With Darla the drake headed towards the apparent safety of the surface, the party located an empty bedroom that had been used by the guards, barricaded itself inside, and took what rest it could. Upon awaking, they heard feet scuffling, and quiet but harshly spoken orders: the sounds of a hasty ambush being prepared. They disassembled their barricade, and charged out the door, hoping to get the drop on their attackers. It was about ten hobgoblins, including an archer and a wizard. During the battle, Brandis proved her worth again and again, using bolt of ice to slide the hobgoblins into a deep well, or dropping Winston, her familiar, into the fray to breathe a cloud of flame over her enemies.
With the hobgoblins defeated, the party elected to head east, saving the passage south for later. In the eastern passage, a passage branched off to the south, which was blocked by a portcullis. A large table was visible in the chamber behind the portcullis. The party instead ventured through an open door on the north side of the hallway first. Althaea crept through a few interconnected chambers, which, it became apparent, comprised an empty hobgoblin barracks. Straw mattresses and tables strewn with the remains of an abandoned meal were scattered about. In one of the sleeping quarters, the party discovered the following note:
As the party made its way back to the portcullis in the southern hallway, a floor tile depressed beneath Althaea’s foot, triggering a click within the eastern wall, but no visible change. After a few moments of silent tension, De’Wayne approached the bars, investigated them, and with a few share jerks, dislodged one of the bars, allowing the group to squeeze through. They emerged into the room with the wooden table, discovering two further closed doors, one on the south wall, and one on the east.
The large wooden table in the chamber beyond was covered in maps, some depicting the Nentir Vale region, others depicting regions the party had never heard of; places with names like Moil and Thyrin Gol. The markings on the maps indicated that someone was planning an invasion. One of the maps clearly showed a large scale force descending on Winterhaven out of the Keep on the Shadowfell.
Without warning, both doors burst open, and Althaea, who was standing next to the eastern door, took the worst of it from three rapier- and crossbow-wielding Raven’s Roost Bandits. From the southern chamber emerged four more bandits, and a lithe shader-kai warrior who announced, “You made a wrong turn somewhere, friends. My hobgoblin associates mighta just sold ya to Vohx. Us, well, we’re gonna kill ya.”
Althaea gave swift strike with her short sword to the nearest bandit, and fey stepped across the room, making space for De’Wayne to block the door. In the fight, he was nicked with many rapier cuts, and pierced by many bolts, but in the end, all three bandits in the eastern room lay dead at his feet. Stonegraves and Nuvok took the lead against the attackers from the south, hewing down four bandits, and cornering the shader-kai warrior even when he attempted to meld into shadow. He was finally laid low as well.
In the eastern room the party discovered a lever on the wall. It required a great deal of effort to pull, but when it finally came unstuck, it raised the portcullis in the hall. In a chest in the southern room, the party found an enchanted shortbow, which Althaea claimed, and 500 gp. Tucked underneath the mattress of the shadar-kai leader’s bed was a note reading as follows:
ERZOUN HAS BEEN UNCOMMUNICATIVE—SHE HAS HARDLY LEFT THECHAPELIN SEVERAL DAYS. BUT SHE HAS BEGUN CALLING FOR SACRIFICES. I TAKE THIS TO MEAN THAT SHE IS APPROACHING A BREAKTHROUGH. THE CHAPEL SHOULD SOON BE RECONSECRATED TO THE GODDESS, AND THE PORTAL WILL BE SAFE TO USE. GOOD RIDDANCE TO BANDITRY! OUR NATIVE LACKEYS BORE ME MORE THAN EVER.(LEMNAS WAS RIGHT—ALLOWING THEM TO PURSUE THEIR SLAVE TRADE “SECRETLY” HAS OCCUPIED THEIR SMALL MINDS AND CUT DOWN ON INFIGHTING). IT WILL PLEASE ME GREATLY TO BE BACK AMONG OUR KIN. THIS LAND IS RIPE FOR MORE SYSTEMATIC PILLAGE, MORE WHOLESALE DEVASTATION, THAN THESE HUMANS CAN
The party now returned to the connected set of chambers from which they had initially faced the combined forces of the human and bandit guards. Only one path remained to be taken, and it was a long, completely unlit hallway that led away to the south. As the party moved down it, they began to detect the stench of decay, which soon became overpowering. They continued for about fifty feet, and now discovered a passageway branching off to the west. The main passage south remained free of obvious obstructions, but the side passage is littered with bricks and stones, The stench seemed to get stronger in the southern corridor.
When we reconvene, it will be 2000, 3 Flocktime 588.