Tam’elanath, Zil’dejin, Morgue and Lythanis continue into the keep, returning to the entrance chamber and taking a different route from there. They arrive at some sort of excavation site occupied by goblins, who are protected by guard drakes. Morgue inadvertently draws their attention, and the party fights the excavation crew, during which time Mikhal returns from Winterhaven. They then enter a natural cavern beneath the keep, where they encounter rats and an odd jelly creature. After fending these off, they are able to press further into the cave, where they find the lair of some creatures known as kruthiks. After clearing the lair, they take a brief rest.
Notes: the infamous “cloak over the head” scene took place here, as well as the occasion when Lythanis telephatically threw a bunch of rocks at his allies.
Sar, Lharvion 21, 998 YK (Day 7).
Zil’dejin, Tam’elanath, Morgue and Lythanis awake in Balgron’s chambers. Not wanting to stay any longer than they must in the foul room, they head back towards the entrance of the keep. They decide to press further to discover what is happening to Winterhaven. They head down the eastern hallway, and find themselves at some sort of excavation site, where they hear a multitude of goblins arguing angrily about something in their native tongue. T
Now aware of the goblins’ presence, the party advances carefully. Morgue goes ahead, sneaking cautiously at first but then walking into a wide open, well-lit space, and in a last-ditch effort to hide after this mistake, throws his cloak around himself and dives to the ground. The goblins are not fooled by this display, and begin their attack.
The room is composed of the same flagstone that makes up the rest of the Keep, but here, at certain intervals, it is dug out about ten feet into the earth below. The goblins clamber up ladders to put themselves on the same level as the party, and launch a volley of crossbow bolts while their nearby guard drakes attempt to attack as well.
Zil’dejin charges forward to meet the guard drakes as they advance, stopping them and subduing them while Morgue supports his retaliation. Tam’elanath hangs further back to fire arrows at the offending goblins, and Lythanis ventures to use his psionic abilities to push them back off the platforms and into the pits once again. These tactics slightly injure Lythanis but are ultimately very successful, and the party makes quick work of the excavation crew. From here, they plan to move into a gap the excavators have made in the wall, leading into a natural cave formation slightly beneath their current location.
Before they go down the “stairs” leading into the cave, however, they take a moment to catch their breath. At this time, Mikhal Thanesman returns from his trip to Winterhaven, and descends the stairs of the Keep to find the party nearby. They catch up – the party are at once pleased and irritated to see him again, frustrated that he left them when his defensive abilities were needed most (against the goblins) but glad to see him back to protect them in the immediate future. With Mikhal traveling with the party once again, they descend into the caverns attached to the Keep.
Unlike the ruins, there are no torches here – the party is in total darkness. Tam’elanath and Zil’dejin light sunrods, and they can hear rats moving about in the darkness, but cannot see them.
As Tam’elanath moves forward into the caverns, rats drop from the ceiling to attack him. The party fends off these first few giant rats, but more appear, drawn by the sound of battle, and are accompanied by a massive brown amorphous blob, which they recognize as an ochre jelly. Surrounded by rats and besieged by the jelly, the party faces a bit of difficulty, but Mikhal is able to soak up much of the damage directed at the party. Zil’dejin cleaves the jelly with a mighty strike, thinking it defeated, but it merely splits in two and continues attacking from two fronts. Eventually, they are able to bring it down, though somewhat injured by its corrosive form – Morgue, who fell in battle against the goblins earlier, is particularly damaged. They proceed into the caves.
In the next area, they find a series of small tunnels, and a pit extending ten feet into the ground with a crushed, unrecognizable form within. As they move further into the room, their movement and the light from their sunrods attract this areas inhabitants: a horde of kruthiks. They scatter out from the tunnels to attack the party, and the one adult accompanying them launches a series of toxic spikes at them. They are eventually able to take down the kruthiks, with Mikhal keeping the less durable members of the party from taking damage (including the battered Morgue, who lingers as far back as possible) and Zil’dejin fighting hard at the forefront, even using his rarely-seen dragon breath ability to fire lightning upon the lizard-like creatures. At last, they are triumphant, and proceeding with caution against the possibility of pitfalls, raid the treasure the kruthiks have collected. Here, they find more gold and a potion of healing, taken by Mikhal.
The party takes a brief rest to consider their next move; do they proceed, injured as they are (particularly Morgue)? Or do they return to Winterhaven?