After defeating the gnolls and the hook horrors, you finally took a moment to rest. That night, several of you had more nightmares of strange creatures in the Underdark. At the beginning of the next day, you found yourself weary before continuing your trek.
Around midday, while traveling, you came upon a deep and wide abyss, seeing neither the bottom of ceiling of the cave. Most interestingly, however, you saw a large rockmote floating in the center of the darkness, attached to the cavern walls by four large chains. On one side, a drawbridge sits closed. One that, when opened, could easily reach the rocky ledge upon which you stand. The forty foot high door is slightly open, leaving a crack through which someone could crawl.
The Rockmote Outpost
Excitedly, Elanelis backed up several steps and leapt out into the abyss before casting Misty Step, teleporting some thirty odd feet onto the side of the rock. Hanging there, he started to crawl to his left towards the crack. Unfortunately, his hands slipped and he started to fall. Seeing the danger, Lancel dashed out, acrobatically running across one of the chains to catch Elanelis' foot before he fell into the abyss, likely saving his life. The two slowly but surely made their way up and over the drawbridge.
Once inside, a strange sight greeted them. Elanelis and Lancel stood in a hall with ghostly dwarves milling about them. The apparitions moved about their business, climbing stairs and walking about, completely ignoring the two adventurers. Taking his time, Elanelis searched for some means of lowering the drawbridge. After a moment, he came to realize that astounding dwarven mechanisms surrounded them. They were built into the walls and floor. He saw levers, gears, counterweights, levers and much more. Quickly, he saw the lever to lower the drawbridge, which he pulled.
As the drawbridge lowered, Lancel and Elanelis turned and realized that every single ghost had stopped their activities and were watching them. As the drawbridge met the rocky ledge where the rest of the party waited, the two adventurers in the hall had drawn their weapons and taken a defensive stance. As the rest of group joined them, a thump-Thump-THUMP of heavy approaching footsteps could be heard. A moment later, an especially large stone-skinned dwarf emerged from the central hall. He did not seem pleased.
The stone dwarf immediately challenged the party in a deep gravelly voice, stating "you have trespassed in our outpost against our duty! State your intent quickly, lest we rout you from these halls!" Looking over the group and seeing dwarven weapons and armor, the visage of this stone dwarf, and the ghostly dwarves around you, soured quickly.
The conversation then started. You quickly were able to ascertain that this guardian was incensed at having non-dwarven trespassers, but also held hateful enmity for Drow and Duergar. Several of you made compelling arguments at that point, stating that you had escaped those two retched races yourselves. You continued to ask for stay in the outpost for the night asa safe place to rest. The stone dwarf was unconvinced until Lancel, holding a dwarven battle axe, handed it over. Surprised at the act of contrition, the guardian relented and invited you to stay.
History and the Demon Threat
After that, he introduced himself as Orik Ironspine, then stating that he preferred to be called Gravillax instead. He then bade you follow him. You then followed the hulking stone dwarf. As you proceeded up, you past gear sets and other mechanisms embedded within the walls themselves. You follow Gravillax through twists and turns until you arrived in a large hall at the very top of the rockmote.
Gravillax then sat down at the head of the stone table in the room, and began to share his story. He stated that he had named commander of this outpost of 60 some odd dwarves. They were to open and guard a pathway for commerce for Gauntylgrim, the fabled Dwarfhold far to the west. His hearty crew had fended off Drow and Duergar repeatedly. But somehow, someway, the Drow had slipped poison into their rations. One by one, his dwarven company died a cruel death, turning into ghosts to fulfill their duty. As the last one, but also dying, this dwarf transferred his consciousness into the Stone Golem in the outpost. Orik Ironspine became Gravillax. After that, he fulfilled his duties for the past few hundred years.
You then conveyed your story. It started with escaping the Drow and traveling through the Underdark. But then, you told Gravillax of the increasing presence of Demons in the Underdark. After a moment of though, he proposed a deal.
Gravillax then voiced his concerned for Gauntylgrim, stating that the Dwarfhold must be warned of the threat. Showing you a detailed map of the Underdark that the dwarven scouts had developed, he offered new capabilities that would enable you to reach another nearby dwarven outpost, which contained a portal to Gauntylgrim. To ensure the fulfillment of this task, he required the placement of a geas upon you. If the task were left unfulfilled, each of you would die within 3 months.
Knowing you needed time to consider the offer, he led you to a set of barracks where you could rest. You debated the decision deep into the night.