Following a goblin down a ladder through the trapdoor above, Ainesilver leads the way down, his skin showing numerous red welts where the angry wasps had punished him. The short corridor heads south, passing by a door in the west wall, coming to an east west T-junction with a door in the opposite wall.
Snyth volunteers to lead the way and makes pads silently off towards the junction, as he reaches it however, a winged shadow detaches itself from the roof and dives onto the surprised rodian. A single Stirge thrusts it’s feeding spike into his shoulder and the creature latches itself onto his back as he feels the creatures tongue deep within his torso, syphoning away his lifeblood away ……
As Snyth flails about trying to remove the creature, Krotchet takes decisive action on blasts the creature off his back with a Magic Missile, admonishing the relieved rodian for messing about.
Seeing that the T-Junction is empty, the group go back to the door they passed and are about to investigate when a goblin voice shouts out a warning. Krotchet translates as the Goblin threatens that there are many goblins in his room and that the party should leave them alone or they would kill the prisoner.
Confused looks are passed back and forth and the party decide it must be a goblin bluff. They batter a great piece of the door away and see numerous goblins with loaded bows pointed at the door from behind an overturned table. In a corner is indeed a tied-up human. The goblin boss screams a warning once more and offers a goblin map of Stonehell if they let him and his goblin warriors leave unmolested.
In answer, the party shatter the bottom of the door suddenly with combined strikes and the Big Red the Wardog lunges through the hole, drawing the fire of the goblins and taking grievous wounds in his fury to attack his hated foe.
Whilst the brave Snyth drops back to cover the corridor in case any make it past the party, the rest of them storm into the room through the shattered door and engage the goblins. The boss immediately shrieks in rage before stuffing the map into his gap-toothed maw and beginning to chew it.
Whilst the party prove more than a match for the Goblins, they take a number of wounds as they wade in. They do eventually slay the creatures and in a gruesome action recover and piece together half of the map from the goblins mouth and the other half from his stomach. The goblins yield a sizeable pile of copper coins (which the party take) and some rusty and badly maintained weapons and armour (which the party don’t take).
Investigating the prisoner, he turns out to be a very tall (6’8”) human monk named Costamogen who was captured by the goblins whilst scouting Stonehell at the behest of his order, in the search for fiendish influences. The party quiz the monk for some time, questioning his sincerity until convinced by Krotchet that they should trust him. Costamogen is freed from his bonds and stretches his tattooed limbs through a series of movements before collecting his equipment and agreeing to join the party in their sojourn into Stonehell.
Somewhat battered by the combat, the party cautiously investigate the room walls along the T-Junction and locate a secret door. Listening at the door it they hear a scratching noise in the room beyond. Once opened, this proves to be four giant centipedes in a once opulent but now ruined room. Using his Gem of Brightness, Denagar blinds the creatures and the group make short work of them.
Searching the room, the party find a secret door, beyond which is hidden an alcove containing three potions which smell of almonds, a good quality but road-worn cloak and a flimsy umbrella made of white scales.
Remembering that the party have previously taken a healing potion that smelled of almonds, the party try out one of the potions on Brytik the man-at-arms and it proves to be a healing potion.
The other room in this portion of the gatehouse is empty, its arrow slits along one wall spying out into the central passageway beyond. As dusk is falling, the party decide to barricade themselves in this empty room and bind their wounds.
Costamogen, Rolandius, Denagar and Snyth head out to quickly scout out the other half of the ground floor. After a nervous exchange with a Pigeon which startles the group, they head into the other section via the long shattered doorway. The corridor leads to a right-hand turn or straight on to a wall with a doors part way along on each side. Listening as they cautiously advance, the party hear a faint moan and snippets of distant conversation from the room on their left.
Opening the door and shining light into the room, they spy rusted weapons & armour; ruined adventuring supplies; old bones strewn across the ground; the remains of a long-cold fire and five transparent adventurers seemingly at rest in camp.
Ready for a fight, they watch the adventurers for a while, but the phantasms don’t react to the adventurers. Rhona the Cleric tries to turn the creatures in the name of the Crone, but although the creatures waver for a moment – they continue about their business, oblivious of the party. At one point, they pass through the fascinated party and the icy touch of the grave chills them to the bone, causing them to inhale sharply as if they had been dropped into a frozen lake for a moment. The phantasms however carry on about their business uninterested. The party search the room but they have no interest in the bones and battered equipment that they uncover.
Costamogen suggests that they leave the dead to their business undisturbed as it is getting dark and it would be unwise to instigate conflict whilst the party is weakened. Scouting out the rest of the area, they find a couple of empty rooms containing ruined furniture and a spiral staircase heading up into the upper level, but nothing else of interest.
Returning to the others, Rhona calls upon the power of the crone to heal the wounded whilst the others rest and post watch. The party rest for night unmolested and agree that their current defendable position is a safe enough haven for them to rest a further day, therefore they sharpen their weapons, forage for food and prepare themselves to investigate the valley and entrance to the Stonehell proper.
The night brings no serious encounters, although there are several un-identified incidents of movement outside the room. It does not translate to conflict however and when the rested party emerge the following morning – they see no sign of the cause.
The mornings weather is crisp and clear and the date is Todas, 17th of Octubrast, Z495