We continue following the river, and eventually enter an area of rolling plains. The day passes without incident, although we all have the feeling that we are being watched. That evening, we set up camp, and during the second watch a set of chimes is heard. While some people leave to investigate the chimes, the camp is beset by gnomes with the ability to increase their size to that of ogres. We eventually fight them off, but lose one of our porters in skirmish.
The next day, we are able to see the mountains containing the Dwarven ruins. We continue to follow to its point of origin, which is a massive waterfall, cascading down from the top of the mountains. A quick search uncovers a set of worn stairs carved into the rocks, behind the waterfall. We follow the stairs down into the mountains, into a long passageway, ending at a portcullis. Behind the portcullis, we find a circular room with 3 doors. In addition, there are what appear to be 3 metal boats with runes etched on their bottoms. Attempts to open the doors are fruitless, but examination of the walls reveals several runes, representing Dwarven holy symbols. Shortly after this realization, the room begins to flood with water. We all hop into the boats, and Granan channels holy energy into the runes. This causes all of the doors to open, and the floor to drop away. Our boats enter into a chute, and we are catapulted through a tunnel, which opens up into a river, running through a large valley. At the far end of the valley, we see an impossibly huge statue of a dwarf.
As we drift down the river, we see signs of a humanoid settlement. We pull our boats to shore, and are greeted by dwarves, outfitted in hides and leathers. Their leader approaches us and refers to Athadian as a “Dragon Rider”. She escorts us to their village, where we share a meal and talk. They call themselves the “Uja”, which is old High Elven for “the ones left behind”. They have lived in this valley for generations, and are what is left of the dwarves who used to live in the city (the ruins we are bound for). Those original dwarves left the city, sealed it up and left the valley. They give us directions to the city, but warn us of slavers (the Kalicant) who use it as an outpost. They also warn us of undead which live inside the ruins.
After a hearty meal and a good night’s rest, we continue along the river towards the giant statue. As we approach it, we realize that it is over a mile tall. We pull our boats ashore and discover a stairwell has been carved into the beard of the statue. We climb the stairs, which are trapped, and eventually reach a large chamber with a crudely constructed hut. The hut contains 4 slavers, who look like bald elves. We parlay with them, and procure passage into the ruins for a share of what we find. We also leave Zarine and Shakes as collateral.
The slavers lead us into their hut, which actually covers a large lava tube, going straight down. We climb down to a platform in the tube, which happens to be an elevator. We use the crank on the elevator, and begin our descent.