When morning came, it was found that Roc had not returned from his venture into the Underdark where the adventurers had emerged. Because of the great debt owed to the Owl Society where they spent the night, the party agreed to search for him. Nightengale and Pheonix elected to come too. Scrag was advised against going by Owl, but he neglected this warning and went anyway.
Immediately upon reentering the cave, Yam tripped severely and tumbled himself and more importantly his war-hammer into the cavern wall, which caved in. Newly trapped, the adventurers had no choice but to descend into the cold tomb.
The party split up and searched the place from top to bottom, finding a few hints that Roc had been there previously. The catacombs were thoroughly searched, but the trail eventually lead to an entirely new area, a cavern corridor leading all but straight down.
After fighting of many “boogeymen”, the party found themselves in another area similar to the caves they had encountered the Yuul in earlier. They fought some wisp-men and Yam collapsed another room after an explosion flung him into the only pillar holding up the ceiling. He also broke his nose for the first time of the day. The party then moved on and soon found themselves face to face with a small band of Gnolls. These gnolls decidedly did not want to pick a fight, however, and tried to convince the PCs that they were a kinder sort of gnoll. This was hard to believe due to the fact that they were holding Roc captive.
The gnolls, or Timon’s War Band (consisting ofTimon, Hamantha, Rehecraw, the deceased Tirra and two others) told their story about how Roc had mistaken them for an enemy and attacked them without provocation. After tying him up, the gnolls were attacked again, this time by a party of Dark dwarves, or Duergar. The fight was bloody and the gnoll named Tirra was slain. The two gnolls with unknown names were beaten up severely as well. The gnolls managed to capture one of the Duergar as they made their retreat, a gruff fellow named Izarv.
The adventurers spent a good deal of time questioning each of these people and ultimately discovered a chain of events that sparked this underground war. The Yuul had been pushing the Duergar out of the dwarves’ territory and into the Gnolls‘. The Duergar claim that the underground area there should be theirs now, seeing as the Duergar are an underground race, and the gnolls should find somewhere else to go. But all of the digging and skirmishes at the fault of the dwarves are causing the gnolls to lose farmland and territory they consider sacred to their ancestors. Some of the gnolls, with a shortage of food, have attacked the towns and cities in northwest Skyshoal, an area collectively known as ’the Valley’, in order to acquire food and goods.
Both the gnolls and the Duergar asked the party for their help in eliminating their foe, with respective promises of “honor” and “jewels”. Meanwhile Roc wanted to get back to the surface ASAP. The party was in disarray and had long arguments about the correct course of action. A passing turnip salesman offered his opinion, and Scrag picked up a jar of turnips that fell off of the cart. Eventually it appeared that Trian and Yam favored the gnolls, Caleb the dwarves, and everyone else split in the middle somewhere (with Stevie slightly favoring the Duergar and Kaili, Scrag, and Niavara remaining about neutral). Izarv was freed, and Stevie escorted him back towards his territory whilst most everyone else was still debating. Before any decision could be finalized, however, another patrol of “boogeymen” attacked, forcing the entire group down the cave path that Stevie had followed.
Along the way, two Drow named Marendithas and Tlehar were found escorting an elder duergar named Traben and his pet spider called Fruice. Discovering the dangerous creatures approaching, Traben refused to run until he was cracked over the head by a bottle. Simultaneously, Marendithas was hit by a sharpened starfish in the leg, Tlehar threw Traben over Scrag‘s shoulder, Yam took hold of Fruice’s leash, and the entire party of gnolls, drow, adventurers, and Roc rushed to where Stevie and the dwarf were, with Caleb almost getting overtaken by the “boogeymen”. Unfortunately, there was a slightly insane spellcaster sitting in the middle of the path leading onwards, forcing everyone to stop behind him as he completed his ritual of some source. Izarv introduced the spellcaster as ‘insane’ and demonstrated by stepping upon one of his chalk lines, whereafter a dagger immediately was thrown past his ear with menace by the spellcaster.
Everyone was forced to turn around and fight, but at this point the enemy had run out of ammunition and were easy enough to best in combat. As the dust settled from the battle, everyone wondered where this was all going… and realized Pheonix and Nightengale had gone missing!