The crisis in Mantol-Derith averted the heroes turned their attention back to what brought to the outpost in the first place. From the leader of the Zil enclave they receive a ring that would guide them through the Underdark to the Stone Giant Library, where the heroes hope to find a means of sending all of the demons back where they came from. They also located a drow mage named Zilch that was willing to guide the party to Velkyvelve, the drow slaver post where Tobi’s friend Tenna was last seen. Theadric readily paid Zilch’s upfront fee of 500gp, and agreed to the 500gp addition on arrival at the slaver camp.
The heroes headed out, leaving all but Nero behind of the Zilchist Consortium employees to aid in restoring order to Mantol-Derith. The Dumadan scouts along with Lio continue to scout ahead and sweep behind the group while the knights protected the center.
At one point, the way was blocked by a behir corpse riddled with carrion crawlers. The party dispatched them and climbed through.
They passed a deep chasm in which Lio witnessed enormous tentacles plucking dragons from the misty air as flashes of light from breath weapons and spells intermittently lit the battle.
Strange fungus was found growing on clothing and spoiling food. The provisions were buried and those afflicted were cured by the burning light of Vathris. Their affliction seemed to be connected to a fungus growing on their body.
They passed into the chaotic swirl of the Faerzress, which Wizzleficks and Dr. Blackstone spent some time studying it. After camping the night in the Faerzress, everyone became more anxious. As morale waned that morning, an argument started up between Olaf of the Order and Brim which alerted a crazed stone giant to their location. After the fight and looting a large gold ring, the two reconciled and the party continued on.
Lio and Brim ambushed a pair of hezrou demons head directly toward the party, preventing the rest of the group from being taken unawares, and leading to the rapid slaughter of the fiends.
Ten days out Zilch lead them into an ambush the lair of Xazax the beholder. Enraged by the betrayal Tobi ran down Zilch and sent him low with his deadly flail.
The beholder set about attempting to blast the party with his eye rays. He seemed to have difficulty pinning Tobi down as Toby pulled from inner reserves to ward off everything the eye tyrant through at him.
The antimagic ray of the beholder’s eye didn’t do much to protect it from the hail of arrows delivered by Hope, Aurelio, and the dwarven scouts. Nor did it stop Wizzleficks, Milo, and Theadric from circling around and unleashing fireballs, clouds of acid, and missile of arcane force on the eye tyrant.
Another creature entered the battlefield offering up a reward for the heroes’ deaths. Tobi charged the creature but was knocked senseless when it emitted a blast of psychic power. Milo and Lio were struck by the beholder’s petrification rays, and the knights were mired along with Theadric by the sudden appearance of a field of sludge beneath their feet.
The knights took aim with their crossbows on the mind flayer as its tentacles began to burrow into Tobias’ skull. Their fusillade wasn’t enough to slay the creature, but fortunately for Tobi, Theadric was able to teleport himself free from the muck and shred the illithid into calamari.
The beholder went down under a hail of arrows. His deep gnome servant, Peebles, had become collateral damage to an earlier fireball.
Wizzleficks was just barely able to reverse the petrification effect before it became permanent.
Zilch’s maps, which included the location of Velkynvelve, were intact, and a fiery shortsword was located in the beholder’s pit. Theadric’s 500gp deposit was also refunded from Zilch’s corpse. Nero noted that the lair could be converted to a nice outpost, especially if a lift was installed to access the upper tunnels accessible only through the hole in the ceiling.
Wizzleficks also believes he can get the group to Velkynvelve quicker from their current location rather than backtracking to Mantol-Derith and following Zilch’s maps. However, this would mean the group would be entering uncharted territory. Additionally, all of the supplies have now run out. So, no matter which direction the party goes, they would be forced to forage for food.