After freeing the stoned Darve, the party purchased a few items. Despite Nyles sincere wish to aid the party, urgent business at his temple prevented him from returning with them. Teleporting back to where they had left off in the serpent fortress. They circled further down the stone snake, past carved ribs and searched the rooms.
Eventually, in one of the chambers they found a secret door and heard marching approaching the room. The merc, Darve, and his steed turned invisible and the group headed down some stairs behind the secret door.
At the bottom, they found a large cavern. Skweesh crept ahead to scout, and upon entering the room, the serpent guards opened fire on him with arrows. He scoffed and let loose a cute little smurfy retort before raging.
Skweesh charged in as the merc’s weapon flared with magic and he too entered the battle. Darve hurried to the end of the stairs, summoned his horse, yelling encouragement as he is wont to do. A serpent fired on Seralya, injuring her. Bad idea.
She lashed out in retaliation, staggering him with ice. Darve charged, stabbing a serpent folk, causing his horse to become visible again, making the horse a major target. Fortunately his skillful riding and his newfound skill as a bodyguard managed to keep Bree from being killed that day.
The Merc, the Smurf, and the Knight fought as the witch hexed, and eventually the guards began to die off. Unfortunately two more guards entered, and Skweesh was suddenly backstabbed by a serpentfolk wielding a red-hot poker.
Fortunately, the smurf turned and seriously wounded the snakeman, causing the fancy head-dressed serpentman to throw pixie dust into the air and disappear. Curses.
Soon, the remaining guards were defeated, and one serpentfolk was captured.
Potions of curing wounds were used, the witch healed everyone, and drained the captive (that had unwisely struck her) of his life force to heal her own injuries. No interrogation was broached or suggested and Skweesh was released to slay the smelly guard when Seralya said she no longer needed him.
Searching around the room, they found no trace of the hot poker wielding backstabber. Dangit.
Soon, they found a dungeon full of about two hundred maltreated, filthy, cowering morlocks.
Skweesh was able to speak undercommon but lacked the diplomacy to properly convey a calming message. Sir Darven offered to advise, so a three way conversation ensued, which went something like this:
“I don’t know what to say.” Skweesh admitted.
“Well, what do you wish to say, my little blue friend?”
“Calm the hell down, you filthy animals, and stop cowering!”
“Try, ‘Fear not, Citizens. We come in peace.’” Skweesh repeated this with little conviction.
The huddle morlocks continued to cower and beg not to be beaten or destroyed. “They’re still babbling and cowering as if their bony spines have been removed!” Skweesh grumbled.
“Try mentioning that we are friends of ‘the Great Kline’ and ‘Princess Juliver’ and we have come to rescue him.” Skweesh dutifully parrots this sentiment.
Upon mentioning the ‘Great’ Kline and (the late) ‘Princess’ Juliver, the morlocks mood changes dramatically and a more fruitful conversation begins and progresses to the place of freeing them and arming some of the more capable among them.
Some of the Murlocks wanted to go with the party but they were asked to remain there and told that the party would soon be back after some further exploration and recon. A small amount of armor and some food was parceled out and the party departed.
Pushing further into the dripping darkness of the area a dead woman was found bobbing in a cistern-like recess. Skweesh gladly hopped in to check and retrieve the corpse which was more than mostly dead (and splash around for treasure).
There was indeed some treasure in the cesspool, including, I believe, a +2 Rapier, a Potion of Gaseous Form, a Scroll of Phatom Steed, and 486gp worth of valuables.
Soon, they discovered a room with a cage, containing a tortured, chained-up human prisoner. He was approached cautiously, and was discovered to be DUN DUN DUNNN! Eando Kline.
(As seen in better days)
He was healed by the witch as the party attempted to free him from his cage. Unfortunately, the lock was magically sealed, the room warded against teleportation, and the cage itself made of nigh-invincible adamantine or unobtainium or somesuch.
Sadly, a plan to have the merc turn into a yeti and rip the cage open was rejected when it was judged to be too strong even for that. The collar and shackles inside the cage were opened though. Thank goodness for small victories.
There seemed to be no way to free him but by the key, which Kline said was held by Asaam, the hot poker-wielding a-hole serpentfolk who had escaped earlier.
Assigning the 200 morlocks to guard “The Kline” (which they were more than happy to do), the party resolved to hunt down Asaam and perhaps the traitorous vampire as they had earlier agreed to do for the blue Vampire squashy head.