Back in their quarters in the Dwarf city of Kazakh, the party decided to have Zhuld Zir cast speak with dead on the dead dwarf they brought back from the Ice Wizard’s palace. First they asked if the dwarf had any useful information on their foe — the response was almost rabid rambling about killing and destroying him. Next they asked what the torturer had asked him. He responded that they wanted to know when the next attack by the dwarves on the Ice Wizard would occur, and with how large a force. The last question was whether or not the Ice Wizard would go on the offensive soon, but the dead Dwarf stated that he did not know. The party then gave some money and gems to their staff to remove the body and give it proper burial; they did so very reluctantly.
The party then sent their runner to fetch Nali for discussions. While they waited, Cadwalider cast polymorph other on ZZ to make him a dwarf once again (temporarily, perhaps, and it did not get rid of the jester outfit. Nali arrived rather quicker than expected and was clearly glad to see them. They gave him a detailed account of their doings since last they met and he expressed condolences on party’s losses. He, in turn, admitted concerns with the whole business, though he had only vague notions of who this Ice Wizard was. Rather, all the varying threats popping up around the Dwarf Kingdom were weighing on him. He told them that the murder of their former employer, Orrin, remained unsolved and with no clues to go on whatsoever. He had, while they were gone, visited the dungeon they’d cleared. Though he said he only explored a portion of it, he found extremely evil and disturbing. Given its proximity to the city, the dwarven leaders had discussed destroying it, but the dwarf priests objected as they thought that it would bring down the wrath of Abbathor, AKA the Earth Dragon, on their heads and they had enough to worry about as it was. Nali had therefore placed a small garrison to keep people out (or in). The Dwarven lords were much troubled.
Nali now asked to see the live Dwarf they’d recovered. He was named Zygorl, and his head had cleared a good deal since Cadwalider lifted the enchantment on him. He clearly had no love for Nali, and the reverse was also true, but he still reluctantly answered his questions, but addressed himself to the party. A dark and hooded stranger had come among them, he said. The stranger had spoken to his clan leaders and somehow convinced them to assault the Ice Wizard; indeed, soon the entire clan was infected with a hatred for the Ice Wizard without apparent root (he told them that previously, while they feared the Ice Wizard, he and the Dwarves had let one another alone). Soon, the clan had mustered and, along with some allied clans, marched on the Ice Wizard’s palace. They were caught in the valley of fog and massacred in the open, with only two prisoners (himself, Zygorl, and the now deceased Zurgrim) taken. Both were questioned at length, the focus being on why they attacked the Ice Wizard, and when another attack might be expected. Cadwalider remarked that it sounded as if they were under an enchantment; someone was stirring up trouble, though for whom and why was unclear. Zygorl agreed strongly, saying that it was a madness brought by the hooded figure, who he referred to as an “elf,” even though he did admit to having never seen the person. The stature was right, he insisted (but also admitted it could be human), but Nali interjected, pointing out that the Petty Dwarves blamed elves for anything and everything; they were the race’s boogeyman. In response to Thresh’s question, Zygorl said that the hooded one was not at the battle and did not accompany them; he had no idea where he disappeared to.
The most interesting thing Zygorl overheard was that the Ice Wizard was “raising the Fimbulwinter” as a response to the Dwarf attack. The party assumed that this referred to the lights in the sky, and a check of the timing of all these events seemed to match up. Nali promised to inquire among his scholars as to what that might mean, and to learn more of this Ice Wizard. (He later reported by message that the Ice Wizard had been known entity for many centuries; while he had no love for Dwarves, it was said, he was neither hostile to them. The Fimbulwinter was believed to refer to a powerful magic whereby the Ice Wizard could cause a mini, localized ice age or permanent winter in an area. The Dwarves were less concerned than might be, as they figured they were safe from it underground.) Nali departed soon after. (I’m sure that other things were brought up, but I did not record them).
The returnees decided to go for a drink at the local tavern around the corner. They took Zygorl with them; he was agog at the vastness of the city and was uncomfortable the entire time. They did hear some talk about rising prices, poor trade, the Giant King’s threats to conquer Manston, and other news, but otherwise it was a pleasant evening in a welcoming environment.
The party also gave some money to Zygorl, but told him he would need to stay with them for a time, as traveling along back to him halls would be too dangerous. He seemed genuinely grateful to the party for his rescue, saying that he was undeserving of so much generosity. When Thresh mentioned that his information was of great value, he responded with some emotion that “words are a small recompense for deeds.” Somewhat morose, he mentioned that, given the decimation of his clan, he was probably the new clan leader, or would be when he returned home. He swore a blood-oath to slay the “elf” that had led his clan to their destruction, and offered permanent hospitality and friendship to the party in partial payment of his debt to them. His home was the Halls of Kadrûn and were located about 8 miles east of the Ice Wizard’s palace.
Given the growing population in their quarters, there was some talk of expanding them. The party had the money and dwarven labor was plentiful in the city.
The party members then went heir own ways to conduct a variety of business of their own…
– Experience: none