The adventurers decide to pursue the trail of the missing dale-captives that they now know have been sold into slavery. They continue along the labyrinth traderoute, which is now quieter and more subdued. Perhaps rumour of their recent deeds has spread before them?
Either way, they soon arrive at a crossroads, where runes are carved into the rock wall in front of them. No-one in the party can decipher them, but Krink tells them the mines are south (to the right). With nothing more to go on, the party heads south. Lo and behold, after a few hundred yards, they arrive at the Grimmerzhul Trading Post. A pair of squat, burly humanoids, both bald, with grey skin and a long red beards greets them. “Lookin for summat?” one says, cryptically.
The party are a little non-plussed, until someone asks “what do you have?”. The Duergar look around them and look back, saying nothing. The room has lots of supplies – crates, stacks of kindling, sacks of coal, barrels, hams and sausages, wheels of cheese, chains, locks, iron ingots. There is a large ledger on the counter, and a humanoid skull.
Then one of the Genasi asks “do you have slaves?” – to which the talkative Duergar replies “we might have”. “You buyin’ or sellin’?” he adds darkly. The party shifts uncomfortably until Morgan asks “Do you have any humans?” at which time the merchant again repeats “we might have”, and at a nod, his companion heads into a back room. The party is formulating an answer when the companion returns with 4 more almost identical duergar and they stand in line behind the counter. At this point, as the Duergar stare unfathomably at the party, Cuelth loses composure and his bears press forward to attack – causing significant damage in the initial melee.
The first two Duergar mvoe forwards and engage the dire bear, concentrating their attacks in disciplined formation. The two to the rear launch quills at the beast. The bear screams and roars in pain and anger, as a Duergar Theurge emerges from another back room and launches a searing cloud of vile poison into the midst of the party – blinding everyone and eliciting screams and curses.
The battle then ebbs to and fro, with the duergar pressing hard – the Theurge is having a lucky day – his attacks causing both damage and invonvenience as the party is forced to target blindly. However, after a brief but vicious melee the party are victorious as the remaining two guards surrender.
The prisoners are sullen as the party commences to “try” them. They stand on their rights as soon as they realize that the party are playing judge and jury. They point out that they came by their slaves quite legally – they produce the ledger which has descriptions of each slave, and a price paid for them. Their provenance – other than the sellers’ name – one “Drask” is not detailed.