(In which Merri and Quintin wander off alone to get some leveling done)
After spending the rest of the evening drinking away the grief over Darius’ death and finally going to bed, Merri is awake early to prepare for the coming trip with Ghulkari. After she finishes her morning prayers, she heads down to breakfast to find Quintin already at the breakfast table with Mrs Higgins bustling about making an early breakfast. Since Merri has quite the hangover, she is not in the best of moods as she explains what happened with the Dwarves in Toregarde and about Darius prior to the Elf’s arrival.
It is still before dawn when a missive arrives for Merri bearing the seal of the Temple of Moradin, requesting her assistance with finding and bringing home some Dwarves that had gone missing from the temple overnight. Not wishing to wake the others, Merri enlists Quintin’s aid as it is unlikely from the tone of the missive to be anything too demanding.
Once the duo arrive at the Temple, Starhammer informs them both that a bunch of Goblins had snuck into the Temple from the Underpass and kidnapped what was left of the Temple’s staff. Grumbling about the sodding gobbers, Merri agrees to go and take care of the matter, believing it to be a simple enough task for a Cleric and Ranger to handle on their own within the space of a couple of hours at most.
The first obstacle the pair face is a partially filled in entrance, filled with rubble, but with a space small enough for Goblins to pass through. After a couple of failed attempts to climb over the rocks, Meredith gives in and softens the stone to clay which allows both adventurers to easily get into the corridor beyond. They did not suspect, however, one of the little gits to evade their sight, and one of the Goblins manages to stick the point of a rapier into Meredith’s side. A volley of arrows then flies over in Quintin’s direction and the Elf drops to the floor. Swearing profusely, Merri calls down a Flamestrike and takes out two of the goblins, causing the others to leg it out of there, two heading to the left while one, carrying a sack which contains one of the missing dwarves, turns and flees to the right.
After healing Quintin up and the ranger picking up a new Shortbow and a couple of Masterwork Dwarven made rapiers, the two agree to chase after the single Goblin with the Dwarf-in-a-sack and follow him into the next corridor. Unfortunately, a large group of Orcs gets the drop on them and both fall unconscious after a quick but fierce battle and are unceremoniously tied up and dragged away deeper into the catacombs.
Not too long later (probably only five or ten minutes) both wake up in the presence of some of the Goblins from earlier as well as the surviving Orcs they faced and another larger Boss Orc. Luckily, it seems the Goblins don’t know how to tie a proper knot, and after the Boss gloats a bit, both Meredith and Quintin easily break free and run for their kit, which has been dumped to either side of a flight of stairs. Another short and brutal battle follows, leaving just one lone Orc alone in the room with two very angry adventurers. The orc, sensibly, legs it into another room. After checking that everything is accounted for, Meredith and Quintin take a look into the next room, only to find more Orcs. Meredith grumbles and probably curses a bit before an idea pops into her head. With a quick prayer and a gesture, Meredith places a Spike Stone trap in the room and proceeds to antagonize the Orcs. The plan works perfectly because as soon as the first Orc makes a move towards the pair standing in the doorway he is skewered and dies instantly. The other Orcs, clearly missing the point entirely, try to run out of the room, but all of them are skewered and die the second they move. Meredith dismisses the trap and is about to try and find out where the kidnapped Dwarves are being kept when much bigger shouts emanate from the other direction. Both Quintin and Meredith turn around and find an Ogre squeezing his way through another door, with more of the brutes shouting at him to make some room for them. Knowing that time is getting to be a bit short, Meredith silently curses some more, but casts Bull’s Strength on herself and Quintin just in case before charging into the first Ogre before he can get into the room entirely. Using the doorway of the room as a useful choke point, it doesn’t take long before all four Ogres are easily dispatched. As soon as the last one is dead, the ears of both Dwarf and Elf prick up as muffled screams emanate from another room at the end of this corridor, followed by a much, much bigger voice telling them to shut it before a horrible crunching sound announces that at least one of the Dwarves has been eaten. Although Meredith can tell she and Quintin are going to be cutting this very, very close, the Cleric cannot in good conscious leave her “Brothers” to be eaten by what sounds like a very nasty giant.
“Oi, big fella, get yer arse oot here! Ye missed one!”
The giant decides he doesn’t like the idea of leaving his breakfast behind to come after one lone Dwarf and picks up a couple of large, heavy stones that look like they’re from the tops of Dwarven Crypts. Before he gets a chance to throw them, Meredith (enraged by this continued sacrilege of a Dwarven tomb) calls down Holy Fire with another Flamestrike, severely hurting the giant. The giant doesn’t like this very much and proceeds to throw both slabs of rock at the Dwarf, who handily dodges both projectiles. While Quintin tries and fails to pincushion the beast, Meredith charges forward and proceeds to break at least three toes and one of the giant’s kneecaps before managing to finish him off by herself, but not before suffering a mild concussion thanks to a whack on the head with the giant’s club. Once the battle is over, Quintin frees the other Dwarves, while Merri bemoans the state of the place, given the giant hole in the side of the room. After asking the freed Dwarves, who recognize Meredith’s station due to her vestments, to go and collect whatever the Goblins stole from the place and anything else that could potentially be of use, she notices a movement in the cavern beyond the hole. Quintin also notices this and also comes over to take a look. Both Cleric and Ranger see enough of the moving creature outside to know that it means big trouble and proceed to ask the Dwarves who came back to help them, to use whatever rubble is lying around to at least cover the hole back up before the dragon outside notices it’s there.
Everyone troops back up to the Temple of Moradin where Quintin and Meredith sort through what was found on the Goblins and Orcs and fill Starhammer in on what happened. When they tell him about the dragon that appears to have made its home in the caverns beneath the catacombs, the high priest goes very white and downs a pint of ale before giving Meredith a double take. He says that something seems different about the younger Dwarf, but can’t seem to place it. Before he can inquire further, Meredith mentions the fact that she, Quintin and the others are supposed to be leaving for the Temple of Heroes that same morning and the two of them need a good bath to get rid of all the Orc, Goblin, Ogre (and in Merri’s case) Giant blood covering them. Before they leave, Quintin buys a quick enchantment for his new shortbow using some of the gold they found and the two of them traipse wearily back to Acacia Avenue, not looking forward to the bollocking they’re sure to get from Elowyn once they get one toe in the door.