After defeating the Woodwoe giant, the trio of adventurers took stock of the area. Maslorias found a couple doses of mindsease on the shaman, but little else of value was to be found. They decided to to explore to the west, but neglected to repair Domhnal’s broken cestus (an oversight that may haunt them). Not far to the west, they entered the area Domhnal explored earlier. Coming upon a strange sand pile, the group cautiously investigated. Throwing a Woodwoe spear into the pile disturbed a group of giant spiders. The vermin were easily dealt with and Bros found three perfectly cut amber octohedrons in the sand. Maslorias was able to extract some poison from the spiders, but didn’t have containers for storing it. He was unable to apply any to Domhnal’s dagger and poisoned himself in the attempt, but was able to shrug off any ill effects.
Proceeding onward, the group pressed on into a small tunnel terminating in wall. Maslorias knew there was a chamber beyond thanks to his previous magical exploration. Armed with that knowledge, he found the secret trigger to open the hidden door. Beyond is a charnel chamber below a basalt ledge. Nothing of worth was found amongst the rotting carcasses and bones, so Maslorias carved hand and footholds in the wall with deep magic. Bros was able to climb up and assist the others with rope. Proceeding to the south, they soon discovered a masterwork statue of Tsathoggua and a cobbled path rather than unworked stone. A Pictish hunter and two dogs lay dead at the statue’s feet. The Pict’s back had massive claw marks across the back, while the large dog’s necks had been snapped. They briefly considered toppling the abhorrent statue, but thought better of it. Following the cobbles to the south, they came upon another chamber with stairs leading up to the south, a cobbled path to the east, and a iron banded wooden chest. Rats seethed outside their torchlight up the stairs. Domhnal hauled the chest out into the center of the room, but found it locked. The group decided to open the chest with deep magic. After retreating to what they thought was a safe distance, Maslorias used Deep Magic again to warp the wood of the chest. Eventually the chest’s wood buckled, but its iron bands held. Though it failed to spill its contents, the chest was now damaged enough for Maslorias to lift the lid from afar with his spell, which proved to be a mistake. Flame exploded from the chest filling the room and sending burning rats fleeing. Domhmal was quick enough to dive flat and avoid the inferno, but Maslorias and Bros were not so lucky. Adding insult to injury, something bellowed from the east. Domhnal and Bros tried to hide, while Maslorias opted to remain in the open but keep the high ground of a small ledge. Shortly thereafter, a giant troll leading a cave lion by a leash lumbered into view. Questioning his choice to remain in the open, Maslorias hurled a sling stone at the foes and readied his staff. The troll set his cave lion on Maslorias, who with managed to keep it at bay briefly with his long reach. With the troll’s attention focused on the Pictish warlock, Bros was able to attack it unawares and deal a massive blow with his axe while Domhnal loaded his crossbow from the safety of a crevice. Foiled in it’s first attack, the cave lion made a leaping attack at Maslorias. Deftly batting the beast’s claw aside, the Pict delivered a devastating riposte, crushing the cave lion’s skull. The big Kimmerian and the troll traded blows, but the mercenary came out ahead. His axe took huge bites our the troll’s massive tree trunk club while the troll was unable to land a blow. Domhnal’s first shot ricocheted off the wall at Maslorias who was lucky enough to bat it aside with his staff. Maslorias joined the fight with the troll, and with it’s attention divided, Bros was soon able to take its head. When silence fell over the cavern, the group tended their burns and were glad to have escaped that battle alive. Amazingly, perhaps, a large number of odd, triangular silver coins survived the chest’s explosion. Believing them cursed, Domhnal refused to take any, so they were split between the other two adventurers.
The group followed the path east into the troll’s chamber and found a giant thrown and a few gems. Two possible paths south were blocked with wooden barricades, while an ancient wooden bridge, water reflecting torchlight below, crossed a chasm to the north. The slightly built Domhnal crossed the bridge and strung a fresh rope across the chasm. Another barricade, this one made of finished wood blocked another path. While Domhnal and Maslorias were examining the chamber beyond the bridge, Bros broke through a barrier to the south. That done a loud whistle rang out echoed from beyond the barrier in front of the Pict. Bros crossed the bridge, breaking it in the process, to join the others. They proceeded to dig through the barricade and explored the tunnels beyond. The halls were seemingly empty. Domhnal proceeded one way through a partially flooded hall while the others investigated a strangely still, curtain lined chamber full of household detritus. As Bros exited the chamber to the south Maslorias checked behind a curtain. Suddenly, a man sized creature and numerous smaller being appeared out of nowhere. The large one, demanded Maslorias drop his staff and surrender. Being surrounded, he refused, but took up a non-threatening posture and offered to leave the area. Bros likewise, refused to disarm himself and diplomacy soon failed. In the other hallway, Domhnal spotted one of the smaller creatures and retreated the way he came. In the chamber, Maslorias was swamped and barely able to defend himself, while Bros had more success with wrestling the tiny beasties to the south. The larger enemy then cast a spell putting the Pict into captive slumber as Domhnal entered the fray. The battle continued with Domhnal making some progress in dropping the lesser minions and shrugging off another of spell from the larger foe, but his second cestus broke. Bros continued to grapple in the south while Maslorias standing insensate.
To be continued…