Taking Reniss’s advice, the party departs Tradetown to kill some time until midnight. The spring rainstorm that has been raging all day shows no sign of abating. When they arrive at the Happy Beggar showtly before midnight, they are all soaked to the skin. However, fortune smile son them, for the windows of the almshouse are dark. They are closed for the weekend.
Berend Stonekeeper: Anybody got a key, or should I…
Berend Stonekeeper holds up his hammer, grinning broadly.
Ashen: Perhaps bashing our way in is not the proper way forward, there may still be occupants.
Berend Stonekeeper (sighs): Perhaps.
Pythas attempts to unlock the door, but the pick snaps in his rain-soaked fingers.
Ashen: Did you succeed in opening the door? If not then I shall try.
Pythas: Be quiet, you are distracting me.
The lock mechanisms click, and the door opens a few inches.
Ashen: It would be wise for me to go in first, if there are people inside they may attack.
Mikal d’Cannith: Or a more stealthy approach to see if its empty.
Ashen: That would also be a sound tactical decision.
Pythas (whispers angrily): Shhh! You’re talking too much when we need to be quiet!
The party enters the building, stepping carefully past the tables and chairs that stand about the room. They easily make their way across the floor to the stairway leading down to the basement. Mikal is the last to enter the stairwell and closes the door behind himself
Ashen: I find it strange that there is no defense of this basement.
Mikal d’Cannith (quietly): You mean in the public room where anyone can set it off?
Ashen: No, I meant when it is dark like this, it seems the perfect time to station defenses. We should investigate further.
Pythas takes the lead and heads down the way, telling rest of party about the path
Ashen: It appears there are no traps here, although we should not let down our guard.
Berend Stonekeeper brings up the rear, making sure no one is following them.
Pythas shows he rest of the party where crumbling mortar outlines the door he discovered earlier. Pushing against the wall, the door opens, exposing a short tunnel that leads to the south.
Berend Stonekeeper: Definitely not dwarven-made. Would never allow it to fall into such ruin
Ashen: Good work, Pythas. Now let us proceed with caution, we do not know what is down here.
Ashen takes the lead, guiding the rest of the party down the narrow hallway. The floor starts to slope downward the further in they go. Suddenly, loose debris causes everyone but Dulinamin to lose their footing and they slide the rest of the way down. As Dulinamin smugly reaches the bottom, the others pick themselves up, scratched and bruised, but otherwise not hurt too badly.
This natural stone cavern is cut in half by a cliff, and the southern side descends into darkness. Stalagmites and stalactites obscure the view, and barely visible to the far southwest is an archway of finished stone that opens up to the west. A flurry of movement erupts from the shadows of the ceiling as four enormous bats swoop down toward the adventurers, their bladed tails slashing the air. The bats sweep in and out of melee range, attacking with their tails when they get close enough. The party quickly works on attacking the bats when they get in range, or by using spells. Three of the bats are quickly slain; however, the final bat shrieks in rage, flying down to the south, and out of the cavern through the tunnel to the west.
Berend Stonekeeper: Well, we are going that way anyway, so I guess we’ll see it later?
Ashen: That bat might alarm others to our presence if there is anyone here.
Mikal d’Cannith: True, but they are probably already alerted anyways.
Berend Stonekeeper: Best be on our guard, then.
The cliff descends 20 feet to the floor of the cavern’s southern side. However, the party can see that the rough cliff wall is dotted by patches of toadstool-shaped fungus. Using ropes, the adventurers descend the cliff to discover that the fungus is doomspore. On impulse, Dulinamin begins to burn the fungus, stopping when Mikal shouts that he wants to collect some of the mushrooms first. Working quickly, Mikal collects several specimens, placing them into bags in his pack.
Dulinamin (in anticipation): Now can I burn them?
Berend Stonekeeper: If you’re going to burn them, burn the path we are going to follow, don’t worry about burning the whole lot of them.
Mikal d’Cannith (nods): That would be preferred. That way, I can come back and collect more.
Ashen backs away from the fungi as Dulinamin sets fire to the mushroom patch.
The adventurers enter the next room, following the tunnel a short way before coming to the top of a roughly carved stairway. A savage howl echoes up the stairs as they approach. A lantern is burning somewhere beyond, giving a glimpse of a finished stone chamber set with marble flagstones. This odd-shaped chamber extends outward in three sections, and it is about 60 feet wide at its end. Though its frescoed walls suggest a sort of temple, it resembles a storeroom now, with boxes and crates stacked in piles. In the center of room stands an enormous open stone archway. Adjacent to it is a large steel cage on a low cart, somehow obscured in shadow. Within the cage, two fierce hounds appear to be wrapped in darkness as they snarl and claw at the door.
Berend Stonekeeper: Hmmm… this looks strange
Ashen: I am curious as to what is happening here.
Mikal d’Cannith (indicating the caged dogs): Avoid the shadowhounds, and if they get quiet, be worried.
Ashen: That arch is a portal, although I will not know where it leads until I can get closer.
The party edges further into the room, slowly approaching the strange portal. As they reach the bottom of the stairs, a flurry of movement erupts seemingly from everywhere at once! Instinctively, their weapons are drawn as they see dark creepers appear from all corners of the room. One quickly dashes to the cart, unlocking the cage and throwing open the door. A shadar-kai witch stalks to the center of the chamber and begins to fire off eldritch bolts at the party. The shadow hounds, now freed from their cage, join the fight, their shadow abilities allowing them to teleport into range to attack. This is not going to be an easy fight!