The Company, 3rd Song
The Company feels bothered by the fact that Donir seemingly has been sacrificed in order for the Package to have a relatively safe place to be received. The group feels torn by this but realizes they might as well do their part in the ongoing war against Sigurd. They have to deliver it past the Dwarven city of Athgnor to the port city of Onodol.
The statue had come to life. Gaius stares at the impossible woman in front of her, the Lady Cassandra herself - who once ruled over Angerona. The group gathers at one of the chambers of the grand library. Food is being cooked. Lady Cassandra sits by the window, still distraught over what has happened. She is still trying to make sense of what has happened. Hollis is exhausted from all the healing he has been doing to the townsfolk. He hates how, come morning, he will have to leave the town. Zig heads off to search for possible supplies that the town might have which they can use.
Zig searches for supplies and finds a shop owned by an old man. He tells the old man blacksmith his name is Kit. There, he learns of Athgnor and dwarven hamlet outside. Supposedly, the hamlet is there to protect the entrance from something that rose from the depths of the earth.
Hollis gives a sermon to the people in an attempt to raise their spirits. Using his Ritual dagger, he cuts his own hand and allows the blood to fall to ground. The people of the ruined town think they are here to help and stay. He does not have the heart to admit to them they are leaving come dawn.
Fabio convinces Chaeron to let Cassandra go with them, given she's royalty. Hollis asks Chaeron for nearest town to tell the people to go there. Learns of western town: Yenda, which is closest to Donir. He offers that information to the townsfolk and highly recommends they consider going there instead.
Hollis and Fabio camp with Cassandra and Liadan and Chareon. Zig and Gaius to scout ahead to see Dwarven hamlet is safe.
They head to the location and find a ruined dwarven hamlet. Dead bodies are scattered all around the ground, frozen stiff. Even the wounded bodies lie frozen and dead. The two wonder if something must have broken out of the tunnels. They suspect that the dwarves fought it, and their wounded were brought home. But perhaps the thing followed them back to the hamlet and finished them off. But it seems remaining Dwarves were able to force it back inside before the end.
Zig decides to further scout the area. Gaius looks around as well and while lost in the snow, he sees a Smiling Child in mask staring back at him. The child carried a torch in one hand and quickly kills the fire by plunging it into the snow. Gaius traps him in his flail. Before the child can escape, an Old Elf emerges from the woods and speaks with them. Zig sees the Old Elf and worries how powerful they really are. The Elf addresses Gaius, recognizing his flail as a weapon that has been Chosen by the Black. Zig and Gaius recall how the Black was the Old Gods of the Earth. There is some discussion on what happened to the dwarves and how they remain rivals with the Elves of the Old World. An offer is given to take the Secret Path through the mountain.
The young elf, who turns out to be named Alv, asks to join Gaius after being trapped by his flail twice. They have the Ritual of Acceptance done and somehow, it allows Gaius to completely understand elven language. "Travel with the Chosen," is Alv's request to the old elves, in order to earn "his name." Negotiations, however, on whether or not the Old Elves will help them is debated on a lot. There was one suggestion to even blind them, or to sacrifice one for the passage of all the rest. Cassandra tries lying and but the Elves detect her lies. To appease them, Zig agrees to become a follower of the Old Ways. The Old Elf grants a select group of them a blessing, allowing them to see magically the safe route through the caverns.
In end, Old Elf gives The Blue gift to others, (Clerics and Chaeron and Liadan do not take blessing.) This to allow them to pathfind in the dwarven tunnels and lasts a night. They are told that this blessing can be refreshed in running water if they take longer than a single night in the depths.
They open the great doors and enter.