Standing atop the mountains, not far from the entrance to the Dwemer ruins of Nel Zurathol Dol, the party searches the bodies of the fallen who they have just slain. Among the dead is a wizard in black, velveteen robes with a strange insignia on his chest that resembles a budding mushroom with an intricate network of mycelial threads spreading out below. In addition to the usual loot to be expected, the party finds two notes on the wizard’s body. The first is a writ of passage that provides the identity of the strange wizard, identified as being the rank of Messenger and a member of the Mycelium. The writ is signed at the bottom by the Prophet, Hellette Life-Singer. The second note is simply dialogue between two parties regarding a finished project. The note is addressed an unnamed party but is signed by the supposed writer of the note, Fel-Sel.
Making a note of the information they collected, the party decide it’s now time to breach the ruins in search for the Jarrin root needed to cure Jethro of vampirism. Ascending the long staircase high up to the single, Dwemer door built into the side of the carved archway of stone, Dra’Jhad steps up and searches the area for life. Seeing a few blips and hoping to still take the inner group by surprise, Borkalt and Dra’Jhad work together to open the door, fling fury wide towards the two groups, and then closing the door again. The classic move is mostly successful, with one of the fury balls taking control of a small group of individuals, while the other goes wide.
Thus, the battle begins. Eventually, the door is thrown wide once more and the party rushes in. Inside, they encounter a huge chamber carved into the mountain, nearly fifty meters tall and half as wide. The room is separate into three floors, each nearly ten meters above or below the next. The single door opens onto the third floor, with a stone staircase leading down to the second and the first floors. Inside, the enemy awaits on all sides. Although surprised, they’re able to rally together and force a fight that has a few moments of unease. Through the struggle, Brokalt and Jethro both launch themselves from the third floor and onto enemies on the ground floor. Although both are successful to some degree, managing to maim or slaw their enemies, they do learn the impact gravity can have on a situation.
In the end, the party stands among a pile of corpses. A few close calls having been avoided thanks to swift thinking and healing on Jethro’s part, all is doing well. The search of the bodies turns up the usual loot, nothing out of the ordinary that would provide any further explanation to the notes found on the Messenger's body. Knowing that their goal is further within the ruins, the party takes time to explore the room, finding two locked doors leading off of the main chamber on opposite sides of the room. After a few minutes of careful searching, they find two large urns that a nearly six feet tall, standing atop another full foot of a stone pedestal. The urns are plugged by delicate crystals of what look similar to quartz and, after peering inside as best as they could, faint runes and mechanical gears seem to be held within the heavy metal walls.
The party also locates a small indentation in the stone floor of the ruins, near the center of the main room. Noticing that the two urns have designs that seem to fit together, they drag these massively heavy objects to the center space, pressing them together at the conjoining seams. When the urns are brought together, runes pulsing with a blue, glowing energy light up the urns and the crystals within. After a few seconds, similar runes which were noticeable before flash out along the floor of the main room and make a b-line towards the two, locked doors that lead out of the main chamber. As the runes encircle the doorway, a rumbling can be heard as the doors shift downward into an open position. Unfortunately, this seems to alert those already within the rooms of the foreign presence and a second battle commences as the party struggles to face the unexpected adversaries.
With the party standing in the middle of the room and the enemies pouring from the two doorways, encroaching them on all sides, Borkalt decides that the best defense is offense. He rushes the figures on the left, fighting heavy armored and light armored warriors with glee as Dra’Jhad, Jethro, and his summoned scamps assist. During the fight, a wizard similar in appearance to the Messenger outside is seen. During the battle, he stops a Bosmer archer by laying hands upon his frame. After a few seconds, a transformation sweeps his body as thin tendrils of white threads begin overtaking his form. Bones crunch and flesh tears until the shape has morphed into a bestial warrior, using bones and brute strength to form claws. Once finished, it rushes the party, with Borkalt in the lead, with unwarranted fury.
Surprised but unflinching, they continue to face the stream of enemies head on. Hammer blows slay and spear heads pierce, all while Dra’Jhad does his best not to be slain himself. At one point, our Khajiiti friend runs down an alley to recoup, creating the illusion of a crate around himself, effectively hiding from all. Before too long, the second wave of foes has been taken care of. Another eight or so warrior lay dead, in addition to three wizards of varying age and race, but all wearing the same velveteen robes embossed with the mycelial symbol that the Messenger also wore. Unsurprisingly, when the corpses are searched, similar writs are found on these three bodies. This time they’re identified as Guardians and all three wear a Dwemer designed amulet on a thin chain that shows the similar fungal symbol on their robe.
Once the enemies are taken care of, the party can take some time to explore the two new rooms. Both are similar to one another, so they decide to tackle the room of the right first. Most of room is on the first floor, although a narrow and steep staircase leads up to a second floor landing that holds a pedestal near the middle. Atop the pedestal is a pyramid that’s slightly smaller than the urns from the main room. They also seem to be covered with runes that currently are not aglow. Jethro goes to examine it and, with casual ease, pushes back the top of the pyramid on unseen hinges to show what looks to be a number puzzle below. Calling for the help of the rest of the party, they gather around the puzzle.
Jehtro decides to brute force attempt is the way to approach the puzzle, after no answers are forthright. So, laying his hands on the 1-9 numbers that seem to act as answers to the puzzle, he chooses four from random. This seems to be the wrong choice to the puzzle, as the door closes shut quickly and concealed jets in the room begin pumping water in at a high velocity. Dra’Jhad immediately begins working his powers of water manipulation to ensure that the party will be able to stand atop of the water, just in case. At the same time, Jethro tries a few more numbers, each being wrong and opening successive jets that begin filling the room faster than before. By the time Jethro chooses the number seven, the answer to the puzzle, the water has filled nearly the entire ten meters of the bottom floor. Luckily, the party needs not worry about what may have happened next, as drains in the walls open and begin draining the room before the door opens once more. The pyramid atop the pedestal also sinks down to the floor, the top closing and seeming to lock in place.
This leaves the one remaining pedestal and pyramid combo in the opposite room. This time, the party is prepared and Dra’Jhad quickly answers the word puzzle provided. This time, without the worry of death by drowning, they watch as pyramid sinks to become level with the floor. Once it reaches that point, runes of power again extend outside of the room and lead toward a large central column that stretched to the top of the main chamber. Composed of intertwining Dwemer metals, the pillar seems to unfold like a flower to form a bridge that spans from the third floor entrance the party originally came in through, all the way to the other side of the main room, where a third floor landing without any other means of accent leads deeper into the ruins. Preparing themselves, the party climb back up to the third floor and then make their way across the bridge.