Rather than going down the secret stairs the DM led them to, the stubborn party wandered off, into the nearly empty level once occupied by orc slavers.
They meandered from empty cavern to empty cavern until finding a secret door in one, which led them into a small office where a dark dwarf was busy packing up pagers. The fell on him like a pack of homeless junkies on a clean needle.
They trussed him up and found that the ledgers he had were records of slaves being moved from the orcs down into the Underdark. Ariella
found that her missing father had been captured and shipped off to something called the Bleak Theater, which was a large gladiatorial and meeting center (like Epcott Center) where slaves were sold, traded, and forced to battle for the amusement of their derro and drow masters (again, like Epcott Center).
The party discarded the derro accountant (yeah, they murdered him), and explored the secret door they found in this room. It led to a chamber with a large shaft in the center and a complicated mechanism of ropes and gears that raised and lowered a pair of gigantic mushroom cap baskets from this level to level 7, currently broken.Wren
cast light on a stone which she popped into her mouth, as well as a fly spell and glided down the shaft. She made her way down 60' before seeing the floor another 40' below her. At this point she saw small, dark creatures scurrying to attack. Acting quickly, Wren
spit out the light stone and began flying back towards the surface, but not quickly enough. The creatures fired their crossbow bolts at the witch, and managed to hit her several times. The damage was not the problem, it was the poison on their bolts. Wren
was rendered unconscious and began floating gently down towards her attackers.Banthum
saw what happened and acted quickly. He leaped into the pit (wearing a ring of feather falling) and when he got close to the fallen witch, pushed her into one of the mushroom baskets. She was safe, but Banthum
was only just able to grasp the side of the basket, and was a tempting target for the creatures and their poisoned bolts.Marvin
took advantage of the situation and peppered the creatures with multiple fireballs, from which they had no protection. And while he was unable to kill any of them, he did succeed at driving them off and buying time for Elriond
to repair the elevator mechanism and pull the basket with their companions to the surface.
After securing the elevator once again, the party searched the rest of the level and found it empty. They had no choice but to go to the stairs I had put them at several hours earlier.
On the third level the group found and disabled several traps (as well as triggering one, which shattered many of Elriond
Heading into the hall, looking for signs of troglodytes (which their noses told them were near), the party heard the sounds of a great number of creatures running down the hall in their direction. The group quickly set up to receive them and waited.
Suddenly a somewhat plain, though nearly nude human woman ran into view, followed by a beautiful elven woman, also nude save for a loin cloth. Hot on their heels were several armored troglodytes, out for blood.
A short battle ensued, and this is where we start next week.