Fareth, Kurz, Laramanus, and Nimue are all on the first night of their week of guard duty. According to a briefing by Vunar, a burly and stern dwarf Warrior who is in charge of the guard patrols, they are to check the wards and seals, examine the Deeps for signs of trouble, and watch for any odd or troubling behavior among the residents. There have been no significant problems for many years, but Vunar is firm that this is no reason for reduced vigilance.
As they prepared for their duty, one of the guards from the previous week (a human Named Alvar) pulls them aside to warn them that he has heard scraping and banging noises from somewhere outside the kaer on several occasions over the past week. He heard the noises in both Shal’Minar and the Freedom Gate. None of the other guards heard them, but Alvar insists that he knows what he heard – and that something is trying to get into Kaer Siyar.
Early patrols through Shal’Minar and the Council Hall are uneventful. However, as they enter Okoros, the alarm bell in the center of the dome starts ringing, and an orkish voice begins to cry out, “Horrors! The Horrors have come!” The voice (and the mallet ringing the bell) belong to an ork fisherman Named Nago, who was doing some night fishing when Lake V’ross began to hiss and boil. As he backed away, Nago saw a “strange, scaly creature” emerging from the waters, and saw further movements in the water. He immediately sounded the alarm.
The residents of Okoros are waking, filled with fear and trepidation. The alarm bell in the Council Hall begins to pick up the alarm, and those in Khar Rhûz and Shal’Minar shortly follow suit. Some residents cower weeping in their homes; others grab whatever weapons they have and prepare to sell their lives dearly. Many of these, hearing Nago’s shouts, begin to converge on Lake V’ross.
There are, indeed, several hundred creatures emerging from Lake V’ross; however, they are identified as t’skrang before something regrettable happens. Y’bbn is among the first to ascend to the surface, but D’revos and the other t’skrang elders soon follow.
By this time, Vunar, Korun, and the other councilors have arrived. After some discussion (and more than a little shouting), the mob is calmed down and the alarm bells silenced. The t’skrang clearly expect the Scourge to be over, and are somewhat nonplussed when informed that they have apparently awakened over a century early. Korun invites the council of lahalas back to the main council chamber to discuss the matter. D’revos orders Y’bbn to accompany the PCs’ patrol in order to “begin learning about the kaer.”
The crowd begins to disperse; much good-natured (and not-so-good-natured) ribbing is given to Nago for raising the alarm. The t’skrang are somewhat at a loss as to what to do, they begin to disperse throughout the kaer, looking around and talking to people to learn what has happened. Vunar sternly urges the PCs to get back on their patrol, and not to allow another false alarm to be raised.
Later, the group hears a series of loud scraping and scratching noises from the direction of the Freedom Gate. When they arrive, they see that the kaer door shows many gouges and scratches, as though something was trying to claw through…from the inside. The seals seem intact so far, but the door clearly cannot stand too much more of this. The patrol contacts the Kaer Council and has a standing guard placed on the Freedom Gate.
The clear consensus is that a Horror (or something) has managed to breach the kaer. The gate is still intact, and the Deeps show no sign of breaching, so it’s initially unclear how the creature managed to enter. After some thought and investigation, the PCs realize that there’s another entrance to the kaer…the water gate, through which fresh water enters the kaer. It is warded, but an exploration into the tunnel reveals that the warded gate has been breached.
The kaer’s t’skrang, meanwhile, are in turmoil. Not only will the Council not open the kaer – despite the t’skrang’s insistence that Upandal would not awaken them before time – but the t’skrang will have no representation in the Council until the next elections, which are five years away (the last ones were only held a few months ago). Not surprisingly, this leads to a great deal of unrest and anger among the t’skrang, and while D’revos urges her people to remain calm, rumors of their discontent soon spread among the other Name-givers of the kaer.
Jurok Ghal, not surprisingly, takes this as an opportunity to lambaste the Kaer Council’s decisions yet again, proclaiming that the Scourge is over but that the Council is unwilling to set the people of the kaer free. More than a few young t’skrang seem inclined to join Jurok’s growing gang.