Restful sleep is such a thing not had in the last several days spent in those foul ruins. Much has happened since last writing, and now that we've made camp on the surface once more I can rest more soundly seeing the smouldering ruins nearby.
It's hard to tell how many days we were down there, and you'd think with my Dwarven sensibilities I could tell better time spend underground…alas my time spent mostly in the forests and mountains surrounding the Mithril Kingdom have all but sullied those instincts. If I had to guess it has been three days since we first dove down.
After recovering from the battle with the Chimera and goblin troops we continued to explore the second basement and happened upon another room full of goblin filth. So many of those down here…which I take great pleasure in dispatching. Moving through the rooms and hallways poor Quobis touched a poisoned doorknob and fell quite ill. I was able to stay the poison from hurting him further, but there wasn't much we could have done for him then besides hope it didn't get worse. Thankfully it hasn't. We decided sleep was the best medicine and we took turns on watch for an uneventful night's sleep.
The next day we made our way through what we thought was the best path forward…maybe it wasn't. Traps befell us on every corner and doorway. Blades flung from walls and floors, lightning chained through us, fear of further poison and pitfalls lingered over us in the darkness. We had finally made it through to a more open room where we took a moment to gather our senses. Before us stood a pair of large doors which gave me a bad feeling. This place is evil. This must be another trap.
Through the doors standing before us was a party of five, calling themselves "Best Drink Forward"…odd. They bore an eerie resemblance to our party, one member a sort of doppelganger to each of us. Vezyrin the arcane halfling, Bellanyet the sorcess drow, K'yset the strange flying lizard, and Thog the brutish orc led by their leader Gekrits who bore a striking resemblance to Fen but with a goatee. Gekrits told us that their party was seeking a Talismen belonging to an old wizard named Durocon that used to live here. According to him it was locked behind a series of trials, each representing an element…Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The Water trial was already complete but he needed our help for the other three. We agreed and separated to complete the trials. Ella and I went with Thog and Bellanyet through the Earth trials. Ella was romping around as a badger and the two of us took one tunnel while the doppelgangers took another. After defeating a golem we found the others at the end near a rune. They told us to touch it, and so we did. That seemed to have completed the trial and I found myself in a large room with both parties.
We looked out upon a cavernous room and a narrow bridge leading to the center. Beneath us I could see all manner of creatures moving in the shadows. Gekrits told us they were ancient monsters locked away under the runs on the bridge and the center pillar where the Talisman resided. We crossed the bridge to the central pillar and that's when Gekrits sprung his trap. Asking Fen to join him as his long lost brother, Fen refused and Gekrits stabbed him in the back. His party fled, casting a wall of ice blocking our path off the pillar onto the bridge, breaking the runs that protected us from the creatures below, and destroying a section of the bridge.
Zariin tells me it was that moment when she remembered a riddle "When the Goat turns, the Broad strikes true". She considering herself the "broad" in which the riddle spoke, and the goatee the "Goat" she threw her sword at Gekrits and it miraculously struck the Talisman from his neck where it shattered upon the ground and the creatures called off their attack on us to turn their focus to their former master. Gekrits and his party turned to fight us. After a brief fight, I managed to strike the traitor enough times that he surrendered. We bound him and his party, stripped them of their equipment and interrogated them.
It was then a stone fairy fell from the ceiling, which was curious. A scroll that was taken off of Gekrits so happened to be a Stone to Flesh spell which revealed a living fairy that Gekrits had entombed previously. The curious vally girl fairy told us she worked there for a man named Durocon…the same wizard whose talisman Gekrits was after. The wizard had been working to lock away all manner of cursed and powerful artifacts in this place, and she was one of the workers managing the vaults in which he kept those items. She had not seen him for nearly six months, but the pay kept coming so she stayed at her post. The fairy then offered to take the party of doppelgangers to jail in Greysky, and opened up an employee access portal for us to continue our quest. The employee access stairs led us down some 40 levels until we happened upon a Dwarf manning a shop. He didn't provide much new information…that Durocon paid him, that he hasn't been seen for months now and the pay is going dry, the Dwarf would probably leave if he wasn't paid soon. He sold some potions and wands to us, and allowed us to sleep in a small room adjacent to the shop. We continued down another 40 levels.
At the very bottom of the employee access a door led us out into a hallway. When we got out of the access stairs the door behind us closed and disappeared, we were on our own now. Down the hall was a bend and a doorway, which I insisted we open….mistake. Through the door was an army of orcs, goblins, and other filth which spotted us outright. We ran down the hallway when we ran into a trapdoor and someone calling us inside.
Through the trapdoor stood a group of zit-faced goblin creatures…teenagers. They explained they were rebelling against their parents and helping us to spite them. This was their secret clubhouse where not even Xykon knew of. One of their father's was Xycon's right-hand man, a goblin chieftain. They led us through several rooms, one with creatures of insignificant strength, one with lit runes, and several others, and finally a room where they claimed Xycon stood through a doorway on the other side. They warned us of some larger creatures that often ventured through the area, and let us on our way to confront Xycon.
Those creatures turned out to be giant snakes. I sent Slith forward to scout and he tripped a trap which slathered some of us in BBQ sauce. The smell must have attracted the beasts. Poor Quobis got the worst of it, almost eaten. Fen was lucky enough to flash out of harm's way when he was grabbed. Ultimately we killed the three snakes, but Quobis was badly hurt. He needed rest and hid away for some time in our barrel of many things.
Through the door we went, and inside stood a horde of goblins, zombies, ghasts, ogers, a Goblin Chieftain, and Xykon himself. I cast a well placed entrapment spell which bound most of the creatures in vines, which gave us plenty of time to dispatch them. I took a few shots at Xykon himself but nothing seemed to find its mark. Behind him I noticed a pair of great glowing eyes…a shiver ran down my spine. I also noticed a sigil next to him, between him and a rather ornate doorway that he seemed keen on us going through.
After killing most of his minions he began to cast magic upon us, inflicting some damage. Fen and Ajax attempted to charge him, but were suddenly taken by a great fear and ran for the hills. Zariin attempted to charge the sigil and thankfully had taken some resist fear potions just in case and was able to make it to the sigil.
Touching the sigil caused a voice overhead to sound…"10 minutes to self destruct" it spoke plainly, almost politely. The coward Xykon and his henchmen fled and left us to die in this hole. What goblins remained fled through tunnels connecting to the room we had been fighting in, so we decided best to follow them out to wherever they thought was safe. Better than nothing.
Just as the timer was running out we spotted daylight at the end of the tunnel. Jumping out at the last moment the ruins detonated behind us. We were out, but Xycon was nowhere to be found. As I sit here in camp I can finally sleep a little more soundly tonight now that the danger has passed…for now. I don't know where we go from here. We'll have to gather together in the morning to see where to go next.
At least Moradin granted us some spoils of war to sort through in the meantime. I've got my eye on an unusual stone.