As the party finishes off the last of the defenders, a slow clap begins to echo through the hall. A dwarf emerges from behind one of the statues, who introduces himself as Rindol Runehand. The archeologist was searching for a way past the defenders when the party appeared and trashed the constructs. He congratulates them on their well fought battle and offers them his services in exchange for escort into the dwarven city. His says he can aid them with his magic and knowledge and as a sign of good faith summons forth a magical secure dwelling where the party can rest. The party obliges, all but for Hunter X who fears for their safety. Rightly so, as a few hours into the night he spots the idle shell of the Grand Defender shudder to life and start ingesting the warhammers scattered on the ground, repairing his damaged armor. Hunter X wakes Yorick and their crew and they quickly dispatch the ruined guardian, pushing it into the magma to prevent it from repairing again.
After they rest, the party opens the door and passes through the antimagic field on the threshold, entering the citadel proper. The walls of the massive cavern are covered with buildings carved out of the rock, and an orange glow from a huge volcano at the bottom of the chamber dimly lights the room. On the landing the party spots a monolith that's been engraved with a map in dwarven script that describes the general layout of the city. More worringly, though, is the draconic word scratched into the upper levels of the map that pulse with a red light: Calastryx.
Their first destination is the trading post, where they find abandoned wagons, busted crates and looted barrels. Amongst the wreckage are 6 undisturbed barrels of fine aged dwarven ale, magically preserved. The party samples from one cask and sends the rest back to the ship. Additionally, in a hidden, locked and trapped safe they find a significant cache of coins and precious metal bars.
Moving on to the city proper, it's not long into their exploration that the parties gaze is drawn by a massive gout of flame coming from the main entrance. They look up to see a huge red dragon, wearing ornate metal barding and a golden collar, who cries bloody murder at the unwelcome vermin that have invaded her lair. Grasped in her mighty claws are the unconcious bodies of Gulug and Hector, and the dragon buzzes the city breathing flame onto the balconies and windows while she taunts the party to come after her to rescue their friends. The party wisely remains hidden and the creature dissapears into an opening near the top of the cavern.
Deciding to work their way towards the upper levels and the dragon's lair, the party continues their exploration of the city, eventually finding a tavern where they hear two voices arguing. Hunter X sneaks to the window and peeks in, seeing three kobolds waiting impatiently at the bar, an unconcious azer sprawled on the floor bleeding from his severed arm, while a two headed ogre argues with itself over the azer's fate. One head wishes to feast on the azer, but the other wants to take it back to "the boss", who the party assumes is Calastryx. The party lets Capo field this one, who unleashes his repertoire of mind-bending magicks to enthrall the kobolds and charm the ettin. However, Capo's singing draws the attention of a gang of kobolds and another ettin who filter out of the other buildings on the street. They prove no match for Hunter X and Yorick, who force the kobolds to flee and fell the ettin in a hail of blows.
They revive the azer, but lack the magic to reattach his arm. They quiz him, and he introduces himself as Gavin. Gavin explains that Calastryx has been attempting to complete a powerful ritual that would draw power from the elemental plane of fire to power the citadel. However, the undiscretionary ritual drains the life force of fire plane natives, and Gavin and the other azer have come to try to stop her. The battle has ground to a stand still, though the azer have prevented Calastryx from completing the ritual many times, they're no closer to removing her. Zook, Capo and their crew decide to return with Gavin to his camp to develop a strategy. Meanwhile, Yorick and Hunter X decide to have the thoroughly charmed ettin, Gork and Bork, lead them through the city towards Calastryx's lair.
Gork, Bork, Hunter X and Yorick find a dwarven temple of Moradin, and decide to step in and take a look. Within, a purple, armor clad dragonborn sits with her feet up on the altar, mocking the book of dwarven prayers she's found. They try to sneak up on her, but are spotted. They share words and she introduces herself as Sizzix, the exarch of Calastryx. Battle ensues, and Sizzix uses her illusion and arcane magic to avoid attacks while firing elementally charged arrows. Gork and Bork, torn between his respect for his superior Sizzix and the magic compulsion to protect the party, does his best to interfere and stop the battle. He manages to interpose his bulk inbetween the combatants and Sizzix uses the chance to teleport away, but not before declaring the parties doom. On the altar, they find an amulet inscribed with symbols representing the dwarven pantheon that even the arcane illiterate Hunter X and Yorick can tell contains a powerful magic.
Tired of Gork and Bork's shit, Hunter X and Yorick slay the dominated creature, leaving them alone and guideless in the abandoned city, while Sizzix no doubt returns to her master to share her intel.
Next Session: Calastryx