The party explore the area, discovering:
- A storage area, more cave than building. A passage to the north leads to the tentamort cavern Rye discovered earlier.
- Ripnugget’s harem, populated by terrified goblins-in-waiting. Bugbear-sized undergarments on the floor suggest Bruthazmus was a very recent customer.
- A prison, currently empty of occupants. Lem finds the ring of keys in the warden’s office and pockets them, just in case.
- The sleeping quarters of Tsuto, Nualia, Orik, Bruthazmus, and one other person. Items of interest include more of Tsuto’s ‘artistic’ nudes of Nualia, detailed notes on the Sandpoint attack, and everburning torch which Rye takes.
The party pass into a corridor containing doors to the north, east and west. The western door is a massive stone affair decorated with carvings of monstrosities being birthed from unnatural mothers. Cage identifies the artwork as a tribute to Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters. Despite this super tempting door, the party goes east. A thin corridor again leads them to the tentamort cave where Rye is finally able to dispatch the monster.
Turning back they discover their path blocked by a Yeth Hound. The creatures unholy howl sends Ilsoari into a panic. The wizard flees in terror and a second yeth hound attacks. A series of magic missiles from the north shoot Ilsoari from behind. The trio fight the dogs in the enclosed space, including a bitching wall run/ cleave combo by Rye, but are interrupted when a deep female voice speaking Abyssal calls for the dogs to Heel. The hounds obey and Lem promptly slams the door, leaving Ilsoari in the hallway with the monsters.
Let that sink in.
The now-trio dashes through the tentamort cave back to the original chamber and re-enter the corridor to find Ilsoari missing. The north reveals a sort of goblin art gallery containing a depiction of Thistletop in cross-section with a massive thirty foot goblin in a cavern in it’s heart. Pressing on, they discover a war-room for Nualia’s gang with details of the original and upcoming Sandpoint attacks,, including notes of a partnership with the quasit below Sandpoint. Most notably the notes describe a Runewell there can can create Sinspawn by via the blood of sinners. The Runewell is not at full power, but the death of Sandpoint should fully enable it.
They find and follow a staircase to the interior. The stairs twist and break revealing the slanted cant of the ‘head’. The chambers below are dusty and unlit and contain multiple statues of a stern-faced man wielding a book and glaive. Before entering a corridor Lem notices the ground is unusually clean and that a particular tile is a bit suspect. All three party members jump over the tile, but Cage lands noisily. From the far end of the corridor the same deep female voice demands their surrender or their friend will die. They decide to risk it and open a full assault.
Again: let that sink in.
Naulia awaits them. She is as beautiful as described, maybe moreso, except her exposed midriff reveals a map of scars- a symbol of a devotee of Lamashtu- and her angry red right arm, transformed now into something infernal as her metamorphosis has begun. She is joined by a trio of floating yeth hounds and a wizard called Lyrie, furious at Tsuto’s absence. True to her word, Naulia slashes Ilsoari’s throat with her saw-bladed bastard sword.
The fight begins and it’s a slobber knocker. All stops are pulled, all tricks are invoked, nothing is left on the table. Fate turns on Nualia as she loses control of her weapon. Waves of negative energy bomb the room as Lyrie fires a wand of magic missile and the hounds relentlessly attack. Through some miracle the trio are able to gain control, and soon a brutal power attack by Rye followed two perfectly placed arrows by Lem silences Nualia’s rage forever.
Still, the fight is not over; a yeth hound attaches itself to Cage’s throat, nearly killing him. Lem drives his thumbs deep into the hound’s eyes to save his friends life (he’s lucky he’s not Ilsoari) before Rye is able to land a killing blow. Lyrie, overwhelmed and heartbroken that her love Tsuto has been killed, flees the scene, leaving behind her belongings. As Lem watches her flee Ripnugget returns, sword in hand. He rushes toward the group but accidentally sets off the trapped tile and is slaughtered by a storm of swinging glaives.
Somehow all four of the party survives. They pillage the room, discovering Nualia’s journals, then take a well-earned rest and heal before continuing their exploration. They follow a recently uncovered hidden passage where mumbling from behind a door draws their attention. The door reveals a throne flanked by statues of the glaive-wielding man, as well as an illusion of the same man on the throne. The illusion is damaged and has been looping a short message for ten thousands years. It identifies the runelord as Karzoug and has a cryptic message about runelord Alaznist and a catastrophe.
Finally they discover a seven pointed star- the Sihedron rune- and place it in a relief in the massive stone doors to the south. The door slowly opens for the first time in ten centuries, revealing a massive four legged creature in a massive chamber lit by an ancient flaming pit. Not quite the thirty foot goblin they expected…