After dividing their loot, the group discussed whether they should mount another foray into the dark hole beneath the stone circle. It was a heated debate, but it was finally decided that they would. Geared up as much as possible, they headed back to the hills.
After a brief look for new tracks or signs of monsters, they travelled down into the cool darkness. There, they were mindful of the pit traps in the room of the blue haze. Once they exited it, they journeyed down a path they hadn’t taken before. This lead to a room that looked like it was victim to an explosion. The fact that the room was behind two well-hidden doors intrigued the group even more. While investigating the room, they noticed that the only visible exit was chocked with dark grey webs. Meanwhile, Abner noticed another hidden door. This one lead to a small storage area with a chest. She successfully picked the lock, but failed to notice the trap. Steel shrapnel tore into them as the chest was opened, but timely assistance from the healers ensured everyone’s survival.
The chest proved to be worth the trouble, as they pulled several potion bottles from it as well as bags of dust, and a spell scroll.
Derwyndal was intrigued by the webs and used his hivemaster skills to walk through them, encountering a group of creatures similar to the one in the blue haze! He wisely retreated, but not before being spotted. He warned the others and they soon observed the webs bouncing and shaking as they were cut down one by one.
When the last web fell, they found themselves facing not one or two of the creatures, but a dozen. Battle was imminent, when one of them stepped forward and spoke in common! He yelled for a cease to the hostilities. After a short, tempermental discussion, the group discovered that he wanted them to come with him to meet his superior – but that it required surrendering their arms. Only a few went, the rest being mistrustful. Even after that, Berek, Barrett and Dankhan nearly had a fight on their hands. The others went to speak with Uelwen, the leader of the strange creatures. The one leading them was called Vald.
After talking for a few minutes, the others were convinced to join them and all heard that the creatures were slaves to the drow. Their race escaped a dozen years ago and found this place. They existed peacefully, always in fear of being discovered by the drow. A few weeks ago, their leader Caullum found a way into tunnels beneath their city. That was when the “nightmares” began walking in their halls. The best the group could make out was that there was no distinction between the races of monsters down here to the four-armed slaves. To them, all were “nightmares”. Uelwen asked for their help. If they would help lead the ones not with Caullum to a thick forest within a day of the stone circle, they would pledge that they would harm none in the valley and live a life of peace.
The creatures asked for the group’s help in destroying an unknown number of dark elves below. If they agreed to do this, no harm would come to them or the valley. After a short discussion, the group agreed. To help ensure their success, Uelwen sent Vald with them (to his surprise)!
The group set out with Vald. He advised that there were two ways down. To the south was faster but more dangerous, while the west was longer but safer. They elected to go west. Ignoring many doors as they travelled down corridors, the group chose to investigate on that was slightly ajar. Within was another door – in that chamber was a crude stone nest – guarding it were a trio of strange bird-like creatures. They looked like overly-large ostriches with large axe-shaped beaks and vicious claws on their feet. They attacked immediately, and it was all the group could do to defeat them. A very hard-fought battle won them some coins, four potions that turned out to be healing potions and a bone ring. They moved on.
Very soon after, Karn found another pit. In this one, he discovered an old skeleton with rotting gear, except for some arrows that were still intact. Pocketing them, he climbed out and the group continued.
Soon after, Vald led them to a door. Beyond it he warned, was the way down to their city. They entered and found a spiral staircase leading down. As they walked down the narrow stairs, they soon had their breaths taken away. The stairs emerged from the ceiling of a gigantic cavern. A large sphere of webs, perhaps the was suspended from web lines. The sphere had buildings atop it and hundreds of the four-armed slave creatures (and spiders) on it. Luckily, there were no guards on the stairs as the group exited from them a safe distance from the city.
Vald warned them that if they encountered any of his race, that he would do the talking. With this in mind, he led them out of the dead-end cave they were in towards an opening on the right. There, they noticed two of Vald’s kin repairing a large hole in a cavern wall. They seemed to be moving robotically, and took no notice of the heroes. Vald confirmed that this was not normal.
That was when they were attacked by two creatures that filled them with fear. Dark-clothed and dark-skinned, the two elves who attacked them did so without mercy. The group was hard-pressed immediately. Both elves fought with two weapons like Karn, and then they made the entire area darker than midnight! It was a chaotic, frightening battle that the group barely survived.
Vald led them onward through the cavern with the workers and into an even larger cave. This one had a body of water in it and a small boat. Vald told them that this was their prison. A small island was in the middle of the water and the water was full of dangers. The group wisely decided against using the boat and continued on.
Carefully, Vald helped them crawl up a huge hill of loose rocks and scree. On the other side, they were almost totally shielded from the web city. Here, they saw only one figure, another of the four-armed slaves. He was bent over in prayer before a stone door.
Vald spoke to the being in their language before it switched to common. It warned them that it would not allow them to go beyond to stop Caullum. It drew three short swords and awaited them. The groups’ hardest battle yet soon happened. The creature wore enchanted armour and was fast and agile. It decimated the group for most of the battle, until they finally won by sheer numbers and tenacity. After the fight, they were forced to rest for a couple of “days” to regain their strength.