Yngway the dwarf fighter sits down for a meal at the Leaky Barrel, the only tavern in Three Camps. As he eats, an orc appears and shows him four Reclaimer Employment Contracts. One is Yngway’s. The orc says that a dwarf named Garwer Metalhead has purchased the contract and expects Yngway immediately.
Yngway follows the orc to Prospectors’ Camp where Garwer’s tent is located. Garwer tells Yngway he will need to gather the other three freelancers whose contracts he has bought. With this crew, Yngway will have work that will take him out of Three Camps. The old dwarf tells Yngway to begin his search at the Leaky Barrel.
Yngway goes to the tavern and speaks to Kelvyn ur Fleigg, the Telfolken proprietor. Kelvyn tells him that one of the freelancers, the Molyalathi rogue Brunnya is actually sitting in the corner. Yngway buys her a drink and she offers to help him find the others. They try to talk to Zarseo who is busy with Kelvyn’s daughter Tylia, but he is rude and Kelvyn’s kicks him out before Yngway has a chance to shut him up. They next try Welxer who is close-mouthed and uncooperative until Kelvyn intervenes, he then says he knows where Matteo the Ciran sorceror’s tent is located. Yngway buys him a drink and he is overjoyed.
Together, Brunnya and Yngway go to Prospectors’ Camp to find Matteo. They ask him to come out of his tent and tell him the situation. He tells them he knows Talos, the fourth freelancer Garwer now employs. Talos is a worshipper of Adbehn and Matteo tells them he can be found praying on the western edge of Three Camps.
The three go to to find him. Since Talos is a myrmarch formian, a T’arfuri and his gang of thugs has taken issue with his worship of the T’arfuri sun god. They call him “monster” and “blasphemer”. Brunnya is not pleased with their racism and Matteo caustically tries to reason with the T’arfuri but to no avail. The goons attack Talos and the battle at the western outskirts begins. The T’arfuri is the only survivor of his side and scurries off into the twilight after crying for mercy, which Talos grants. Brunnya takes whatever money the dead had and then shares it out to the party.
Soon enough, a party of heavily armed dwarves shows up and demands an explanation. They pay Talos’ explanation little attention and instead focus on Matteo who simply says “religious differences”. Since the Reclaimers have established strict rules about religious and racial tolerance in Three Camps, this matter must be put before Guntar Blockbow the current Field Commander.
They are escorted to the Reclaimers’ Camp and have to repeat their story to Guntar himself. He deems it a fair fight and tells them to get lost and stay out of trouble. They head back to the road, intending to go to Garwer’s tent and Kasuk, Garwer’s orc assistant is already waiting for them. They follow him to Garwer’s tent.
Garwer calls for his son, Rolwai who brings out a heavy book with many old sheets of parchment sticking out. He places a current map of the Three Camps region on a table to show the party. He then places a less-detailed map showing a trail leading up into the mountain beside it. The two dwarves explain that the second map shows the location of a back entrance to the deep. Then they produce a thin metal sheet which Yngway recognizes as a Derwidian castwork. The castwork is a map of the area, covered in old Derwidian runes. The map labels the trail also and the dwarves explain this is what they based their newer map on. It is conclusive proof that this deep is Duargrad. They tell the party the story of how the deep was discovered, its secret covered up and then discovered anyway, which is all tied up with Garwer’s father Godrun Metalhead who died before his discovery was verified.
Their task will be to map out the cave system the trail leads to and try to find a way through it and into the deep. Garwer says he’ll pay extra for a good map and they are free to keep anything they find while inside.
It’s well after nightfall so the party decides to sleep until dawn, when Kasuk will guide them to where the trail begins. They find it easily enough and follow it up the mountain for hours without event. As night falls, they hear voices in the wind from further up the trail and also notice smoke rising from above the trees that cover the area.
Brunnya offers to scout ahead and comes back to report. She tells the party that it’s all coming from a dwarven campsite at the mouth of the caves. At the campsite, a party of goblins has killed the dwarves at the camp and are halfway through eating them. The camp is in disarray but there are only six goblins. Yngway and Talos hash out a battle plan and Brunnya again makes her stealthy way to a treeline to prepare for the ambush. As they head up the trail, Yngway steps on a dead branch and it snaps. As the goblins are alerted, the battle at the destroyed campsite begins.
After the battle, they search the campsite and Matteo discovers a journal written in Derwidian. Yngway reads it. It is the diary of Valwun Stoneshelf, a Reclaimer surveyor who discovered the cave entrance and was about to return to Three Camps with his partner when they were set upon by goblins. The last few pages detail Valwun’s last moments and implore anyone finding his diary to tell Guntar Blockbow of the danger posed by this unknown entrance into the deep. The rest of the diary is geographical information, none of which is interesting.
Though they are aware this knowledge is important and should be shared with Blockbow, the party elects to do Garwer’s job first. They prepare to enter the caves.