After almost a tenday of fairly unremarkable travel, late one night during the third watch, Al and Rael noticed some tremors shake the earth beneath (and more frighteningly, above) them. They investigated, found nothing to explain it, but decided it wasn’t a good idea to stay where they were, so they woke the group and headed out early, off toward what they hoped was Gracklstugh. Working on vague directions and finding few people over the past tenday, though, they weren’t really sure they were on the right path anymore.
That same night, __________ woke in a cold sweat. He’d had a terrible nightmare, an image of being swallowed whole with slimy ichor, oily tentacles, all the disgusting stuff.
Sarith led another group of former prisoners of Velkynvelve to Heyward’s Hideaway, and our heroes stumbled across it that same evening themselves. It’s located at a fairly busy crossroads about a day’s travel from Sloobludop. `
On the way in, Rael and Rollin noticed a wild boar from the surface caged in a cart. After interrogating the stable “boy”, an ancient eloquent half-orc named Grac, they learned that the boar was en route to something called a “zoo” in Sloobludop and that Rollin has an extreme fascination with bacon.
In Heyward’s Hideaway, the two groups of prisoners reunited. They also met the caravan that’s hauling the boar, a group of Svirfneblin, led by a caravanner named Goram. Rael and Rollin sat down to a game of dice with the deep gnomes and came out ahead, narrowly avoiding a confrontation with Chut, a deep gnome who was well into his cups and on the losing end of the night’s dice games.
After talking with Sarith and Heyward, our heroes found that Gracklstugh may still be a good option, but since the party isn’t Duergar, they’d have a hard time getting in the front gate. Traders of other races are allowed in the dockyards of Gracklstugh, which means they need a boat. Those can be found at Sloobludop, a city of Kuo-toa on the shores of the Darklake. So they moved to Plan B: They were also going to go to Sloobludop.
Since all three groups were headed to the same place, they set out together, safety in numbers. The previous night’s geological instability struck again, separating the group from Al and Gar, who had scouted ahead when the ceiling collapsed between them. A moment later, the floor below them collapsed down to a passage below, separating most of the group from Chut and his fellow pack gnomes hauling the boar cart.
The boar was extremely agitated by this turn of events, and it broke free from its cage, jumping down to the lower level the characters were on. Rollin was forced to put it down when it charged Goram. I’m sure this had nothing to do with Rollin’s desire for bacon.
They began to explore the path they’d found, stumbling on some dusty caverns that hadn’t been used in ages. These caverns intersected with what was left of a ruined temple in a few places, and matched up with volcanic lava floes in others. The nice warm volcanic areas were home to a salamander and her brood. Fortunately for our group, Seela the salamander was out foraging when they arrived, so they dealt with her separately from her children.
In one of the lava floes in Seela’s lair, they found a magic sword that Seela had attempted to destroy because its power of cold was hurtful. Rollin found this to be quite handy when they met Seela.
On the other end of the cavern complex, the party found an ancient temple. Rael recognized it as a temple to a demon, and while he could tell the place was desecrated, he couldn’t make heads or tails of what the sigils seemed to imply. It was, best he could tell, a temple to a demon named Miska the Wolf Spider who was the Prince of Demons. This made no sense, as it’s common knowledge that the Prince of Demons is named Demogorgon, and he’s not big on spiders.
The nameless draconian sorcerer finally piped up. He’d learned from the slave who taught him how to use his talents of some of the ancient ways, including that centuries ago, before Demogorgon made his rise to power, there was indeed a demon named Miska who was called Prince of Demons. Demogorgon defeated Miska, leading us to the situation we have today.
As they exited the complex, they met Seela, who was returning from her hunting. She was incensed when she saw the draconian sorcerer gnawing on the tail of one of her children, but was dispatched by the party in fairly short order.
The party found their way back to a place they recognized, and holed up at Heyward’s with the intent to continue on to Sloobludop via the longer route the next day.