The party is still in the dwarven caverns under Nurundizikin. They hear a thrumming dirge from below them. “Drums,” says Tanuukkodol, “Drums in the deep.”
They descend to the next room, another one of the uncanny rooms of the caverns, built on the Ways. The room is sparkling and beautiful. Two people (a tall manly fellow with shirt open (Tulric Hammrammr) and a dwarvish woman). They kiss and repeat. Endlessly. In the corner of the room is a dark and tired, unwashed presence (an elf) looking with hatred at them. He identifies himself as Demetrios. He is missing an eye. He is the siren known as the Gardener. What he is doing here is not clear. He is supposed to be to the north of the Rhunaer, not here, to its southwest. He is annoyed that he is here, watching more idiocy about Tulric. Lomeilinde wrote that book, and he finds it most annoying.
On the other side of the room, there is a path downwards.
It turns out that Demetrios says he is dreaming, that he often dreams and travels to strange places via the ways. The party interrogates him about Eletaria. He explains that Eletaria is vain wants all to worship her and live in beauty. She has a palantir that she uses to sing and control. The master palantiri is on Tol Sulereb, which can be reached from Demetrios’s garden. Eletaria must already have two palantir, with one in Shrel Kain and the other probably in Lest. There is another guarded by the dead balrog, the creature whose eggs frightened Drogo so. Lomeilinde put that palantir among the eggs.
Demetrios notices that Bertram has two souls. Demetrios reveals that he can remove souls. Elven souls are powerful and he often tears them out. To save those souls, one must destroy the totem of the Siren that stole it.
The party descends to the next room, which is a vast hall watching a stage. They hear faint music, but not a dirge. A bunch of elves are dancing on the stage. Over in the corner is the stairs. There is a small little figure, a female dwarf, near them. She is Nell Grunkledunkle, sister of Inniel. She backs up. She was the one who marked the statues that expressed the stages of life. Bertram convinces her to talk and she explains that the ways are built on your past, present, and future. She describes the totem of Marcos that must be destroyed to save the hollow elves (Marcos’s sword).
Nell does not want to encounter Marcos, but Bertram flirts successfully with her and she accompanies the party.
They go down the stairs again, to a small room, eight foot high. In the corner is the smashed statue that Tanuukkodol hurled down the pit from the level above. The party can now hear the dirge, but not the elf dance.
Nell thinks Bertram deceived her, so she slaps him, causing him to change to Ugthug. “Look over there, Ugthug, bad people!” shouts Tanuukkodol, who conks him over the head with a frying pan when Ugthug looks away. Suddenly, Bertram is back, and Tanuukkodol hides the frying pan. Bertram rubs his head in pain.
There is a great hall with giant statues (8’ tall) and they are doing long gestures, martial posturing, smiling, and laughing, staring into the distance. The ceiling is 30’ high. There are also about 30 goblins, and at the end of the hall, an elf is killing one of the enthralled goblins and hurling him through a barrier. He seems displeased with the result. The party meanwhile splits up, some to the left and some to the right, and advanced stealthily towards them using the balconies.
When they get close enough, Tanuukkodol shoots the elf through the throat, killing him, then slides down the tapestry. Three hollow elves teleport in, one against Tanuukkodol, one against Bertram, and one against Throkel and Atauk.
One elf hits Tanuukkodol for 26 points. He then hits it for 59 hp, +2 per round, plus stunned 3 rounds. Grafarlig slides down the tapestry but lands poorly. Bertram convinces the hollow elf not to attack, and she cries a single tear.
Tanuukkodol believes he has shot Marcos through the neck, so he rushes forward and smashes hi sword. Nothing happens. Grafarlig attacks the hollow elf, doing 23E to the head, +5 hits. He is now at 87 hp damage. The goblins begin to growl and move slowly forward. The elf has marvelous mithril armor and Tanuukkodol, thinking maybe it is the token, tries to figure out how to break it, but fails.
Bertram hugs the crying hollow female elf (Eloina) and tries to pull her back to her better self. He is partially successful so she partially pulls back and holds her sword at him but doesn’t attack. Atauk and Throkkel fight the other hollow elf. The elf misses. Throkkel misses. Atauk chops off her wrist and stuns her.
Nell does 13 damage to the hollow elf facing Bertram. Tanuukkodol does 25 hp damage to the hollow elf on the main level, adds another +1 per round, and kills him. The elf turns out to have been Marcos, who screams his siren song as he expires. Grafarlig tries to destroy the black sword of Marcos, but fails. Tanuukkodol tries as well, comes close, twice, but fails. But he staggers the goblins and hollow elves.
Atauk and Throkkel attack the hollow elf, who is staggered. Tanuukkodol again has a near success. Then Tanuukkodol rolls a 240, destroying the sword.
While Grafarlig robs the bodies, Tanuukkodol and Bertram heal the elf who lost her hand. There is full mithril armor, with no helmet, but with greaves or vambraces.
Bertram and Tanuukkodol go through the shimmering doorway (Grafarlig wanted to go, but lost the dice roll). It turned out that the skeleton in the throne room was an illusion, and that Thaylor was the old man they had met scribbling away. He was trying (uselessly) to map the ways. Tanuukkodol convinced him that perhaps there is no point to trying to map the ways. After mentioning that rabbit stew is the real meaning of life, Thaylor gave Tanuukkodol the ring of power, and then got the rest of the party and went up to the village for rabbit stew.
On the way, the party opened the chest they left a few times before. There are 2408 copper pieces, 142 silver, 7 gp. And a number of beautiful gems stuck to the case. Beautiful green gems. No thank you.
Bertram and Eloina went to visit the tomatoes. Bertram wishes to become Bertram Tomatoseed, spreading talking tomatoes throughout the land.
Tanuukkodol got the mithril armor, and gave his black ranger’s armor to Bertram. Drogo gave his permission to Bertram to keep the armor, even though he wasn’t a ranger. After all, the party had done more to aid the cause than Drogo himself, as of yet.
Atauk and Throckel are convinced that someone in the party got the ring of power, and want it, but are convinced that maybe it is still down in the dungeon, so they return to look. Tanuukkodol hides the ring, and visits the Blue Mage, who tells him to keep it for now. Tanuukkodol tells Bertram (the only one who knows he has the ring) that he gave it to the Blue Mage.
And from the east, they hear of a town burned to the ground by a mad elfin mage. Drogo nods sadly.