After catching their breath, the squad pursued the cultist wizard and their captain, again passing through a nearby portal. They were deposited into a short, dark tunnel with a portcullis blocking off the far end. As they approached the mouth of the tunnel, the portcullis opened and revealed an underground arena.
Corpses, battered and broken and rotting, littered the arena floor. Directly across from where Kallista, Blucher, Sharker, and Trillian had entered there was another portcullis. Above it, on a raised dais atop the arena walls, the cultist wizard and Captain Donovan appeared. The captain looked exhausted but did his best to hide it, standing as tall and proud as he could. He did still feel as if he represented Karrnathi military might, despite his apparent affiliation with these cultists.
He addressed the unit, “I regret that it has come to this. I truly hoped that I had forged you into weapons that we might use to defeat the enemies of Karrnath.” The captain wheezed a bit and coughed, still not back to his full strength after dying and being revived. He leaned heavily on the wizard standing by his side. “I cannot let you leave here after seeing what you have seen. I am sorry… sorry that you couldn’t see things our way.”
The captain and wizard turned their backs to the party and the second portcullis began to open. There was a flash of light from the dais above them, likely yet another portal being activated, and then a heavy grumble from the darkness beyond the portcullis below.
When the barrier reached its full height, a huge minotaur-like creature stepped forth into the light. It dragged a giant greatclub in one hand, and it stomped its hooves in the dust as it roared at its prey.
Blucher looked around and noticed that a sword, much keener than his own, lay near one of the corpses. He ran over to pick it up, and then charged at the beast. As he struck, the blade of the sword briefly ignited in flames. Kallista likewise spied a shiny halberd still intact near one of the other bodies, and electric lightning coursed over its bladed axe head when she swung it.
The battle was a grueling one; each time the party thought they had defeated the monstrous minotaur creature, it would go berserk and fight even harder. It took just about all they had to bring it down, but finally they did.
With no other exits available to them, the group investigated the tunnel beyond the second portcullis. The cave-like dwelling space of the minotaur beast smelled awful, and the room’s only real feature was a matted straw bed in one corner. Upon closer inspection, the back wall of the short tunnel featured a sliding panel, a couple feet tall by a few feet long, near the ground.
Blucher and Sharker tried shoving the panel out of the way, but it was wedged in hard and wouldn’t budge. Sharker looked around and noticed a small, broken crankcase off to one side. He worked diligently to repair it, and when he was finished, the panel easily cranked open.
Passing through the opening, the four adventurers spilled out into a sewer system. The darkness of the sewer was pitch black, so Trillian cast a light spell and revealed their path: two narrow walkways lined the sewer tunnel and the recessed area between them funneled the waste water through the underground system.
The crew pressed forward, following the path of the sewer tunnel until it brought them to a large four-way junction room. Two huge pipes large enough in diameter that a goliath could stand upright inside poked through two adjacent walls, spewing waste water into the room. The other path led down another sewer tunnel, and a whirlpool formed in the center where the four flows met. A dark mass lay in the tunnel ahead, a few yards before the junction.
Sharker approached to inspect the object and found a dessicated corpse covered in a sticky white residue. Before they could react, the party was set upon by a pair of ettercaps and their pet spiders.
Still weary from their battle with the giant minotaur, the fight against the spider creatures exacted a heavy toll from the exhausted group. Though it was a hard won battle, the ettercaps and spiders were ultimately dispatched, and the group used the spider lair as cover for a magical campsite in the sewers.
Hope of escape was found ahead in the form of a ladder set in the wall of the next sewer tunnel.