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They decided that they would head back to Azrok’s Hold to ask for help with the main bulk of the drow and their demon allies. On their way back to the Hold they found a room in the phase spider lair that would be easy to defend so they could get some rest. They sent a paper bird message to Azrok to give him an update and to ask if he could send assistance with the hopes of taking care of the drow threat once and for all. They then took a long rest and hoped for the best.
They were not disturbed.
Henrik looked out of the room and saw that Azrok was there along with Lurkana and a mix of hobgoblins and goblins. Azrok said these are who I could spare. We did not want to leave the Hold without guard. There are still former members of my people returning so our defenses are bolstered.
The group asked Azrok and crew to stay around the main entrance to the temple which was an intersection with four different exits. One was the way that they had come, second was to the north, third was to the east, and the way into the temple.
The group set out and was hoping to get to the temple but they were stopped by a group of gricks led by a drow. The gricks were more of an annoyance while the drow jumped around trying to damage as many of them as he could.
They came down to the temple area and waited for Azrok and his crew to get in place. Vedra went ahead to check the Stone Shape she had put on the door. AS she was preparing to remove it, she noticed that someone had already removed it and had made it look like it was still there. She let the others know and Hetty and Henrik came to the front to check the door out and then attack whatever was on the other side. Once Reva was in place, Henrik asked the door if anyone was on the other side of it. Hearing nothing, he opened the door. The room had many more webs in it than the last time they were there. And standing in front of them were two dretches(see handout in roll20 for more info on dretches).
The dretches attacked but they were just meat shields to protect the drow mage that was hidden in the northwest corner and the yochlol that was hiding in the southwest corner. The group focused on the drow mage and they took him out before he could even cast a major spell. The yochlol went into its mist form and poisoned everyone in the group. Once it came out of the mist form he concentrated its attacks on Jasper which was not a good idea as he was resistant to poison. It still did a good amount of damage before it was destroyed.
They did a quick round of healing using spells and potions before heading to the west door emblazoned with a bronze relief of a mountain with a fist-sized depression in its center. They knew that a gem was needed to open the door. They prepared for the upcoming battle as well as they could and then placed a gem into the fist-sized depression. The lock clicked and Henrik opened the door.
Several castings of Faerie hit the group as they ran into the room. Hetty and Henrik went to engage the Lolth-touched cambion. Pixel moved close to Kataract and cast Dimension Door and they entered and appeared on the other side of the Lolth-touched cambion so everyone would get flank for their attacks. The drow soldiers concentrated their hand crossbow attacks on those that were lit up from the faerie fire. The drow priestess of Lolth cast Insect Plague on the bulk of the group but did not seem to hinder them much at all. Jasper cast Fireball getting as many of the drow including the priestess in its range. It took out the majority of the drow soldiers and those who were left were a bit more crispy than before. Then Jasper used his cloak of the Mountebank to cast Dimension Door and he and Reva stepped through to get closer to the drow priestess. The rest of the group continued to attack the cambion and every once in awhile they would attack the remaining drow soldiers.
The priestess then summoned four giant spiders before casting Darkness on herself and two of the giant spiders. Henrik could see through the magical darkness but she was not there. He let the others know that the priestess was gone. They easily took out the giant spiders. The cambion still stood. A hidden drow appeared but he was not very successful in his attacks or really anything else. The priestess appeared to the south of the main fight with the cambion and waded into combat by attacking Vedra even though she had put up Spirit Guardians. It did not seem to matter to the priestess.
A door to the south of Gyudd and Cray opened and several more drow aimed their hand crossbows at them and fired. The cambion fell and half the group went to attack the priestess while the other half went to attack the new drow. Gyudd shouted that Azrok's crew was fighting as well. I will go check on them. Cray would back him up. Cray then began to focus on the drow to the south using her psychic blades first as ranged weapons and then as melee weapons as she made her way south as her companions joined the new fight to give her flank for sneak attacks.
The priestess fell and the fight shifted to the drow to the south. They were falling quickly and when there was one drow left he dropped his weapons and surrendered. He said I will tell you anything you want.
What is in that barricaded door to the east asked Hetty?
Hetty opened the door and saw a female sun elf in dirty wizard's robes.
Kataract asked her what was a sun elf doing in the Underdark? She said I could ask you the same thing. What else? I am here to seek fame and fortune in the massive complex known as Undermountain. I was doing okay until I was captured by the drow and have been in this room for the past I am guessing 6 weeks. I could get back to my explorations if only I had my spellbook and arcane focus.
Hetty asked the drow if he knew where the sun elf's gear was? He said I do not. The priestess had it the last time I saw it and I am guessing she is dead since you are here and no one else is attacking you. If it was not on her, I am not sure what happened to it.
They asked him what was behind the door behind him. He said that was the torture/spa area. No one should be in there as we all came up once we heard the fighting. They put him in the prison cell that the sun elf had been in. The sun elf said thank you. You can call me Marta.
Kataract wanted to kill the drow but the others said he did surrender so we keep him alive for now. They would explore the torture/spa area and then decide what to do with the final drow.
Henrik and Reva went into the torture/spa area. Jasper stayed in the main temple area and looked for treasure. (see the email and/or handout in roll20 for the list of treasure.) Kataract stayed with the drow prisoner. Gyudd and Cray went to check on Azrok's crew.
Henrik and Reva found that each door in the torture/spa area were not only unlocked but were open. The first room had once maybe had devices but they were no longer there. The second room's walls were lined with coiled whips, daggers, and other menacing tools. A small table in the center was covered with a pristine, white silk sheet. The third room had four chaise lounges carved from dark wood and padded with spider silk cushions are spread around the edges of the room. In the middle of the floor is a 10-foot-diameter circle of entrails surrounded with ghastly script written in blood. Reva had a good idea what it was but she and Henrik called Jasper to come take a look at the circle. They all deduced that the writing was Abyssal. Reva and Jasper were confident that this was a portal to send drow to the Abyss as part of a ritual known as the Test of Lolth. Those who passed the test were made stronger. Those who failed were horrifically transformed into driders and cast out of drow society. Jasper said that this portal was two way so they left here and came back the same way.
To the south the room opened up into a natural cavern. They could hear howling winds echo from deeper in the tunnels.
Henrik wanted to check out the remaining rooms in the torture/spa area. In the western room a sturdy table was positioned beneath a
suspended 80-gallon water barrel. A spider silk hood lay in the floor beside the table. In the northeast corner was a pile of clothes, a suit of leather armor and shortsword.
The room to the east had a large, rotating platform with leather straps that took up most of the room. There was nothing else in the room.
They headed for the natural caverns to the south.
Reva smelled the air. She knew there was a river some ways away from where she was currently. She did not smell the water but the wind could still be coming off of the water as well as changes in temperatures around the water and the caverns. They moved slowly ahead with Reva and Henrik in the lead.
They moved into a larger cavern. The winds were the loudest here, stirring the thick webs that fill this cave and evoking ghostly shapes including the face of a familiar old man. Was Halaster behind these odd winds? As they traveled along the winds grew even louder until the winds sounded almost like screaming. No, that was screaming. It sounded elven.
They turned corner and standing in front of them was a drider. It had not seen them yet and it was yelling at the top of its voice: "Make it stop!"
It turned and saw them and repeated its plea. "Make it stop!"
They were not sure what to do. Reva was convinced it was insane probably from the transformation into a drider. Would a Remove Curse work or Greater Restoration? Reva used the Sending Stone to ask Pixel if she would come down and cast Greater Restoration on a drider. Pixel was not sure it would work but came down anyway. The other option was to kill it but they were not ready to that yet.
They tried to use sign language to calm the drider so Pixel could touch it. She was able to a sense of calm came over the drow's face.
And it spoke:
I fear this respite will be temporary but for now I feel calm.
They talked to it about the caverns and the test of Lolth. Even with all it had been through it was still loyal saying that Lolth was the superior god and the drow her followers would help her to one day rule Faerun and eventually the universe. I failed the Spider Queen once. Never again.
Reva did her best to channel Hetty and said: Maybe you can see the true nature of things while you have this respite from your madness.
The drider never replied to her one way or the other. It then took out a signet and said to them. This signet bears the symbol of House Auvryndar which I used to belong to. My name is etched below. Perhaps if presented to me when the madness has returned I remember you and we will not be forced to fall upon each other's swords.
Reva took the signet and then asked where the tunnels behind it went. It said a ways away is the River Sargauth that winds its way to Skullport.
Reva thanked the drider and they went towards the river and it went in the opposite direction.
It took awhile but they finally made it to the river's edge.
This cave abuts the sluggish River Sargauth and is filled with web curtains that undulate in the howling wind.
They spotted behind these curtains, carved into the west wall, an old pirate rhyme:
If Skullport's where ye wish to be,
With the Sargauth's flow go ye.
If pirate booty is what ye crave,
Fight the surge to the captain's grave.
They would decide which way to go along the river another time. Then they headed back to check in on Azrok and decide if it was time to head back to the Lost Level and finish Gyudd's quest.
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