No sooner did Baba Zeez hack an opening through the northwestern door with that handaxe, the northern door was heard to be unlocked and thrown open. The man standing in the door could not be seen, as he carried no light, but he called into the room, the party’s torches and lanterns lighting up the group clustered near the door.
The party made it clear they were not invited and possibly even here to loot the place, so the huge man strode into the room, a great club in one hand and wearing soiled leathers and a loincloth. He smelled like he lived down here for many years and attacked like a madman. The party overcame him quickly though, despite his mighty blows, Grit managing to grapple him, and then The Rev throwing a paralysis spell. Not planning to take prisoners, and figuring this hulking stinking warrior would be of no help anyway, they just cut his throat and let him bleed out.
While The Rev started his hour-long penance for offending his deity (not very shocking, since he could not even remember his name sometimes), the party explored beyond the freshly hacked-open door. The corridor beyond twisted around and distantly a rumbling sound could be heard, reminding listeners of the spiked ball they’d discovered earlier. Not wanting to split up from The Rev, the party lingered and snacked, hoping he’d wrap up his business quickly.
Unfortunately, Rappan Athuk had other ideas. Suddenly, in the hall beyond the hacked door, a flood of darkness came forth, devouring illumination from lanterns and magic shields alike. Accompanying the blackness was a soul-shredding shriek that sent half the party fleeing. Those who kept their wits were in for a dire battle in utter darkness. The shrieking was almost surely that of a black skeleton, which they’d first encountered in the entrance mausoleum, so clerics assumed they could attempt to turn these undead. During melee, it was certain it was the black skeletons, sword and axe clanging on metallic bones. However, these undead were found to be incredibly powerful, and only one turned, and another was magically frightened, but the ones remaining killed Concorde and nearly felled Baba.
Baba shouted to run, and Grit ran toward the skeletons! “Not that way!” yelled Baba as he ran past the confused Grit, jumping wrecklessly through the hacked door, Souca Yant in tow. Thinking quickly Beilar started casting her magical force spell. “Please let it not be apples,” she thought, and was lucky enough to get not one but two force shields, which she slammed behind Grit as he climbed through the door, black skeletons right on his heels.
The party gathered up The Rev and fled the outer room before the force shields expired. They took the filthy madman’s key, from wherever the Rev found it on his corpse, and locked the northern door behind them, hoping to trap the skeletons within. After a few moments, they believed it worked, as no sounds of pursuit were heard.
Grumbly showed the party the room he discovered when he was “scouting ahead for an escape route” during the battle with the black skeletons. There was a large bloody hook on the wall by the archway entrance, and in the far corner was a large “nest” made of rags and skins and fleas, which was presumed to be the bedding of the madman. They looked around briefly, and seeing mostly the remains of what must have been old meals strewn across the floor, left the way they came.
Down the hall the other direction were a series of doors. The first was locked, but Velma unlocked it readily with her trusty thieves’ tools. Apparently not having seen light nor food for a long time, the dozen or so giant rats within cowered in the corners when the party opened the door. The party had no trouble hacking the rats to pieces, and then they searched the room, but found nothing. Why had someone locked giant rats in here?
The next door was similarly locked, and when opened revealed a room also full of giant rats, but these had all been slain months ago, now quite rotted. Grit spotted a spittoon in the corner, which had a nice brassy gleam on the outside. The inside was full of a thick brown liquid, which he promptly stuck his hand into to root around for hidden treasure. He felt something. It was a chain! And when he yanked it out, brown liquid splashing into his surprised open mouth, there was a red gem hanging at the end. “Shiny!”