The party turned back toward the entrance, where they’d climbed down from the southern mausoleum, but as expected, the ladder went all the way to the ceiling of the room above, providing no egress. So they made do in the space below the stairs, just as it opened up into a door with a room. Souka Yant ordered her charmed gargoyles to stand watch over the door, which also received a deeply-struck iron spike.The chamber was cramped, and Grit’s stink made it hard for everyone to sleep, but they all fell out eventually…
Until at some small hour of the morning the gargoyles at the door alerted the party to the presence of something beyond, which could be heard to be a clawing, scrabbling noise, which grew louder and more insistent as the party woke and armed themselves. The smell of living flesh had brought the undead, and they were forcing their way in! As the spike in the door finally gave, the party launched an assault against half dozen scrawny pale creatures with gaping maws of rotten teeth and filth under their nails. The gargoyles took the worst of their paralyzing strikes, as the party attacked from range.
Having slept most of the night it was impossible to go back, and so the arcane spell-casters were unable to recover their spells. The rest of the party felt the fatigue as well, but had no ill effects, at least for the first night. The way back was still shut, so they proceeded back to the southerly branch from the room with the red ant skeleton.
Not far down into the inky darkness and rough-cut stone walls, they found what must be a secret door, cleverly painted to blend into the walls, but obvious to the touch, being made of wood. As the party stopped to search for a mechanism by which to open the portal, the rear guard called out that they were under attack! Another of those hallway-filling gelatinous creatures was crashing down over the back ranks!
Old Souka Yant was absorbed, picked up by the thing, her gargoyles and other nearby party members only just barely dodging out of the way in time. The paralytic jelly that constituted its body sent electric shocks through her body, causing near-death. At that moment her charm spell that had controlled the gargoyles stopped, and the party had three new adversaries to boot! The jelly horror sloshed forward as the party attacked it with swords and spells, and it soon dissipated in a gooey mess on the floor, while the gargoyles were slain one by one. As the cube died, it left the expired wizard lying motionless and covered in slime. Concorde managed to bring her back from the brink of death at the great disapproval of his deity, Choranus, who apparently thought it was her time. Further, all could see she seemed visibly diminished from the whole experience, some lifeforce never returning.
Grit carried Souka Yant now for a while, and the rest of the party went on to learn the secret door pushed up into the ceiling. The stench from beyond was of death, surprisingly strongly smelled over the ambient odor of dung and rot they’d almost grown accustomed to. Someone thought they heard a muffled snicker from ahead, and so creeping into a cavernous chamber, they were engaged in combat by another animated dead humanoid, which seemed to be the source of the smell. The smell in fact was so strong, all approaching had to cover their mouths or would occasionally tear up, making the fight against the undead more challenging. Whatever it was, it was clearly mad, as it congratulated the party for finding it, then laughed and cajoled the party as it died (again).
At least it had a chest that they knew contained gold, as the dwarves’ keen abilities had detected a faint amount down this way. Opening it turned out to be a simple matter, and it appeared to have 20 copper and 60 gold coins within! Something didn’t add up though. The dwarves would have known if it was so much gold, and only a trace was smelled, and indeed a close inspection showed the “gold” to be painted lead. The shrewd dungeoneers noted the chest detected magic as well, though, and no magic items appeared in the compartment. Some experimentation revealed the lid contained a small panel that could slide away to reveal the storage of 3 rolled-up scrolls writ on long strips of bone. What a find!