Catching up where we left off, the party was about to head back to Solstice with the wererat “Brad” along as a prisoner. The journey began, and after a short bit of travelling Brad surprised the group by shifting into rat form, slipping the rope, biting the warlock Alfdagon, and running off into the woods.
A chase ensued, and eventually the quick monk Niral was able to catch up to the rat and grapple him into submission. With some assistance from the ranger Gradak, Niral tied the rat up in rope, even more securely.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, and the town magistrate was happy to secure Brad in a prison cell under the central keep.
The party did some needed shopping, had the local clergy of Odin check on Alfdagon’s bite wound, and did a few interviews to locate a suitable companion to make the next mine excursion a little safer. Jorandac, a dwarven cleric, joined the party for a promise of an even share of the spoils.
The next morning the party went back out to Lothyn’s Mine. Niral, Gradak, Gulbrand, Jorandac, and the non-combat guide Tyrion. They explored the remainder of the first level, locating a large owlbear with it’s nest down the western corridor. The vicious monster attacked fiercely, but couldn’t deal any serious damage through Gulbrand’s plate armor, and the party quickly felled the beast. A search of it’s lair revealed two owlbear eggs, a rare find indeed. The scout Tyrion knew of their value, and offered to take the eggs back to town while they were still warm while the party explored the rest of the mine.
After Tyrions departure, the others prepared to head down the mine shaft to explore the next level down, but Gradak noticed something odd- the wooden planks and scraps along the east wall were in a different position compared to last time. The party investigated further and found a concealed passage, which led to the lair of an orc-blooded assassin. The assassin make a brutal attack upon Gulbrand before quaffing a potion and turning invisible. The party healed up as well as they could but had no easy way to detect an invisible foe, so they continued on their plan to descend down the mine shaft.
Niral went down first, to see what he could, and after a bit of a descent he found himself threatened by six angry drakolins. The drakolins quickly realized Niral wasn’t alone, and instead of facing him directly they flew past him up to the first level where they landed and began attacking the other party members.
A very difficult fight took place, in which two of the drakolins, spellcasters of some sort, were able to deflect incoming blows and damage the party through force blast attacks. In the meantime the party destroyed the fighting drakolins rather easily, but they didn’t have much left of resources to handle the casters. The ranger Gradak fell first, and one of the vile drakolin casters pushed his body off the edge down the shaft, where it fell silently.
The adventurers continued to fight as bravely as they could, and in the end they killed all but one drakolin, which flew away to save it’s own hide. When this occurred the orc-blood assassin came back out of hiding, striking the monk Niral viciously and downing him in a single hit. A healing potion was administered to Niral, which stopped the bleeding, but even then he found himself unable to help- his body was paralyzed from poison on the assassin’s blade!
Luckily, the assassin’s combat skills were not nearly as effective in a straight fight, and he had no more potions to turn himself invisible. The cleric Jorandac and fight Gulbrand struck the assassin over and over until he fell, while the assassin found it impossible to deliver an effective attack through their plate armor without the benefits of attacking from invisibility. Eventually one final attack landed true and the orc-blood fell, dead.
The three remaining adventurers knew they had to return to town, though they wondered of the fate of Gradak. Surely he died in the fall… or could there be hope? They were in no condition to search for him now, but they vowed to return and at the very least recover his remains after a night’s rest.
As promised, the adventurers returned the next morning, and made a careful descent down the shaft, level by level, via ropes and climbing kits. After passing the drakolin level and another level, they could see some sort of a “bottom” to the shaft- there was a massive spider web across the entire distance. Several cocooned victims lay in the web, perhaps Gradak is still alive!
The fighter Gulbrand went to investigate first, but the moment he touched the web a giant cave spider emerged from a hidden crevasse and immediately attacked him. The battle went on for a minute, but the spider found it difficult to put it’s fangs into the fighter through his strong plate armor. The spider soon lay dead, in it’s own web.
That danger passed, Gulbrand and the monk Niral investigated the cocooned victims. The first was indeed Gradak! He was alive, barely. They assisted him up the ropes to the previous level, where Jorandac was still waiting. Gulbrand then decided to investigate some of the other cocoons. Skipping over a small drakolin shaped cocoon, he opened the next human to find it was a guard from Solstice, from the previous group, just barely alive. The next cocoon seemed still, whatever it contained was already dead, but when it was cut open it’s occupant was apparently not dead at all- it was undead. The ghoul bit and clawed at Gulbrand but was quickly destroyed by the party.
It was at this point that we leave things…