The party conclude their rest after much silent discussion has taken place regarding the priorities going forward. All casters are low on abilities now, but everyone is well healed and rested as well as they can be.
It sees that the main priority is to either take the Artefact from the Devils, which means waiting for them to bring it here. Or as another possibility, preventing them from gaining entry here in some way to buy time for another artefact elsewhere to be removed. With that in mind, the party gets ready to move on.
After removing the barricades behind to leave a clear escape route, Eric throws the bed aside from the door ahead and they venture out into the common area. Nennah fries a Cranium Rat which is spotted watching the party from the raised Kitchen area. The group quickly check the rooms again to ensure no-one has snuck behind them and they determine that the door ahead is the likely source of the rat.
Moving on, after Joe peeks under the door, Eric opens it with Joe, Rick and Tarn close behind and the casters in the rear. They all see a rope bridge over a chasm which leads down to a river. On the other side is a passage lading out of the mountain. An illusion behind and right fails to hide the way up to the Artefact room (Ethia’s description means the illusion fails on the party). However Joe’s Eldritch sight allows him to spot an issue ahead as well. he fires an arrow toward the magic he detects and reveals the bridge to be an illusion as well. In fact the bridge has been cut in the centre.
The party continue onward and up the steep sloped tunnel 10’ around. After a couple of switchbaks they reach the wall Ethia remembers covered in druid carvings with small holes all over it. Ethia knows one of these small holes leads all the way through. Remains of Giant spiders lay here, they’re not fresh, but she’s unable to determine exactly how long ago they were killed. Unexpectedly though, there is a new passage to the right 8’ high and 3’ wide that seems to lead around the wall. This looks to have been dug later with stone tools.
The party continues on and into a 10’ by 10’ corridor covered in druid carving sand some sort of burned slime or ooze, Therren thinks it’s similar to Gelatinous Cube ooze. Whatever it was, it has been destroyed. To the right is another crudely cut door and ahead lies a perfect tunnel of obsidian stone, smooth and with no apparent jons between floor walls and ceiling as if it ware carved out of a single huge piece. Joe’s Eldritch sight picks up something magical in the room to the right.
The party check this out and find a Dissection chamber, a Grimlock lies cut open on a slab, tools around it. organs (hearts, lungs, brains etc.) sit preserved within glass cylinders on nine pedestals in the room. They rest in a pinkish fluid that appears to be created from a distillation process set up on a desk at the far end. One of the body parts is a preserved Quaggoth arm fitted with Flensing claws. Therren places this cylinder in the bag of holding. On investigating the desk and ending ten minutes reading Therren learns that the chemistry process creates an excellent preservative and that some of the ingredients are healing potions. After Nennah pulls out a healing potion of her own for comparison, the party grab some unused potions from the table.
Also in the room is a crudely cut 8’ diameter hole in the ceiling leading up 15’ to another room. Eric and Tarn move some of the glass cylinders and pedestals to try to ensure that anything coming down will knock them over and make a noise before the group head back towards the obsidian tunnel outside.
An number of methods are now employed to try to figure out what this presumed trap is. Stones thrown have no effect, the Grimlock body thrown halfway, no effect (although Joe thinks he spotted a slight movement to the tunnel as it hits). A giant spider added near the beginning, no effect. Finally Ethia casts Find Traps and learns that a trap is nearby and that the nature of the trap is falling into a pit of spikes.
Therren casts Spider Climb from his staff and winds up having another quick conversation with himself. His better self chides him for taking point again and Therren assures himself that he’s saving spells to do necromancy later. Therren walks down the tunnel wall and as he reaches the very end the whole tunnel drops away revealing to the rest of the party, a pivot beneath it about a third of the way along. He dodges the bodies that fall past him down to the spikes and begins to walk back up. As he nears the top the tunnel slams back into place.
After some discussion Therren has an idea and uses the immovable rod to secure the tunnel in place. After everyone else is along he throws it to them and they use it to secure the other end so that he can come along as well.
Now they turn a corner and a tunnel leads up about 50’ at a 45 degree angle. It has obsidian steps set into it and it seems to go up to an entrance partially barricaded with a portcullis of bones and sinew. Above the top of the steps is a square hole surrounded by a border of obsidian.
Ethia Conjures Minor Elementals and sends four Mama Mephits to investigate. They are attacked and injured by four Grimlocks hurling rocks from the other side of the barricade but they do learn that the hole above contains a boulder that seems set to fall down the tunnel and crush anyone on the steps.
Two Mephits are sent up again one with the immovable rod it manages to click the rod into place under the mechanism supporting the boulder as the other Mephit acts as a distraction to the Grimlocks, breathing fire on all of them.
With the trap disarmed the party charge up the steps, Mephits in tow ignoring an impotent click on the seventh step. As they reach the top they see through the damaged bone barrier, the four Grimlocks at the bottom of some steps and away behind them at the top of the steps two Quaggoths either side of three Mindflayers. The centre Illithid is different to the others and appears undead. Based on what the party found out earlier, this could be an Alhoon.