Khalesh

From A History of the Northwest Region of the Dragon Empire by Abraxas Weatherwell, sixth printing, courtesy of the private collection of Count Henry of the Black March:

And yet, I insist that I have not only seen these so-called wild elves, but have spoken with their elders, accompanied their hunters in search of game and seen with my own eyes a terrifying struggle between their warriors and an owl-bear. Sitting around their campfires I have heard strange tales of this country that I am sworn not to repeat, but which would curdle your blood to hear: of the Icy Lake Ghost Woman, the Crow Mountain Light, and the living dungeon Khalesh, which could not be defeated but only halted in its relentless ascent to the surface during the Second Age by an alliance of icons such as had not been seen since the final battle against the Wizard King.

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The entrance to the dungeon is in a buried chamber, recently discovered by dwarven miners digging a new tunnel in the Thunder Falls gold mine near Foothold. The entrance takes the form of a metal door etched with screaming faces, set in the open mouth of a huge stone face. In an archway around it are the symbols of 10 icons of the Second Age:

  • Emperor
  • Elf Queen
  • Dwarf King
  • Prince of Shadows
  • Archmage
  • Crusader (not the current, dark Crusader but an earlier Crusader of light)
  • Fool
  • Opener of Ways
  • Queen of Cups
  • Lady of Ravens

A ruby-eyed, rune-carved skull is set into the metal door. If a creature approaches the entrance, the skull speaks, saying:

Traveler: thou standeth at the entrance to a place of terror and woe. There is nought within but death. Turn away, if ever ye wish to see the light again.

If the creature draws closer, the skull makes a psychic attack against it. If the skull is destroyed, the door forms an identical replacement over the course of three days.

A legend says that the icons hid the tomb of the first Orc Lord in this dungeon, along with his magic axe Kingslayer. Word of this legend has gotten to the current Orc Lord, and his forces have made at least one failed attempt to invade the mine and enter the dungeon.

The Foothold inquisition has reported that on one occasion, the skull spoke with what seemed to be the voice of the dungeon itself, revealing details of its binding and clues as to how to open the gate and enter.

The vampire Eleodra Malfador is the only creature still in existence who witnessed the dungeon’s binding. She taught the necessary ritual to Elanesse. The ritual itself is long and involved, but easy to learn. However, to perform it, you must have the following with you:

  1. Something the Emperor cannot rule.
  2. Something the Elf Queen has forgotten.
  3. Something the Dwarf King cannot craft.
  4. Something the Prince of Shadows cannot steal.
  5. Something the Archmage does not know.
  6. Something the Crusader cannot destroy.
  7. Something the Fool hasn’t lost.
  8. Something that the Opener of Ways cannot compel.
  9. Something the Queen of Cups would sacrifice her virtue to possess.
  10. Something the Lady of Ravens cannot kill.

Khalesh

Blackmarch WadeRockett WadeRockett