4th Day of Meloramensis – Part II

Hogar’s Journal (Translated from Giant)

Year 781 of the founding of the City

4th Day of Meloramensis – Part II

Thunderspire Mountain – The Chamber of Eyes

After sending the bugbear to meet his maker we ventured through the doors the goblins had been hiding behind.  A wide corridor stretched before us with exits to the left and right.  To the left was a deserted barrack room packed to the rafters with bunks, accommodation for many more Bloodreavers than had confronted us in the ante chamber.
We pressed on to the end of the corridor where we were confronted by a set of large and ornately carved double doors.  The corridor branched of to either side of the grand doorway to form a T-junction; each branch came to an end at a rather more modest door.  Eligos marched up to the double doors and listened for any movement beyond.  I crept along the corridor to the right and Rodney along that on the left.  Rodney signalled that the door at the end of his corridor was locked.  As I approached the door at the end of my corridor the sound of revelry drifted through the gloom.  Reaching the door I pushed it open a crack to reveal a mess room where three halflings, three hobgoblins and two goblins were gathered around a trestle table, drinking and playing cards.  I signalled to the others that there were eight hostiles behind the door unaware of our presence.  I gently closed the door as Eligos barged through the double doors, quickly followed by the rest of the group.  Surprised shouts and the sound steel striking steel were the immediate result but not so loud that the revellers on the other side of my door would hear them over their carousing.  I left Diefenbaker to keep watch for reinforcements coming from the mess room and moved to join my companions. 
As I ran through the doors it became immediately apparent why the home of the Bloodreavers was named the Chamber of Eyes.  A large stone-walled chamber with a high ceiling supported by four columns, each stone in the room was adorned with the carving of a lidless eye.  Floor, walls, ceiling, columns, the whole chamber cast its malevolent gaze upon us.  A raised dais, perhaps the height of a man ran around three sides of the room accessible by two small flights of stairs either side of the entrance.  Two doors opened onto the dais, one to my left and one to my right.  Seated atop this dais the statue of an angry many-eyed god snarled a challenge at all who entered.
I coasted through the entrance at a jog to be confronted by Glen and Eligos beating up the prone figure of a vicious looking ape.  Vic and Rodney were confronting three archers shooting down on us from the dais.  A sound to my left revealed that the previously locked door, as checked by Rodney, was now open.  As I ran I felt a stinging pain in my neck.  Coming to a stop in the middle of the chamber I grasped at the offending area.  My fingers closed around a spine and plucked it out.  Bright red and dripping with venom it had unmistakably once belonged to the beard of a duergar.  Dizzy as the poison began to take its hold on me I saw Eligos move through the door to confront this new threat.
Suddenly a hobgoblin in plate mail and armed with a pike burst into the chamber and onto the dais through the door to my left.  He was closely followed by the familiar sight of a hobgoblin warcaster.  As he entered his challenge reverberated from the watching walls, “You will live to regret invading Krand’s lair, but not for long wretches”.
Between the soldiers in the chamber, the duergar in the corridor and the thus-far oblivious soldiers playing cards in the next room we were in real danger of being surrounded.  I mentioned this to Vic who immediately suggested retreating further down the corridor to create a more defensible pinch point.  It is not easy however to get Eligos, Glen and Minron to disengage from a fight once begun and they paid no heed to Vic’s call.  An alternative strategy was required.   Though we were under attack from all sides now’ the Chamber itself could serve as a defensive position if we could clear the enemies within it and hold the Duergar at the door.  Glen called for us press forward and redouble our efforts, a call which was immediately taken up by Rodney who engulfed two of the hobgoblin archers in flames and pressed forward up onto the dais.
Minron moved to the steps leading up to the left hand side of the dais  and stood toe to toe with Krand, preventing him from getting to the floor to attack the weaker members of the party.  With a mighty swing of his axe Glen dispatched the stricken ape and turned to help Eligos hold the door.
As we reasserted some level of control over the battle Rodney led the way at trying to clear the room by bombarding Krand and his pet warcaster with bolts of ice.  Our predicament was due to worsen before it improved however as by diverting himself in this way Rodney allowed one of the two remaining hobgoblin archers to dash to a side door and call for reinforcements from the mess room.  Both archers then loosed at Vic knocking him unconscious.
The sound of the hobgoblins coarse voice jolted me out of a poison induced reverie.  Too slow to save Vic I drew back and sunk a lethal arrow into the chest of the hobgoblin who called for help.  Mustering my will I quickly put three further arrows into the second archer, noticeably hurting him.  I ducked behind a pillar as he turned to retaliate, he moved around the pillar to press his attack but my reflexes were too quick and all he got for his trouble was an arrow through the eye.
Footsteps quickly approaching the doorway the archer had called through became apparent.  I called out to Rodney and he summoned a ball of flame to block the arriving reinforcements.  The footsteps skidded to a halt quickly followed by a confused garble of goblin voices before the footsteps resumed this time fading away from the door.
As Glen and Eligos continued to hold the door from the encroaching duergar Krand and his caster were now all that kept the rest of us from assisting with the defence of the chamber.  Assistance that would be badly needed once the reinforcements from the mess completed their diversion and added their weight to the assault.  To that end I focused my attention on Krand, seeking a weak point in his armour.  Once found I put every ounce of strength into drawing back my bow and sent an arrow to fly into Krand’s neck between breastplate and helm.  The shaft went deep and as he reflexively dropped his pike and raised his hands to the shaft Minron deftly gutted him with his sword leaving him to eke out his last seconds in pool of his own blood and viscera.  Now only the warcaster remained standing in the room.  As Vic struggled to regain consciousness the hobgoblin mage moved forward and engulfed myself, Vic and Rodney in a vicious burst of energy.  The blast knocked me off my feet, as the room spun about me everything went dark and I knew no more.

I awoke, I don’t know how long later, to the sound of Vic playing his bloody flute, hardly the time or place but it did make me feel a little better.  The warcaster was dead and everyone was forming a scrum in the door as the reinforcements from the mess room tried to force their way into the chamber.  I noticed that Rodney had moved his fireball away from the side-door into the mess.  Instead of adding my weight to the scum I ran through the side-door and into the mess to flank our enemies.  I skidded out into the corridor where I saw the backs of two goblin archers taking careful aim at Minron.  They were blissfully unaware of my presence.  An arrow to the back of the neck killed the first but the second alerted by the death of his comrade ducked into a side room.  As I moved to follow him another hobgoblin emerged from the same door.  Catching me by surprise as he did he was able to draw blood before I could react.  Once my composure was regained however I drew my sword and dispatched him with ease.  As his body slid from my blade to thump dully on the ground I noticed that the room was now quiet save for the heavy intake of breath of exhausted combatants.  I looked up to see the others standing over a pile of hobgoblin and halfling corpses.
The goblin archer I had been pursuing appeared back through the door he had fled through and attempted to run past me.  I managed to tackle him easily enough.  In a trice he was subdued and bound, ready to be handed over to the mages in the Seven Pillared Hall.
The fight left all of us exhausted with cuts, scrapes, bruises and sore heads much the order of the day.  We searched the bodies of our fallen foes and found on the corpse of one of the duergar a contract detailing the sale of slaves to another duergar by the name of Kediri.  At Vic’s suggestion we have decided to spend the night in the mess room before heading back to the seven pillared hall.

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