Neep literally got carried away on the wings of his gargoyle pets, while Souka Yant watched in utter annoyance. The halfling would be useless, so she’d have to do everything herself again. Pulling up her britches, she lofted a door-opening spell she’d used before at the huge steel doors. Two full breaths of knocking and clicking ceased with a final thunk, and she declared the door open by her spell.
The party rushed through to get to the trapdoor before the floor started rising significantly. The last of them was descending the secret ladder before the floor had gone more than two feet. A month since they’d been here last, they were wary of new denizens, but none were to be found, save a pair of cave crawlers that nearly slew Souka Yant (if it hadn’t been for Kati) and claimed the life of Gosu the Well-Paid Ne’er-Gigolo Torchbearer.
Two hours of careful retracing of the upper levels and managing a great dirt slide put them outside the temple of Orcus they’d overturned. Barak had a mission to deposit a heavy leather-wrapped package into the lava. Distant thunder and an inexplicable darkening followed, which passed slowly.
Taking the only door out of the temple, they found stairs that wound down into the darkness. As they descended it got colder, enough that everyone could see their own breathing. Thankfully it was dry, but also there was a strange acrid and musty smell that reminded vaguely of the aromas coming from Ulman Dark’s abode. The room they found themselves in seemed to be large and full of stone coffins going on into the darkness.
Keeli aimed her evil detection spell in an arc around the room and spotted three evil sources. She alerted the party to them, and the whole lot jumped as coffin lids were thrown aside and wild howls echoed suddenly throughout the hall. Evil humanoid creatures that looked bereft of skin and having long black claws rushed toward them, seeking to scratch icy fingers across human flesh. When they succeeded the effect was awful. Boiling lesions appeared at wound sites. Worse, the creatures’ seeming conduit with realms of decay caused the affected to lose parts of themselves forever.
The undead did not die easily, and Souka Yant summoned her mightiest magic missile yet at great personal cost of the little life force she had. Four of them exploded in cold gibbets, mostly at range, though Aminatu got a face-full of undead. These horrific creatures seemed to keep no treasure, and finding no secret doors, in the room, the party egressed.
Keeli found it immediately apparent on the south wall outside the chamber of coffins, a steel door camouflaged to seem like the surrounding stone. It wasn’t trapped, so she wasn’t sure why her spell was informing her of the secret door’s presence. The spell gave no hint how the door opened, though…