Ilvara was not expecting the slaves, especially the worthless dwarf, to prove so willful and formidable. She assumed they would fall quickly before her quaggoths and elite soldiers, but that was certainly not the case. Jorlann had embarrassed himself, and his punishment would come. It’s no surprise that Shoor hadn't fought back - a better reminder that he is a worthless male, but he could be dealt with later. “Maybe I could disfigure the other half of his face…” she mused, but such thoughts of future joy were soon pushed out by outrage.
She’d never been so forcefully accosted by such a lesser being. Only the presence of demons, whose sudden appearance in the Underdark were a source of concern, could make her in the least bit nervous. A filthy dwarf should not so easily be able to toss her over the ledge - and in Velkynvelve, her own domain! She could still smell his terrible, earthy breath as he approached and threatened her. The dwarf would pay, slowly and terribly, for this embarrassment. Clearly slave life in Menzoboranzan would not be in his future - but the spiders could be satiated for a couple weeks as his insides slowly liquified and Lolth would be pleased. And maybe the other prisoners could watch… yes, that’s it.
Ilvara had heard the party rush into the armory after she fell onto the webs not 15 feet below the swinging bridge. A few dark shapes staring with multiple pairs of glistening eyes revealed the hulking spiders had recognized her and were awaiting her command. The prisoners would be armed now. And ready to fight. So be it.
She curled her tongue and gave a short, high pitched whistle that carried far through the cavern. Instantly, an obsidian spider appeared beside her, blinking into the material plane. She silently slid her legs over the harness attached to its back, gave an almost imperceptible command with her foot, and disappeared.
She didn’t have a lot of time to plan her next move.
With hushed voices and anxious looks, the group discussed the possibilities of their escape. The prisoners who’d been there the longest were of little help, knowing nothing of the camp other than the only apparent escape was an elevator at the far end. To complicate things, provisions within the camp were short as an expected shipment of supplies had been several days late.
Al’Zane impassionately requested that the group retrieve the statue that was behind the bars in their holding cell. Hearing his plea, Thronduin agreed with his motivation, but was hesitant to rush back the way they came. The rest of the prisoners were more vocal in their disagreement and, to Al’Zane’s disappointment, the group turned their attentions to planning their escape.
It was decided that they should attempt to raid the mess hall in which JimJar had served as a slave cleaning. They didn’t expect to find much, but anything would be better than setting off without any provisions. They would then make for the Darklake by way of Sloobludop, using the elevator as their escape route.
When the plan was decided, they looked beyond the windows of the guard house and realized that a darkness prevented even those who could see in darkness. Mallor dispelled the magic that blocked their sight and no motion could be seen, despite the clear sounds of activity they’d heard over the roar of the waterfall.
Sorrow volunteered to lead the prisoners on their way to the mess and, drawing his curved greatsword named Judgement, he rushed out the door and over the rope bridge that connected to the cavern wall. Mallor bravely followed, but the weight of the two adventurers was too much for the rope bridge which had been sabotaged by Ilvara’s troops. With a snap the ropes split and the bridge plummeted down. Sorrow and Mallor were both able to grab hold of the bridge as it fell and after a short fall of fifteen feet, the bridge was hung-up on the same webs that had craddled Ilvara on her fall.
Once the bridge had come to a rest, Sorrow leapt from the edge to the cliff wall and began climbing. Mallor followed close behind. Al’Zane, JimJar, Stool the mycnoid sprout, and the drow prisonor Sarith Kzekarit, all fled the guard house, heading down the rope bridge. As they made their way down the bridge, JimJar was suddenly outlined in a glowing plasma of purple light. Moments later he was pierced with many drow crossbow bolts and perished.
As the prisoners were being attacked from afar, several large spiders emerged and began attacking Mallor and Sorrow as they began climbing up the cliff to continue with their plan of reaching the elevators. A malicious laugh filled the cavern as Ilvara appeared, riding on the back of a large spider and began hurling spells at the escaping prisoners.
Thronduin used his knowledge of the arcane to summon a great fireball that burst near Ilvara and several of her drow soldiers. While they were focused on the threat across the cavern, Jorlan snuck around the stalactite using the drow innate levitation and attacked Thronduin from above. Argan grabbed hold of the drow and hurled him down to the other prisoners on the bridge, each attacking the drow as he floated above them.
Hoping to make use of Prince Derendil’s quaggoth claws and brute force, Thronduin encouraged him to to use his beastly strength. However, as Derendil gave into the nature of the quaggoth he turned his fury against Thronduin, attacking the elf rather than aiding the group. Thronduin was able to calm the beast and began doubting the legitimacy of the creature’s claims of a curse.
Sorrow reached the top of the cliff while Al’Zane and Mallor were fighting off the spiders under Ilvara’s command. S took a length of silken rope that he’d found in the guard house and threw it down to his allies on the bridge, tying it off to one of the posts which had previously supported the fallen bridge. He then turned his attention to making his way through the boulders blocking the path. Within the passage between the rocks he encountered a group of quaggoth. As Sorrow fought the quaggoths, Al’Zane made his way to the top and joined in the battle. The two overpowered the quaggoth and they lay slain at the adventurers’ feet.
As the drow forces were focused on the battle between Sorrow, Al’Zane, and the quaggoths, the rest of the prisoners, lead by Sarith Kzekarit and followed immediately by Argan, worked their way through the thick webs and dove into the waterfall. Mallor alerted Al’Zane and Sorrow that a new escape route was discovered then he fetched the body of JimJar before also using the waterfall to escape. Al’Zane and Sorrow each disengaged from the drow soldiers that were still guarding the exit and made for the waterfall, escaping with the rest of their group.
As Argan emerged from the large pool at the base of the waterfall he raised his sword and a bright glow illuminated the damp cavern floor. Already many in the party were stumbling toward one of the tunnels that led out of the large cavern. He recognized the rotund figure waddling in the lead as Shuushar, their aquatic guide on the journey to the Kuo Toa city of Slubludop by which they hoped to procure a boat and traverse the Darklake.
The comfort at the sight of their guide that reassured the party that at least they were not wholly lost in the vastness of the Underdark was quickly broken - overhead, echoing throughout the cavern, the air was filled with a horrible droning buzz and unearthly screeches. Though all was darkness outside the light of Argan's sword, they could catch the glint of terrible eyes swooping through the cavern. Those with darkvision shuddered as they caught glimpses of hideous, mosquito looking monsters with deadly, lance-like proboscis jutting out from their faces chasing down what appeared to be a small flock of feathered, bird-looking creatures with vicious beaks and large claws that protruded from their legs and arms. The large creature's schreeching and buzzing sent chills down the adventurers' spines. Even those in the party who had never seen a demon face to face could feel the presence of these abysmal terrors.
Those who had studied the arcane traditions had a sinking feeling - demons were not known to gather in these numbers in the Underdark.
Sounds of the drow defending their fortress of Velkynvelve from the sudden crossfire in the air battle between the two sets of these dread creatures shook the party into action. Any plan their drow captors had of pursuit would certainly be delayed by this interruption. Shuushar led them into the tunnel and the group, carrying their wounded, delved into the darkness. They continued through the winding maze of tunnels until long after they could no longer hear the sounds of the demons echoing through the stone passages. Eventually Shuushar led them to a small cavern sheltered from the view of the passageway from whence they had come, and there the group assessed their situation. Several were wounded and JimJar was dead. Overwhelmed by his inability to save him, Mallor solemnly laid JimJar to rest in a cairn, saying a prayer to the Silver Flame. He tossed a few gold pieces on the stone mound, repaying the wager JimJar had made him they they wouldn't get out of Velkynvelve alive.
Once a hasty camp was made, Thronduin attempted to remove the curse on Prince Derendil but was unsuccessful. Thronduin realized that he was not a cursed elf, but instead a quaggoth stricken with some kind of madness. As he gave voice to his concerns, Derendil began to foam at the mouth and gathered himself in fury. Sorrow, frustrated at their failed plan of escape, did not hesitate and slayed the “Prince” Derendil and immediately began field dressing the creature. Tough quaggoth meat would be the least of the adventurer’s worries as they now faced the dangerous journey to the Darklake.