As the party descends the stone stairs a huge roar sounds out and dust billows into the cavern below. Tremors send a few of the party members tumbling to the ground below, but they had descended far enough that the damage was minimal. The sound of combat is heard from the tunnel which belched out the dust. The party charges to the attack. They enter a corridor where an Orog champion and his orc allies have beaten a single dwarf. Hoping to prevent the dwarf’s death they fearlessly attack.
The champion proves to be a fearsome challenge and the party uses most of their resources bringing him down, but eventually they prevail. The dwarf is quickly revived. He reveals his name as Kalad, paladin of Moradin. He says that he was scouting the tunnels below when he came upon the orcs. He knew of the passage to the monastery and a way to seal the tunnels. He came into the chamber after the Orog champion and brought the tunnel down behind him. Kalad has overheard the orcs speaking of a large force sent to the Nexus, the passage which the Farstriders were sent to seal.
Kalad convinces the party to travel to the Nexus to help the Farstriders and the group travels back up to the monastery where they spend several hours resting before setting out. Kalad stays behind to begin final rites for his fallen brethren. With Kalad’s directions the party easily find the vents. Outside the volcanic tunnels they come upon the Farstriders’s horses picketed at an old campsite. They set up their own horses and make their way through the tunnels to the ancient stonework leading to the Nexus.
They make quick work of the first group of orcs but are unable to prevent one of them from summoning help from an adjoining chamber. The party throws caution to the wind and rushes into the chamber themselves. The fighting is fierce as a dark one emissary leads a band of orcs against the party. Finally the party overcomes their foes and survey the room. They find pipeworks leading further into the complex and the decapitated body of Jen, the Farstriders warlock. In her hand is a sending stone. On the emissary’s body they find a brass key.
Pressing on the party overhears what seems to be a jubilant celebration. Martine scouts ahead and finds a group or orcs celebrating as a cave troll chews on the remains of the rest of the Farstriders. The party leap forward to prevent further desecration of the heroes’ bodies and in their righteous anger make short work of the troll and the orcs. After a quick pause to catch their breaths the party pushes further on toward the Nexus.
At the end of the chamber they are in the party comes to a heavy steel door which opens into the Nexus, a huge chamber with a tower in the center rises nearly one hundred feet to the ceiling. heavy pipes lead to the tower and another valve stands before them. They open the valve, releasing nearly boiling hot water into the chamber and begin a mad dash to stay ahead of the rising water and make their way to the top of the tower. More orcs emerge from side tunnels aiming to prevent the sealing of the Nexus, but the party quickly slays them.
After two such groups are downed Commander Tusk, writer of the note found several weeks ago on the goblin hexer slain in Rivernroar, and his adviser, the Shadar-kai witch Myrissa, step from a tunnel ahead of the party along with two orc bolthrowers. Another fierce fight ensues as the party tries to stay ahead of the rising water and defeat the creatures. As Tusk falls, the party scrambles up the ladder at the top of the tower and seals the shaft behind them.
They climb down to the site where their horses are picketed and return to Penhaligon. They are recognized at the gates and escorted to Lady Penhaligon. She informs the party that the Free Riders have also returned and report success in sealing the third mountain pass. She is grieved at the loss of the Farstriders but thrilled that the party was able to complete not only their assignment but that of the fallen band of heroes as well. She informs them that she will send a petition to Duke Stefan to have the members of the party named as Lords of the Court and will see if she can dig up a suitable reward for them. She thanks them for the help and tells them that rooms will be made available at the Gryphon Tea Room at her expense.