The dwarves woke early in eagerness to reach the halls of Gauntylgrym and hustled about to prepare the caravan for its last leg of the overland journey. The party likewise prepared and were fully ready to depart when Bazain called the order to move. Cresting the ridge, the caravan started to enter a large valley with a wide river to the east and another small lava field in its western fold. A few hours of travel into the mouth of the valley and directly beneath the mountains ahead placed the caravan at an opening of a huge cavern.
The Great Cavern was a very long natural subterranean structure scattered with stalactites and stalagmites of all sizes, some resembling small towers. A series of well-constructed stone bridges spanned gaps across a dark central lake. As the caravan entered, a boar rider lit a large braziers with reflective panels to each side of the road. Within a minute, several other similar light sources flared to life across the lake ahead. The party observed the immenseness of the cavern and the defensiveness that the dwarves had erected. Ballista, Scorpions, and side sling catapults were visible once passing their defensive cover along the road and bridges. Both stalagmites and stalactites the size of buildings had stairs and bunkers carved into their core to house all manner of surprises for any foolish enough to invade the halls beyond. A half hour passed as the wagons made their way to the thick iron doors past the lake. Two 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide iron panels rimmed in mithral slowly opened as the mechanical cranking clanked loudly through the large chamber.
Once the Gates to Gauntylgrym were opened, Bazain ordered the caravan forward into a long hall at least five hundred feet in length and over 60 feet high. Hundreds of arrow slits rested in long rows 40 feet above the floor, while a balcony with parapets could be seen just below the ceiling. A second set of gates opened vertically as opposed to the similar horizontal gates first encountered. The caravan wheeled into a grand chamber beyond where dozens of dwarves greeted members of the caravan as they joined to unload. Bazain and Angmar approached the party with a few dwarves and instructed the group that their mounts would be stabled and they would be assigned quarters first and meet again for lunch in an hour or so. A serious looking dwarven female in brown breeches and tan tunic accompanied the two and introduced herself as Lyah. She explained that she would show them to their quarters once they gathered their gear. The party did so and both Katra and Sandor greeted them before they followed Lyah. Charcoal followed Carden and Lyah reminded him that the beast would be his mess to clean after unless kenneled. The rogue agreed and everyone followed the stout dwarven lass to their rooms.
Twisting through the long halls, sturdy stone stairwells, and several chambers including a vast chasm with other levels behind iron railings, the party found themselves in a lengthy corridor with a dozen doors. Lyah opened one and explained to the group that each member would be assigned a personal room that mirrored the first. A spartan chamber with two beds, a small table with two chairs, a small chest, and a water closet filled the room. Two removable oil lanterns flanked the door and provided light throughout the 15ft x 15ft chamber. The beds, chairs, and table appeared to made of petrified mushroom stalk. A padded mattress filled with a down of some sort and a thick wool blanket rested on the bed. The chairs were padded with hides and the chest was constructed of a hollowed stone. The water closet combined a narrow shoot with a seat and a basin above it that could either catch water as a sink or release water to cleanse the shoot.
The hour passed quickly and Lyah returned to escort the group to the dining hall. Carden decided to kennel Charcoal after cleaning his excrement, so the group visited the kennels to kennel the mastiff. With sad eyes, Charcoal accepted the kennel and was eager to eat the food provided. The Wardens found themselves among many dwarves in one of the dining halls. A long table with several dishes allowed them to gather their own food and they found a table to eat and wait. Dyan’ette kept his hood up, but the dwarves seemed to ignore the group as they ate and then returned to whatever duties awaited them. Angmar and Katra approached the group. Katra placed some bags on the table nodded to the group and then left. Angmar hefted the bags and dispersed a bag of 105 gold coins to each member from origin and one with 30 gold coins to Droom, “Your pay for services rendered.” He announced that he would join you and then gathered some food and drink for himself before returning.
Discussion quickly turned to what the Wardens intended to do now that they had finished their contract. Delivery of the ancient dwarven coins and statue from Glitterhame surprised Angmar and he eagerly asked of what knowledge the group knew of Glitterhame. An additional mention of Nightcaller changed the atmosphere as the priest of Moradin was wary of what evil artifact the group had introduced within the halls of Gauntylgrym. The party assured Angmar it was safe, but the fact that they had left the bag of holding alone in Rhogar’s chambers did not ease the priest’s mind. He immediately asked the group to accompany him back to their chambers to gather all their gear and then to an audience.
After quickly gathering their items, the group waited patiently in an antechamber with numerous dwarven sculptures and bas reliefs depicting the hardy race’s battle prowess. While waiting, a strange stout and powerful built dwarf with a black beard parted into two thick braids to midchest then tied off with a silver band with three blue gemstones approached them. His bushy eyebrows and large ears drew attention to his face and the two twin morningstars visible above his shoulders. He questioned the group on their names and business in Gauntylgrym while baiting them into conversation with jibes. Easily amused, the dwarf roared with a loud “Bwahahaha!” everytime the group turned a phrase or exposed themselves to a jibe. Eventually, he introduced himself as Athrogate and focused attention on Dyan’ette after admitting that he walked paths frequently with his own dark elf. Dyan’ette seemed curious and was stunned to discover that this dwarf knew and travelled with Jaraxle, the leader of Bregan Daerthe. With a final directive to be on their best behavior, Athrogate sauntered off to his own business.
The decorative doors opened and Angmar emerged to reveal that the group was entering to an audience with King Bruenor Battlehammer, the famed warrior and king of Gauntylgrym.