The battle continues in the caverns beneath the Happy Beggar almshouse. The nearest enemies attack the warforged, Ashen, wounding him severely. Yet the stubborn ‘forged seems to shrug off the worse of the wounds, and continues to fight his way deeper into the chamber. A shadar-kai witch, who seems to be running the show, is enraged by the warforged’s tenacity. With a furious shriek, she begins to make arcane gestures with her hands. A glowing orb of green light begins to grow larger as her chants reach a crescendo. As the final syllable passes her lips, she thrusts her hands violently toward Ashen, the glowing orb becoming an emerald beam that slams into the warforged’s chest! The adventurers watch in horror as the warforged slams back into the cavern wall, then collapses to the ground. Ashen wails in pain as the organic parts of his form disintegrate, the metal plates of his body falling with dull clunks to the dirt. With a shrill peal of laughter, the witch retreats toward the doors to the north.
Enraged by the death of their companion, the adventurers continue to fight through their opponents with renewed fury. Before long, they have managed to cut their way through to the middle of the chamber. As they fight, they hear a shuffling noise, then see a figure falling to the ground to the rear of the cart. Even in the dim lighting of the cave, they can see that the figure is bound hand and foot, and a gag covers his mouth. Realizing that the man needs help, the party pushes forward, laying the final enemy low. Berend moves to the portal, sparing a glance at the bound figure as he inspects the portal in the middle of the room.
Berend Stonekeeper: Hey, we got a live one over here!
Pythas: Do you think one of them got caught in a trap?
Berend Stonekeeper: Maybe, though he don’t seem to be no dark creeper.
Mikal d’Cannith: Gimme a minute to make sure he’s okay, then I’ll take a look.
Drake Ilvenet looks about impatiently.
Drake Ilvenet (muffled voice): Unphie mee!
Pythas: that’s exactly what a Dark Creeper would say in this situation.
Drake Ilvenet rolls his eyes.
Mikal d’Cannith removes the gag while Pythas eyes Drake closely.
Drake Ilvenet: Thank you.
Mikal d’Cannith: You guys question him while I look at this portal thing.
Berend Stonekeeper: Okay. Who are you and what are you doing here?
Drake Ilvenet: Well, this is fairly embarrassing.
Berend Stonekeeper: How’s that?
Drake Ilvenet: Well, aside from being knocked unconscious and tied up to be rescued.
Berend Stonekeeper: You don’t usually do that?
Drake Ilvenet: Strangely no, it hasn’t come up much.
Berend Stonekeeper: Well, there’s a first time for everything… Seconds and thirds for some of us. How’d you get in here?
Drake Ilvenet: Well, I was just walking about when I saw someone I thought was a Shadar-kai enter the alms house, and since I’ve never seen a Shadar-kai before, I thought… Oh well, wouldn’t it be a marvelous idea to investigate and see what one is like.
Drake Ilvenet sighs deeply.
Drake Ilvenet: Well it turns out they are apparently quite evil
Pythas: Yeah, that does seem to be the case.
Drake Ilvenet: Going to remember that next time. Oh! You haven’t perchance seen a shadar-kai woman about? I would very much like to politely express my displeasure with her.
Berend Stonekeeper: The witch? Nope, haven’t seen that shaved headed “witch.”
Pythas (pointing toward the portal): I think she went that way.
Berend Stonekeeper: I thought she took that door?
Pythas: I don’t know. I was too busy not being eaten by shadowbound flea bags.
Drake Ilvenet: Sounds dreadful!
Berend Stonekeeper: Well, other than a few bites, we came out of it pretty well. It was that nasty howling they do that sets the teeth on edge.
While the others speak with the newcomer, Mikal has been inspecting the stone archway in the middle of the room. Silver crystals are set within the stone in a random pattern, and runes in the Common tongue are engraved to its facade. Mikal determines that the runes are written in an ancient dialect, possibly pre-Galifar, and identify the portal as an ancient shadar-kai teleportation portal, binding one location to another set locale. Within the portal, a well-stocked warehouse can be seen, moonlight shining through the windows. Puzzled by this view, Mikal then moves over to investigate the remains of the fallen Ashen. In among the warforged’s belongings, he finds the brass key that was supposed to have been left with the thug defeated in the alley just days ago. Furious, Mikal starts swearing loudly and enough to make an orc blush.
Berend Stonekeeper: Whoa, Mikal!
Mikal d’Cannith spits on the remains of Ashen.
Berend Stonekeeper: What’s wrong, Mikal? Can’t put Humpty back together again?
Pythas: He’s a warforged. It’s not like he’s really dead, right? He just need a good artifi…..never mind
Drake Ilvenet: I’ve always wondered what it would be like to die, but I’m fairly certain I’ll get to it eventually.
Berend Stonekeeper: Oh, granted, and if you’re lucky, we might be able to bring you back one day.
Drake Ilvenet: In the mean time, I believe I have reasonably demonstrated that I am not in league with the other denizens of this pit?
Mikal rejoins the rest of the group, his anger plainly etched on his face. He holds up a familiar looking brass key.
Mikal d’Cannith: That stupid, idiotic, G$%!@ $!@#$, co!%$!%&er, f!&$ing, rustbucket piece of junk had the key I said we shouldn’t have taken.
Berend Stonekeeper: Ahhhh, crap.
Mikal d’Cannith: So guess why we’ve been bothered this whole damn time. Oh, and here’s the fun part.
Mikal d’Cannith (points to the portal): This most likely leads to the Shadowfell.
Berend Stonekeeper: Well that’s not necessarily a bad thing is it… it’s not like it the nine hells.
Berend Stonekeeper (to Drake): Oh and yes, I’ll agree you are not in league with these dark creepers… for the moment anyway. However, I do reserve the right to change my mind.
Mikal d’Cannith: How exactly do you think the shadar-kai are getting here?
Mikal d’Cannith (gesturing emphatically to the portal): This is how, and these aren’t easy to seal shut.
Pythas: Think we can ransack that warehouse for supplies?
Mikal d’Cannith: Which one, the one here or the one on the other side?
Berend Stonekeeper: It would be interesting to find out what they are shipping, though.
Mikal d’Cannith: We might not be able to make it back through. I’m not sure we could carry very much if we did raid it, unless you are planning to burn it down?
Berend Stonekeeper: I’d like to know what they have a portal to a warehouse for? What are they shipping here or there? Who are they working for?
Mikal d’Cannith (shrugs): Smugglers of some type.
Berend Stonekeeper: Are they a threat to us personally? Does this have something to do with the key? Maybe we should question the witch before we step through.
Pythas: Well, we either need to go there and rob them blind or destroy this thing to make sure we’re not flanked from behind.
Mikal d’Cannith: Little chance of destroying this safely. What’s through those doors?
Berend Stonekeeper: Who is making that tinkling sound?
Mikal d’Cannith: What tinkling sound?
Berend Stonekeeper: I keep hearing a tinkling sound
A small creatures flies out of one of Drake’s pockets and speaks to him in a series of shrill chime-like tones.
Drake Ilvenet: I suppose I haven’t quite asked them politely yet, no.
Drake Ilvenet clears his throat.
Mikal d’Cannith (looks over at stranger): Yes?
Drake Ilvenet: So perhaps you all would please untie me? Not that I have any place to go in particular, but these ropes are rather uncomfortable.
Dulinamin: Ah yes, I knew I forgot something.
Mikal d’Cannith: Well, are we trusting him enough to let him go?
Berend Stonekeeper: He seems trustworthy enough, and I did promise him if he misbehaved we would kill him… though probably not today.
Drake Ilvenet (smiles): A fair compromise.
Mikal d’Cannith cuts him free.
Drake Ilvenet (rubbing wrists): Thank you. And it occurs to me that I haven’t introduced myself properly. My name is Drake Ilvenet, swordsman and mage at your service.
Lillinette lands on Drake’s shoulder and pinches his ear.
Drake Ilvenet (rubbing ear): And of course how could I forget my faithful companion, Lillinette.
Berend Stonekeeper: There… there’s that tinkling sound!
Drake Ilvenet: Well, I assume from the carnage laid about the room that we’re going to exterminate the rest of this rat’s nest?
Berend Stonekeeper: Absolutely, wanna tag along?
Drake Ilvenet: I would be delighted
Dulinamin moves to the northern door to take a peak beyond. Within the next chamber, another stone archway can be seen taking up the center of the chamber. Anxious to confront the witch that killed their warforged companion, the party dashes into the room. The enormous, darkened chamber has walls and ceiling of white marble. The northeast corner of the room has collapsed, a fall of stone spreading out across the floor. To the west, a stone arch similar to that seen in the chamber to the south stands against the wall. The interior archway standing in the center of the room is obscured by a wall of black mist that roils and twists as if blown by a fierce wind. Just behind the left side of the arch, the party spots the shadar-kai witch, clutching her hand to the side as she crouches, trying to remain unseen.
Pythas: Which do you think will be harder to deal with, the witch, or that floaty flappy thing front and center?
The words of an incantation in Common ring out through the chamber: “Protect this place with shadow’s claws!” Suddenly, the dark mist obscuring the archway is torn through by a flash of white light. Six spectral shapes emerge from the archway, racing toward you.
Drake Ilvenet: Lovely…
Mikal d’Cannith: Probably the floaty, transparent things.
As the party engages the wraiths, a voice suddenly calls out form the darkness.
Voice: All I want is the key! Give me the key, and I will send the wraiths away!
Drake Ilvenet: Well I’m not sure what this key business is about, but I have a feeling that we are disinclined to acquiesce to your requests!
Mikal d’Cannith: I’m not sure we can trust you, Modra!
Modra: So you know who I am, huh? Well it serves you nothing! Give me the key, or these undead creatures will destroy you!
Berend Stonekeeper: I’m willing to take that chance!
Mikal d’Cannith: While you do seem to have a position of strength. It would behoove you to use a more sociable method than you have used.
Drake Ilvenet: I agree! Our treatment has been most inhospitable.
The battle continues, and quickly begins to turn in the party’s favor. A summoned tentacle from Pythas at last kills the shadar-kai witch. A roar of fury echoes through the chamber as Modra grows more and more furious.
Modra: You are seriously angering me now! Give me the key and I will leave you in peace! Do it now! I will not make this offer again!
Mikal d’Cannith: Getting scared, like the rat you are? Maybe, you should instead be making offers for us to let you live.
Pythas: Key? Didn’t we destroy some key earlier?
Modra shrieks in fury at this declaration.
A blur of movement is seen as Modra dashes across the floor, narrowly avoiding an attack from the invisible Drake. He reaches the fallen witch’s side, and begins rummaging through her pockets frantically. Within seconds he draws something from her pocket. The dim light glints dully off something metal.
Modra: To Kyber with the lot of you!
Modra sticks the key he just found on the witch into a small keyhole on the side of the arch, then steps through the shimmering portal.
Though Modra has escaped, the immediate problem is the remaining wraiths that the party continues to fight. Before too long, however, the undead creatures are at last defeated, and the party pauses to catch their breath.