The party moved deeper into the halls of Sla-mori. Discovering what appeared to be some demon-like beasts expertly carved into some sort of hinged door, they wracked their collective brains to figure out what the creatures could be. It finally struck Quetzal – Gargoyles! Before these figures could materialize into their living forms, the party struck and made quick work of them. Exploring further along, they heard a grinding stone-on-stone noise.. and as they completed what turned out to be a large looping cavern, they realized they had been trapped behind the previously-gargoyled door. Fortunately, they were able to discover the secret door out, which led them to a long hand-carved hallway (a noted departure from the natural caves they left) with doorways up and down its length for as far as their darkvision would allow them to see in either direction.
As they began to poke around, they quickly realized they were in a crypt filled with the bodies of the dead of all three major races of Krynn – humans, elves, and dwarves. In most places, this would be unheard of, but in this case, given the history of Pax Tharkas as a monument to peace between these three races, it made sense. However, either by design or due to some dark forces, a number of these dead turned to undead as the explorers did their exploring. The party was set upon by elven archers, human commanders, and dwarven fighters – in zombie form! The elves were still expert shots, knocking more than a few of the companions to the ground with their arrows. The dwarves charged and swung their hammers, and the humans attempted to direct the battle. Fortunately, Dunc was able to turn multiple undead to dust, and the rest of the zombies fell not long after.
They moved on – more tunnels, a dead end with a pit trap, and another with one more secret door. Through the secret door were more tunnels that led to a giant column anchoring what turned out to be an enormous chain that disappeared into the ceiling. As the strongest, Telia climbed up, but about 100 ft up, she came to where the chain disappeared into the ceiling and the hole was too small for her to fit. She climbed down, and it was suggested that one of the two smaller folk give it a go. Quetzal won (or lost?) the roshambo that followed and began his assent… he made it through the small gap and then some distance farther up. As he reached for the ledge to pull himself up off the chain, however, his hand strength finally gave out and he experienced what all kobolds yearn to feel – the experience of flying! Only he had no wings to assist him – he grasped at the chain as he fell, yelps and screams escaping his throat along the way. He nearly had a hold as he passed through the hole in the ceiling but his arm twisted oddly, and he couldn’t keep his grip… his body accelerated as he fell the last 100 feet. And before the rest of his companions realized what was happening, he was a pile of broken bones and flesh on the floor surrounded in a light green mist of blood.
Utterly undeterred by this tragedy, Fas volunteered the climb and seemed to meet with greater success, until shortly after, Dunc’s dwarven hearing picked up a quiet rumble followed by what sounded like an avalanche that everyone could hear far off in the distance. Then 300 feet of chain collapsed from the ceiling and coiled into the chamber; the opposite end twisted and melted much like the iron that the party found in the Plains. No sign of the kender.
After waiting some time, the remaining members of the party pressed on, discovering a secret door into the cellar of Pax Tarkas and a guardroom beyond. From the other side of the door, they overheard dragonmen berating someone for refusing “the Highlord’s calling”, and then some movement, as if figures were leaving the chamber. Bursting into the guardroom, Kyriel was able to put the two remaining dragonmen guards to sleep and the heroes dispatched them with ease and liberated an apparent prisoner … a strange humanoid with orange-tinted skin and wild hair. And according to the calculations of Telia and Dunc, they were now within the walls of Pax Tharkas itself.