Our heroes had freed the last of the four weirds and received the whole of the prophecy, thus fulfilling their goals-at least for now-at the Mountain of Forbidden Knowledge. They made to return to Drogue, stopping by one last time at Ralph’s home before they went. Ralph was out foraging, so his wife answered the party as they came banging on the cellar door, and asking if she was sure she wouldn’t return with them to Drogue. She was sure-confident that Drogue would fall soon, she asked only that the party repair the telegraph line to the city, so they could learn when the last hope had vanished. The party promised her that they would do so, and proceeded back across the snow fields to the train wreck, where the severed telegraph line twisted and writhed and coughed up torrents of blue sparks. By opening his body and soul up yet again to eldritch and alien influences, Paeael was able to gain a working knowledge of telegraphs, but lacked the time and equipment to repair the cable. Rhyken offered to mend the cable by means of minor magics, but his 0th level spells were not sufficient to restore the cable. So, the party moved back to Drogue on the war sleigh pulled by its team of dire caribou, unable to repair the cable (and so, contact Frank back at Drogue).
Some days later, they came back to the imposing mountain that housed the Dwarven capital. They approached one of the reinforced steel doors that offered passage into and out of the mountain, and were able to prove their identity by means of slamming into the dwarven guards at a full run in a brutal headbutting contest (which, apparently, is a traditional Dwarven expression of greeting, apology, and romantic affection). Once back inside the city-well, mostly back inside the city, as Sergei stayed out in the snow beyond the mountain, biding his time by casting bullets over a campfire-the party sought to learn more about the prophecy, and resolved to consult with the members of Silver and Steel. On the way to the chapterhouse, the adventures found that many of the inhabitants of Dorgue were standing in clusters in the street. These gatherings varied in mood-some seemed exultant, the townsfolk given to brash shouting and cheers, while other groups primarily composed of older citizens were grave and spoke in low tones heavy with worry. Sure enough, the local papers were all ablaze with news from the front: the Mordent had made their first incursions into Dwarven territory, only to be repulsed by the stalwart Dwarven defense forces. One photo showed a number of dwarves standing over the shattered corpses of Mordent much as hunters might pose with trophy kills, with a wrecked Mordent war machine spewing smoke in the background. For some dwarves, who had been waiting all of their lives to fight a “good” war, this was a cause for celebration. For others, this was a cause for much concern. The guys headed on up to the chapterhouse of Silver and Steel. They spoke with the new commander, a dwarven wizard by the name of Agtha Flowerfriend, about the prophecy, and learned that the “Bones of the Earth” was a phrase that figured in local folklore (after further consultation with Mistress Ambassador Ak’lith Denvirr, the party would learn that the “bones of the earth” is a phrase used to describe the deepest regions of the Underdark where the very stones themselves begin to melt and turn to magma; this is the region staked out by the Drow nation of Kalyza Dal’Oloth after their centuries of conflict with the dwarves and gnomes of Drogue). Further research in municipal libraries and Mistress Ambassador Ak’lith Denvirr’s personal collection hinted that the Tears of the Moon might be referring to Moondrop Gems, and also that an overly-ambitious king in ages past, believing the moon to be made of purest silver, attempted to build a tower to the moon to harvest its riches. It is not known whether he succeeded in achieving this impossible feat; it is known that few who have ever attempted to scale the tower have returned.
During the debriefing, in which the party confessed that it had seen neither hide nor hair of the former commander of Silver and Steel who had gone off to investigate the happenings of the Mountain of Forbidden Knowledge, Atu-Sinda and Terra asked if they might join the organization, the better to fight back against the threat of the Mordent. Agtha promised that she would consult with the leading council, and that their membership was practically assured. The heroes agreed to be inducted after they had finished with their current task of infiltrating Rodion labs. Agtha agreed to help them in this task, and sent them to speak with an operative who had an intimate knowledge of Rodion labs. This operative turned out to be a badly malformed…person…whose eyes were set aslant in its face and who blinked out of sequence, and whose body was otherwise concealed beneath layers of bandages and reinforced plate mail. The operative, who went by the name of Jesse, informed the heroes that Rodion Labs had built a field office in the ruins of Guia; he also cautioned them to not be taken alive, and urged them to pick up some of the “glory devices” worn by members of Silver and Steel that would immolate their bodies in a burst of white phosphorous fire as a last resort, to prevent capture and to (hopefully) immolate the corpse so completely that it could not be reanimated. He took them to another member of Silver and Steel, a haggard old cleric who wore her armor as though it were a penitent punishment. She teleported the party to her ruined chruch in Guia, and told them to return within twenty-four hours or she would have to leave without them. Sergei, incidentally, was teleported along with the party inside of his trusty steel crate, which he had begun to decorate with stickers of all of the places he had traveled. The church itself had been the victim of considerable vandalism. All its windows, save one, had been smashed out, with Mordent jargon spray-painted on the walls. The few holy relics still scattered about with in the church had been defiled by being coated with something like black tar, turning them into crude parodies of themselves. Atu-Sinda would have stayed to restore the holy symbols, but the cleric convinced him that this was a time for direct action, not for symbolism, and so the party proceeded on to the laboratories.
The trek from the church to Rodion Labs was a relatively short one, interrupted only by a Mordent patrol that included infantry as well as a great lumbering beast of steel, as big as a house, with a tremendous cannon that jutted from a central turret on the thing’s top side. The party evaded the patrol, and went on, until progress was halted by a perimeter fence that hummed with latent energy. Sergei shorted out the fence, evoking bursts of electrical sparks from the interrupted current, and the party slipped beneath and into the compound. In the distance, across a field of snow, the heroes could see a cluster of kwansit hut bunkers. They made their way over the snow-field, stopping when they saw a human girl standing in front of a doorway in the front of the bunker. Her back was turned to them, and her long curled hair and the ragged remains of her blue dress fluttered about her body, animated by the cold wind. Sergei slipped off to the side as the rest of the party approached the girl under the protection of an invisibility spell. Once they had approached, the girl turned. The party saw that her face had been badly mauled, with chunks of flesh missing from her cheek that exposed the teeth beneath, and one eye absent from its socket. The wounds looked as though they had been inflicted by human teeth. The girl clutched her left arm to her chest; the flesh had been eaten away, leaving only ragged rags of red tendon that twitched sporadically. She had the chance to say “I smell something” before Sergei, on Atu-Sinda’s order, shot her down. The disturbance awakened the other Viral Deathspawn who had been lying in wait beneath the snow. Fully one-hundred and fifty mangled corpses clawed their way out from beneath the snow, and with one terrible simultaneous shout that gave voice and gave vent to their anger and their hunger, they charged the heroes. Fighting back furiously with spells and with gunfire, the party was able to blast most of the undead mob before it had closed the gap. Atu-Sinda and Terra went toe-to-toe with the remaining zombies; Terra was briefly engulfed by the mob, and went down under a barrage of tearing teeth and grasping claws before leaping out with a maneuver. The undead defeated, the party turned back to the door, and prepared to enter the Rodion Research Facility…