The party descended into the Underdark with their extensive retinue:
• 8 of the Zilchist Consortium human employees who would lead them to their outpost at Mentol-Derith.
• 3 of King Degron’s dwarven scouts who would keep the party alert to external dangers.
• 5 veterans of St. Cuthbert’s Order of the Chapeau
Nero, de facto boss of the Consortium employees present, lead the way, while Lio and Brim (one of the scouts) scouted ahead for danger. The other two scouts remained at the rear of the party, keeping an eye out for anything trying to sneak up from behind.
On the way they encounter a cave reeking of sulphur that the dwarves warned might be flammable. The group doused any flames and relied of magical light as the Heroes of Ravenport proceeded cautiously forward to investigate while the rest of the group remained behind.
As they did so, they heard cries for help and saw two thin figures running toward them. These turned out to be two bedraggled wood elves who had escaped from drow slavers, and were now being hunted as prey by some other denizen of the Underdark. They were quickly sent back to the retainers.
The hunters were a pack of undead hounds that would slip in and out of the ethereal plane and their ghoulish master. Despite the hounds fearful baying and their immaterial nature the heroes were eventually able to defeat them and the ghoul.
The heroes fed the elves and learned what they could of the whereabouts of the drow, which was next to nothing. They then offered to allow the elves to travel with them to Mentol-Derith where the heroes would attempt to procure them a guide to the surface.
As they neared Mantol-Derith, some of the landmarks no longer synched with what was on Nero’s map, but he still managed to get party to the outpost’s secret entrance.
When they entered the chasm below the outpost proper they were greeted with eerie silence. Theadric climbed up the wall of the cliff face to investigate while Wizzleficks scried above. There were signs of unrest, and Theadric intervened as a pair of svirfneblin ran from a group of magically enlarged duergar bent on murdering them in the street.
The rest of the party leapt onto the two service lifts and began cranking their way up the side of the chasm. As soon as he was near enough Aurelio teleported to the top and ran to Oldfur’s aid.
Once the rest of the group reached the top the duergar were quickly overwhelmed. The svirfneblin painted a picture of strife between their faction and the duergar’s, with the Zilchists and drow staying out of their way.
The gnomes asked for the party’s help in dealing with the duergar siege of their enclave. Instead of moving immediately to the deep gnomes’ aid, the party headed to the Zilchist Consortium base to get a better assessment of what was going on from their allies.
The group waited in the courtyard of the Zilchist headquarters, while the outpost’s leaders met with a drow entourage seeking to maintain the peace between their two ventures and divvy up whatever was left behind by the duergar and svirfneblin hostility. However, one of the drow attacked the Lorthuun (a maimed beholder ally of the Zilchist Consortium), causing the talks to quickly escalate to a fight between the drow and the Consortium. The heroes quickly intervened, but not before the beholder was slain. The instigator laughed gleefully as the heroes took down the drow leader, but her attempt to flee the scene was foiled by the paralysing force of Lio’s spells, and then Tobius’ rope. A gargoyle, ally to the held drow appeared to aid her, but was immediately banished to a pocket dimension by Wizzleficks.
The party quickly moved the survivors inside the Zilchist Consortium’s HQ and provided some healing. The gargoyle popped back into existence only to find the courtyard deserted and his drow love behind a barred door.
The would-be drow assassin possessed a strange black gem. Theadric and Hope both chose to take it in hand and examine it, causing them to experience a strange personality shift and exhibit a dark aura when Tobias and Wizzleficks observed them with magic. Attempts to dispel the aura by both Lio and Wizzleficks were unsuccessful.
In desperation, Dr. Blackstone destroyed the gem using mage hand and his flail of frost. This caused a shadowy form of a demon prince to form and then dissipate above the shattered remains. This provided no succour to those already afflicted by the gem’s curse.
The heroes then addressed the besieged deep gnomes. The duergar had kidnapped their leader, one Yantha Coaxrock. She was being accused of stealing a valuable black gem. Tobi agreed to enter the duergar compound on the gnomes behave to learn the details of what had been going on.