Having come to their senses again the PC's assess their situation and decide that making tracks out of the lair might be wisest choice. Bearwatcher, figuring there's trouble coming, digs two of the remaining three healing potions out of Ashheart's pack and downs them. Scaling the ladder up to the trash filled chamber  they are surprised to find the double doors not only closed but secured from the other side. As they can clearly hear the cold, black fluid continuing to flood the room below they find this somewhat discouraging.
Bearwatcher makes a couple of attempts at simply bashing down the door, hoping the wooden bar on the far side is rotted enough that he can break it. He fails but the other PC's suddenly realize there's a set of stairs near to hand they haven't explored. Up the stairs, with Bearwatcher taking the lead, they find another chamber of the same size and shape as the others. The northeast and southwest corners of this one, however, seem to have long since collapsed and the room is nearly filled with loose earth and stone rubble. In the center of the chamber stands a large, black obelisk with a number of grey runes carved into it's base. Around this stand three humanoid figures dressed in rags. When they turn snarling toward the team it's clear from their rotted faces that they're some form of undead.
Cloven quickly ducks around the support beam in front of her to swing out her chain at the one closest to hand and is surprised when he so easily dodges it. When it rushes Cloven in return she manages to bring her chain back around for a quick lash but gets scratched nonetheless. Bearwatcher simply rushes forth to add the weight of his momentum to a strong sword swing and lands a solid blow against the one facing him. The third of the dead trio rushes along the edge of the rubble to engage the tiefling. Meanwhile, stuck again at the back of the fighting and with little magic left to contribute, Ashheart uses the last of her power to ward Cloven with a Protection from Evil spell.
Despite their unexpected agility, Cloven lands a blow with her chain that caves in the skull of the ghoul facing her but is immediately forced to dodge the charge of the other. While Bearwatcher lands a critical strike that takes the head off of his opponent, Cloven is badly mauled in an all-out attack by the remaining undead. A combination of her chain, Ashheart's sling and a solid slash from Bearwatcher's sword lays it low at last.
Not wasting time searching the room, the team rushes up the only clear set of stairs in the place into the first room . There they are surprised to find the half-orc cleric they killed earlier is scaling up the ladder! Hearing them enter the room the cannibal cleric turns to grin at them, still bearing the bloody gash and broken jaw that Cloven's chain left him, before scaling quickly up the ladder and out of the dungeon.
Rushing to catch him, Bearwatcher leaps to the ladder and climbs but isn't quick enough to stop the cleric from throwing shut the trapdoor and latching it from above. Two attempts to break open the trapdoor with brute force fail and Bearwatcher consults the other team members as to what to do next. They quickly decide that Bearwatcher will continue working at the trapdoor while Cloven and Ashheart search their surroundings for anything they may have missed. Considering they searched this room fairly thoroughly already, they move to the stairs down to dining hall  to give it a thorough inspection. On the stairs they are shocked to find a huge swarm of spiders on their way up, presumably fleeing the flooding taking place downstairs.
Having found the spiders almost at their feet before they realized it, Cloven is near instantly swarmed though she does manage to swing her chain out blinding beforehand. Ashheart bravely digs into her satchel for a vial of alchemist's fire rather than fleeing as she would much rather. She tosses it into the main body of spiders beyond Cloven, hoping at least to slow their advance. As Cloven stumbles back into the chamber, already covered in viciously biting arachnids, Ash is overwhelmed by the advancing swarm as well.
Hearing the commotion Bearwatcher leaps down the ladder well and dashes over, only to be met head on by the swarm himself. Most of it, he's surprised to see, on fire. Lashing out at the second horde of insects to swarm him today he easily disperses them without coming to harm again.
Ashheart falls back out of the swarming insects and fetches another vial of alchemist's fire while Cloven lashes out at the spider horde chasing her, dispersing it with one spark-throwing swing along the floor. The spiders pursuing Ashheart, however, change course for Cloven finding her the closest target and she is quickly swarmed yet again. As Bearwatcher bounds forward to chase them away she succumbs to the scores of tiny bites and faints dead away. Together Bearwatcher and Ashheart are able to disperse the last of the swarm in only a moment but Cloven is in danger of dying.
Administering their last healing potion, Ashheart manages to rouse Cloven again and Bearwatcher helps her shakily to her feet. Once they've recovered Bearwatcher sprints downstairs to check the progress of the rising blackness and finds it nearly at the top of the stairs to flow into the obelisk chamber . Returning to report the team takes a moment to discuss their options. At last they decide to check the black obelisk below before returning to working on the trapdoor and looking for a hidden exit.
Without preamble Bearwatcher proceeds downstairs and simply approaches the obelisk to place his hands on it, preferring to spare his teammates any possible danger. He promptly disappears. Cloven and Ashheart both heave a sigh relief that an escape route has been found but dread where it might lead. In moments Bearwatcher appears again reporting it's safe to go through. Not wasting time for more spiders to find them they step forward and follow Bearwatcher into the unknown.
On the other side of the obelisk the PC's find themselves in a large cavern. Before them they can see a wide chasm running along the far side of the cave, with a square structure  built on it's edge. In the wall directly at their left a section of the cavern has clearly been melted or altered by some form of magic in ages past in order to block a tunnel that once ran in that direction. Despite the two burning torches at the doors to the structure nearby the area directly across on their right is shrouded in darkness. Nevertheless, the team can easily see the swath of bones and rusted pieces of armor that litter the floor of the cave, clearly the carnage of some battle fought long ago.
After a cursory examination of the cavern, finding no dangers hidden in the darkness and the doors to the building securely barred from the outside, the team decides to take a much needed break to recover their strength. In the process of setting up camp near the obelisk (especially clearing the dead well away from the chosen spot) Ashheart discovers the two torches lighting the front of the building are everburning torches. The team claims them and uses them along with Ashheart's torch to illuminate the area around their camp.
Before they can settle in a gradually growing roar from the chasm and a menacing chill invade the cavern, bringing them to the edge to investigate. In only moments they witness the same cold, black liquid they recently fled has begin to course down the chasm. Once assured the dark stream won't rise and flood the banks of the chasm, they nervously retreat to their camp and set the first watch. Over the next eight hours the team rests (and takes the opportunity to level up as well).
Once everyone has had a chance to secure a proper bit of rest, the PC's are encouraged that nothing has challenged them as they camped and prepare to scout out the area in earnest. Though a grisly business, their first chore is to search the surrounding dead for anything that may be of use, but they find nothing. A properly meticulous search of the cavern comes next, with nothing of note discovered there as well. Confident they've covered their rear to a reasonable degree they move on to the structure perched on the edge of the chasm.
Their first observation, made while scouting out the cave, is that the texture of the stone seems identical to the stone walls they found in the lowest section of the previous complex. By all appearances flowing directly out of the surrounding stone it seems to have been summoned up magically, representing a remarkable amount of effort expended in it's creation. Taking positions, prepared for any sudden danger, they find removing the rotted oak bar from the door relatively easy. Swinging the door wide they can see the interior holds another, smaller stone building  obviously connected to the main structure jutting out from across the chasm beyond.
Within the small courtyard between them [1a] and the other building the remains of six hide tents lay, slumped inward from years of decay and each facing the doors of the inner building. Bearwatcher relates that he recognizes the lay and style of these tents and moves forward to investigate. Confirming his suspicions the team finds each of the six tents contains the remains of a goliath, all warriors judging from their gear. Bearwatcher tells the team that such tents are normally erected in those rare instances when battles are fought somewhere far off from a tribe's normal migration routes. Used exclusively to house those warriors who are, in whatever way, too badly wounded to heal and unable to make the journey home they are intended to provide an honorable place to die in a strange land. As such he is surprised and disturbed to find six in one place like this, a thing practically unheard of. Even in the great battles of legend, when hundreds of goliaths would go off to war beyond the mountains, he doubts that as many as six would ever have been required.
Closer examinations reveals an even more disturbing thing. Each of the goliath corpses has a wooden stake pined through the heart. Divining the nature of the particular "handicap" these goliath likely suffered from, Cloven hastily advises the team to clear away from the remains. Wracking their memories for every tidbit of lore they can recall about vampires they come up with little, though Ashheart is fairly confident that removing the stakes will cause them to reanimate.
Lighting upon an idea, Cloven begins fishing for the ropes and thin chains stowed in the gear of all three PC's. At first Bearwatcher is adamant that the remains not be disturbed but when Cloven points out that driving a stake through their hearts isn't enough and that the corpses must be completely destroyed anyway he finally relents, with some reservation.
The team then works together to drag five of the six corpses out of the building and onto the floor of the cavern outside, being careful not to disturb the stakes. On the cavern floor they pile the corpses meticulously and douse the lot with what tinder they can scrounge in addition to three of their oil flasks. Finally, they retrieve the last corpse as well and bring it near the pile, securing this one with ropes and chains to the best of their ability.
Once their preparations are complete they douse the captive corpse with another vial of oil, ready their weapons and remove the stake. Within moments signs of life, or rather unlife, begin to stir in the corpse. Suddenly the goliath's eyes spring open, glowing with malice, and it begins immediately demanding it's release in it's native tongue. Bearwatcher curses the evil creature and attempts to intimidate it, pointing out it's current situation and indicating the fate of it's brethren (which Ashheart readily illustrates by lighting the pyre of corpses before it's eyes).
The goliath vampire then turns it's furious gaze on Bearwatcher, seeking to dominate him. Caught off guard by the unexpected assault he is easily overwhelmed. A moment later he moves forward to release the vampire from it's bonds. Though not realizing at first what has occurred, Cloven and Ashheart quickly figure it out and together step forward to tip the captive vampire over onto the pyre. Bearwatcher cries out but is naturally reluctant to reach into the flame in his compulsion to release the monster. In moments the vampire's shrieks die out and it's dried and desiccated corpse is consumed along with the others.
After waiting to be sure the remains of the vampire spawn are completely destroyed (and for Bearwatcher to recover his senses) the team reenters the building, leaving the grisly scene behind them. Within the smaller inner building  they find a rough iron door leading to the rooms beyond the chasm. On the door they find a simple message, each letter carved into the small, individually colored tiles adorning the door, above a decoratively fashioned lock and handle. "Let the foolish beware This place contains a powerful curse Only those with who can divine the cure shall enter All others be judged by fire". Searching the room reveals nothing but an examination of the door itself reveals an iron plate inside the lock itself blocking the keyhole, preventing access even if they had the key. Only Ashheart is able to intuit anything constructive, stating with certainty that any form of divine healing magic (even if they had such available) wouldn't effect an inanimate object and therefore isn't likely to be an integral part of the door's operation. Further, an eye toward possible ways of getting around it provides nothing helpful either, as the team judges they would have to dig completely through the stone hinges to circumvent the door.
After a moment's frustration, Ashheart takes 20 on a search of the door while the rest of team do likewise searching the room itself. She soon discovers the individual tiles bearing the letters of the message can be depressed and reasons that a specific code is required to unlock the lock itself. Again the team sits back to puzzle over a possible solution. The team's first attempt to test the theory (by spelling out the word "cure" on the tiles themselves) more or less confirms it when they trigger a Fire Trap with the first tile pressed. Cloven, who pressed the first "c" tile on the door, is struck by the small burst of flame but suffers no damage due to her tiefling nature. On a hunch, she presses the same tile again, rendering no repeat burst of flame.
Stepping back and using her orc longbow (Ashheart having refused to allow her staff to be used), Cloven begins methodically pressing each tile on the door in succession from a safer distance. When it becomes clear her bow will be damaged by repeated exposure to Flame Trap detonations, she fetches a rusted sword from among the fallen warriors outside. In short order she has detonated most of the traps on the door tiles and reaches the "s" in the word "curse". Upon depressing it she is surprised to find the iron plate within the lock spring back. The team's elation at her success is short lived, though, as when they soon realize they haven't any skill between them at picking locks.
After much deliberation Bearwatcher finally fetches a supply of old, rusty weapons and war hammers from the dead outside and begins the long task of simply breaking through the stone hinges holding the door in place. Cloven and Ashheart spend the next eight hours resting at camp while he works.
When Bearwatcher finally breaks through and lets the door fall inside the small building the team gathers to examine the area beyond. Down a short set of stairs they can see a small room [3a] with doors forward, left and right. Once they've descended downstairs to examine the doors they spot a tarnished bronze plaque fastened to the wall by the stairs. Cloven is surprised to find the writing on the wall written in two different languages, one using the same symbols as that on the gold plate they bear and the other clearly Infernal. She reads it off to the rest of the team. "Let Fierna gift those who honor the Lord and Mistress of Stillwind. To these, our protected guests, bear your gifts with deference and you honor House Krellan in turn. For to these we owe our eternal rule."
Listening at the left door and hearing nothing, they proceed through to find a small room like the one they left. Here lies a once lavishly decorated stone crypt against the far wall, now beaten and cracked from what must have been a vicious attack long ago. A preliminary search of the room shows little beyond the twin sets of rusty manacles chained to either wall and the old dark stains splattered on the floor below them. They do find a sizable pile of gold and silver amongst the broken shards of a once finely crafted bowl beside the crypt.
Drawing and readying their weapons and spells, Cloven and Ashheart fall back near the door while Bearwatcher cracks open the crypt to peer inside. Suspecting the crypt contains a vampire they are surprised to find it empty, though the bottom of it indeed coated with a thick layer of old earth. Closing the lid of the crypt again they exit back into the small room outside to try another door. Unbeknownst to them the vampire spawn inhabiting the crypt slips out from the tunnel behind it in gaseous form, sneaking up behind them to attack Ashheart. She, however, hears the creature's dragging step as it becomes corporeal and moves to attack.
As Ashheart turns to defend herself the vampire slams into her with a snarl. Suddenly weakened and near death, she quickly withdraws behind Bearwatcher nearby while he and Cloven close to do battle. Bearwatcher immediately turns and jumps forward to land a damaging blow to the creature. Cloven, taking position at his flank again, lays in with her chain but only manages a mild scratch that hardly injures the creature at all. Both are surprised at the creature's thick hide. Ashheart, now much more comfortable with a position at the rear of the action, tosses off a Magic Missile and is delighted to find her magic cuts through the tough old corpse quite well.
Turning it's attention to the two warriors now threatening it, the three combatants exchange attacks with no one landing a blow at all for several moments, until Bearwatcher hits with a critical strike that decapitates and utterly destroys the vampire in one blow. In a twinkling the creature collapses into dust on the floor of the crypt.
Among the disintegrated remains of the vampire spawn they find a very finely crafted chain shirt festooned with gold leaf at the shoulders. Ashheart promptly loots it in compensation for her near death experience.
Still having found nothing to help them escape the dungeon and return to Tilwen, the team resolves to check the remaining two rooms. Leaving Ashheart safely on the stairs to avoid further trouble, Bearwatcher and Ashheart move across to the opposite room [3c] to check it out. Ashheart, insulted at being treated as a handicap, ignores their advice and moves behind them to stand defiantly in the doorway despite feeling horribly weak from the blow she's taken. Within the next room they again find a collection of gold and silver coins as well as two small bloodstones, this time in a vase that is still intact. Again they note two rusted sets of manacles hanging from the wall and twin stains of old blood on the floor beneath them.
In the process of searching the room, Bearwatcher notices the grooves in the floor indicating the crypt itself may well slide away from the wall. Making note of it (to test after they destroy the vampire in the crypt) the team takes up positions and ready themselves. Again, however, Bearwatcher opens the crypt to find it empty save for a thick layer of earth at the bottom.
When no attack comes nor any sign of one coming, the team soon decides to go ahead and test the sliding crypt while keeping a sharp eye out in all directions. Putting his weight into it, Bearwatcher soon has the crypt pulled to the side like a great stone door, revealing a tight 5' wide passage behind it. Taking the lead again, the goliath presses forward with Ashheart just behind and Cloven covering their rear. Following the passage as it circles around to the left it soon intersects with another small room before continuing on, as well another passage clearly leading to the third crypt [3d] close at hand.
As it becomes clear there's more to the crypt than they previously suspected they decide to fall back to their camp and allow Ashheart to recover a bit. They exit through the middle sliding crypt [3d], stopping to loot the room of it's gold and silver offerings on the way back out.
Back at their previous night's camp the team sets up again, spreading their everburning torches about to cover their perimeter. Bearwatcher and Cloven take guard while Ashheart rests and recovers from her assault but it soon occurs to them that the obelisk still stands nearby, leading back to the kobold lair. Reasoning that the presence of the black fluid flowing in the chasm may well mean it has receded into the pit back on the other side, they resolve to test the obelisk. Bearwatcher volunteers to go through, prepared to return again quickly if he finds himself immersed on the other side.
Taking a deep breath and steeling his courage, Bearwatcher uses the obelisk to teleport back to the underground lair they left the day before. When he returns a moment later to report that the black oil has indeed receded, the team gathers up a few rusty implements to use in breaking through the bolted trapdoor and steps up to the obelisk.
On the far side, moments later, the team finds the entire room coated with the residue of the frigid black oil. Moving quickly through the cold to the exit of the place they set Bearwatcher to work on the trapdoor at the top of the ladder. Within the hour the goliath has broken through and the team moves to exit the kobold lair without opposition. Soon they're breathing fresh air again for the first time in nearly two days.
After taking only a moment to enjoy their freedom, Cloven soon has them hoofing it back through the woods double-time to report everything that has happened to the clergy in town.
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