The party followed the stream indicated by the captive Troglodyte until it came to a narrow cut or valley in the peak rising before them. Garimbyrn halted at this point, saying that he had no intention of going below ground, though he would take care of the Troglodyte. He told them they were welcome to come back to his steading (if they survived) and, with the party’s thanks, dragged off the Troglodyte back down the slope. Quietly, and without fanfare, Iban whispered that he, too, was leaving the party for a time, and slipped off behind the werebear, still invisible.
The reduced group continued on into the cut. At this point, the stream seemed to be channelized, and Zhuld Zir noted that it was clearly laid stone, probably dwarf work, but very old. The water was a bit milky and the dwarf tasted it – it was bitterly cold and a bit minerally, but potable. After a few hundred yards of proceeding cautiously, the cut ended at a cave mouth, the stream flowing along the left-hand side. There were badly faded dwarf runes here and there, along with old dwarf sentinels carved to either side. The air from the cave was very cold, much colder than might be expected on a mid Fall day. The party entered, ZZ knocking three times as was his wont, and they immediately found the going a little slowed by periodic patches of ice.
The path was clearly carved from a natural cave, in what ZZ decided was a workmanlike (but hardly ascetically pleasing) style. It ran roughly north at a slight up angle, but did turn and curved with what was likely the original natural cavern. Not far into the cave, the party was set upon by large white spiders coming out of fissures in the rock. One bit and poisoned Aldeberon, though Havok was able to cast slow poison to save him temporarily. A spider also sprayed ZZ with icy webs, which made him unable to move quickly. Three of the spiders were slain in short order and a fourth escaped back into the walls.
After a few hundred yards, the cave opened up into a wider cave, damp and with many large (3-5 feet high) fungi. Someone (?) advanced for a little ways along the stream when one of the fungi began whipping long tentacles at I. The party opted to bull rush through the cave without pausing to fight, and managed to slip through without injury. However, some of the fungus were Shriekers, and they made an awful noise; fortunately, nothing seemed attracted by the noise. The cave narrowed once more and they continued.
A short time later, they entered a particularly icy patch. Wulfred slipped on an icy patch later on and fell into the stream. Although quickly rescued, the intense cold of the water resulted in him having difficulty moving as he shivered uncontrollably. The path continued, and the party came to a door, the first they’d seen. Cold whispers came from it beckoning the aprty to open the door – they wanted none of it and continued past quickly, also passing recent graffiti saying “Kavkaz Lives!”
Not much further on and they next were attacked by a pair of white toads that flashed an intense cold that severely burned the party with its intensity. However, though Wulfred was sorely hurt and dropped his “stick” (as Cadwalider calls it), the toads were slain quickly. On further, they came to a side cave, the first they’d seen. After a momentary debate, they decided to look into it, and ran into the Remorhaz dwelling there. The Polar Worm began to glow red hot when the fight started. It snapped forward with astonishing speed for something its size. The party pushed in to melee it, with Atletan levitating above to give more people a chance to fight. On its second snap, though, the Remorhaz grabbed Wulfred and swallowed him whole! The others, however, soon were able to slay it. When it had cooled, they cut it open, but their cleric comrade had been utterly incinerated. beaten and weary, the party decided to rest here for a night, which they managed without incident.
The next day, they continued on, now down two from those that set out from Kazakh (but up one with the Ranger). The cave soon widened once more, into a huge area of crystalline ice structure (think Fortress of Solitude). The area glowed with a blue-white light through the ice crystals, though the party pushed through. Not far on, the party came to the second side passage they’d seen, this one descending down around 200′ before leveling off. The area appeared to be of dwarven make, low quality and very old. They explored for a time before they reconsidered that their goal was to cross under the mountain and into the region of the Ice Wizard. They backtracked and resumed following the river cave.
After a ways, the stream suddenly crossed the cave, at which point a small stone bridge spanned it. The party began to cross this when they were set upon by more white spiders, some dropping from above, some swarming up form under the bridge. While not terribly powerful, the ice spiders were numerous. Aldeberon and Atletan were both poisoned (though slowed by Havok and ZZ). In the confusion, Havok also hit Aldeberon with his dwarven battleaxe. Only one spider managed to escape, though. But, the slow poison was only a temporary respite. Havok had a single neutralize poison available, which he immediately now used on Atletan. He needed to rest and pray to recover that spell once more, which would take exactly as long as the slow poison would be in effect. So, the party decieed to use the Door of Welcome to escape to a safe place to rest. This they did, entering the strange Inn beyond where they were fed and provided rooms without a word, and thus allowing Havok to immediately rest, pray and save Aldeberon, with mere seconds to spare. Given the extra-dimensional nature of the Inn beyond the door, the party could not exit somewhat recovered, either instantly after the moment they left, or a full 24 hours; they decided to exit the moment after they entered…
– Experience: 3906 XP each (4296 XP for those getting +10%)