While the fighters argued over where to explore next, Tienarth opened the diary again to look for clues. He learned the settlement began as a cemetery. After a rich gold vein was found, the crypt was sealed and the enterprise switched to gold mining. The elevator was built to trade gold with the surface.
Scanning over accounting figures, he figure about a hundred bodies rested in the crypt. The sealing involved adding strong dwarven magic which can only be bypassed by “putting gems before iron”.
Some years after the mining operation started, a monster appeared, wrapped in chains, from the entrance tunnel. It slaughtered many miners but was eventually put down. Dacha ordered the mine cleared. The author of the diary planned to seal the mine with holy symbols.
The Office of Doctor Dreadful
Tienarth caught up with the group as he tucked the diary back in his pack. Aderian was just pushing open a door to reveal an unexplored room off the main hallway. Inside a dozen candles glowed, affixed to the top of an oak desk covered in thick globs of red wax. A beautiful woman in a healer’s robe leaned back in a chair, heels perched on the desktop.
She offered to heal wounds for the injured, and Longstream eagerly accepted. What did she want in return, he wondered. She demanded nothing but a kiss for compensation. Meanwhile, Ghevont struggled to speak. Some unseen force held his tongue and no one noticed his feeble gestures.
Longstream accepted the potion bottle, pull free the cork and began drinking. He felt a squirming sensation as it passed through his mouth. Despite a vague nausea, he did feel stronger than before, and some burns from the dogboy battle healed over.
Suddenly, Ghevont completed a whispered prayer, then shouted, “she’s evil!” as he lunged towards the succubus, swinging his mace. Taken by surprise, she attempted to re-establish her charm to no avail. Next, Aderian and Azrak stepped closer to stab and bash at her. Over-matched, she leaped into to the air to fly away, but Ghevont landed a blow, cracking her skull. Her body fell to the ground and withered into wispy threads.
Beneath the desk, they found a floor safe which Ferris quickly cracked. Inside were innumerable gold ingots, far too many to load up in backpacks. Ferris closed the safe and locked it again.
Across the hall, Aderian opened a door to find dogboys waiting in a dining area. He caught a cone of fire from one of them, but they all fought on and soon put down the four dog-headed demons.
A door on the far size of the dining hall opened to a kitchen, mostly bare. Longstream cracked open a barrel he discovered to contain pickled cave worms. He removed one and attached it to the outside of his backpack.
Giving up the crypt entrance guarded by statues, they concluded all areas explored except for the collapsed tunnel leading south from the main gallery. Having bashed open the iron doors from the hall into the gallery, they headed straight for the tunnel. Marching down the narrow cavern, Aderian came upon four sleeping hellhounds.
He retreated as the dogs raised their heads. Tienarth prepared a spell, waited and then let loose a lightning bolt that dropped two of the hounds. Ghevont, having little fear of fire, stepped forward to fight the hounds. Indeed, he shrugged off a blast of fire, but then realized the hulking beast might knock him down to be torn by wicked fangs. So he retreated into the gallery where the others waited. It wasn’t long before they killed the remaining hounds.
Aderian, Ghevont and Azrak ascended the elevator. Ferris, Tienarth and Longstream climbed the rope, demonstrating fortunate caution, for as the halfling bumped the elevator while exiting, the chain broke loose and the iron bucked tumbled down 100 feet. The echo of the crash bounced up the shaft.
They returned to the homestead to fetch the wagon and the horses. The next day, they used Ghevont’s magic back to shuttle 2,500 lbs of gold out of the hold by the rope. Late in the day, they made it home to stow the gold bars in the homestead cellar.
Soon, they remembered the pickled cave worm. The halfling had planned to use it as bait for hellhounds. “I’ll eat it!” declared Aderian, perhaps longing for the salty breeze of the sea. After swallowing a chunk of the brined amphibian spawn, he felt his consciousness expand. He was overcome with the feeling that he could sense everything around to a precise degree, even with eyes closed. The feeling remained all day.
- Treasure: Gold bars 25,000 gp
- 4 Dogboys
- 4 Hellhounds
- 1 Succubus
- Virtues: none
- Vices: none