The darkness in the cavern should have given us omen for what was to come. The Cavern led toward multiple alcoves, decorated in mythic art. Strange lettering and runes foretold of things we would never understand. The first of our trials were the Dread Zombie Cyclops that ripped through the western wall of the primary room. Darpan and I went after the one to the West, with Bob-cat at the lead. Azerillius gave ranged support to the effort. Bob-Cats’ attack was vicious, but unable to best the undead as it laid him low using its unnatural strength. Darpan quickly tumbled through the creature’s range of attack to deliver a solid first blow. I hammered away with little effect, while Az pierced its hide with a volley of fiery arrows. Suddenly from the East burst another Dread Zombie through the wall! Az dropped his Longbow and drew his mighty Greatsword to assail the foul creature. Brother Gordon Came up and broadcast the holy power of Erastil, damaging the necrotic being of the zombies. Again Darpan and I weathered blows upon our adversary. We were distracted by a howl of victory and the thud of defeat as Azerillius Cut his foe in twain with a might blow of his Greatsword. With that one down, we made short work of its counterpart.
We continued on, searching the alcoves, knowing in our being there must be more. The hidden passage was found and we came upon a great natural cavern, with a large dark pool at its center. I went to the edge to see what could be seen when I saw the pool go from placid to churning waves. A great wave of water and a Gargantuan water beast with the neck of a serpent lashed out at me, tearing at me with its toothed maw. The battle went poorly, as it continued to weather our attacks while biting at each and every one of us, spilling our blood and damaging our spirits. Brother Gordon kept us up with Erastil’s healing power wielded in his faith and hands. After a small tactical regroup, we went at the beast again, this time forcing it to flee. It outran us all, and I barely kept up with it using the divine gift of flight from Ng. It slipped across the pool and down a tunnel to the waiting underground refuge of the river. It would not return while we were still there. We regrouped and licked our wounds with healing magic. I went through and explored some submerged stair that I noticed during the battle. I found another area that was dry 60 feet in. There were Ancient carvings on the walls of days long past. It depicted Cyclops performing various feats of living, and battling against what looked to be centaurs. I went back and reported what I had found to the rest of the group. The animals would have to stay behind as they would not appreciate the holding of breath and underwater travel.
We pressed on to a pair of bronze doors. We opened them to find a large room with many statues depicting Cyclops with various armaments. The weapons and armor were real, but of no concern to us. We originally found no doors, but upon searching more carefully, we found one that lay secreted away in the south of the room. As we opened the door, a hallway of winding stair revealed itself, as did an unnerving “click”. Suddenly a set of portcullis slammed down in our path and another across the way we had entered. Water then began to decant over each of the statues, with the room slowly filling. We then witnessed a giant eel plop down from a hidden alcove in the ceiling, and two Cyclops Dread Zombies burst through the walls north of us. When it rains, it pours! I immediately called out to the rest of the party that we were getting out of here and to convene upon my position at once. Az was clear across the room at this point. I began to cast a spell to worm a passage through the rock to aid in our getaway as Brother Gordon, whom had enlarged Darpan for our earlier battles, dispelled his magic to allow Darpan to fit through the escape pass. First Gordon, then Darpan passed through the new escape tunnel to the other side of the portcullis and I looked toward Azerillius. He made an attempt to move toward our escape path but became waylaid by one of the water deluges, knocking him to the water covered floor. The Moray Eel was fortunately engaging one of the Dread Zombies, keeping it at bay but the other advanced toward Az! As it loomed over his prone body I moved toward Az in order to help him escape the ambush. Being prone lay him at the mercy of the beast, and we both knew it. Just as I came to his side, the Dread Zombie rallied a blow upon my friend that will not soon leave my mind. The Creatures weapon pierced through all of Azerillius’s protections and found his heart. My friend and Baron had been felled before me as I stood helpless to prevent it. I grabbed his body and began casting an escape magic with no regard for my own safety. Ng must have been looking out for me as the beast attempted to lay me low but missed! I arrived on the other side of the portcullis next to Gordon and Darpan with the lifeless body of our liege. Our hearts we filled with dread and anger as we knew our only course was to continue up the winding stair and hope that the Dread Zombies lose interest in our pursuit. Brother Gordon summoned a crocodile to distract the zombies as we fled. We flew up the stairs, carrying my friends’ body across my back as we rose into the unknown. Two more Bronze doors appeared before us with an unknown fate behind them.
With our Baron dead, our bodies beaten, and the only escape through a pair of ominous ancient bronze doors, this was not the way it was supposed to be. We had been victorious so many times before, there was great difficulty in handling this kind of loss. I swear on my soul Azerillius will take breath again. We will need to overcome whatever is behind these doors to do it, but I swear it will happen. Dwarves live a long time, and this grudge will find its terminus.