In the morning the party found themselves at Ghelve’s Locks. Working in the front room was a six foot tall man with only a 1 foot torso and 4 foot long legs. It was apparent that this was Keygan Ghelve wearing stilts. The party began to question him about nothing really in particular and demanded to be allowed to look through his store. Keygan rebuked their brow-beat tactics and demanded that they show him a warrant or other legal authorization.
During this exchange, Theo had deftly slipped into the back room. Not finding much more than tools and locks, he decided to make his way upstairs.
As he made his way up a strange naked silvery blue humanoid appeared seemingly out of the woodwork and attacked him with a rapier. Blows were exchanged by both and the humanoid ran back upstairs and slipped into another room.
Meanwhile the scuffle in the front room had escalated and Keygan had cast colorspray knocking out all but Logahn. Logahn had managed to knock over and cut Keygan with his longsword, sending him scrambling into the back room. He followed and noticed Theo badly injured. Paying no heed to the flopping gnome he stepped over him and immediately healed the goblin. They both continued up the stairs to find the stranger. There were two rooms upstairs and no creature. Logahn looked down the stairs and somehow the creature had slipped past them and was making a break for it. He escaped out the front door as did Keygan, who took the time to pop off his stilts and run, hopping over the still unconscious Celestine and Benadrad.
Taking the time to search the building found them nothing but a Dungeon Map, and a seemingly hollow wall. Confused by the hollow wall the party recited the clue given to them by Jenya. They continued to search and eventually found a locked door beneath the staircase. All manors of force were used to open the door and they failed. It was only thanks to Theo’s lock picking skills that the door was finally opened.
The party slowly crept down the staircase following Logahn who guided them with his glowing sword.
Not knowing what to expect, they started the descent cautiously, firing illuminated arrows down the hallway to get a better picture of what lay ahead. Eventually, they all filed into a large chamber that seemed to echo with strange tittering voices whose source they could not place.
Oddly at ease, the group explored the room somewhat casually. Things took a turn for the worse when Logahn, in blatant disregard of the fairly obvious warning “beware the door with teeth,” stuck his head across the threshold of a half-open door-with-teeth. The consequences were minor but the incident would set the tone for the next chapter of their adventure.
After dodging some ineffective blows from a pair of blue humanoids, whose likeness they had seen before during the fight at Keygens shop, Logahn rejoined the group as they all searched around to pick up the scent of their objective. Strange masks, doors with gnomish letters, a spooky/taunting speaking statue; the group took it all in without understanding much, and soon the crafty Theodocius got to work in an attempt to jimmy the nearest lock.
The fortunes of Theo’s craft were not favorable though. As the trap sprang, he was nearly incapacitated by a bunch of acid to the face. So it goes. One servant of Sarenrae or the other supplied a soothing “Cure moderate wounds” potion, and Theo lived to trigger trapped locks another day.
Which he soon of course did. As promised by the prophetic omen of St. Cuthbert, there were more trapped doors for Theo and the party to encounter. It soon became clear that the best course of action was to follow the strange tunnels down which the humanoid under-dwellers had fled – if “best course of action” were to taken to be one that led the group seemingly very close to being wiped out!
As they emerged from the tunnel into a larger chamber, Celestine and Logahn were immediately shanked by a gang of awful creatures in shabby black cloaks.
Bernadrad though, with a rallying “HAHA,” unleashed a barrage of incendiary potions that killed a few of the creatures, and only one managed to escape. Healing potions were chugged, enemy cloaks were snatched up for disguise and as trophies, and the party all took a deep breath of the dank, stagnant air of the dungeon, happy to be all in one piece.
As they went on, it became clear that some trickster had rigged various rooms with whimsical illusory auras to conceal their true unpleasant nature – and perhaps also to conceal hidden dangers. For when Bernadrad cannon-balled gnomishly into what seemed to be a pool of refreshing water, the party had to pull itself together to fight a beastly hunter who had been lurking there waiting for just such prey ..
.. Except that the prey turned out to be way stronger than the hunter (a spider) and his minions (two smaller spiders). Celestine and Logahn hacked away with sword and scimitar, and Theo shot off the large spider’s head in quick order so that the foes had little time to do more than almost kill Bernadrad who had been caught by surprise.
It had been a hard but rewarding morning/afternoon. Having tested their fortunes, gathered some loot, and overall asserted tentative dominance over the beginning half of these catacombs, the party decided to return to the surface to reconnoiter. Keygen’s shop lended itself well as a base of operations for their little task force.
Celestine prepared for an uneventful watch, but perked up when an interloper began using the front door. Without hesitating, she jerked the door open away from the trembling hand of .. none other than Keygen! .. who was returning to his shop, apparently in the vain hope that the party of justice-seekers planned to leave him alone. Celestine sensed his mortal fear and dazzled the poor gnome with a one woman “good cop/bad cop” routine – to such an extent that he spilled everything and even agreed to lend them what hardened dungeoneers like to call some good ol’ fashion “lethal aid.” Keygen had spun a pathetic tale of being leveraged into assisting in the kidnap and probable enslavement of orphans all because of the threats to the well-being of his kidnapped pet rat.
During this time Benadrad went on a supply run for the party. They would mainly need additional potions if they were to advance into the depths of the gnomish enclave. Benadrad started walking down the street whistling to himself on his way to Weer’s Elixers. Suddenly a whip lashed towards Benadrad which had originated from an alleyway, without thinking he retaliated with one of his signature bombs. Out of the shadows stepped a woman wearing the same facepaint as the people who had attacked Ruphus Laro the day before. “Stay clear of the Orphanage. The children are lost”, was yelled as the woman made her escape down the alley. Continuing on his way Benadrad reached his current place of employment, walking in the back door he started to brew some new potions. Weer asked Benadrad why he was late for work and were he had been, Benadrad responded with some nonsense and convinced Weer that he was working for a new client. The two hated each other and a conflict has been slowly brewing for years. After the potions were completed Benadrad snuck out the backdoor and rejoined his fellow party members.
Tomorrow, it will be back down into the earth for the party and for their suspect-turned-helper.