Journey to Fate’s doorstep: finding the Xanathar

The Drow’s Bane are unable to locate the Xanathar after Royce’s Locate Creature spell leads them to the waiting room where the Githyanki encounter took place. They decide to explore the second floor above the waiting room in hopes the Xanathar is right above them. They make a hole in the ceiling causing a bed to fall through the hole onto the floor. They climb up to the second floor only to experience more gray fog amongst bedrooms, a hallway and a webbed staircase leading to the first floor’s foyer; a Dispel Magic spell only gets them so far removing the gray fog from the hallway but not the bedrooms.

Eventually they trace their way back to the waiting room and spend time speaking to the dead deep gnome body they find in the kitchen; there are actually three dead bodies in the kitchen as a result of some ‘friendly fire’ during the Githyanki combat. The dead gnome’s obscure messages lead them back into the waiting room where they are unable to locate any signs of a door.

Out of options, Mordrock calls to Kelemvor for help. The divine being responds, lighting a path to a wall where an outline of a door appears. The party tries the key from Ahmaergo to open the door and it opens! They move inside a small room with a high ceiling, a circle of sigils on the floor and hear the moans of a creature above.

The party stares up to see an undead beholder descend and attack the party.

Moments later as the beholder lay lifeless in the corner, the sigils on the floor light up. The party thinks it is a portal and steps in; instantly each one vanishes from the room and appears at the top of a stairway leading down into a room. Nong makes his way down first and sees the stairway opens up into the middle of a large room, just ahead is a large stone statue of a beholder staring at him. Beyond the statue is a large mural on the wall depicting a beholder rampaging an army.

BOOM!!! Fire lights up the stairway and everyone on it. The toasted party heads down the stairs and into the room. Nong looks where the fireball came from and sees a mage on the opposite side of the room finishing spell casting. There are two other humanoids here too – a tiger man whose hands are turned backwards and a dragonborn in plate armor. As they engage, Naismith is wounded by the tiger man’s claws leaving a strange wound. The dragonborn is a mighty foe and wounds several party members with his great sword before finally going down.

The party looks around the room and investigates the bodies but finds nothing. Nong and Naismith explore the southern door to find an empty barracks and kitchen. They explore the northern door and find a corridor that ends in a ledge thirty feet in, overlooking a large pool of water sixty feet down. Both use their abilities to get closer to the water – Nong runs down the side and Naismith flies down into the darkness. Together they spot something large swimming under the water.

They return to the ledge to find Mordrock, Royce and Cat join them. Naismith feels the familiar feeling of something trying to telepathically communicate with him but he chooses to ignore it. Nong then hears a deep voice in his mind calling to him, “Come down….lonely….” Nong entertains the telepathic conversation for awhile as the party stands around staring at him. Nong learns the creature below seeks company. In response, Nong attaches a piece of the dead dragonborn to a rope and drops it into the water; he hears laughing in his mind. The creature does not move to the limb but continues to telepathically call out to Nong instead.

Royce returns to the room after realizing the cavern with the ledge is a dead-end except the water, maybe there’s another way out? He walks up to the statue, then the mural. He concentrates on the mural, raises his finger and touches it; his finger goes right through the mural. “Of course, an illusion,” he says moving quickly toward the northern door to signal to the party.

Nong walks through the mural to find a five foot wide corridor sixty feet in length. He moves forward ten feet and feels the floor beneath him give out; instinctually he hops back to see the floor open up to a twenty foot deep spiked pit below. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees movement at the end of the hallway. An assassin appears as Nong runs across the wall past the pit, jumps down and engages with him; when Nong lands on the opposite side he sees the corridor open up perpendicular to another corridor 60 feet ending in a door. He also sees a few more assassins and a mage standing nearby ready to engage.

With the pit between the party and Nong, it takes the party awhile to get across. Nong handles the assassin with ease at the same time a large translucent hand appears next to him and shoves him twenty feet into the middle of the pit; he falls onto the spikes and realizes they are covered in acid. Naismith flies over and sees a concealed door where both corridors intersect, opens it up and moves in to find a small barracks room. His search of the room reveals paperwork – a proclamation to take down the intruders no matter what the cost, signed Lulach.

Meanwhile, a fascinated Mordrock at the other end of the corridor recalls from memory the craftsmanship of similar pits he’s seen in his life. He crouches down, observes the opened floor flush to both walls and nods his head in approval, “Nice work here, well done.” A thought comes to him that such pits generally are opened via a lever and begins to feel around the walls; unfortunately, after several attempts he does not find a lever.

Royce and Cat stare at Mordrock in surprise as Nong from within the pit, raises the wand of Orcus and casts Stinking Cloud down the adjoining corridor. Immediately he and Naismith hear choking and coughing coming from the opaque yellow poisonous cloud now filling up the corridor, stopping five feet in front of Naismith. Nong runs up the wall and into the poisonous cloud focusing his direction towards the nearest coughing noise; he pummels the body next to him while he hears footsteps further down in the cloud, run to the door, open it and then close it.

Naismith picks up the rope that has been lying on the floor since Nong first arrived; he secures it into the wall to create a taught line for the rest of the party to climb across. He then runs into the cloud toward the nearest coughing, strikes with his dagger, then retreats back out; he listens as he hears the coughing go silent.

Nong and Naismith take down the other coughing voice in the cloud by the time Mordrock, Royce and Cat crossover. Nong dispels the cloud as Naismith looks down and sees a small concealed door at the base of the wall; he opens it to find a lever. “There it is!” rejoices Mordrock as he reaches down and pulls it causing the floor to rise back up, covering the pit.

Down the corridor Naismith examines the door and recognizes it to be jammed from the other side. Mordrock decides to run towards the door to break it open; after a few attempts the door smashes open. Mordrock stumbles into the room at the same time he feels a painful freezing cold wash over him and into the corridor behind; everyone in the corridor feels the painful cold wash over them too. Mordrock can see a mage in the room finish spell casting as he painfully moves to engage. The remaining frost bitten comrades move into the room and take down the mage.

The room smells of rotting garbage; there is every kind of trash littered across the room. At the other end are three doors. “Great, no Xanathar but we found the trash room!” says Nong. Naismith inspects the doors which appear to be unlocked; he opens one of them and sees a landing, a rowboat and a water filled tunnel that continues as far as he can see southbound. Behind the other two doors he finds the same thing except the corridors bend east and west respectively. The party is puzzled by this but Royce explores the landings to find footprints on the west bound landing. “There are tracks here, we should definitely pursue this route.”

Before they follow Royce’s advice, they decide to sit down and catch their breath. Unfortunately, they are too close to the wand of Orcus to receive any benefits of a rest. Except for Nong who gives everyone a look of false pity, then sits down and enjoys his rest.