The group decides to fully explore the first level before moving on to the second. In one room, Brecaryn finds a hidden door. The door leads to a small temple with the Eye of Geryon painted over an altar.
Oliver grabs one of the many candles placed around the temple. As he does this, the altar appears to shimmer. Using her phase ring, Brecaryn is able to see that a demon (similar to the one Alana released in the Death God Temple) is standing in the space occupied by the altar. This revelation pretty much puts a damper on everyone's enthusiasm to loot the place. Unfortunately, it does nothing to dampen the Drow Witch Milina's desire to defile the altar. It takes a bit of fast talking from Flerm to convince her to leave it for the moment.
As Oliver is checking the next door for traps, it suddenly swings open, and he's turned to stone. Flerm starts screaming, grabs the mirror, leaps over Oliver's body and pins the medusa to the ground with it.
He shouts to Lieralyn:
Protecting herself with her shield, Lieralyn blindly stabs in the general direction of the medusa's head.
Malouf runs up.
Friend Flerm! Don't move!
And attempts to chop its head off with his eyes closed.
Sensing no movement from the creature under him, Flerm tries to maneuver the head so it faces the mirror to see if the head still retains the ability to petrify.
Brecaryn: You know, she's dead. She can't see.
Using Milina's lacky Awban's last Stone to Flesh scroll, they attempt to revive Oliver. Unfortunately, his body is unable to withstand the shock of the transformation and dies. Luckily, Josy has a Resurrection scroll and is able to bring him back. Oliver is understandably shaken but able to continue.
Exploring yet another corridor, Snow almost misses a razor sharp wire near the floor. They carefully cut it, and Flerm promptly asks Brecaryn to stash it in the mirror. Brecaryn wryly notes that there will likely be a pile of stuff blocking the entrance to the mirror by the time they're done with this place.
Nearing a door, they hear grimlocks on the other side. Flerm raises his leg to kick the door down and surprise the grimlocks. Sadly, he only manages to hurt his foot. Snow rolls her eyes and turns the handle to open the door for him.
Alana takes aim and fires her arrows at the grimlocks. Instead of killing any, she hits herself and is stunned from the injury.
Fortunately, after such an auspicious beginning, the group's odds could only improve. Snow leaps into the fray, killing two with one kick, landing in time to kill two more. Flerm easily slices through two more.
Just as things are looking up, a panel slides open, revealing a medusa behind a barred doorway. Hearing the sound, Lieralyn turns to look and is instantly turned to stone. Malouf chops at the medusa with his eyes closed while Milina kills it with lightning. With no Stone to Flesh scrolls left, the group puts Lieralyn's body into the mirror.
Checking a door for traps, Snow triggers some kind of spell. The door flashes green for an instant. Luckily, Snow is able to pull away before she's affected by it. Josy attempts to dispel the magick on the door. To test it out, Flerm grabs one of the grimlock corpses and tosses it at the door. Nothing happens.
Flerm: Good job, Josy. Looks like it worked. (thumbs up)
At the end of the first passage, the party hears a familar growling. Chained to the wall is a ghoul. Malouf kills it. The room is filled with unfamiliar alchemical devices. Looking around, Alana decides to take some of the ghoul's blood plus a primitive syringe.
Having cleared the first floor, they move on to the second floor. Flerm leads the group holding the mirror in front. The corridor hits a dead end when a panel on either side slides open. A medusa appears behind each barred doorway. Flerm is able to turn one to stone with the mirror. Alana and Malouf stab blindly at the second before Snow kills it with her Distance Death technique.
After the immediate danger is over, the group turns angrily on Awban, berating him for not preparing them for the dead end corridor and not giving them an idea of the floorplan. Awban is shaken and confused by the barrage. Flerm turns away with an impatient gesture.
Malouf bends the bars on the doorway nearest the dead end, opening to the room where Awban originally fell through the floor. In a room off to the side, there are smashed statues scattered around. Awban recognizes two of his comrades. None appear to match the farm girl Melinda's description.
Moving on with Flerm in the lead with the mirror, he sees snakes on the ground laying there unmoving. As a precaution, Flerm mangles the medusa's corpse with the mirror. At the end of this corridor, they find another of the drow's comrades dead.
Milina offers Flerm this drow's armor. Flerm declines the armor but eagerly relieves the corpse of two scrolls, a sack of coins, a magick ring, and two drow swords. With one of the scrolls, Brecaryn is able to restore Lieralyn.
Exploring another direction, they discover a grander temple. The candles are lit this time. Knowing what was in store for them at the first temple, nobody makes a move to touch anything. Brecaryn confirms this altar is also hiding an out-of-phase demon.
The group explores the room, taking care not to take or move any object. In a closet behind the altar, they find handheld symbols of Geryon, priest robes, and vials of unholy water. The room has another door, but they are unable to find a way to open it without triggering a trap so they leave it for the time being and continue to explore the second floor.
As they approach a turn in the corridor, they hear grimlocks loudly whispering. Alana steps to the front of the group and calls out.
Grimlocks: Grimlock, come! Hurry! Fight intruders!
With this clever deception, the Motley Crew is able to take the grimlocks by surprise and manages to kill all but one. He appears larger than the others. Klute approaches him, singing a song to calm and subdue the grimlock. Suddenly, the grimlock attacks Klute, mauling him severely.
While Alana, Brecaryn, and Malouf rush to aid Klute, Snow stops Milina from interfering. Milina would just kill the grimlock, but the group wants to have someone they can question.
As Malouf finishes bandaging Klute, Milina backhands Snow.
You will never raise your hand to me again!
Malouf attacks Milina, angry that she's hurt Snow. Flerm tries to stop the fight by grabbing Milina from behind. Lieralyn prevents Awban from interfering while Alana guards him. He drops his weapon.
Milina shocks Flerm, forcing him to release her. She is furious with him for siding with his "slaves". Snow, finally getting a chance to retaliate, knocks her out.
Josy makes use of the cessation in hostilities to heal Klute. Snow ties Milina up with Brecaryn's magick rope and Oliver ties the grimlock leader with regular rope.
Awban looks ill.
She's not going to be happy when she comes to...Maybe she shouldn't come to..."
Between the two of them, Awban and Flerm decide to kill Milina. Flerm loots her corpse.
Awban: I realized, but I don't think she ever did - they're not your slaves. They're your companions.
Flerm: Yeah, well...
Awban: The drow will kill me.
Flerm: What are you talking about? Milina "fell in battle". You'll return as a hero. I mean, c'mon. She had to be saved once already, so clearly she isn't a very strong leader.
Awban: ...I guess you're right...
With this settled, Flerm goes back to worrying about the important things - loot - and why he should get to keep all of it. Brecaryn disagrees, suggesting he give Oliver the drow ring, seeing as Oliver is the weakest member of the group and could use the help. Oliver, not wishing to cause strife, tells Flerm to keep his ring.
Questioning the grimlock leader, they discover what awaits them in the rest of the castle. Through one door is the path leading to the medusa queen Shalma. It is likely where Melinda's statue is being kept. In another direction is a laboratory set up by the medusas. The grimlock is unable to give much information as to the nature of their experiments. After some discussion, the party lets the grimlock leader go and decides to tackle Shalma first.
Heading through to the next room, they are faced with three doors. The room has a mildewy smell. Cobwebs can be seen through the seams of two of the doors. Breaking down the door without the cobwebs reveals a barred doorway. Inside the room, clinging to the ceiling are four large beetle-like things. Deciding to leave these creatures contained behind the barred doorway, they open one of the webbed doors.
Inside is a room filled with webbing. Deep within is a small red glow. Hissing and clicking warn them that giant spiders are quickly approaching. Brecaryn's able to shrink two of the three spiders from giant to man-sized. Oliver makes a move to use his fireball ring, but Brecaryn stops him. The red glowing object within would be destroyed if he uses fire. Before anyone can do more, the spiders ensnare them in webbing. Only Alana is close enough to the doorway to jump out of the way.
With the spiders at the door, Oliver uses his fireball spell. The two shrunken spiders are killed. Brecaryn manages to get the third with her owl-shaped magick missiles. The swordsmen in the group help cut everyone loose. Brecaryn warily approaches the glowing object with Lieralyn on guard beside her.
Still on a fingerbone rests a ring. Brecaryn takes it and puts it on. She instantly feels an invisible presence awaiting her command. The ring, still glowing, is now also stuck to her finger. Of course.