Seeing the Keepers and skeletons milling about in the Causeway, Drael cast a Silent Image over the hallway to disguise their presence while Vyktor assessed the Antimagic field they had passed through. He determined that it would block the Cloudkill defenses that had just been activated, which left them a small amount of time to recuperate – assuming they weren’t noticed first.
Ignomine, still sapped by the effects of whatever was slowing his movements and reducing his strength, attempted to Lay on Hands to cure it. Attempts to cure Vyktor’s mother and Gabriel, the cleric of Abadar, likewise failed, indicating that what was plaguing them was not a disease or curse. In no immediate danger, the group decided to rest while Ignomine prayed to receive spells from Abadar, including the ability to Delay Poison.
The hour of preparation passed uneventfully, but moments after casting the spell the zombies reacted to the noise and use of holy energy, and a long prehensile tongue lashed through Drael’s illusion to strangle him. More of the zombies turned toward the commotion, and several Keepers erupted from the Croach and began dancing to alert the other Vord in the area.
Polycarp risked injury to shoot an adjacent zombie while Artas used Spider Climb to cling to the wall and splatter another zombie by falling like an avenging spiky-armored meteor. This didn’t stop the Keepers’ alert, so Drael sought to distract them by summoning a herd of horses to stampede through the area. Several of them fell as they were attacked, but it succeeded in mashing the Croach in a huge area and disguising their movements. The party maneuvered to mount the surviving horses and hopefully escape.
Ignomine, seeing that Delay Poison worked on his condition, casts it on Vyktor’s mother and Gabriel, allowing them to mount horses while the rest covered their retreat. Vyktor cast Silence to further dampen the Keepers’ knowledge of them, though Drael used the opportunity to shoot a Magic Missile through it and blast one of the Silenced Keepers. He then breathed a gout of flame on another, allowing a horse to escape, though another panicked and bolted into the dim distance. Down the causeway, the shrieking of Vord Knights mixed with the screaming of mangled horses.
Plague and Void Zombies swarmed the party, but a rejuvenated Ignomine wielding found armor and weapons was able to fight them off while the Cleric and Priestess fled on their mounts. Vyktor covered the vanguard, rushing ahead to clear the path. He cast Slow juast as he was noticed by the Vord Knights, but only managed to hit one of the four. They charged the half-drow, taking him to half health in a moment’s breadth. Artas used his Spider Climb to retreat, while Ignomine withdrew and Drael summoned more horses. Polycarp, trusting in his fleet feet, deals a devastating blow to one and a crippling shot to another.
As everyone caught up to Vyktor they realized they were helpless on horseback. Artas, thinking quickly, intimidated them with a glare to buy time. Raven entrances them with a spell, staggering one, while Polycarp finished off another. With the most dangerous warriors defeated the party fled, sacrificing more horses to the horde of undead and glowing green monsters.
They fled through the underground Causeway, dodging zombies and Keepers, until the reached a dead end blocked by what appeared to be a corrupted purple worm. It lay dormant, and beyond its slumbering hulk appeared to be a sealed an locked door – one closed and barricaded for centuries.
Polycarp continued his string of competence and bravado, racing back to draw off another Vord Knight, miraculously resisting its venom as he attacked it alone. Having drawn its attention, he sprinted back between Artas and Ignomine, ready to strike it as it passed them. Their prepared attacks pummel it to the gooey floor, and Artas finished it off with an executioner’s strike.
Their forward passage stymied, the group backtracked looking for other means of escape. Between the efforts of Vyktor’s mom, Raven, and Vyktor, they discover secret doorways almost invisible behind layers of grime and dust from centuries of neglect. The room contained two suspicious mounds. After sealing the doorway, they broke them open to reveal skeletons the immediately collapsed into dust, but left an Arelan Steel chain shirt and leg braces, and the corpse of a drow paladin skeleton with lots of gear. Seeing no other immediate options and reasoning the room had lain undisturbed for quite a while before now, the group settled down to rest and recuperate.
Rejuvenated and finally having a moment to take stock, the party decided to deal with some rather pressing issues that they hadn’t addressed in the panicked flight of their escape over the past few days. Drael still had his slave’s collar locked around his neck, and as they had no way of knowing when it could be used against them again they decided to take a gamble on removing it. The powerful enchantments and locks on it could only be removed by the slaver, but Polycarp was willing to try to remove it. With dextrous fingers he felt around the mechanism and just about had it… and then a blast of power struck down both Drael and Polycarp.
Ready for just such a disaster, the rest of the group sprung into action. Artas deftly sliced off Drael’s head, allowing Vyktor’s mother to remove the band. Gabriel replaced Drael’s head, and Ignomine and Vyktor both cast Breath of Life to restore their friends to life before their spirits had fully departed. Momentarily traumatized but otherwise ok, everyone decided to rest again while Vyktor explored a means of escape with an unsuccessful teleport.
Drael, only slightly discomfited by dying, being decapitated, and revived moments later, scouted invisibly in flight and discovered more hidden doors. Polycarp used Artas’ Spider Climb trick to unlock the door after a magical Open/Close attempt failed. Drael summoned horses to distract the shambling horde, leaving five Keepers and two Grave Knights facing the party. Drael tried to draw them off with an Aqueous Orb but only extracted one of the Keepers, leaving the others to spit their debilitating acid at him.
One of the Grave Knights slashed Ignomine, leaving him teetering until a rescue by Vyktor, and countered with a critical hit. Artas and Ignomine resume their Bro-Tank routine and manage to take one of the Grave Knights down with lots of fancy footwork. The other Grave Knight managed to take out Artas though, and a shadowy specter of the fighter immediately popped up in his place.
Drael is reduced to a drooling shambles by more Keeper venom draining his Wisdom, though his Aqueous Orb managed to pick up more Keepers before they could escape its range. Gabriel did what healing he could, while Polycarp’s sharp senses picked up the combat happening far in the distance and Spider Climbs back to the group. Vyktor revives Artas before the shade can act, to the relief of everyone in the party.
The Keepers continue trying to dance their alarm, but are successfully thwarted by the Aqueous Orb or others’ attacks. Polycarp finally arrived on the scene and immediately critted the surviving Grave Knight, shattering it and eviscerating a Keeper in quick succession. Everyone sprinted to the door, Ignomine making it moments before another attack, and just as Polycarp slams the door shut and disabled it.
The party then explored down the pitch-black hallway using a Light spell, shortly revealing a Seal of the Empire of Arela engraved into the floor. They discover a door Polycarp is amazingly unable to unlock, and Artas used his Arelan Steel greatsword to hack his way through. In the room are piles of rusted weapons and armor, a treasure chest with ancient platinum pieces in it, and a stairwell up to a block with a magical barrier on it. Vyktor studied it while the others explored, foolhardily disturbing a mummy and getting Artas blinded.
Drael held off until Ignomine was able to arrive, cast Haste on everyone, and then sent Raven to alert Vyktor to the danger. The mummy cast Greater Darkness, Ignomine took the front line but was unable to find the mummy. Searching for it, they open the door to reveal a room full of scaffolding, decaying banners, and words written in Undercommon saying “They left us behind” and “They ate ”/wikis/Telchin/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Telchin".
Just then, a Dread Vord Wraith burst through the wall and attacked Gabriel, just after Artas had left the room. The Mummy Lord rounded the corner and speared Drael, cursing him with mummy rot. Drael blasted him with his Dragon Breath in retaliation. Ignomine finally manages to get into the hallway and chops the mummy in half. Gabriel blasts the wraith with Cure spells, distracting it while Polycarp sneaked in and unloaded a fullisade of arrows. Ignomine kept it pinned with a savage slash long enough for Drael to finish it off with a Magic Missile.
The party continued to tentatively explore the ruined hallways only to get blasted by a burst of lightning, sending the group scattering. Some hide while others dodge behind the apparatus until Polycarp succeeds in disabling it. He then examines the hallway for more traps before discovering a small, loose floor tile hiding a small tunnel. The rogue squeezed himself down, sees ghostly shapes floating towards him from the corners, and yells for the group to yank him up. Thankfully the specters stop at the border of the room, allowing Artas to make his way in there and finish them off without danger to the rest of the party.
Free of hostiles, the party crept into the room and reveal wards written by ancient drow. The two doors in the room are revealed to be trapped, nearly killing some of the party members. Ignomine channeled divinity to heal the party, and the group decided to leave well enough alone and not risk opening a hole into the Underdark. They climbed back up out of the hole and try to go through the stuck door.
Inside the room is an ancient siege engine, partially disassembled. They explored the rooms, Polycarp unlocking several doors as they are found. Behind one is the distinctive green glow of the Croach. A quick round of preparations by Vyktor later they burst through the door, revealing four Vord Knights. Polycarp’s ambush blast devastated one of them, while Artas terrified them, Drael summoned his laser light show of Lantern Archons, Ignomine Smote one down, and Polycarp slays the last with a Bleeding wound.