While spending the night in the pyramid entryway, Erebus was visited by a vision of his master, Norbus. Norbus didn’t know where he was, or why he was missing, and was very angry. When Erebus explained, Norbus did not seem pleased, called Erebus a fool, said there would be repercussions when he returned, and cut off communication.
Feeling much better in the morning, the party investigated the chamber, and through No-Merit’s perceptive abilities, and Marlow’s dwarven knowledge of dungeoneering, discovered that the back wall of the chamber was a cleverly disguised curtain and passed through. They entered a narrow hallway that branched off left and right. Marlow’s knowledge of stonework paid off again, when she discovered the switch for a secret door on the far wall, and also showed her curiosity by immediately pushing it. The wall opened up and revealed a small chamber with steps upward. Thadwick immediately went upstairs, while the rest of the party discovered a small cache containing some gold as well as some consumable magic items.
Following Thadwick up the stairs, the adventurers found a small chamber with a magic circle binding what No-Merit identified as a vortex wraith. It was shrieking and battering away at the magic circle in the dark chamber. Then, a mysterious voice assaulted them from inside of their heads, saying “Who dares enter my domain?!” Thadwick, in the front, replied impertinently, and the voice commanded him to kneel, which he did against his will. At that point, the mad, howling wraith broke free of its containment, rushing at Thadwick and trapping him in a prison of wind. The party fought back against the wraith, but were stuck on the stairwell, and only able to make a few attacks against the wraith, though No-Merit did manage to daze it with a Thunderwave it to move it back somewhat. The party would have moved forward, but two swarms of crawling mummified body parts crawled out from their bins on the sides of the room and assaulted them. While the wraith phased through the floor to sneak up on the party, they felt further mental intrusions, but were able to force them out. By luck, No-Merit’s turn undead attempt happened to hit the wraith through the floor, and defeat its ambush while Erebus’s incendiary detonations blasted away at the swarms, and Marlow and Olivine kept the swarm off of the rear of the stairwell. In time, No-Merit and Thadwick discovered that the mysterious voice came from a brain in a jar on the far wall of the chamber, who had presumably been holding the wraith in the magic circle until it got distracted. As the melee continued, the swarms were both defeated, and the party pressed into the room. When No-Merit defeated the brain with a command and a test of wills, he earned its wrath, and was thrown back into the stairwell while Marlow and Thadwick occupied the wraith and Olivine fired from cover. No-Merit returned to the fight as the wraith was defeated, and the party ignored the brain’s offer of mutually ignoring each other and smashed the brain’s jar, which exploded with great force, covering Thadwick and Marlow in organs. When the brain was defeated, a small hole opened up in the ceiling, letting in a shaft of sunlight. The party attempted to investigate it, but had little luck getting a grappling hook up there, and let it go. Though the chamber reeked of dead flesh, the party did find some gold, a potion of healing, and a vial of acidic fire. Before leaving, No-Merit decided it would be prudent to perform a gentle repose ritual on the remains there to prevent their ever rising again as undead monstrosities.
Heading back downstairs, the party cautiously listened down the two branches of the hallway, and hearing a strange wooshing sound to the right, headed that way. There, they discovered a combat between a drow elf and two floating, flaming skulls. Uncertain who to attack, the party decided on the flaming skulls, since they were closer. Thadwick charged into the room ahead of the others, and set off two flaming jet traps on either side of the room, taking a good deal of damage and setting himself on fire. It was only while frantically trying to put himself out that he noticed the flaming snake coming up behind him. The rest of the party was clustered in teh hallway, making them vulnerable to two fireballs from the flaming skulls. Marlow came into the room to occupy the snake, and the rest of the party prudently fired off spells from the hallway, while the drow continued to attack the skull. Thadwick desperately summoned a hallowed circle in the room, disabling one flame jet and hurting both skulls. A hand crossbow bolt from the drow narrowly missed Marlow, but she was uncertain whether it was aimed for her or the snake she was fighting. No-Merit moved just into the room to help Thadiwck and attempt to disable the jet, which barely survived and got another blast off, catching No-merit and Marlow in its blast before Olivine destroyed it with an eldritch blast, and teleported between the two flaming skulls in a daring gambit. When the flaming skulls went to blast her, the one was destroyed by opportunity attacks, and the other barely singed Olivine before she teleported away. With the one flaming skull down, the party focused on the flaming snake, when another crossbow bolt whizzed by Thadwick, again, possibly targeting the snake. After the snake was defeated, the drow said, “Well, you seem to have this well in hand, I’m off,” while summoning a globe of darkness over most of the party, and rushing past Olivine down the stairs. Olivine chased after him, but was surrounded by darkness on the stairwell while the rest of the party handily defeated the remaining skull.
Gathering the party to her cause, Olivine rushed down the stairs, and swiftly discovered a room full of zombies, as well as a four-armed skeleton, which immediately lashed out at her with its scimitars. Erebus acted quickly to summon an area of grease on the floor, occupying most of the chamber. Olivine teleported to safety, stopping along the way to attempt to take out two of the zombie hulks. No-Merit bravely leapt into the grease, and used it to his advantage to position himself to turn undead, spreading the group out. Marlow rushed to combat the skeletal tomb guardian, while Thadwick attacked the closest zombie hulk threatening him and Erebus. The combat that ensued was long and bloody, with zombie hulks frequently slipping in the grease, only to get back up and attack with reach. A chillborn zombie failed to reach No-Merit, and instead followed Olivine down the hall as she retreated, thankfully protected by her cloak of survival. With both defenders on the stairway, No-Merit was alone facing two zombie hulks, and though they couldn’t flank him, thanks to the grease, it hampered him, as well, and zombie hulks still hit very hard. Thadwick was unwilling to enter the area of grease, and Marlow was occupied by the skeletal tomb guardian taking several brutal hits from its scimitars as Erebus fired off spells to help where he could. Thadwick defeated his zombie hulk, only to have it rise again. He attacked it once more, and it eventually went down for good. One of the hulks attacking No-Merit saw a wounded Olivine retreated, and charged after her, swinging high and shaking the pyramid wall with its strike, only to be taken out from behind by one of No-Merit’s sacred flames. Wounded, Marlow faced the skeletal tomb guardian while Thadwick issued a divine challenge to it while throwing his magical shield. Seeing the battle take a turn, Erebus dismissed his grease spell, and the party overtook the last of the resistance. While Olivine looked for the drow that eluded her, the party searched the room, finding a discarded holy symbol of Bahamut.
Heading down the hallway, the party encountered a dangerous magical sigil on the wall. Both Erebus and Marlow wanted to touch the sigil, but Olivine cleverly told them she already had, and it didn’t do anything, and the party moved on.
Leaving the hallway, the next room was lined with sarcophogi, and covered in a gigantic spider web. The adventurers warily regarded the room, concerned by possible attacks by giant spiders or mummies. Marlow bravely walked up and broke the spider web with her craghammer, but nothing came out to threaten them. When it seemed that nothing was coming out to threaten them, the party, particularly led by Olivine, started devising plans. First, Olivine decided if they were going to move on, they should put bells on the spider webs, so they would be alerted to motion if there was any. Unfortunately, they had no bells, and only a single warforged tooth, while she would need two to make any sound. Next, after the party pooled their knowledge of the Drow, she decided she might try to disguise herself as a short drow matron in order to make him more pliable. It was suggested that it might be easier to dress No-Merit in drag than to disguse Olivine as a short drow. In the end, neither path seemed tenable, and the party moved on through another hallway towards dim torchlight.
Entering the next room, the party saw sconces of everburning torches flanking the doorway. The floor was marked in a grid, and the far wall said “The name of our most ancient king.” The party took some time determining the name, and walking over the shifting floor to the other door.
Approaching the next room, the adventurers saw a two skeletal figures. Marlow and Thadwick approached the room, and discovered that there were two skeletons flanking the door, and a floating shard of necrotic energy off to the side. The skeletons swiftly moved to block entry to the room while a dark skeleton issued orders and the death shard fired bolts of necrotic energy. The party pressed on, trying to make headway into the room, and were surprised when one of the skeletons exploded into a burst of darkness. Caught in the darkness and trapped in a bottleneck, the adventurers swung wildly, and had a few lucky swings. Seeing the futility of their struggle, Erebus pressed through the skeletal mass, taking several tough hits, and barely pressing through. He did manage to get through, though, and take the fight to the Direguard. The rest of the party thinned the ranks of the shattergloom skeletons, though Marlow was gravely wounded, and forced to retreat. Deprived of his minions, the Direguard opened a secret passage to the Underdark and fled into it. The party, worse for the wear from a grueling combat, decided not to follow, but headed back to the main room, where No-Merit prepared a camp with an Eye of Alarm ritual, and the party rested and recovered.