As the party settled in to rest, they debated if the next day they should continue their search for Drogo, or should return to town in an attempt to save Adoward from whatever it was that afflicted him. Aldeberon said they could leave messages for the halfling to follow them, but Lune countered that f he was stuck in a hole somewhere, he’d probably be dead before they returned. Meanwhile, Adoward was growing ever weaker and sicklier. However, since the elf would be too weak to travel the next day, they decided they would take one more day to look for Drogo while they left Adoward alone to rest. If they didn’t find him, they would then leave to try to save the elf. That night, Adoward disappeared around midnight once again, returning roughly around the time of dawn, looking yet weaker.
Iban cast invisibility on Adoward before they left, and then the party headed west. From now on, they would toss bronze coins from time to time to try to detect teleporters they knew were scattered around this level. The Gnoll prisoner they’d just released had told them that the teleporters could be bypassed by hugging walls, so once they found them, there was no danger of ending up in some unknown place again. First, they returned to the one teleporter they knew of to do some experiments. They tossed several coins into it, to determine its extent – it left about a foot and a half to either side. They were, however, surprised when one coin instantly came flying back at them. Iban theorized that the location teleported too might be related to the rotating beholder statue nearby, so when it was in the same position as it was when the coin flew back at them, they tried it again, but it simply vanished. Based on this, they decided that the teleporters were probably randomized. From now on, the party would toss coins ahead of them every 30′ or so to detect teleporters the easy, way.
Bypassing this one, the party came to the end of a hall and a door. Opening it, they found a strange, wooden construct painted most garishly and with weird designs, but otherwise much like a 4′ tall human. Hooting some weird, semi-words that sounded like a musical instrument, the thing rushed to attack the intruders. As it did so, wielding a small hammer, it breathed out a purple butterfly from its mouth that rushed at Aldeberon’s face, trying to get into his mouth (Rowan wisely shut the visor of his helm). As the party pushed into the room, the thing next detached a small bird from its torso and threw it into the party. The bird suddenly sprung to life and attacked Goody, flying right into his face and tearing out his right eye. But, the wooden monstrosity was badly outnumbered, and soon was chopped to pieces as Iban grabbed the bird from mid air and crushed it in his hand – it was a mechanical thing, not alive. The purple butterfly, still unable to get into Aldeberon’s mouth, soon stopped fluttering and fell to the ground, where the fighter crushed it with his boot. In the room, the party found a work room with many fine tools and a number of small figurines, including a bird, a swan boat, a homonculous, and a goat. There were also three of the butterflies immobile on the bench.
After burning the wooden creature, the party backtracked, using some of the charcoal from the burned construct to mark the location of the teleporter. They now passed west from the beholder statue room and soon came to an old crypt room with statues of old Imperial Lormyrrian officers and small crypts with names and dates. The party broken into a few of them, but found merely old gear and moldering bodies, but nothing of worth. However, at the far end was a great fresco of the imperial Lormyrrian arms, within which Parker sense lay a secret door. The secret door proved to be magically locked, but Iban was able to burst it open by pure strength. Inside was a pair of sarcophagi depciting a lord and lady, and labeled Alcuin, Lord of Dalmia and Hirkona, Lady of Dalmia and dated 704 YM (the current year is 1271). Goody, still much shaken from losing an eye, now cast detect magic and verified something lay in the lord’s sarcophagi. He then walked back into the main crypt room to see if he registered anything in one of the unopened crypts. However, the party suddenly heard a loud scream from him and rushed out just in time to find the elf being mauled by a pack of ghouls. Paralyzed, the ghouls made ready to consume him right there, but Havok and Rowan were able to turn them and drive them off to save the beleaguered elf.
After some much needed healing, the party returned to open the sarcophagi, starting with the lady, within which was a perfectly preserved body of an older woman and a good deal of burial treasures. Taking these, the party closed the crypt once more and very carefully opened the second one. As they did so, they found an older man, also perfectly preserved. He sat up, however and looked at the party somewhat dazedly, and asked, “What new of the war with the Sea Empire? How fares the Emperor? Does the Warden of the South still march to victory?” No sooner did he say this than he crumbled to dust, leaving behind a number of valuables (crown, scepter, etc) and a longsword bearing the imperial crest and the name Fire of the South.
Pleased with the great treasure for relatively little pain, the party continued their explorations and search for Drogo, further east and north. Down one very long corridors they found a door surrounded by a huge, carven face of a demon of some sort. Down another passage, they found another teleporter, the one they’d arrived at previously, they determined. After marking it with charcoal, they continued, eventually being pushed south by the corridors, eventually coming to the scene of their battle with the Gnolls. Somewhat beyond that they found a third teleporter and marked it, as well. Taking a side passage back west to a new area, they now had Goody cast locate object on Drogo’s armor. It was fruitless.
Exploration continued to the south past many side passages, until the main corridor took them west with no further way south. The party was avoiding opening doors, though they listened at some and Rowan sensed evil in a few places. But, they were interested in finding the halfling and avoiding pitched battles. Now well south of the first place they tried the locate object spell, Goody cast his second and last one — and got a direction back towards where they’d come from. The party ended up taking a corridor that spiraled in on itself, eventually ending at a door after many turns. Rowan sensed evil beyond, and Iban cast ESP and found two minds beyond – Drogo and something alien and cold. After some confusion on what to do, the party simply burst in — to find an empty room. But, they could now hear Drogo from inside pit trap he’d managed to find. As the party moved to drop a rope to him, a point of light suddenly appeared and attacked. It moved lightning fast and was nearly impossible to hit. So, as the lead fighters took on this thing, and the spellcasters threw their few magic missiles at it, Parker dropped a rope to pull out the halfling, aided by Arduin. This done, the party fell back, as the light thing was insanely hard to hit, though Goody managed to do so with an arrow. Finally, the light gave up and disappeared, and the now reunited party caught up.
Drogo had been teleported to this area and, being a halfling, decided to explore on his own for a while (I believe it was Iban who point out that he “chose poorly”). He’d covered much the same ground as the party just did, but had made a map of some areas they’d not explored. He’d seen the light thing and ignored it at first, but it kept beguiling him, and eventually he ended up following it back to the center of the spiral and, failing to note the pit trap, fallen in and been badly hurt, saved only by a healing potion he had on him. He’d been in there for a few days with no food but a flask of wine to keep his throat clear as he constantly made noise hoping for rescue.
The party now determined to return to their lair to immediately retrieve Adoward and return to town to deal with his affliction. However, they opted to return via new passages, hoping to get some exploring in as they returned (this was hotly debated, as Rowan and Aldeberon felt that taking a known route back would be safer). In any case, they did manage to find a passage that worked, though at one point they ran into a party of Trogolodytes. These foul beasts were not interested in a fight, and passed ahead of the party, their smell inadvertently leaving a trail for the party to follow. Except for finding a corpse in one room with a chalk note reading “RIP Falco, slain by The Dweller Below. 1237 YM” the passage was uneventful. They also found a fourth teleporter, this one in a 4-way intersection.
Once they had Adoward, who needed help to walk, they opted to take a nearby, but not before used, stairway up. This brought them into known territory on the level above and, after a short debate trying to remember where they parked their cart, they soon had recovered the cart, replenished their food supplies, loaded the wounded elf on the cart, and departed the dungeon…
– Experience: 3423 XP each (except for Drogo and Adoward, who get zero)