The four new reluctant additions the party stood guard the whole night, since they couldn’t sleep anyway. Neep and Kit kept them company, chewing on iron rations through the night. The spellcasters grumpily demanded to be left to sleep in this dank place, but it was not to be. Somewhere in the wee hours the spiked-shut door’s handle rattled. The peasants immediately moved as far from the door as possible. The handle jostling got louder and eventually rose to a banging. Everyone hoped Souka Yant and Kati and the rest wouldn’t awaken at the noise, but they did, quite grumpily.
Another of those horrifying black skeletons was trying to claw its way in, and the party set up to take it out quickly. Souka Yant’s gargoyles caused the most damage, but Squib launched the felling blow with a dart to one of its glowing red eyes.
No one having a good night’s sleep, and no spellcasters recovering their energies, the party slogged out to the east, according to their recollection of Athalis’s directions. They found the steep dirt slide down and fashioned extra-long ropes to make the descent controlled, Neep and Kit leading the way. After nearly two hours of labor, the entire party arrived in a tight dirt tunnel 5 feet in diameter at most, which glowed a faint green at the far end.
Cautiously at first, they proceeded into a large cavernous chamber, in which grew a strange glowing green fungus. It did not seem to cause any harm, so Neep dragged Gosu around for light as he explored, leaving the rest of the party to watch as their light threw weird shadows behind stalagmites across 60 feet of dirt cave. Initial exploration complete, a “blurpy-sounding” tunnel was investigated. An oily-smelling room with iridescent liquid lay at the end of a three-foot wide tunnel and was quickly rejected as the way forward.
Neep suggested going “this-a-way” which turned out to be a route to a carved stone corridor. Brushing the dirt off themselves, a dozen surface-dwellers felt a wave of evil wash over them. It had been building – ever since they entered hundreds of feet above – but here there was a palpable malevolence that everyone felt down their backs.
Quietly as they could, the party explored a huge oddly-shaped room that had but one door at the far end. Nothing much turned up, they proceeded through the door and found a tunnel that led to a well-kept abode. Six beds, evenly spaced, a large chest at the foot of each, Badda leapt at the first one to see how it opened, as the party spread into the room. Flipping the latch caused a cloud of noxious green gas to blast out! Those who breathed it succumbed to the poison, but only Irwin was unable to be attended by a laying on of hands. Amazingly, nothing but robes, cloaks and kris knives lay within.
Throwing a look at Badda, Souka Yant determined none of it was magical, but “that’n over there”, pointing at one of the other chests, had something magic inside as well as something magical in the locking mechanism. Badda maneuvered the chest so he could hopefully pull open the lid from a distance, using a length of rope on a freed latch. Through an amazing feat of agility requiring perfect balance he led the rope across the room and pulled, releasing a detonation of cold!
Everything in the room was covered in an inch of frost, but all lives were safe within the entryway. Badda rushed in to see what Souka detected, and he triumphantly held up a dark-blue leather tome with evil-looking silver glyphs welded on the front. The helm of language comprehension yielded no meaning from them. Thassiodon packed the book away for safekeeping.
No one dared to try another chest, so they went to the only door in the east wall. Iron-bound and well-maintained, unlike most of the doors they’d seen above, Aminatu approached to listen. Cautious though she was, merely touching the door caused a magical concussion to slam through the air. Souka Yant could see it coming as a glowing wave with her magical detection spell, and as it washed over the party, several minds suddenly went dumb, turning witty companions into village idiots.
What lay beyond must be important indeed to have such barriers! Throwing open the doors, they found a short hallway that led to a monstrous pair of doors…