The door crashed open, and two stone-armoured men with clubs strode in, followed by another with a glaive. I was expecting some sort of disturbance of this kind, although I had neglected to hide in the corner. Nonetheless, I had a strategy, which consisted primarily of casting Grease on the area around the doorway, both within and without the room. The spell was fairly effective however, as the bloke with the glaive at the back went sprawling. This didn’t stop him casting a spell however, and both Arielle and Sorrel found themselves wading through metaphorical treacle. Feyabelle started shooting at the men in stone armour and a general melee ensued. The proceedings were enlivened however when Sorrel lumbered slowly across the room towards the prone glaive-wielding spellcaster who had slid into the room in order to cast another spell on us (this one caused a minor earthquake). Sorrel, unable to attack normally because of the slippery floor, opted instead for a full-body lunge, hoping to pin the spell-caster to the floor. He soon felt the full force of a large brown bear on him, but, greased up by the floor, instead of being trapped, pinged out to the side like a bar of soap. We where then treated, while we finished off the two stone-armoured men, to the hilarious site of a large bear and a wizard wrestling with each other in the grease pit by the door. The bear finally got the better of the encounter, as was probably always inevitable, but I feel that we may yet have invented a whole new form of entertainment.
As we were finishing off the wizard, the next wave arrived – four more of the monkish types. They leaped gracefully over the greasy floor and even greasier bear, although one was caught a glancing blow by one of Sorrel’s claws and went sprawling into the corner. The fight against these monks was rapid and fairly one sided, and they were soon dispatched. We had a brief rest while we waited for the effects of the Grease spell to fade and then examined the rest of the rooms on this corridor. We found more sleeping quarters, with various personal possessions, and then a deserted kitchen and bakery. Beyond all of this, we found the large central temple, with stairs descending into the room with the strange captive. We discovered that a lever behind the altar opened the cage that contained the creature and converted the steps into a steep slope. Obviously a fiendish device to trap unwary adventurers with the creature below. Fortunately we are not unwary.
A plan was rapidly hatched, whereby we would descend and kill the thing in its cage by attacking it with missile weapons and spells. Arielle stayed topside to prevent anyone sneakily pulling the lever while we were down there. Feyabelle’s first step was to cast Thorn Growth centered on the creature. I then zapped it with a Magic Missile. Its response to this was to smash open the door of the cage, which wasn’t something that had featured in our plans. Thorg used his ring of the Ram to hit it with a spectral ram’s head and force it backwards through the thorns. Feyabelle shot at it; I shot another magic missile and then scampered up the stairs, wisely it turned out as it then charged towards us through the field of thorns. Despite it, it seemed to show no signs of having taken any damage, although only one of its attacks against Thorg actually hit. Sorrel then retreated up the stairs as well, preparing to cast another Thorn Growth spell once Thorg had attacked and then retreated – the plan that had developed was that we would retire up to the temple and trigger the trap, since this creature was obviously as much as we could handle in our depleted state. Thorg took a final swing, and decapitated the creature…
We rapidly examined the area, and discovered some stairs descending of obviously dwarven make – this must be the entrance to the dwarven city below. Deciding that we were too fatigued to continue below, and remembering that we had a number of captives to rescue, we decided not to descend. We gathered our captives and the corpse of the knight up, and returned to the hideout where we had left our two loyal retainers and hippogriffs. Then we returned on foot to Red Larch, since 5 hippogriffs could not possibly convey so many.
Great was the merrymaking when we returned, epic the tales I told, pounding the head the morning after. Despite this, I have started transcribing the cache of scrolls I discovered into my spellbook – they have given me fresh insights into the magical arts, and some of them that I had formerly not fully comprehended are now understandable to me.