After dealing with Ulfe and his minions we searched the rest of the compound. Aside from what appeared to be a drinking well, and a portcullis that had been blocked off with stuffed straw pallets, a concealed door was all we found. Before exploring behind this door we decided a rest was in order, and decided to make a rather uncomfortable camp inside the secret corridors of the outer defenses.
After an uneventful rest we proceeded through the secret door. It led us through a small corridor to another door. This one had strange engravings on it, perhaps orcish in nature. We prepared ourselves and opened the door. As expected we found more orcs within a small haze filled room. What we did not expect was a half nude orc shaman within commanding the half dozen or so orc warriors. I assumed the shaman was a she only because it was bare chested and had what appeared to be piercings on her large sagging breasts. Jacare attempted to parley but she would have none of it and ordered the attack. Jacare was able to gain entrance to the chamber and engage, but I held my ground at the entrance allowing Swiftwind and Moonglum to lend ranged support. The small room was a grisly site. Skulls in various states of decay were strung up as decorations and a putrid odor was emanating from a small fire in the corner. Jacare swung his flail aggressively at the orcs and I hunkered down and kept any of them from getting through the passage. At one point the shaman uttered some guttural phrases and seemed to take on an ominous visage, but we pressed the battle on even harder. When the battle started to turn in our favor she fled through the only other door to the room. It was a hard, slow fight, but we prevailed and gave chase after a quick search of the room.
Through the door we entered a large chamber with a tall ceiling and carvings of dwarves on the walls. A large rift filled the center of the chamber with rough hewn, almost natural looking stairs leading down into the darkness. Across the room, perhaps some 80 feet or more were several skeletal figures on the ground and a bit further a large door with a large carving of a glowering dwarven visage. We had to deal with a handful of those pesky stirges upon entering, but we made quick work of it. Upon inspecting the door we discovered it was trapped. We backed up and let Moonglum open the door with one of his arcane tricks. When he did, a gout of flame burst out from several tubes above the door and a third of the chamber was engulfed in thick, roiling flames. When the heat dissipated we discovered that the door merely led to a small mechanical room filled with two large brass pots, tubing and mechanisms for activating the deadly trap. Although Jacare disagreed, I destroyed the menacing trap and felt the wiser for it. It seemed the only way left to go was down the rift.
We made our way down a long, winding almost naturally shaped stairwell. At one point a stream cut across it and we had to jump across. It finally opened into a large chamber with another stream running through it and disappearing down a small passage on one side. Aside from some more pesky stirge we found only two passages leading out of the chamber. We proceeded through the northern most passage and soon found another chamber, but this one had 5 other passages branching out in all directions. It took some time and we had to deal with a pair of horrible smelling little lizard folk, but we checked all of them. One appeared to be a long tunnel leading upwards, another ended in a room that had a large bear held captive in it. Another appeared to be a dead end and two of them eventually met up again. Off of this looped passage was a small, oddly shaped chamber and it was in there that things got interesting.
Within a small, strangely shaped cavern we could see a skeletal figure, perhaps a dwarf, lying on the ground. That isn’t what caught our attention though. It was the sight of an obviously well crafted sword within its grasp and the strange mold that covered everything within the room. I couldn’t be certain, but my training told me that this mold was probably quite poisonous. Moonglum attempted to use a rope and his magical ability to move things to try and pull the sword out from a distance. All he managed to do however was kick up spores and nearly keel over dead from the fit of coughing that overtook him. Jacare and Moonglum were adamant about retrieving that sword and proceeded to produce a spectacle in doing so. Through a process of using several ropes, a sack, a flask of water, telekinesis and sheer stupidity they managed to get the thing out. Jacare actually put a wet bag over his head, held his breath and blindly followed a guide rope that Moonglum pulled taut with magic right to the pommel of the sword. What they didn’t expect was when Jacare returned his makeshift hood was covered with yellowish spores from the mold he had kicked up. Moonglum backpedaled away from him as if he were the specter of death himself. After Jacare frantically got the bag off his head they both dashed down the corridors to the stream and vigorously scrubbed themselves and their prize, a stunning bastard sword with the mark of Durgeddin.
When they finally were done cleaning themselves and I was done chuckling, we went back to the passages. We followed the last passage, bypassing the moldy room of death, and after some twists and turns it opened up into a vast cavernous chamber. And it was a sight to behold. Was this the Glitterhame? The cavern extended hundreds of feet into the darkness. The ceiling glimmering with a faint phosphorescence nearly fifty-feet overhead, our torchlight striking dazzling glints of bright flecks and gleaming stone structures in the distance. Patches of strange fungi dot the floor, including capped stalks standing as tall as a human, and glooming puffballs almost a yard wide. High ledges can be seen rising up to a height of nearly twenty-feet in the distance along the northern, southern, and western walls. Narrow passageways appear to lead off to the north and south, and a flight of stone stairs descends from the western ledge to a path that meanders through the center of the chamber toward a small iron door in the eastern wall. The entire chamber sighs with a soft, cool breeze rising toward the surface far above. It’s truly an incredible sight to behold!