The party rested for two nights in order to fully recover from their recent battles. As they rested the first night, Parker’s dog began to growl and bristle a few times, and Rowan could sense evil to the south of their secret room, but nothing disturbed their rest.
On the second night Adoward, now invisible, let out a yelp and was gone, apparently returning around dawn. Once again, he had experienced intense nightmares and was much weakened. Unsure still of what afflicted him, Sir Rowan had sensed strong evil hovering around him. It was clear he would soon die from this affliction, whatever it was. So, the party took counsel and decided to give him enough money to receive a second exorcism in Morsby, and sent him on his way, figuring he should be ok to travel on his own since he was invisible.
Once he had departed, the others began exploring again to the south, checking out a variety of passages and rooms they’d not explored as yet. In one room, they ran into a party of Bugbears and entered into combat. Goody hit them with a pair of sleep spells, dropping four, while Parker slipped around behind invisibly and backstabbed their captain, killing him instantly. With another half dozen slain by the others, the Bugbears dropped their weapons and surrendered. The party now interrogated their prisoners, who proved fairly talkative, though with little enough to say. They were a raiding party, but had determined that this place was too dangerous for them (as this encounter demonstrated, they said). They knew nothing of Dwarves or other groups in the dungeon, except for hoards of toadmen and a cold region to the south that frightened them. But of particular interest, one of them told the party that their slain captain wore a ring that “made him deathless.” Rowan took the ring and tried it, determining it to be a ring of regeneration. However, he later turned it over to Goody in the hopes that it would eventually restore his missing eye. With that, the Bugbears were sent on their way.
The party continued south, eventually finding a small room with a few ancient, mummified bodies that seem to have died from extreme terror. Nearby was a short staircase going down. Taking it, the party entered an air of intense cold, not unbearable but quite unnatural. Sir Rowan sensed strong evil all around. The first room down the stairs, also intensely cold, was all of a dull white stone, unlike the usual grey stone of the dungeon. IN the four corners of the room were statues of white, heavily robed and cowled figures. From their unseeable faces blew the intense cold air. An elaborate arch of heavy stone framed another door, beyond which was another set of stairs down into yet another cold, white room. This one had the look of a shrine, as the western end was dominated by a huge carving of a human face, with oddly vague feminine features but an inhuman and emotionless expression. The walls of the room were covered with many intricate, abstract designs.
Searching a bit, the party determined that there was a door in the mouth of the great face, which opened to a wedge-shaped room of white cold stone, except for a disk of black across the room at waist level. Standing in the room on a rich carpet was a human figure, oddly white yet translucent and perhaps even incorporeal. The figure made no move but watched the party. The party, fearful of this ghost or specter (as they speculated) chose to parley. When asked, it told them that it was sometimes known to some as “the Groom” though it had no use for the name (it never gave a proper name). This place was its home, a shrine to the “White Lady of Eternity,” a goddess or demon that none of the party was familiar with. Here, said the figure, it contemplated eternity and the nature of un-life. It was seldom bothered by intruders. The party asked if there was a corresponding “bride” somewhere and it non-committally waved off to the east, adding that it neither knew nor cared any more. “The Groom” made no hostile moves and the party decided they were in no mood to test the power of this thing, and politely departed (though noting that there was a small chest in one corner of the room).
The party now shifted their explorations to the east, soon connecting up previously explored regions to these recent delvings. At one point, the party ran into a party of the ubiquitous toadmen. They managed to slay all but two of them, of whom one escaped them and the other was taken prisoner. Threatening it, the party asked it many questions. The toadling stated that it served Pyx, the bird-headed thing dwelling on the first level. Most of its kind served him, though a rebel faction served two witches (previously slain by the party). As for the Dwarves, most were taken away to “the Giant” though one apparently escaped and fled deeper into the dungeon. There, the toadman said, he was likely taken by “The Dweller Below” who ruled the deepest depth of this dungeon. Pyx avoided him, and his toadmen would not go there lest they raise its wrath. They also avoided conflict between them and the Trogolodyte servants of the Dweller. The party considered some way to get these two factions to fight amongst themselves, but without luck. The toadman told them that Pyx was angry with them for slaughtering his servants, but the party relayed that they wanted to quarrel with the bird sorcerer, and let their prisoner go to deliver that message.
The party now determined to find one of their previous camps for the night, the secret passage somewhere to the north. After some wanderings, they finally reconnected to previously mapped areas and entered the passage for another rest.
– Experience: Not too much so I will roll it into next time.