The session started with Roy, Lin, and Ebele enjoying food and drink in a tavern in Bardum’s Rest. They spotted four dwarves on the other end of the tavern, being very quiet and acting strangely. Knowing that the dwarves in question were not part of the expedition, Roy snuck up near them to try to catch what they were saying, but they weren’t speaking, just were just glancing around nervously the tavern full of the expedition members and nodding to themselves. They soon got up and wordlessly left the tavern. The party notified Shavale and Gurdis about the dwarves and they agreed that it was rather strange, which reminded them that they haven’t seen Hagrin in quite some time. This was concerning enough to have them check on Gorm and lodestone just to make sure nothing was happening. When the group checked out the cart, they saw Gorm passed out on the ground and the lead box the artifact was placed wide open and the Lodestone nowhere in sight.
Gorm awoke from a few droplets of rain and a couple hardy slaps from Roy with a pounding headache. He explained that Hagrin had stabbed him with a dart and fell unconscious. Panicked, Shavale and Gurdis ask the BnB to try and find Hagrin while they go fetch the townguard. In addition, Gurdis asked them NOT to kill Hagrin unless he forces their hand. Gorm and Roy manage to find tracks that they believe to be Hagrins that lead into town.
They follow those tracks through various alleyways and backstreets in Bardum’s Rest, which seem to slowly make their way to the northern gate. Along the way, they spot the suspicious looking dwarves following the same path as Hagrin and decide to tail them, suspecting that they would lead them to Hagrin’s whereabouts. After following them for a bit, carefully making sure they didn’t get caught, they lead them into a dead end at a back alley… where the dwarves were nowhere to be found. But it was an ambush! The Dwarves had shockingly turned invisible and attacked them, trapping them in the alley! The party fought and killed them, revealing that they were not Dwarves, but their underdark cousins, Duergar.
On the corpse of one of the Duergar was a letter written in undercommon. “When the fool grabs the lodestone, make for the abandoned farmstead outside of town.” The “fool” could be no one else but Hagrin and by the tone of the letter, he was not in for a pleasant surprise. The party quickly found a way to get to the aforementioned farmstead and headed there as quickly as they could.
When they arrived at the abandoned farmstead, they saw a group of dwarves standing lookout around a cottage with Hagrin handing another dwarf the lodestone. The BnB hid behind nearby trees and watched silently as Hagrin was soon tied by arcane chains and the man he had handed the Lodestone too revealed himself to be a Duergar doned in dark iron armor.
Before this Duergar could kill Hagrin, the party launched a surprise attack, with Gorm and Roy shooting magicked arrows at him, interrupting the conversation with his captive. With their positions revealed, a fight broke out and the rest of the dwarves dropped their illusions and revealed themselves to be gang of goblins and hobgoblins bearing the crest of the crimson blades. With the life of a hostage and powerful artifact on the line, the battle proved to be one of the more difficult ones the Bad News Bears had faced. Lin had fallen unconscious by an errant mages cone of cold; Gorm had taken a beating from the Duergar’s dark magic. Ebele brought all of the thunderous might of her god to bear. Roy did was he did best. Throw Lin’s body as a weapon and hit stuff. In the end, the Duergar was fried by Ebele’s lightning and Hagrid and the Lodestone were safe. Before the Duergar died, however, he said that they were “too late” and that his god “had already found his vessel”.
Confronting Hagrin on his actions, he explained to the party that he thought the man who revealed himself to be a Duergar was a man named Dorgun who was part of the “Dwarven Reclamation Front” and that they have been messaging each other for some time now. Unhappy with how the archive hoards dwarven relics and how they don’t share it with the remaining dwarven city states, he agreed to help them take back whatever relics would help the front’s cause and in Hagrin’s eyes, the Lodestone is a perfect candidate. Due to what actually happened, however, Hagrin was deeply regretful of his actions and submitted to whatever punishment his colleagues saw fit to betow him. Shavale and Gurdis agreed to put him in chains for the remainder of the trip and let the Grand Archivist decide what to do with him.
The party returned to Lighthaven and were justly rewarded for going above and beyond their required duty by Gurdis. They then went to the Sleeping Squire to witness the Azure Shield’s celebrating the completion of their own mission. Kael and company regaled the party of the plan to protect the lodestone went well when a group of thieves infiltrated the personal gallery, but it was I diversion for the Crimson Blade’s true goals. During the fight with the thieves, a second group snuck in and kidnapped Lord Ashford’s children and set the lodestone as ransom. Lord Marcus might have been arrogant and greedy, but he loves his children dearly, so he implored them to help him get his children back. He even came along and aided the AS in combat. They tracked down the kidnappers to an abandoned warehouse in mudrow, where they managed to save the children by tricking the crimson blades with a convincing fake long enough to get the children out of harm’s way and then killing all the kidnappers (at the Lord’s behest). Afterwards, the AS convinced lord marcus that if he wants to keep his family safe, that he should give up the lodestone to the archive to keep in their vault for safety.
With both the artifacts with the Arcanium Archive, the group feared that it might be a target for Kaleb Howler and his men… but it was a worry for another night, as the Bad News Bears had to rest up from their week long journey.