The party settled in to camp within the secret passage they’d recently discovered on the third level of the ruined Imperial fortress. It seemed like a good site, though in the middle of the night, Adoward shrieked momentarily and vanished. The party was most perturbed by this but, with no apparent immediate threat, they remained where they were, and the elf reappeared around dawn. He did not know what had happened to him, but felt very tired and reported having suffered horrific, evil nightmares that he could not clearly recall. The party decided to explore a little bit in their immediate area, but otherwise gave over the day to resting and recovery.
That night, after the still tired Adoward drifted off to sleep, Goody slipped a coin in his pocket. Sure enough, around midnight, Adoward disappeared once more with a brief shriek. Now, however, Goody cast locate object on the coin and realized that Adoward had not moved, even though he was no longer physically present. The party speculated that he may have crossed to the Ethereal Plane, though there was no way to confirm this. In the morning, he reappeared once more, even more tired and worn than the previous night.
The party now decided to explore today, starting with a door to the west off the room adjacent to their secret passage. Beyond one door, Rowan sensed strong evil but, upon opening the door, found only an empty room. The evil was strong still, so the Paladin began to detect evil among the party, starting with Adoward, who was clearly evil to the Paladin’s senses. The party speculated that the elf was possessed in some manner, though he claimed to feel just fine and otherwise acted perfectly normal (aside from being particularly tired). As the room seemed otherwise empty, the party moved on to the south.
They now came to a four-way intersection. East and south were yet more corridors; to the west, the corridor curved oddly, and this the party followed, with Drogo leading invisibly as a scout once more. Down this, they came to a hemispherical room within which they spotted a floating stone object, a Beholder statue that was levitated a few feet above the floor (much like a real one) and that was slowly rotating counterclockwise. The party was careful in approaching and examining this strange thing, but after a time it seemed to be non-threatening. To the north, the corridor came to a collapsed section that opened up to an abyss below, from which Drogo reported a slight smell of sulphur.
The halfling now reported that he was going to scout to the south — and he was not heard from again. Where he went or was taken was unclear. As his disappearance became evident, the party recollected themselves and headed in his last known direction — and suddenly found that they were somewhere else, teleported to an unknown corridor. They had no sense of direction here, but did try calling to Drogo without success. They then tried to reverse through the teleportation, but without success. Nothing else for it, they began to explore. (NOTE: I’m sticking with what happened to the main group – what happened to Drogo remains unknown except to maybe Drogo!).
After a time, they came to a room with a large party of Gnolls, whom they rushed to force a melee. Goody dropped four with a sleep spell, and the rest of the party pushed into the room. The Gnolls, though strong and numerous, were ultimately no match for the party, which attacked en masse (Goody was forced to retreat, however, due to wounds, but did hit a few with carefully placed arrows). Parker tried to slip around for a backstab opportunity, but was spotted and struck, stopping that from occuring. Meanwhile, with a prayer spell from Havok, the others were able to overcome the Gnolls and eventually wipe them out – they neither fled nor called quarter, but fought to the death. After slaying three of the sleepers, the fourth was awoken and questioned. It turned out the party was one the same level of the dungeon as previous, though now they were far to the west of where they had started. The Gnolls were unaffiliated with any other group and were mere raiders in search of plunder (they had but a small treasure themselves, though they had a goodly supply of bows and arrows the party plundered). In exchange for a promise of release, the lone Gnoll promised to lead the party back to the original part of the level. This he did, eventually bringing them back through many corridors and past many doors to the round room with the Beholder statue. Here, the party released him and he quickly fled them back into the darkness.
The party now made camp to rest and recover. In the morning, they would consider their next course of action (and how, maybe, to find their wayward Halfling thief).
– Experience: 208 XP each