On the hottest day of the summer so far, most of the village was gathered at The Stone Circle. Caermore was serving icy cold ale and mead to his thirsty patrons, including the young outsiders who were slowly being considered acceptable – but definitely not locals.
The door burst open and Kurt, a young shepherd staggered in with a wild tale of a missing sheep that his older brother Thiel had gone looking for. He hadn’t returned all day, which was unlike him.
The outsiders offered to help him find his brother, and they set out into the blistering heat without any delay. After an hour-long walk, they were able to locate the herd of sheep and the tracks of Thiel going Northwest. Derwyndal called upon Chauntea to help him find the missing sheep, his magic guiding him towards where the group suspected the sheep to be – one of the many stone circles that dot the valley.
It was apparent that one of the stones from the circle had fallen, leaving a large opening in the ground. The group returned the sheep while Barrett remained to guard the hole. They bade Kurt to stay with the flock while they investigated.
After lighting lanterns, the group found that there were steep steps leading into the earth. They descended about one hundred feet before finding a chamber filled with an eerie blue mist. They soon discovered that the room was trapped, as first Barrett fell into an open pit, and then Dankhan almost did the same but saved himself at the last minute.
While using his lantern to scout the ground ahead, Karn was struck by something in the mist – it moved too fast for him to get a good look at it. After some hesitation, the group moved forward. Unfortunately, that path was also trapped and Karn fell into a spiked pit! He was not the only occupant of the pit – the group had found Thiel.
While most of the group was removing the body from the pit and opening the door beyond it, Barrett was attacked by a creature out of the mist. It looked like a dark elf, but with an extra pair of arms, faceted eyes like a bug and large mandibles instead of a lower jaw. It fought with four daggers, while Barrett faced it with his trusty bo sticks. A couple of stout hits later, the beast had fallen.
Karn helped himself to the best of the creature’s four daggers while the others noted it wore armour and held a shield – all made of webbing. They opted to leave the mist and headed on. Ignoring a long corridor, they entered a doorway on the other side and were faced with more doors and a hall lined with alcoves. Upon investigating a room beyond one of the doors, they found strange green glowing webs. While manipulating their lights to see if it glowed in the dark, Derwyndal was attacked by a monstrous spider! He received a nasty bite from it, but recovered from the shock long enough to shout that it was a Phantom Spider – an undead beast!
Only Berek’s enchanted axe was able to hurt the creature, which earned him a bite from the poisoned fangs as well. He swung and swung and finally managed to kill it. Both Berek and Derwyndal found themselves tired and nauseated by the poison, but they pressed on.
After Abner found a hidden room behind a statue in one of the alcoves (and almost got herself poisoned), the group was able to note a long-abandoned stone workshop. They left it almost undisturbed and pressed on.
At the end of the hall, they found a strange gem-shaped room tiled in alternating black and red panels. A glowing globe hung above the altar at the far end, and a two other exits offered alternate paths. Derwyndal was able to decipher the script on the altar as:
Who seeks to recall life’s past light
Walks with sufferance to the right.
Who seeks a test from those bereft
Walks with reticence to the left.
Barrett noticed that there was a glowing harp inside the globe, while Abner and Berek investigated the low-ceilinged passage to the east. Karn leapt from the altar to grab the globe – unfortunately, it and the harp both smashed upon landing.
Meanwhile, Berek and Abner found a second harp! When they grabbed it, the long-dead former owner attacked them, nearly killing Berek. Calling upon his god, he was able to heal the worst of his wounds, drawing a grumble from the still-wounded Karn.
The group investigated the obsidian door to the west, finding it to be a room that teleported those who entered to an unknown location. One by one, they entered, Abner taking her time to see if they would return first.
The destination turned out to be a dirt-floored room with a low ceiling and an age-darkened skull in an alcove. The harp began to play on its’ own and despite extensive experimentation, it was almost thirty minutes later that the skull began to speak. It offered the heroes a test of wits or of strife. Wary of their ability to solve a riddle, they chose strife and were attacked by more dead men! The battle was fierce, dropping the druid into unconsciousness. Eventually, the group prevailed and the earth spewed forth a leather bag – touching it transported them back to the black and red room.
Badly mauled the group opted to seek rest in the secret room and stayed there for more than a full day, regaining some of their strength. The bag turned out to have strange gold coins, gems and a bottle the group believes to be a magic potion in it! Abner generously carried the gems, they split up the coins and Karn carried the potion.
The group decided not to press their luck so soon into their careers and retrieved Thiel’s body before leaving the underground areas. After some discussion, they headed back to town. Theil’s father and brother tearfully accepted his body – as well as an offer to assist with the burial the next day from Berek.