At the end of last session, we left our heroes resting on the Mermaid’s Mistress after successfully slaying the seugathi that had so easily slain much of the party a week or so earlier.
Shortly after their return to the boat, Peta awakened from his deep magical slumber and was distraught to discover his companions had retrieved the treasures lost by the party but had left his brother’s and sister’s corpses to rot. He demanded immediate action, and so the party returned to the dungeon to retrieve the bodies of their friends.
This they managed without further delay or incident. Peta then demanded the bodies be burnt and so the now tired adventurers spent several hours gathering wood from the explored portions of the dungeon and the surrounding marshland to build a pyre.
With their solemn duty done, the party returned to the Mermaid’s Mistress to rest. Here the party lurked for over a week; Zainnis had much to ponder and Karelia wanted to both study the strange book recovered from the dungeon and transfer many of the spells in Nok’s spellbooks into his own book. With these tasks finally completed, and as the first days of 580 dawned, the party were again ready to continue their exploration of the dungeon.
All was not to go to plan, though.
Returned to the Lady’s Cape the party discovered holes had been dug on the beach. The discovery of a broken spade along with the lurking presence of at least one boggard convinced them that their presence had finally been noticed by the feral inhabitants of the surrounding swamps.
Undeterred, they pushed inland and returned once again to the hydra’s cave. However, the area was not as abandoned as when they last explored the dungeon. A lone troglodyte—emaciated and covered in sores—knelt in the fen seemingly crying. With remarkable restraint, the party did not immediately butcher the troglodyte (who they discovered was called Sulgesh) and instead approached him with the goal of learning more about current events in the locality.
They learnt much about the power struggle in Sulgesh’s own tribe (the so-called Children of Zevgavizeb) and about their disastrous struggle with the boggards of the Baladab Souko tribe. Sarif was in favour of killing Sulgesh but Peta showed mercy on the poor unfortunate soul. He told Sulgesh that if he remained here, he would personally see him to safety (for Peta harboured a desire to convert Sulgesh to Heironeous as the troglodyte professed a desire to rid himself of the taint of the tribe’s demonic master—Zevgavizeb).
With much intelligence of the local power struggles learnt, the heroes briefly flirted with turning aside from their mission to exterminate the boggards and/or the troglodytes. However, (eventually) calmer heads prevailed and the party resumed their quest. Without further ado, the party returned to the dungeon and began their descent into the complex proper. Narfu and Grooble led the way, and all seemed well until—as they emerged from magical darkness filling the shaft leading to the dungeon—they encountered the winged and horned demon they had previously bested! The creature—alerted by the wriggling rope—was ready for them. It missed Narfu, but Grooble was not so luck and sustained a terrible wound.
By this point the rest of the party sensed something wrong—the wildly wriggling rope giving them their first clue. One after the other, they hurled themselves into the dark, silent void—trusting to the feather fall to slow their descent. Luck was with them and shortly, one after another, the heroes reached their companions. Zainnis—now hasted by Karelia’s most powerful magic unleashed a devastating barrage of attacks on the demonic creature. Badly injured, it fled and even the swiftest members of the party couldn’t catch it. No matter, Karelia—now also benefiting from a fly spell cast by Grooble flew out over the lake and down the waterfall to investigate the cavern beyond. Here, she confirmed the strange teleportation magics summoned by kissing the picture of Sorsehn hidden in the secret room found weeks ago led to the same cavern. With this news, she returned to the party to plot their next move…