After freeing some slightly roasted halflings from their stations at the smelting stations, our heroes searched the top floor of the foundry and found not much of note. The halflings were glassy eyed and unresponsive, as if ensorcled by some magic or charm. Turning their attention to the trap door in a nearby room, the party got the jump on (literally, in Reverend’s case) an ogre guarding the bottom floor.
From there, they followed a short hallway and spied a cloaked human working at a table. The party quickly incorporated into the “One Man, One Dwarf Moving Company” and literally turned the tables on the cloaked figure. (Reverend was being particularly literal this session.) The wizard (or sorcerer, or something) put up a tough but brief fight in the face of an entire angry party of adventurers.
While the beaten man recovered from being enthusiastically subdued, Norik and Xandark investigated another doorway off the nearby hall. At the bottom of some stairs on the other side, they found an alter to the Burning Eye. Xandark fell prey to the alter’s spell, coming away with a desire to “serve the eye.” Apparently what the Eye wanted served first was strangled dwarf. Displaying a surprising amount of vim and vigor for a man his age, Xandark attempted to proselytize his fellow party member to the service of the Eye by wrapping all his available limbs around the dwarf and forcing him to look directly at the alter. The amazed and somewhat dumbfounded remainder of the party watched from the top of the stairs, unsure of whether to approach or not.
Eventually Kaden learned from the struggling Norik that viewing the alter was the source of Xandark’s mania, so he descended the stairs and managed to resist its spell long enough to shroud the alter in a thick mist.
That crisis averted, the party threw Xandark in a cell for safekeeping while they interrogated the battered wizard. He was not helpful, though he did reveal that the miners were more interested in extracting the explosive substance from the iron ore than the ore itself. Taking inspiration from basic chemistry, the party used a large jar of the stuff to concoct a makeshift bomb in order to destroy the Eye’s alter. Kaden lit the fuse with a simple cantrip, and when he regained consciousness a short time later the alter was gone, along with most of the halfling’s eyebrows.
The alter destroyed, the remaining halflings of Briar’s Glen (and Xandark) regained their wits. With the help of the party, the remaining miners were killed our routed and a ragtag militia was established to protect the town. The party now set its sights on the actual mines where the explosive material was being drawn from the earth. Here also is the last known location of Kaden’s erstwhile assistant Jahn and the town’s former benefactor, the druid Morin Dalewalker.