It has been fifteen days since Torch went out. The violet flame that was the lifesblood of Torch’s economy has gone cold and the residents of the town are starting to fear that it will never relight. Five expeditions have been sent into the caverns under the hill that Torch is built on, and all five are now missing. Khonnir Baine, beloved town leader, is among them.
A new group came together to make a sixth forray into the lightless caverns. After clashing with some of the denizens of the caves they made a deal with Sef, the leader of a group of Skulks. In exchange for peace and the group’s help in clearing the gremlin mennace from the caves, Sef would offer safe passage through their territory and information on who else had been through. She told of the first group to arrive, made up of orcs and ratfolk and led by a striking woman with purple hair. It was they who had first paid the Skulks to protect the caves from further investigation and had not been seen since. It was three days after their arrival that the forge went out.
As per the agreement the group scoured the caves of the gremlins and killed their king, leaving his head pinned to the wall as a warning to the remaining pests that they were no longer to be tolerated. With that they returned to town to rest and restock. They were welcomed back with excitement and curiosity, being only the second team to return from a trip into the caverns. As they were resting two locals came to call on them. Garmen Ulreth, a local entrepreneur, invited them to spend the evening at his establishment, Silverdisk Hall, for a night of drinks, entertainment, and most importantly gambling. It proved an enjoyable way to relax from the tension of exploring the caves, though the presense of the Ropefists, a local mercenary gang, seemed curious to some. The second call came in the morning, a local merchant named Sanvil Trett, who graciously offered his aid to the group in identifying and possibly purchasing any items of particular interest that they found in their excursions.
Their second trip under the town proved to be more puzzling. They found one of the bodies of the previous team, Gerrol, a man they recognized as engaged to the daughter of the town smith. Strange mold had invaded his body, killing him slowly. They also came across a survivor of the very first expedition, the halfling Nessa. Having barely survived on her own in the dark of the caves Nessa had been through much and the scars, both physical and emotional, were still raw. The promise of safetey and escape (and food) was enough for her to join her musket to the group.
Delving further into the caves the adventurers passed through a doorway in an incongruously smooth wall of metal. The dirt underfoot made way for more of the grey metal, the walls and doors clearly manufactured but also incalculably old. Passing through this metal corridor the terrain changed again, even more perplexing than the last. Buried here under the town they found a vast desert of sand-blown dunes, all under a grey metal dome. In the distance horrifying skeletal figures staggered towards, their four arms grasping and clawing the air.
The group battled their way across the underground desert through the groups of skeletons. Along the far cliff wall they came across a cave covered in crude paintings, the largest of which depicted many four-armed humanoids bowing in worship of an oblong burning shape in the sky. They also came across an illusory wall leading out of the desert and into more of the strange metal corridors, though here the devices and panels seemed to be alive with blinking lights and shooting sparks. It was here that they found Hetuath, leader of those who had lived in the desert and likewise damned to eternal life. In his despair and anger he lashed out at the intruders but was eventually put down. Kit’s focus was entirely on the control console behind Hetuath, and after some reworking of circuits and wires restored power and initiated a reboot of the system. With a sigh of fresh air moving for the first time in millenia the habitat systems came back online and artificial daylight flooded the underground desert and brought a final peace to the restless dead.