Novak, the elf, the cleric and Bolcox found themselves in an octagonal room with a door on each wall. They shouted up the slick tunnel from which they’d tumbled when stepping on a trap door. From above, the half-elf and the dwarf called back. With them were the elf’s two hirelings and another elf the half-elf brought with him.
The wall of the tube were slick, too slick to climb by the estimate of the dwarf. They searched among their belongings. Only the newly-arrived elf had any rope, and at only 50 feet it was too short. Off went the dwarf, the half-elf and the two hirelings to search for more rope. Meanwhile, the new elf, dressed in black, a brass pin in the shape of a skull, dove into the tube to join the others.
Into the Caves
Suddenly a door burst open. Two snarling men, nearly naked, rushed forward. They responded not at all to words. They were bent on battle and the party gave it to them. Eldritch words filled the echoing room and the lot of them fell asleep under the elf’s sleep spell.
Leaving the two berserkers asleep, the elf woke the rest, afterwards binding the limbs of the enemies. They merely struggled, refusing any intelligible response. Leaving no loose ends, their throats were slit without ceremony.
Through the door went the party, in search of an escape route. Presently a sparkle gleamed in a corridor ahead. Reflecting from the torch in the hand of the hireling Bolcox, coins appeared to float. Before long, they recognized the fabled gelatinous cube and made haste to burn and puncture it. Soon it collapsed into harmless goo from which they recovered several coins of platinum and gold plus an odd sword covered in a crust. The skull-wearing elf took it up and felt a surge of magic from within.
Moving forward, they discovered a room with a shallow pool. Tasted, the water refreshed. A careful search found nothing more, so they turned around and explored further. Presently, they arrived in another octagonal room, one without a tube going up nor containing two dead warriors. Novak marked doors with charcoal as they forced them open and looked beyond.
After some exploring, they arrived in a larger chamber dominated by a throne on which sat the self-declared King Daery. Novak employed his charm to spark a friendship with the king and his attendants. Novak offered a small tribute of coins, the very ones gathered from the gelatinous cube, and with that he and his comrades were offered free passage.
Through twists and turns and many passages, they came to a chamber extruding a foul odor. Inside were three bugbears they confronted immediately with violence. The monsters fought well but were vanquished. No treasure from them was taken but a pouch of rations made of nuts and berries.
Eventually, they found a chamber past an arduous climb and there they rested for a time to recover vigor and memorize spells. Refreshed as from a night of sleep, though they could not tell night from day in the permanently dark caves, they went out again. Bolcox held their last torch. Only a handful of candles and the cleric’s light spells could hold back the dark when that torch burnt out.
On the floor the cave, a trail of blood lead away from where they’d slain the bugbears. Carefully they crept, the stealthy elf going alone to spy foul ghouls feasting on the corpses. The smell of fresh meat brought the ghouls forward into battle. The new elf produced a skull which he brandished as a holy symbol, driving back two of the ghouls. The human cleric sneered at the display of blasphemous ritual. The ghouls and the party spun around, slashing with sword and claw.
Among many misses, a savage bite found its mark in the flesh of the hireling Bolcox who only whimpered as he tumbled, dropping the torch. In the fading light, the two elves slashed effectively, defeating all ghouls.
A number of coins and a jeweled necklace were taking from the ghouls’ lair.
Taking the lifeless Bolcox in his arms, Novak lead the team back into caves. Presently, they arrived again in the original chamber, the two throat-slashed warriors undisturbed. From above, they heard the calls of their comrades and down fell a rope.
One by one, they scaled the rope to return to the upper levels. They hauled the body of Bolcox up as well, which they placed in the forge to light it afire. The evil nature of ghouls would not reanimate his body for it returned to the dust from which it came. Naturally, Novak folded up the magic chain mail and stuff the magic sword in his belt.
Still planning a thorough search of the monastery and the caves, they set about gathering torches, many of which lined an arena. It was here the skull-wearing elf found his former companions, the reason for his presence in this area. It was here also, explained the half-elf, that he tamed two dogs with food.
A search of the bodies turned up ordinary arms and armor, but also a spellbook which the elf took up for study.