Quinton Greymane: I can’t say that I know much about it. Been all over but never been to a dwarven ruin.
Garl Auraspeaker: Nope. Civic?
Civic (shakes his head): A mysterious people.
Galrus Ironfist (chuckles): Can’t say I’m surprised. Dwarves tend to keep their secrets close, and what is shared is usually shared for a reason. And there’s almost never a good enough reason. (sits back a bit) Well, as the stories go, Durgeddin was a master smith who forged blades of unsurpassed quality and power. He and his people made their home in the mountains when the continent was still young, carving a living by mining ore and waging a nigh on never-ending battle with the neighboring orc tribes.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, those orc tribes tend to be a bother. Fought a couple of those along the way.
Galrus Ironfist (ignoring the interruption): Centuries ago, so it is said, his home was finally overrun by the orcs. Durgeddin led the remnants of his clan to the northern Ironroot Mountains, and it is said that they established a small, secret stronghold somewhere in the trackless wilderness. From this hidden redoubt, he waged a decades-long vendetta against all orc-kind, until his enemies discovered his fortress and attacked it after a long siege. Durgeddin and his followers perished, and much wealth was carried away by the conquering hordes. According to the legends, the deepest and best-hidden vaults and armories escaped the looting, and that some of Durgeddin’s extraordinary blades still wait in the darkness for a hand bold enough to claim them.
Garl Auraspeaker (gives a toothy grin): I don’t know, I’d be fine with a legendary blade
Galrus Ironfist (ignoring Garl): Of course, that’s the legend… but not the truth.
Quinton Greymane: Well, what you reckon actually happened then?
Galrus Ironfist (smiles mirthlessly): Well, as they say, the victorious write the history books. My research has turned up some interesting bits that would seem to indicate that while Durgeddin did war with the orcs, they were not his ultimate undoing. As it would turn out, his end came at the end of a sword wielded by humans, when they first came to Khorvaire in search of lands to conquer. They laid siege to Khundrukar, rolling over the land like a swarm of locusts, leaving nothing in their wake. Then the bastards just kept on pushing west, not even bothering to hold onto the land they killed so many to take. It is no wonder ye’ve not heard of Durgeddin, or, I am sure, of your people’s war against mine.
Garl Auraspeaker: So how does that lead to us finding them? If they got killed. they probably just looted the place too?
Galrus Ironfist: Well, that part of the legend is likely true. They did loot the stronghold. I mean, who wouldn’t? Durgeddin’s work was the stuff of myth and legend.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’m sure. Taking what they want with no regard for others is what they do best… (realizes what she says and looks at Quinton) Umm, not all of them of course… (quietly mumbles) Sorry.
Galrus Ironfist (nods at Gishkaa in acknowledgment): But Durgeddin was no fool. He knew if the orcs did not get them, then someone else would, and it would turn out he was right. So the clan dug deep into that mountain, so deep, it’s said, that they nearly reached the depths of Kyber. Down there in the deep, it is said that his greatest treasures remain unclaimed.
Civic: Something about this story smells wrong to me. But I can’t quite tell what.
Galrus Ironfist (grumpily): Which part? Your history… or mine?
Quinton Greymane: Hey, there are some bad people around. Folks just don’t know how to think about others. Doing the right thing is tough.
Galrus Ironfist (sighs as he nods in agreement): Aye, ye’re not wrong, laddie. But as they say, “Everyone’s the hero in their own story.” I am sure the orcs have their own stories regarding the brutality of Durgeddin’s vendetta, same as we dwarves have our own about the kingdoms of men. That is the way of the world.
Civic: It’s hard to believe they’d be able to successfully hide away weapons of great power from the war hungry humans of the past.
Garl Auraspeaker (hopeful): So can I still get a legendary blade?
Quinton Greymane (looks over to Garl): Do you even know how to wield a sword?
Garl Auraspeaker (waves his hand is dismissal): Details, my good man, details!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Given enough time I think Garl can do it… <mutters> If dragonborn are immortal anyway
Garl Auraspeaker (obliviously): Damn straight I can!
As they banter, Galrus looks back at the parchment, carefully running a finger across it’s surface.
Galrus Ironfist: Huh? What’s this??
Civic: What did you find?!
Quinton Greymane: I don’t know, but it looks important.
Galrus wets the tip of his finger, then rubs at a spot near the top right edge where most of the water damage was previously noticed. He pulls a magnifying glass from the shelf behind him and peers through the glass, his nose a fraction of an inch from the page. With a shout of excitement, he jumps from his stool and limps quickly to a nearby table stacked high with what looks to be maps of the area. Grabbing one from the middle of the stack, he returns to the counter and spreads the map out.
Galrus Ironfist: I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before! (looks up from the map, a wide grin across his face)
Civic: What, man?! What?! (moves over excitedly to try to get a look at what Galrus found)
Galrus Ironfist holds out the parchment, pointing at the area in the corner where he’s removed some of the water damage and grime. Very faintly along the edge, tiny runes can be seen, almost completed obscured by the damage.
Galrus Ironfist: This… this is what takes us to Khundrukar! These runes spell out the word “tooth.” I almost didn’t see it, but some of this muck flaked away when I touched it.
Civic: Tooth…hmm that’s a pretty common word used to describe or name various mountains. Is this a reference to a particular feature in the Ironroot Mountains?
Galrus Ironfist (nods): It seemed like a strange word to include in this missive about Khundrukar. But then I remembered, there is a mountain high in the Ironroots that has been called the Stone Tooth for millennia. (points at the map he’d brought over) The Stone Tooth is 100 miles, give or take, from Krona Peak. I can’t believe Khundrukar hasn’t been found already.
Garl Auraspeaker: Ah ha! So the legendary blades are there??
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Looks like we know where we’re going next!
Quinton Greymane (thoughtfully): Hmm, I wonder if it might not be so easy.
Galrus Ironfist: You might not be wrong about that, laddie. Durgeddin and his clan may have warred with the orcs, but he never defeated them, not completely. The orc tribes have grown in numbers over the centuries, and while they seem to steer clear of Krona Peak for the most part, the dwarves have no desire to poke that particular hornet’s nest, either. For all we know, the orcs could very well have invaded the Stone Peak.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, that might complicate things a little.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, but that’s good right? That means that Kundrakar might still be in good shape.
Civic: The lower levels likely are. Whether at the hands of orcs or humans, I’m sure the siege that ended them left the area on top in ruins.
Galrus Ironfist: You’re not wrong. And as the orcs are a wild people, preferring to range the wilderness rather than hold up in the deeps of caves, if they have in fact entered Khundrukar, they likely have not gone too deep. Those vaults are still there, I am sure of it!
Quinton Greymane: So it sounds like we have our new mission.
Galrus Ironfist: I’d say you do, laddie!
Quinton Greymane: What’s the best way to get to Krona Peak?
Galrus Ironfist: Quickest would be the rail. Trip to the Peak is maybe a bit over 5 hours. Takes longer by foot or horseback, of course. All depends how anxious ye are to get there. (chuckles) Very anxious, would be my bet.
Civic: What’s the closest city to the peak that the rails stop at? (peaks over Galrus’ shoulder at the map)
Quinton Greymane: Indeed, that’d probably be our base of operations for the trip out there. Though we’ll probably have to stock up on supplies before we head out.
Galrus Ironfist: You’re out in the wilds, laddie. Ain’t nothin’ between Irontown and Krona Peak but wilderness. (to Quinton) You could stock up here, but might be smarter to stock up in Krona Peak. It’s a damned big city, after all.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm a good point.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, but since we’re helping you maybe we could get a discount??? (gives Galrus a smile and an expectant look)
Galrus Ironfist (bursts out laughing): If’n ye can find something that ya think’ll help ya, sure I’ll give ya a discount. Considering I sell mostly mining equipment and obviously maps of the area… (points at the map on the counter) …I dunno what I have that ya think’ll help ya. But have a look around.
Garl Auraspeaker: Rations, rope, armor if you got it.
Quinton Greymane: Oil flasks would be good
Galrus Ironfist: Armor, that’s a negative for sure. Think I have some rope on the back wall there… (points at the rear wall) Rations… got some down that aisle over there. (points down the nearest row of shelves)
Quinton Greymane: Spare flint and steel, now that I think about it.
Galrus Ironfist: Only one I got is the one I light me pipe with, laddie, so you can forget about that right now.
Quinton Greymane: You know a pipe sounds mighty nice too now that you mention it. (smiles at Galrus)
Galrus Ironfist: It does, don’t it?
They find three coils of rope on the wall Galrus indicated, and on a low shelf, six dusty wrapped packages of trail rations. Galrus offers to sell the ropes for 7 silver pieces each, and the rations for 3 silver each. The party opts to take all the rations and two of the rope coils, paying Galrus a total of 3 gold and 4 silver.
Garl Auraspeaker: Though we do need new armor. Anyone in town got any?
Galrus Ironfist: Well, there’s not an armorer, per se, but Miral at the Unbreakable Anvil makes most of the gear used by the Watch. Might want to go there.
Garl Auraspeaker: Sounds good, we’ll stop by there.
Galrus Ironfist: I wish I could come with yas. I used to be an adventurer myself you know. But then I took an arrow in the knee…
Quinton Greymane: Anything else we should know about Kundrakar before we head out?
Galrus Ironfist: Aside from what I already told ye?
Quinton Greymane: Yes, anything that you might know but haven’t mentioned yet. Maybe it’s just a small detail, but from experience a small detail can save a life.
Galrus Ironfist (shrugs): You gotta understand, just this morning I was going through life believing it was only myth and legend. I never once actually thought it might actually be real, no matter how much I spent my youth searching for the damned place.
With their path ahead now set, they say goodbye to Galrus, and head off in search of the Unbreakable Anvil. They are given directions to a stone and wood building with wide open windows and a great plume of smoke billowing from its chimneys. They enter to find a hulking female half-orc busily swinging a hammer against a red hot piece of metal. On their arrival, she plunges the metal into a pail of water, steam rising into the air with a loud hissing noise.
They ask for Miral, and the half-orc smiles widely around her tusks, introducing herself as Miral. The adventurers request new armor, which she fortunately seems to have in stock. Miral makes quick work adjusting her smallest chain shirt to make it even smaller to fit Fenora, but a short while later, they all walk out with new gear, ready to head off on their adventure.
At the lightning rail station, they ask when the next train to Krona Peak would be leaving, and are told that one would be leaving at eight o’clock the following morning. They each pay the 28 gold pieces for their fares now and take the tickets, then head back to the Griffon’s Nest. They spend the rest of the day relaxing, enjoying the company of Sarel and chatting with her other patrons, before heading up to bed around 10 PM, knowing they need to be up early to catch the lightning rail. The night passes quickly, and they wake up shortly after dawn, leaving enough time to have a final breakfast before they leave Irontown.
Heading head over to the lightning rail station, they board and find their seats in the second to last car of the train. At 8 AM sharp, the train pulls out from the station, the cars gliding smoothly above the magical stones lining the track heading toward Krona Peak. The journey is long and fairly boring as, true to Galrus’ word, the landscape is wilderness broken only by the occasional hillock or boulder. The Ironroot Mountains loom larger as the lightning rail begins to rise in an incline the closer the train get to the foothills of the mountains. The ascent seems to take forever before the dwarven architecture of Krona Peak, the capital city of the Mror Holds, comes into view. A short while later, the train pulls into the station, and the adventurers disembark.