Ambush is the first episode of the one-shot Into the Bowels of Vallenguard. It aired on July 3rd, 2019.

Vallenguard, a dwarven stronghold considered myth and legend, was recently discovered deep in the Wyrmwood. A motley group of Dwarves join a caravan travelling to join their kinsmen in rebuilding their ancestral home.  Along the way things don’t go exactly as planned.


Come forth ye valiant brothers and sisters!

Make way to the gates of this hallowed and ancient hold!

Here on these sacred stones we lay foundation for the rebirth of our ancestor’s greatest fastness!

Come forth into The Light! Glory awaits thee in Vallenguard!

Over the past year, stories have emerged that the ancient dwarven stronghold of Vallenguard was discovered, north of Greyvall, in the Wyrmwood. A dwarf named Rugar Steelhaven, priest of Galdimmer, and his followers have driven out an army of devils who were residing in the ruins and cleansed Vallenguard of evil. Soon after, a call went out from Lord Rugar himself. The story has captured the imaginations of dwarves, young and old. The dwarf population of Sanctuary seems to have developed a collective spring in their step and many have answered Lord Rugar’s call. Their reasons for doing so are myriad. Some seek forgotten riches. Some seek redemption. Some wish to disappear, while others chase glory. Some simply seek employment while others feel honor bound to protect this sacred place.

Character intros:

(Tom) Dagmar Briarthorn, hill dwarf druid of the Greyvall, which is a smokey, foggy, dismal place in the forest. Dagmar used to be a logger. On a fateful excursion into the woods, his entire crew went into the Wyrmwood. Only five returned and Dagmar hasn’t been the same since. Dagmar turned to the life of a hermit and became attuned with nature.

(Justin) Helldust Bonebraid: She is strong as hell. She’s an outlander who didn’t come to play. She came to slay...dragons. She is a mountain dwarf Path of the Totem barbarian.

(Matt) Morag: Morag the Witch, a dwarf wizard, was outcast from her people, who feared her. She’s come to Vallengard in search of more knowledge, because knowledge is power and she’s had a taste.

(O’D) Yeastnor Broomaster: a dwarf college of lore bard who plays bagpipes. He formerly lived in Blisters and went tavern to tavern, drinking, playing his bagpipes, and drifting around selling his home made brews.

(Lars) Ragne Stoneheart: A dwarf Oath of Vengeance paladin, who is headed to Vallengard to report to a representative of his order.

They start in a small logging village called Blisters, Yeastnor’s home town. It’s a small frontier town built around logging. Their caravan to Vallengard is made up of many other pilgrims. Most of their fellow travelers are dwarves, though there are also some men -- and a few halflings. Halfling presence is unusual, as they normally stick to themselves. They’re riding black dogs. There are also three members of The Silent, the body collectors, mute monks who perform last rites on the dead -- they’re children of the god of death.

They have three guides for their journey. One is a surly dwarf known as Sarge. He’s the most vigilant, though some might call him paranoid, save for the fact that they’re traveling into the most dangerous part of Sanctuary. The second guide is a mountain dwarf, Heldruk, who spends most of his day on a wagon, whistling a melancholy tune. The last guide, the muscle of the group, will take some getting used to. He’s a huge, ancient hill giant. He’s missing his left foot and rides in the back of the lead wagon. He has a big burlap sack of rotting onions. The only word he seems to know is Yonyon, and that’s what they call him.

On day one, they cross the Oakwater Creek and pass into the woods north of the village. The trail is all uphill as they slowly ascend in the highlands. They pass some logging camps on the way. A few loggers wave, but others -- mostly human -- scowl as they pass. It seems not everyone shares their enthusiasm for Lord Rugar’s call. Ventures such as this often unearth ghoulers and create danger for all.

The forest as they travel is fairly normal. As they continue on their ox drawn carts, the caravan sets up a camp on the second day on the edge of the Wyrmwood. Sane and sensible folk do not normally go into this place. Sarge directs the wagons into a circle and the travelers camp inside the circle. Sarge stumps over to their campfire. He says, “You look like a tough bunch. Do you think you could do me a favor? There are always some flaky people in a caravan like this. Would you be willing to bring up the rear? I’d like to arrive with more than half my caravan remaining? You don’t have to worry; I won’t leave you, but I need someone to bring up the rear.”

The party agrees that they will. He wanders between campfires and offers some words of encouragement to other travelers before everyone settles in for the night. He tells a story about one fool human he know that ate a warg dick to try to impress Yonyon, but all he managed to accomplish was to give himself a strange disease.

Morag goes to meet the halflings and comments on their dogs, then offers the dogs some food. The dogs seem well disposed to Morag, wagging their tails. Morag asks the halflings, “What brings you down here?” They say they’ve heard that Vallengard needs skilled people and they’re going to seek employment as bakers. The point out their equipment in their wagon and Morag roots through it. She doesn’t seem to believe their story, because the dogs seem somewhat overpowered for bakers. Morag is looking for anything in their packs that would give the lie to their story, but doesn’t find anything obvious.After harassing them a bit more, Morag finally lets them go to bed, then wanders around the outside of the camp to see if there are any travelers out of place.

Ragne finds Sarge and asks if they have been attacked by minions of One-Eye. He says they have been. Dagmar tells Sarge that they’ll take care of stragglers, because monsters eating stragglers means the monsters are that much closer to everyone else. Sarge approves of the sentiment.

From a nearby campfire, Dagmar overhears some humans speaking. An older one is speaking to a younger, maybe his son, “You’ll do it and you won’t argue.” The younger one doesn’t want to do whatever it is, saying they need to stay together. The argument goes on for a while as Dagmar listens. The younger one says, “I can’t go by myself.” The older says, “Yes, you can and you will.” Dagmar jumps down from his seat and trundles over to the conversation. He says, “Unwise to go anywhere alone in the Wyrmwood.” The older human says, “I don’t believe this is any of your business.” Dagmar disagrees, explaining how dangerous the Wyrmwood is. The human says, “There’s nothing to worry about. He’s not going alone.” After some more argument back and forth, one of the cloaked humans stands up and removes her cowl. She’s an ugly old woman who says, “Best move along, friend.” Dagmar says, “What do you even want with this young one that you can’t do yourself?” The man puts his hand on the youngster’s chest and says, “This is my son, friend, and I can tell him to do whatever I want. Move along.” Dagmar asks the teen, “What do they want of you, boy?” The teen looks between his father and the old woman and stays silent. Dagmar tries to intimidate him with a story of the dangers of the Wyrmwood. The boy says his father just wants to make sure they get to Vallengard and his father says, “Satisfied?” Dagmar says he is, but he wants them to keep it down as they’re trying to sleep.

The woman, who appears to be the leader, pushes the man down. “We’ll be fine.” Dagmar asks who she is. She says, “You’re a nosy bastard, aren’t you?” Yeastnor tries to settle Dagmar down and invites him back to their own fire for a drink. Yeastnor tries to interest Morag in a drink, but she says she knows how he got his name and won’t accept anything but tea. Yeastnor invites Ragne to join them, but he walks away to report the altercation to Sarge. Sarge says, “Keep an eye on them; they look like trouble.” Ragne says they’ll stop the teen if he tries to leave. Dagmar finds himself a spot on the top of Yeastnor’s brewing cart and settles in to sleep. Yeastnor starts telling what he’s heard about Vallengard and how it was found. He heard there was an ancient keep on the top of an impenetrable keep and the only way to assail the keep was a green dragon named Abrakis (sp). It burnt to the ground and nothing is left. That’s where they’re going. The people at the next campfire seem frightened by Yeastnor’s story, unsettled by the thought that there might be a dragon there. Yeastnor decides to play them a lullaby on his bagpipes and, strangely enough, it seems to settle the neighbors down and help them sleep.

The party sets up a watch for the overnight and sleep. They wake the next morning and break camp as Sarge directs traffic and the party brings up the rear. The teen is still with the rest of the humans. They pass into the perpetual gloom of the Wyrmwood. As soon as they pass the borders, the landscape changes. What was once normal forest is now gigantic trees with twisty roots. The trail becomes a rough and twisty trail passing through the roots of the heartwood trees. They realize if they didn’t have a guide, it would be nearly impossible to find their own way. Every once in a while, as they travel, they pass a corpse of a fallen traveler. The Silent stop their cart, go over and scoop up the remains, no matter what state they’re in.

As they travel, the Wyrmwood maintains a brooding silence. The only sounds are the creaking of wood. It’s as if the entire forest is glaring at them or waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Tension begins to build among the travelers and the creaking of wagons is disturbingly loud. Morag starts showing signs of restlessness and Yeastnor decides to play a restful tune. Immediately, the other travelers draw their weapons, frightened of the noise… but then they realize that it wasn’t a threat and they put their weapons away, but remain on edge.

Ragne uses his divine sense to see if there are any threats around, but other than the uncanny forest, there’s nothing. Yeastnor, Dagmar, and Morag realize they’re not seeing any animals or birds. It’s almost as if the forest is devoid of life. Yeastnor and Dagmar hear the sounds of a far-off beast, but they can’t tell from the sound what it might be -- other than bad. Yeastnor is convinced that it’s a purple worm.

Yeastnor and Dagmar go up to the front of the caravan to alert Sarge to the noise. He says he did. Yeastnor says, “What the hell was it? It sounded like a purple worm.” Dagmar says, “I thought it was a manticore eating a purple worm.” Heldruk says, “It might have been Abraxis for all we know,” but Sarge poopoos that idea. Dagmar and Yeastnor go back to the end with the rest of the party.

Surprisingly, the day passes uneventfully, though everyone remains on edge. They do notice that the last four wagons kind of trail being. Part of it is because The Silent stop their wagon every time they see a corpse, they stop to pick it up, which is slowing the tail of the train down. Dagmar tries to get the other three carts to go around The Silent, but they point out that the trail is too narrow and they can’t. One of the dwarves in the cart ahead says, “We’re falling behind!” Morag suggests to Dagmar and Helldust that they run ahead and prepare the bodies of the fallen for faster pickup. The party also make plans to make sure everyone else goes ahead of The Silent the next day. Dagmar and Helldust range about 100 yards ahead of The Silent to try to speed their procedure and Yeastnor casts a strength spell on Dagmar to help. The Silent are doing a ritual it the party aren’t sure it will make much difference. The Silent are intent on their mission and don’t seem to be paying any attention to mortal concerns.

Dagmar casts pass without trace to help speed their passing and help them be less obtrusive. They eventually come upon a corpse that has been there for a while and been subject to animal predation. Dagmar uses his druidcraft to try to relieve the smell and manages to encourage some flowers to bloom, but it doesn’t do much for the smell. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to bother either one of them much. They carry the body to The Silent, who accept it from them but otherwise don’t really acknowledge their assistance.

They look up and realize that because of The Silent, the last four carts have fallen far enough behind that they can’t even hear the rest of the caravan. It’s growing dark, and as it does the first signs of life emerge with all kinds of strange sounds. Yeastnor notices crows in particular, gathering along the edge of the road. They hear some soft rustling in the foliage along the road. Most oddly, the crows’ vocalizations come in a pattern, like there’s some kind of communication happening. The further they travel, the crows seem to grow thicker. Suddenly, they hear a cry and one of the dwarves falls out of the wagon in front of them with an arrow sticking out of his neck, but they can’t tell where the arrow came from.

Yeastnor looks around to try to determine where the arrow originated and finds someone hiding in some bushes. His skin is greenish and he has a long nose with a black tip, as if he’s dipped it in ink. Yeastnor fires his crossbow at the visible archer and hits him. The rest of the party hears a choke and the goblin archer falls over, dead. Helldust hears a buzzing as an arrow goes whizzing past, but doesn’t hit her.

Ragne yells for everyone to take cover, that they’ll take care of these children of the One-Eye He goes charging into the bushes and hears some bark falling to the ground in front of him. He looks up and spots another archer about fifteen feet up. Ragne tries to climb the tree, but slides right off. The goblins throw flashbangs into the road, blinding Dagmar and Morag, along with most of the people in the other carts. The archer in the tree shoots down at Ragne, but it’s deflected off his shoulder pauldron. Ragne says, “Come down out the tree, coward,” and the goblin just laughs and sneers at him.

One of the dwarves in the second wagon falls with an arrow in his back. One of the archers shoots Morag, who squawks, “Arrows! Goblin arrows!” Another archer shoots at Yeastnor, but misses. Helldust spots an archer on the hill to her left and throws a javelin at it, but misses. Helldust repositions to the other side of the wagon. Morag, blinded, casts invisibility and disappears. Dagmar follows Helldust around the wagon, following her sound, and casts spider climb on her.

Yeastnor sees the commotion going on between Ragne and the goblin archer and fires at that goblin, but misses, then fumbles around to the back of the wagon. One of the goblins, larger than the others and with grisly ornamentation on his armor, yells orders which Ragne can understand, “Kill them! Kill them all!” then shoots at Dagmar, but misses. The arrow thunks into the side of the wagon and the archer hides in a bush.

Ragne throws a javelin at the goblin above him, but it misses and sails off into the trees. Morag laughs about the miss. The goblins let loose another volley of arrows. A couple hit a dwarves in the wagon in front of them in the chest. A goblin in front of Helldust shoots her, the arrow skimming her side. The rest of the volley misses. Helldust scrambles up the cliff and dives into the bushes, attacking the goblin there in a rage. A string of goo comes flying out of the bushes and a goblin corpse falls. She howls in triumph.

Morag can see again. She moves out of the cart near Yeastnor, still invisible, and eases into the bushes. She spots a goblin, but it doesn’t spot her. Dagmar scans the ridge for goblins and spots some movement in a bush there. He throws his hand out towards the bush and a shard of ice flies at the goblin. As it hits, it explodes like a mini ice grenade. He screeches and ducks down.

Yeastnor, having smelled Morag come past, inspects the bush and surprises Morag, who yelps. Yeastnor exclaims, “Bloody hell, fire, you effing ugly git!” and casts vicious mockery, but the goblin sneers a goblin insult back at Yeastnor. Yeastnor repositions to be close to one of the other travelers, who doesn’t appear to be dead, with the intention of helping him. The goblin commander tries to stay hidden in the bushes, but isn’t very successful, so everyone can see the bushes rattling where he’s moving.

Ragne uses channel divinity to put a vow of enmity on the goblin in the tree above him, then throws a javelin in frustration, which impales the goblin from his bottom and out the top of his skull. He falls out of the tree and down the cliff into the road. Ragne runs back down the road next to Yeastnor and yells, “Fight me, cowards!” In the next volley of arrows from the goblins, Dagmar, Yeastnor are hit, as is the wagon that belongs to The Silent. One whistles past Helldust’s head. Another attacks Yeastnor with his scimitar, screeching, then jumps off the rock he was on and skitters back into the bushes. The Silent move to administer to the dead. Helldust spots another goblin up in a tree. She advances on him and attacks with her great ax. He sees her coming and nimbly dodges. Morag moves through the bushes, looking for a target, and finds one.

Dagmar throws another ice knife at the goblin in the tree, which hits him in the eye and explodes as he falls out of the tree. Yeastnor inspires Ragne to greater effort, saying, “When we win this fight, I’ll make you the best brew you’ve ever had,” then shoots his crossbow at a visible goblin, but misses. Yeastnor moves towards the tree Ragne found the first goblin in, looking for more enemies.

Throughout this battle, the crows have been watching and making a lot of noise. Suddenly, they take flight. Ragne uses lay on hands to heal one of the other travelers. He says, “Rise, and fight, brother.” He wakes and gasps, looking down at his chest in confusion, as Ragne charges forward. Helldust sees a goblin in front of him look around and then bolt back into the trees, before she can even respond. The other goblins that are visible do the same thing. The last goblin turns around, bumps right into the invisible Morag, and swings his sword where he thinks she is. He hits a glancing blow.

Much louder, much closer, they hear a roar. A big creature lands in the middle of the road and eats one of the dead dwarves. The Silent near him falls back in surprise as the creature looks around and screeches. Morag looks at the creature, which has two claws and wings like a dragon. She thinks it might be a wyvern. Helldust, like a cat, bounds down the cliff, lands in a bush, vaults over the wagon, and jumps down right in front of the creature, howling the whole way. She hits the critter with her ax, burying it into the creature’s thigh. A purple finger of light leaps from a small twig Morag took from her pouch and wraps around the wyvern as she says, “Morag has just the twig trick for you, dearie!” When she casts the spell, she reappears, startling the goblin who ran into her. Dagmar takes a single leaf of sumac out of his pouch. He slaps it in his hand and a flaming sword appears in his hand, which he uses to attack the wyvern. As a result, Helldust feels the spell that allowed her to climb so easily dissipate.

They see the purple glowing tendril come out of the bushes and attach itself to the creature, which screeches in annoyance. It tries to shake the effect, but can’t.

Yeastnor uses dissonant whispers against the wyvern, saying, “Hey, you bloody dragon. I’m gonna get you. Bloody hell, it’s not doing anything.” It has no effect.

Ragne positions himself to flank the wyvern and puts a hunter’s mark on himThe brand appears on its flank and then Ragne hits the mark with his sword. The goblin who ran into Morag turns away and runs for his life, screaming. The wyvern’s head darts forward and tries to bite Helldust, but she dodges out of the way. The tail swings around and the barb at the end hits Ragne, injecting him with poison, then starts to beat his wings and takes off. Everyone swipes at him as he turns his attention to trying to flee. Helldust’s hit knocks it back down to the ground. It tries to beat its shredded and torn wings to take off again, but Helldust attacks it again. Her sword takes it in the belly and opens it up. It falls across one of the wagons and spills guts everywhere.

The inhabitants of the wagon are trapped under the wyvern corpse. Dagmar pulls on the corpse and makes some space for the dwarf trapped in the wagon to get out, but his legs are broken and he can’t get out. Ragne helps him out and then casts a healing spell on him.

Eventually, The Silent, who lost some of their charges to the wyvern, gather their wits and return to their wagon. Ragne recovers the corpses from the carcass of the wyvern and whistles to get the attention of The Silent, who turn and come gather the dead to take them to their wagon.

Ragne goes to retrieve his throw wagons and then returns to stab all of the downed goblins through the heart. They notice that The Silent don’t pay any attention to the goblin dead.

Morag harvests some poison from the wyvern’s barbed tail, using her knife to extricate the gland near the tail. They take stock of their situation and realize that with the wyvern draped across one of the wagons, and that wagon smashed under it, they can’t proceed. The Silent, who are in front of the smashed wagon, get in their wagon and proceed without waiting for the rest. They try to convince the surviving dwarves to leave their wagons and ride with them. Most are on board with that plan, but one is too upset to leave his things. They suggest to him that he can stay, but there might be more wyverns about. Eventually, he finds a chest of prized possessions and brings it back to their wagon, then plops down on top of the pile of goods and sulks. “He brothers are dead.” They give him some alcohol and he seems more amenable to the proceedings.

The party musters the rest of the surviving dwarves to help them chop up the wyvern so they can move it and clear the path so they can continue up the trail. They catch up to The Silent and the wagons are able to stay together. They catch up to the caravan’s camp, where Sarge has pulled them into a circle again. Heldruk is in there trying to coordinate a watch. Yeastnor tells Sarge that they were ambushed by goblins. He’s overjoyed to see them. He was afraid he lost them, but he didn’t leave them. He reassures them that folks such as themselves will be welcome in Vallengard. Ragne looks around and confirms that the humans, and the boy, are still there. Yeastnor makes a brew for everyone except Morag and Helldust. Even Sarge accepts a drink. Dagmar corners Sarge and hangs drunkenly off Sarge’s shoulder, giving him a play by play of the fight. Sarge says, “Oh, maybe I should have told you about the crows. The goblins use them as scouts.” Yeastnor says, “Stone the crows, one might say.”

They set up watches for the night. The surviving dwarves from the fight set their camp up nearby and exchange stories with their friends about what happened. One of the dwarves comes over and thanks them for their help, acknowledging that they would all have been dead without the party. He asks Ragne, “How did you close my wounds?” Ragne says, “It’s a boon from the Forge Father.”

The dwarf turns back to his friends, “See? I told you!”

Morag says, “You’ve got a follower now.”

The dwarves try to grill Ragne about his background, his god, how he does what he does, etc. True healing is a new development and they’re astounded by what he did. Tiring of all this noise, Morag casts sleep on the dwarves, who all fall deeply asleep. Ragne drags them to their beds.

In the morning, they’re a little sore from the previous days battle. Morag walks over to the other dwarves’ camp and inquires, “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, ma’am,” they say.

Sarge organizes the caravan and the party makes some arrangements to keep The Silent as the next-to-last wagon in front of them. Ragne asks Sarge if he cares about protecting The Silent. He says, “They’re part of the caravan, but they kind of do what they want.”

Midday on the fourth day of the journey, they’re relieved to hear dwarven trumpets in the distance. They see a stone structure on the top of a cliff with a path winding its way up. Sarge removes his horn and signals back. About an hour later, the caravan approaches a 1,000 foot cliff and cross a bridge over an oily moat. There are archers on top of the earthworks surrounding the gates watching the woods.

Inside the fortifications, the ground has been cleared of vegetation and is beaten dirt. There’s an opening about 40 feet wide cleared between the earthenworks and the gate. The stone is carved with ancient dwarven symbols, which Morag recognizes. She reads out loud, “Ye stand at the steadfast gates of Vallengard. Those who come with ill intent, ye stand at the gates of hell.”

Just inside the gates is a small retinue of dwarves and men. They stand there waiting for the travelers to gather their belongings and gather around them. After most of the travelers are assembled, a plain looking man and a dwarf step forward. The man is clearly a servant of the light. He says, “Greetings, my friends. I am called Brother Gregor and this is Hive Indicator Balric.” The dwarf is wearing the uniform of The Pact, an organization dedicated to reclaiming hill dwarf heritage and killing all goblinoids. “We welcome you to the gates of Vallengard. A year has passed since my lord, Rugar Steelhaven, Chosen of the Light, led his noble brethren through countless horrors and valiantly defeated the hobgoblin warlord Vaxis, scattering his army to the wind.” He’s being purposefully flourishy. “My lord Rugar has invited all with strong backs and noble hearts to come and share in the glory of this historic event. Our thanks to all of you for answering his call. There is much work to be done. May the light of Galdimmer bless us all in this great endeavor!”

Yeastnor cheers, “Bravo. What a bloody great speech!” Hearing crickets, Yeastnor says, “Just me? Oh, bloody hell, sorry. I thought it was great,” and he drinks from a flagon.

Brother Gregor and the Hive Indicator step down from the platform as the guards form a funnel, organizing everyone into a line. The Hive Indicator standing off to the side, eyes closed, and folks start going through the gate. Further in the line, ahead of the party, are the shady seeming humans. As they walk past the Hive Indicator, he raises his hand. Some guards come over and confront them. The older man raises his hand like, “What? What’s the matter?” The guards lead everyone except the teen to a tent off to the side. They don’t see the female leader. They try to catch up to the youth, but the guards keep them in line. They walk past the Hive Indicator with no fuss.

As they walk into the passageway, it’s gloomy and they can feel cool air blowing past them. It’s a long passageway and there are burning braziers lighting the way. Eventually they come to a massive steel gate, a famous defense of Vallengard. It’s currently open, allowing them to proceed through it. The bottom of the gate is spiked to let it lock into place. They see a smaller gate next to the main gate, heavily decorated in pictograms of orcs and goblins being destroyed by dwarves. They also see a strange metal protuberance next to the gate. Yeastnor sees that it’s metal guesses that it’s some method of communication. They also see that there are small holes roughly 45 degrees from the roof that appear to be murder holes. There is a group of guards there who wave them through the gate.

As they continue down the passage, they find workmen repairing the walls. They’re working happily and greet the travelers. Ancient and in disrepair as it is, they can tell this structure is one of the wonders of the world. They pass through a couple more gates into a large circular chamber, full of workers and craftsmen. There’s a large set of double doors directly across the room. Braziers around the edge of the room provide light and warmth. There are benches near the braziers. The ceiling is perhaps 1,000 feet above them and there are lifts moving up and down the walls. There’s a feeling of purpose and optimism in the air. People great them enthusiastically, though they don’t stop for more than a few seconds.

The guards invite the party to sit and rest or take refreshment. By the time they get their bearings, they hear a mechanism working deep inside the mountain and the steel gates close. Yeastnor looks around for the teen, who is sitting by himself by a fire, drinking some water. Yeastnor points him out to Dagmar and says, “We should go talk to him. There was something strange about all that.” Ragne follows them so he can make a report about what they learn.

Yeastnor asks the teen, “What happened back there? Where are the people you were with?” He says, “They didn’t get in.”

Yeastnor says, “Will they ever get in?”

The teen says, “I don’t know.”

Yeastnor asks, “What was all that about there?”

The boys says, “They wanted me to come to Vallengard, even if they couldn’t get in.”

They talk about their backgrounds and where they’re from. Dagmar thinks he seems like an earnest, awkward teen and his behavior seems appropriate.

Ragne asks him what his dad wanted him to do here.

“Oh, just get a job and help.”

Ragne asks, “Why were you so worried about what they wanted you to do here?

He says, “I wasn’t worried.”

Ragne says, “You seemed worried.”

The boy says, “I’m not scared! I don’t know what you want from me, sir.”

Ragne says, “I want you to speak the truth.”

The boy replies, “I am.”

Dagmar asks him about the women with the cloak and the black teeth. The boy says, “She’s my dad’s boss. She’s not very nice. I don’t talk to her very much. I let my dad take care of that.”

The boy says, “Good luck in Vallengard.”

Ragne says, “You can have a good life here, if you’re good.”

After a brief respite, the double doors across the room open and a heavily scarred dwarf with a patchy beard stumps across the room. The length of his beard does not seem to match his age. He has a ragged voice that pierces the din and he calls, “New arrivals, to me. New arrivals, follow me.” He walks past the party and walks around the room, summoning the rest of the pilgrims, who fall in behind him. He leads them through the double doors and turns to climb a steep, curving stair, which seem to ascend along the outer wall of the room they were just in. At the top, the dwarf leads them into an open air courtyard that’s filled with a small city of tents and temporary structures.

Stepping into the open, the ancient keep of Vallengard looms over you. The ancient keep is covered in scaffolding, though which workmen climb. It feels like they’re looking at the top of the world. Most structures are in a state of ruin, but it’s still clear that it was a jewel of the world. Moradin turns to look at them with a big grin and proclaims, “Brothers and sisters, welcome to Vallengard!”