Alvra takes two new javelins from his backpack and keeps them within hand’s reach on his back. Accompanied by his siblings, he walks towards the thick strands of webbings in the far corner on the right. Soft whimpering sounds emanate from behind. With his sword, the Fighter hacks and slashes his way through, until they reach an oval chamber, filled with humanoid cocoons. Lilith tells her sister to clear a part of a cocoon, so they can see what’s in it. It’s a Drow! And he’s still alive.
State your House,
I’m from House Shi’quos.
This fourth House recently took over another by necromancy and dark arts and is led by Matron Mother Ythesha’na. Shi’quos came to power in the Times of Troubles, just like their own House.
How did you get here?
Our caravan was waylaid.
And what were you transporting?,
the Cleric cuts in.
When the Drow refuses to answer that question, Phaedra slits his throat. The other cocoons hold four hobgoblins and one other Drow. The Xaniqos leave no witnesses behind.
They follow the winding corridor, Phaedra in the lead. After a while, the Wizard notices a hole in the ceiling with a ladder leading up, twenty-five feet above them. The opening is ten feet wide. When Jharrath sends up dancing lights, they see another corridor in the shaft. Soft voices filter down. The grappling hook is soon attached to the ladder, and when Phaedra climbs up, she see the head of an aranea. It releases a flashing ray towards the Fighter, but misses. The creature won’t react to Lilith’s suggestion spell, but it does get hurt by the Wizard’s magic missile.
Alvra leads his lizard up the shaft, where he comes face to face with the aranea, half spider half human. The beast’s fangs ricochet off the Drow’s armor. When Alvra pokes his head above floor level, he sees a room with luxurious beds and two more araneas. A stairwell leads further up on the far side. Then a glittering ray of enfeeblement hits him and he suddenly feels very weak.
Down in the corridor, Lilith calls up darkfire, while Jharrath yells to his brother to get back down. When Alvra has cleared the shaft, the Wizard casts a scroll of confusion. Weird gibbering can be heard from above and slowly fades. Another aranea checks out the area and Phaedra immediately fires her crossbow. Her shot is answered by the spider-creature: it spits a green blob towards the Scout. Lilith shoots her darkflame upwards, but misses. Activating his House insignia, has no noticeable effect on the Fighter. Jharrath unleashes a hail of stones upwards, hitting both araneas. One falls down, shrieking all the way, the other shoots a magic missile at the Wizard.
Lilith takes a moment to create a mass shield of faith to strengthen her siblings, after which Phaedra drinks an anti-toxin and climbs up. She is closely followed by her brothers. When the Cleric grabs the rope to climb up too, the ladder’s step creaks ominously. She quickly lets go and waits impatiently until the structure can carry her added weight.