Continue the Journey
Standing atop the 300 foot stone the party could peer down at the fortress below. From here it didn’t look as large as the others you had seen since coming to the Abyss but you were unsure how much of the structure was built into the rock itself. Looking around you could see a vast army encamped outside its jagged walls. The bulk of the force seemed to be comprised of humanoids and giantkin which were haphazardly camped closest to the fortress outer wall with a ring of demonic forces enclosing them on the exterior. Flowing through the camp and directly into the fortress was a tributary of the river styx that seemed to be deliberately diverted to this location.
Pushing aside the stone that covered the hidden entrance into the Glabrezu’s fortress a damp stale air rushed up to meet you. Joselyn knelt down and peered down the hole. Just as he hung his head over the opening a couple drops of water peppered his face. The water seemed to be defying gravity and rising from the hole. Orek examined the effect and quickly deduced that the rough hewn tunnel that lay below was under the effect of a reverse gravity enchantment.
The party combined what rope they had into a 120ft length that was knotted periodically for better grip. Raudrogdos, being the strongest climber, took one end of the rope and began to climb down. The tunnel was wet and filthy but its rough surface served as excellent hand holds. At one hundred feet the tunnel took a sharp turn that proved to be difficult to traverse given the reversed gravity. However, using the rope and moving as slowly as possible the party was able to navigate the turn.
Soon that new leg of the tunnel turned directly downward again and Raudrogdos nearly fell when, crossing into this new tunnel section, the gravity reversed again. Descending, the party came across yet another sharp turn in the tunnel and like before when the shaft turned downward the gravity reversed. Again the party was able to carefully traverse this turn and continue their descent. The climb was going very well when up ahead you spotted a ten foot by ten foot section of a wall that seemed to be pulsating. As you moved closer you could see that the body of some gigantic worm had broken through the stone here and was exposed while its head was still buried within the rock. Not wishing to disturb the beast the adventurers bypassed the worm while Joselyn stood ready on a ledge to strike the beast should it attack.
Finally, after slugging your way through a couple hundred feet of nauseating tunnels, an opening could be seen below. Due to the gravity enchantment you found yourselves climbing down face first towards the opening. Raudrogdos could see that the room below dropped about forty feet to the floor. At the edge of his vision he could just make out a very large shape on the floor of the chamber. Mirari pulled a sunrod from her pack and dropped it into the room below. As the sunrod dropped your eyes widened as the shape of a huge dragon came into view. The massive creature reared back and let loose a gout of flame from its jaws. The party pressed itself against the walls of the tunnel but was unable to avoid the blast. Orek quickly cast feather fall upon the party allowing them to drop into the room.
Raudrogdos was the first to meet the beast, identified by Orek as an Abyssal Drake. Swinging his massive great club he caught the dragon flush with a blow that would have killed lesser creatures outright. Enraged, the drake lashed at the giant with a flurry of bites, claws, and its poisonous sting. Raudrogdos took several grievous wounds but the rest of the party was given the chance to enter the room. Edge was the next to close but the drake was quicker stabbing him with its venomous stinger. The poison coursing through Edge’s body reduced his constitution to well below half. With the entire party now in the room the beast ultimately had little chance of surviving the fight and the drake was brought down. Jia and Grishma did what they could for their injured comrades but spells were low. Edge carried on but was still badly wounded.
The room you stood in was massive but oddly shaped. In the east wall was a large archway beyond which an underground stream, presumably part of the river styx, flowed. In the North West wall an enormous portcullis blocked your way into what appeared to be a torture chamber. Through the bars of the portcullis the party could see shelves and tables where all manner of implements of torture lay. Just outside of the portcullis there was a groove in the floor where a second door could descend into sealing the chamber where the drake had been slain.
Raudrogdos, Edge, and Joselyn pulled the portcullis up allowing the rest of the party access into the next room. Searching the room you could see two sets of cranks that operated the portcullis and inner air lock. There was a set of double doors in the north wall and another set in the west wall. In the East wall were more pulleys and cranks that you assumed were used to flood the large chamber. In a small cabinet Mirari found a wild eyed prisoner who began to flail, scream, and panic at the sight of you. With little other choice you subdued the man, gagged him, and chained him to one of the tables. Nearly out of spells and with Edge requiring further healing the party decided to risk resting in this place. Orek did what he could, arcane locking the doors, to make the room secure and a watch was set.
It didn’t take long before there was a tug at the west door. Listening at the door you could hear someone tugging and pushing at the door. After failing to open the door the sound of several footsteps and the rattling of chains could be heard moving down the hall. A couple of hours later there was another sound at the west door. Only this time the noise was much louder as someone was hacking their way through the door. Before long the doors came down and a single Tanaruk wielding a battle axe stood breathing heavily. Joselyn and Edge stood ready on either side of the door cutting down the guard as he entered the room.
As soon as the guard fell howls and shrieks erupted from the room that lay beyond. Joselyn could see countless jail cells each containing a single individual who were strapped into contraptions that were intended to cause excruciating pain. Knowing that this clamor could draw further attention Joselyn warned that “anyone who makes another sound will be drug into the flood chamber and drown!” The noise quickly diminished. Looking around the cell block there didn’t appear to be any doors leading from this area. The party decided to continue their rest since the open door didn’t appear to be a threat.
The rest continued until on the last watch a tug and knock came at the north door. Only this time hacking noises from multiple axes could be heard rending through the door. Just before the door was about to collapse a pair of massive Barghests materialized in the room cutting the party in half while four heavily armed and armored Tanaruks launched an assault from the collapsing door. Edge (still wounded from the Abyssal Drake), Joselyn, and Grishma met the Tanaruks while Orek, Raudrogdos, Mirari, and Jia battled the Barghests.
The fighting was vicious. Edge was nearly killed but was able to drag himself into a corner. Jia was knocked unconscious but Grishma was able to intercept the Barghest before it began to feed upon her. Raudrogdos fell victim to the Barghests charm monster spell and attacked Orek, sending the wizard flying into the back wall. Grishma quickly turned tide, casting resurgence, and dispelled the effect of the charm. When a single Tanaruk remained it attempted to flee back down the hall but Joselyn hacked him down before he could get too far. In the end, the party was victorious but completely depleted of spells and still badly injured.
Luckily the battle occurred only moments before Jia and Grishma were to perform their daily rituals to recover spells. While they began tending to the groups wounds the party could hear the far off sound of cheers, roars, and general revelry. Far down the north hall a pair of side passages and a double door could be seen.