Expedition Journal Entry #7. Khalam 2nd, 2012. We think.
According to the others, we are a long way away from home. None of the others recognize this surface. “Island”, they called it. It’s like a lake haven, but on the surface. We’re on top of the death, and surrounded by it too. There was a huge light source in the sky earlier; definitely Pelor’s Eye. We write this by the light from Khala’s Blessing. It was one thing to know of the tales, but it is almost indescribable, seeing them in person. We suddenly feel very small.
It seemed like a good idea to continue this journal, despite a severe change in the expedition parameters. Our people can use it to gain knowledge on the surface, should we ever return. we do hope to return.
We are with others on the surface. Some magic teleported us to where we are now. The day after our last entry, we heard a loud explosion deeper into the halls. Our crew was suddenly split into two, literally, in the case of Dreamer. May the Gods Returned shelter his soul. Lead told them to head back to the city, and we headed in deeper.
The others told us that they are also military, though apparently they’re a part of some special group. Their account was alarming, as apparently they have the same role as our Dead Ones. They’ve disconnected themselves from the group, and have intentionally gone off on their own. They VOLUNTEERED for this. Some basic knowledge of history says we should wait until later to judge them, but this is certainly very strange.
Apparently, they were part of some freelance expedition into the same ruins we’ve been investigating, only they came from the top down. Something went wrong with their expedition, and one of the surfacers exploded on the way down, annihilating most of the expedition. They encountered a creature that called themselves Vice, pretending to be a member of the expedition but obviously one of the prisoners. We’re wondering how he escaped the lower levels, but considering every one of our friends might be dead, we’re doing our best to ignore it.
They stumbled around blindly for a while, actually looting the prison. How they avoided being annihilated by the traps in a wonder unto itself, but apparently the cultists we’ve mentioned earlier had cleared out all of the many monsters in the area, with one strange exception, so it would make sense they also disabled the traps.
We actually talked to one of the cultists. We have to get this down especially. They were Keepers, though obviously a twisted surfacer interpretation. They do not “keep” the faith for the inevitable return of the Gods; they instead believed it their divine mission to keep the lower levels of the prison secure. That is fine by itself; but they used it to justify slaughtering our people and theirs.
The group encountered us as they stumbled blindly, bringing the Rust Monster that had run into us before. Apparently, they had tamed it. They have named it Rusty, and it is with us now, wherever here is. After some brief discussions, they agreed to pursue the cultists deeper in the complex. We were sent with them, in case things went south. We found ants this high up; the cultists must have lured them, but for what reason we still have no idea. They had converted a section of the prison for their purposes; it had new furnishings and fresh torches.
We found a group of the cultists deeper in the complex. There were pits in the room with some sort of magical field covering them; one of the cultists got shoved in, and the field disintegrated him. We took advantage of this and fought them off handily. They discovered that there were goblin civilians in the pit; probably the Skullcleaver tribe we’ve had numerous encounters with deeper in the tunnels. We attempted to free them, and only succeeded in frying them. May the Gods Returned shelter their souls.
Oh! An important detail we’re about to miss is the Dragon. The entire time we were there with the surfacers, we could hear a dragon roaring off in the distance. It was our compass; we were using the loudness of the shouts to navigate our way through the twists and turns of the complex.
We came across a library much bigger than the cursed one that took Stark.