Having received the package Bairwin required, they decided to make the trip back to Winterhaven right away. They spent another week traveling the trade routes and arrived in town, much to Bairwin's surprise. He gladly paid them for their troubles and complimented them on their unexpected speed. With a little more coin in their purse, they headed back to Thunderspire.
Upon arriving, they noticed that they were treated a little differently than before. They received wary looks and were given a wider berth. A few people would quickly cross the street to get away from them. Nachi seemed to take some enjoyment of this new treatment and scared a few passerbys. At one point, Sophana caught what looked like Brugg chuckling out of the side of his mouth when seeing this.
Saul wanted to get a magical item he had in mind so they went to shop at House Azaer. He didn't have nearly enough gold to pay for what it, so he performed a ritual to create fool's gold and entered the store with Nachi, and Sophana. They met Noristo, a young tiefling merchant with a sly smile, and were able to pass off the fake gold as real gold and left with their new goods. Soon after Allyria and Tasil entered to look around. Allyria unknowingly caught the eye of Noristo, who offered to personally help moisturize her tail. Allyria turned red (which is quite a feat for a tiefling) and stumbled out the door with Tasil close behind snickering.
The group decided to question the duergar in the Grimmerzhul Trading Post about a letter they found in the Bloodreaver's hideout. Nachi attempted to intimidate his way into some information and while everyone was distracted Tasil stole one of the bracelets on display. Nachi's attempts were met with near-open hostility and they decided to take a different approach. Nachi went up to Brugg and informed him that he had proof that the Grimmerzhul clan is purchasing slaves and that he might want to get the mages involved. Brugg informed him that while he respects the group after hearing some of the rumors about them, unless there's something happen within the Seven Pillared Hall, he and the mages don't care what happens.
Finding no help, they decided to take matters into their own hands. They returned to the Chamber of Eyes (the Bloodreaver hideout) to find it empty and tracked the slaves from there. With the help of some teamwork, Sophana is able to track them through the tunnels until they ended at the Horned Hold, a minotaur fortress that the Grimmerzhul converted into a stronghold. It consists of three parts connected by bridges over a deep chasm.
Upon arriving at the entrance they were greeted by some orcs inside the gated entrance. After dealing with some crossbow shots and spear stabs, Nachi teleported past the gate in the hopes of finding a lever to open the door. Unfortunately all he found were some angry orcs and a duergar guard, who quickly surrounded him. The rest of the party was left outside, fighting as best as they could through the gate while Tasil attempted to unlock it. Nachi got knocked unconscious numerous times before everyone was able to take control of the room. After a short rest and some healing, the party took a look around at their surroundings. They found a hall with a few locked doors and examined the rooms behind said doors. One of the doors opened into a armory, which they proceeded to ransack. The other doors opened into empty barracks with footlockers filed with nothing but clothing and hygiene products, much to the disappointment of Tasil.
The next door held back the sounds of roaring fires and hammers hitting anvils. The party gathered their courage and burst through the door to meet a couple of duergars and orcs working in a blacksmith area being directed by a large duergar covered in soot carrying a huge hammer and barking out orders. Within no time a fight broke out with the smithy flinging spells and slurs in equal measure. It was a hard fought battle, but in the end the heroes won out.
They searched the area and took what finished weapons they could find. They also stumbled upon the smithy's bedroom and were surprised to see an ornamental scepter that resembled the one Gendar talked about. Other than that they found little of value.
Having dealt with two groups of foes, everyone was feeling a little worn out and decided to take their chances and sleep in a small abandoned room off of one of the barracks they discovered. Saul magically locked all the doors they had explored and the group went to sleep with Nachi going into his trance to keep an eye out. Within the first hour, Saul was awakened with the knowledge that one of his locks had been broken. He quietly crept up to Nachi to let him know what was going on. Hour after hour another lock was broken, some leading to their room and some leading away. The rest of the party needed 8 hours to be fully rested and it wasn't until the ninth hour that the duergar search party unlocked the door leading to them. With everyone else well rested, the party sprang to the defense, taking out duergars left and right. Nachi and Tasil were able to take out an invisible scout before he could warn the rest of the hold. Together they decided to head down the hall the scout was head toward and find the slaves.