We rejoin our intrepid trio in the Harphaven sewers.
Having just defeated a were-rat and its swarm of four-legged minions (a few of which were actually minions in game terms), the party examines the door at the north-east corner of the room. Ashandir determines that it is, in fact, a door, while Nalla points out the ancient rune written thereupon—which is shortly discovered to be a warding glyph of some sort that has been carefully defaced and thus deactivated. Quinn notes that the glyph was unlikely to have been deactivated from their side of the door, and further that it is about as old as the sage whose tomes they’ve been pursuing.
As the PCs examine the door, however, they neglect to notice a clattering of stonework from the other side of the room, and are nearly surprised when a swarm of demoniac lizard-insects bursts forth from the western section of the south wall. Kruthiks!
The Kruthiks swarm towards the party, who quickly draw up a defensive perimeter and fight off the arthropodes. The insect-things fall almost as soon as they’ve arrived, leaving only a half-dozen husks that rot unsettlingly quickly and the faint smell of acid. Rather than investigate the source of the kruthik incursion, the PCs continue
- cautiously! - through the northeast door.
After crossing through a short, narrow hallway, they discover themselves within a large, high-ceilinged room. Sewer channels run through the room, a large channel entering from the west and splitting around an “island” in the middle before diverging into two channels that exit into cascades falling down to an unknown deeper pool. Piles of debris litter the room, but nothing catches the party’s attention except an obviously magical circle of ancient origin in the central “island”. As the PCs draw closer, dire rats and a were-rat burst from some of the debris piles. The former swarm to the attack, while the latter throws another vial of flaming oil which shatters against Quinn’s armour, setting the bard aflame.
A furious combat develops as a deadly were-rat rogue emerges from behind the party, flanking Ash with one of the dire rats under its control and dealing grievous damage. In response, Ash nimbly steps aside, then from a position of advantage sends carefully-guided arrows into both were-rats. Quinn dodges out of the pool of flaming oil but remains alight, slashing at one of the dire rats and exhorting his allies to greater feats of bravery. Nalla, meanwhile, grimly draws the attention of the dire rats away from her allies, striking at both as the party repositions against the northwestern wall.
After a desperate battle, the were-rat rogue is bloodied and retreats from the field, scuttling down one of the channels cut into the western wall. The other were-rat attempts to leap across the intermediate channels, but each time manages only to thud against the channel walls and knock itself into the sewer-water. It and the were-rats fight bravely, but are shortly slain.
The party notices after the battle’s chaos subsides that the two doors in the southwest corner of the room, one facing west and another double-doors facing south, are heavily boarded shut from this side. Ignoring the doors, the characters focus upon the runic circle in the middle: with timely help from the other party members, Quinn unlocks the magic within the circle, releasing a glowing cerulean portal in the middle of the room. Ash fearlessly reaches through the gate (after passing a torch through the thing, and removing it with no apparent harm), and extracts two of the books the PCs were sent to find. As the party searches the room, Quinn’s sharp eyes notice that the torch in a wall sconce in the northeast corner of the room doesn’t appear to be made of wood; upon investigating, he discovers that it is indeed key to a secret door.
Quinn thus discovers the sage’s inner sanctum, wherein he conducted his research: the third book lies open on a makeshift desk in front of an enchanted Echoing Songblade +1.
At this, the party pauses, torn between continuing further into the underground realm and returning to Nebelethos to claim their reward.