The heroes proceed down to the second floor of the keep, where they use the pass phrase found in the letter they took from Ninaran’s body in attempt to pass by the hobgoblin guards. The pass phrase, apparently, was incorrect, and the hobgoblins attack immediately. The battle is quite gruesome and, though it is eventually won, Typhus and Mikhal are both killed in the struggle. Zil’dejin and Lythanis wait for Morgue to return before doing anything else.
Notes: Mikhal was killed by hobgoblins directly, and Typhus bled out while the hobgoblins attempted to kidnap him (with intent to enslave him for the Bloodreavers).Morgue was not present, having left to perform one last sweep of the top floor before rejoining the party. It appears this was a somewhat fortunate move, on his part.
Mol, Lharvion 23, 998 YK (Day 9).
Zil’dejin, Morgue, Typhus, Mikhal, Lythanis and Valthrun awake in the crypts after what was probably a fairly unpleasant sleep. The corpses of the zombies have vanished mysteriously, but Splug continues to decay foully in the corner. Now confident that they have seen most of what lies on the upper levels of the keep, they decide to move down the stairs to the next level, which Valthrun assures them is the purported location of the rift to Mabar. Morgue decides to perform one last sweep of the upper level, and heads back up the stairs from the twisting hallways while his companions descend.
They are met immediately at the bottom of the stairs by a set of fairly well-armed hobgoblin guards. In the middle of the large chamber, a large pit drops into a well, and at the far end, a dark room with what appears to be a cage is present, though the contents of the cage are, at this time, obscured. They are prompted with a challenge phrase by the front-most guard: “Shadow seeks shadow!”
Thinking back, the note (currently carried by Morgue) the party found on the hag’s body contained a phrase for such an occasion. Zil’dejin offers the response, “From the ground, some magic was found.”
This, however, was not the correct response phrase. One of the guards flees the room, while the others prepare for combat. The four respond in kind.
Zil’dejin and Mikhal descend first, attempting to knock the guards into the well, but failing at first. Lythanis is able to pull one into the well, but becomes a target for the guards shortly thereafter. Typhus moves down to offer support as well, but also becomes exposed in doing so.
Meanwhile, the two guards who were more towards the back of the room when the fight began have moved into the dark room with the cage, and eventually are able to lift the bars. When they do so, a spider emerges, which they are able to identify as a Deathjump Spider, though can tell little more about it other than the common name for it.
The spider moves very quickly, lunging on Lythanis and knocking him cold. The hobgoblins see this opportunity to swarm the intruders, and many more emerge from adjacent rooms to assist in the assault.
Mikhal struggles to defend his allies, but is overwhelmed after a time. He falls to the ground covered in wounds, and succumbs to them, passing away. Typhus is able to protect himself with blasts of fire and his color spray spell, but the oncoming hordes are too much, and soon he too is overwhelmed. Zil’dejin falls back and is able to help Lythanis to his feet, but there is still a great deal of enemies. The two petition the cowering Valthrun for help, and eventually he comes down the stairs to launch, at great length, a rather weak casting of magic missile. Meanwhile, one of the nearby hobgoblins grabs Typhus’ unconscious body and attempts to flee with it.
Despite the low-grade effort that exhausts Valthrun completely, it manages to kill one of the hobgoblins, which provides the window of opportunity Zil’dejin and Lythanis have been looking for. They begin clearing the room of hobgoblins and make some genuine progress, despite the odds. When the last of the hobgoblins fall, Zil’dejin and Lythanis pursue the fleeing hobgoblin and Typhus.
However, the rough handling of his battered body is too much for Typhus. He, too, is forced to give in to his wounds, and his life slips away from him as he is being abducted. This is perhaps somewhat fortunate, as Zil’dejin’s attempt to recover him would consist of a very hard tackle into the back of the fleeing guard, causing Typhus’ body to hit the back wall so hard one of his horns becomes cracked.
Lythanis and Zil’dejin finish off the last hobgoblin, and examine the situation. Mikhal and Typhus have both perished in the narrowly-escaped struggle. Valthrun is exhausted, but half-heartedly offers to raise them both for an extravagant fee; the remaining two are forced to refuse. They drop the two bodies into the wells in some kind of pseudo-burial (that most would probably consider actually very disrespectful, but nobody was around to see it anyway).
Finally, Morgue comes back down the stairs from his run through the upper level. The news is broken to him, and the three mourn for some time before proceeding onwards out of sheer necessity, and at the insisting of Valthrun.