'The Blizzard be strong outside, lads; settle yehself in and breathe the steam; we'll pass the time with a story.'

'Now, I be sure yeh've heard o' The great haunted ice-stronghold of Baleoth! Home to neither White-orc nor Dwarf for fear of the dreaded revenants and wraiths which plague its frozen halls. Few do know of the history of Baleoth, but we dwarves have a long memory, and my ancestors happened to live within its walls, many centuries past. It weren't always known as Baleoth, y'see; once, it was known as Masgolth, and was one of the greatest of our strongholds. Let me tell you of the great Dwarf-King Odilius and how he stole the fire from the mountain itself to save his people.'

The tale of Masgolth's Fire

Masgolth was one of the greatest thriving dwarven cities many centuries ago, carved beneath the great mountain, Balnorth. For many years its great forges and mines supplied countless riches and equipment to all the Dwarves of Esgoloth, under the generous rule of Odilius. But, just like the rest of their kind, the dwarves of Masgolth had grown complacent with their lifestyles and were unprepared for the White-Orc uprising.

Led by the Orc Witch Kasgar, a vast army arrived at the gates of Masgolth. The battle was furious and many lives were claimed on both sides, but ultimately the Dwarven defenders fell and Odilius made the order to retreat the remnants of his populace inside the walls and bar the great iron gates.

Kasgar was a wily foe however, and anticipated this. With the aid of five other Orcish Witches, he called on the elemental rock of Balnorth itself to shake and shudder under his will. Under the mountain, the Dwarves of Masgolth could only listen to the tremors, as great sheets of ice dislodged from the mountain above and smothered the entrances to the city with tonnes of snow. Leaving the Dwarves to their wintry tomb, Kasgar withdrew his Orcs to the snowfields, knowing that the few remaining dwarves lacked the manpower to break apart the iron gates and dig through the masses of ice before starvation would set in. The Orcs would return in some months to dig out Masgolth and claim it at their leisure.

Deep within their frozen tomb, Odilius began to despair. He knew the situation was dire. Many days passed, but the dwarves could not break through the iron gates with their tools, and explosives used at the entrance would simply risk a further cave-in.
In his despair, Odilius wandered the halls of Masgolth. He found himself traveling deeper and deeper into the mountain, where the dwarves rarely venture. Finally, he entered the great Fire-Well under the mountain; a massive, cavernous room which held within it a breach in the floor which exposed roiling magma. The Fire-Well was the source of heat in Masgolth via vents and tunnels. Here, all alone, He prayed to Rivval; for back then, the goddess of Fire and Earth belonged to the Dwarves.
From the fiery scar in the ground erupted a great armored being of fire and flesh; Odilius's prayers were answered by an angelic messenger of Rivval herself! But the news brought by it's voice of grinding earth and roaring flame was not what the Dwarf King wanted to hear.

The Mountain is eternal and the core shall burn for all time; such is not true of mortals. Your time wanes, Odilius of Masgolth. Change comes and those who resist shall be ash.

To this, Odilius cried 'No! You must grant me the power to change the fate of my people!'

Fate is not Rivval's domain, Dwarf King. Only Certainty. Accept.

Odilius, driven by the desperation of his people, brought his great warhammer to bear and swung futilely at the Fiery messenger; though he knew his attack would be useless.

Another force must have been watching, however - one with the power to bend dreams into reality - for moments before the weapon struck, Odilius could have sworn he saw a flash of glass reflecting from the shadows. He swore he heard the horrible cry of a wolf and the grinding of glass from within his head!

The hammerhead struck the figure in the chest and a burst of light and sparked exploded forth from the impact, momentarily blinding the king! His vision cleared seconds later and he saw that the being's angelic armor was sundered! Odilius's saw that his Warhammer was transformed - it seems his mysterious benefactor had converted his weapon into an exquisite, ornately designed hammer of obsidian.

The angel wailed and thrashed in it's death throes, and as it died, the Odilius's hammer head flared brightly. All the fire and light the angel gave off was drawn in to the weapon. But it did not stop there! From the crevasse below, all the heat and flame given off by the magma was drawn up, searing Odilius's body as it was absorbed by hammer, leaving nothing but cold stone left.
It is said that the moment Odilius slew Rivval's angel and stole the fire from Balnorth was the moment Rivval forever rejected the Esgol Dwarves from her molten heart.

The Obsidian hammer head glowed so hotly that the very air around it warped and danced, yet Odilius was saved from the worst of the heat through whatever mysterious power also gave him this weapon. The Dwarf King made his way back up to the entrance of Masgolth - as he traveled through the halls once more, the very walls melted and warped from the heat of his weapon. Odilius swung the hammer at the frozen iron gates, and with each swing, spews of molten lead sprayed every direction. The dwarf king burned his way through the tonnes of ice trapping his peoples and led them to freedom. With his hammer in hand and his people behind him, he began the hunt for the White Orcs, leaving the now-frozen Masgolth to be forever claimed by the ice and snow, and the minions of whatever mysterious force aided the king in his time of need.

'And that be the tale of Odilius and the fall of Masgolth. It is said that he found and slew the white-Orcs that laid siege to the city, but he himself died in the battle. Odilius's Warhammer be told to lie where that final battle took place; now a great lake of boiling water in the middle of the frozen ice fields east of Baleoth.

Many a dwarf has tried to reclaim tha' hammer, but none succeeded. It is thought that if we could somehow bring the hammer back to Baleoth and release the fire from it, we could reclaim Masgolth as our own; imagine, one of the greatest of the old strongholds, brought back and claimed by the dwarves.

One thing makes yeh wonder though... What strange force helped the ol' king? What power could possibly rival that of the gods!?

The Warhammer of Odilius

Given the power to hold the heat of a great volcanic mountain by a mysterious entity, the Warhammer of Odilius radiates a heat so powerful it can melt iron and stone. Those within 30 feet of the hammer will suffer great fire damage, until they manage to grab a hold of the handle, whereupon they will be granted immunity to all fire and heat related effects. If one does not grab the weapon in time they will surely perish.

Fire immunity is not granted to any allies, so companions should make sure to keep their distance if one of them wields this weapon. Obviously it will pose many issues if it were brought into a populated area, let alone a forest (instant forest fire!). Snow will melt under the wielder's feet, and if he were to let go, his immunity will be gone - one must throw the hammer away from them if they want to stop carrying it. The logistics of such a weapon are a challenge.

This weapon can be found as a stand-alone item, or as part of a quest to help the Esgol Dwarves reclaim Esgoloth. If the hammer is brought back to the bowels of Baleoth and the head shattered, the fire of Balnorth will be returned to the mountain, banishing any evil spirits which reside within and warming up the ancient city, making it livable once more.

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