Leaving a cluster of defeated zombies behind them, the adventurers continued exploring south. They came across an audience chamber of sorts, with a throne upon a dais, a quartet of garnets inset into it. The room was lined with armoured skeletons, which shambled into unlife when Allard touched one the throne.
The party retreated into the bottleneck of the hallway and Spanky used his scroll of Protection from Undead. With the skeletons largely unable to penetrate this magical defence, the adventurers were free to dispatch the skeletons with ranged attacks while [[:big kev]] and Ruellen held the front line. Spanky demonstrated his growing mastery of his clerical domain, summoning the power of Pelor, instantly destroying eight of the twelve attackers.
The skeletons defeated, the party were free to recover the gems. Moving west, they investigated what appeared to be a collapsed tunnel, evidently further shored up after the collapse had occurred. Ruellen quickly ascertained that removing the blockage would take days; Spanky postulated that there was perhaps something on the other side that needed to be kept out.
Moving to a room to a few feet to the north, the party discovered the remains of a long-disused guard room. Various scraps of paperwork suggested that some evil had subtly overcome the cave’s previous occupants; the increasingly concerned scribblings of Erasmus Jones and Isaac Hayes, the last two guards, was testament to this.
The party continued north, back up the passage to where it turned to the west, with doors in north and east walls. Spanky heard noises coming from the northernmost door and, listening, overhead a muted conversation in Common. Abandoning subtlety, they burst into the room, quickly disarming the four dark acolytes inside. The party showed no opposition to physically and mentally torturing their captives into releasing what information they had, but soon found the acolytes were only recently initiated and, not being from Freeside, were unfamiliar with Nykis or his whereabouts.
In a startling show of compassion, the adventurers released three of the acolytes, kicking them out of the cave before binding the fourth and demanding he show them where the leader of the cult was. In between beatings, the acolyte revealed the evil cult was devoted to some figure called , although the nature of this being was unknown.
En route to the cult leader, the party encountered a pair of doors that, according to the acolyte, was the entrances to the adepts quarters. Big Kev and Spanky, having secured their prisoner, attempted to kick in the northernmost door, but found it blocked from the other side. After laying into it with his axe, Kev saw a pair of heavily armoured acolytes pushing a pair of crates up against the upturned table that blocked the way.
While Kev and Spanky attempted to brute force their way into the room, the rest of the party snuck in via the southern door. They found another pair of acolytes waiting for them, and these cultists didn’t hesitate to use their magic to command Ruellen to flee the battlefield, albeit briefly. The battle was intense, with the acolytes using every trick they had to repel the interlopers. In the end, however, they were defeated.
x12 zombies – 1500
x4 dark acolytes – 500
x4 dark adepts – 700