After Nibil had finished adjusting his new armor, and Marduke had picked up one of the swords dropped by the hob goblin captain (his own had been destroyed back in the pedestal room), the group went through the narrow hallway that led into a dark chamber.
The chamber was the same size as the two above it, except the walls were scorched and the dwarvish writing completely illegible. At the center of the room was a great mass of dark purple energy, flashing and flickering wildly about.
As they investigated the mass of dark energy, they suddenly noticed a small, old dwarf sitting against the wall. At first she said nothing to them, and then she looked up and asked them what they were doing here.
Silent at first, and not sure how to respond, they eventually told her that they had come to destroy the Rune of the Grey. Slowly shifting in her seat, she told them that she wasn’t sure if it could be destroyed. Branan asked her how the rune came to be, and she told them the true events of the disaster that befell Thog Tahrir.
The war between the elves and the dwarves had been going badly for us, and many of our leaders believed that defeat was inevitable. Against this pessimism stood Thoghouc Greyarmor, the great leader of the dwarves, who believed that the magical powers of this place could deal a final, devastating blow against our enemies and turn the tide of war in our favor. Thoghouc Greyarmor consulted with mysterious persons who advised him to construct this room and all the rooms above it in order to channel the energies of the deep so that it could be turned into a weapon to vanquish the invading elvish armies.
He was given that rune and a book of spells that I was to chant from while standing in the pedestal room, along with six additional priests. We were told that as we chanted, a great force of energy would be brought forth from the deep, that it would be focused through the crystal, and then sent through the seven canals to the exterior of Thog Tahrir—a powerful burst of magical energy that would destroy the dark elf army standing on the other side.
But we were deceived—the spells we had been given, although in ancient dwarvish, were of dark elvish design, and so it did not go as planned. The energy flowed from the deep, and into the rune, and along the canals, and did in fact destroy the forward forces of the dark elf army. But a subtle enchantment, undetected by all of us, had been placed on the rune—as more and more energy poured into it, there was suddenly a bright flash of light, and a horrible screeching sound. The energy that was being channeled through the grooves in the floor suddenly stopped, and a feedback loop formed that forced the energy back below, killing all the priests on the lower floors and creating a dark tear in the very fabric of space and time.
After the summoning failed, I heard the explosion, and I ran down here to this room to see what had happened. Drawn to the dark energy and to the rift it created, I have remained here ever since, a silent punishment for my ultimate failure.
A heavy silence hung in the room. Quietly, Serine spoke up and wondered aloud if throwing the rune into the rift would seal the tear. The dwarven priestess did not know the answer, and as they debated their options, they came to the conclusion that they could not allow the rune to fall into anyone else’s hands, and that since this was where it was created perhaps this was the place where it could be undone.
Marduke and the group formed a circle around the twisting ball of dark energy. As he began to chant to his god Halmar, Serine unsealed the rune from its protective container and threw it into the rift. The room began to shake violently, matched only in intensity by Marduke’s fervent chanting. The others begin to chant as well, and as the room seemed to be shearing itself apart the ball of energy suddenly disappeared, leaving behind a small floating scar in the center of the room.
They looked over at the dwarven priestess and saw that she lay motionless on the floor. The room already seemed lighter, and they were all glad to finally be rid of the rune. A long, purple scar ran from floor to ceiling, the only remnant of the rip in space and time that once consumed the room.
Only the thought of facing Tharos a second time could ruin this moment…