Chapter 35

Lost in the Underdark

May 1, 2021

In the dark expanse of the Cave of Columns, Ramona and Kaamber caught their breath after fleeing the fight which had claimed their companions. Fearing another confrontation with the Dwarves, the duo tried to find their way back to the cave leading to Mushroom Groves after a short rest.

At just about that time, Ramona sensed the alarm spell she had placed on the exit going off and it was enough to provide them with a direction to head in, even though it took about ten minutes to arrive. As they approached Mushroom Groves, they found themselves sharing thoughts with the Myconid up ahead who forbade them entry. As before, the mushroom people would not trust the adventurers.

As to why the Myconid trusted the Dwarves, they had brought them the bodies of the dead as gifts and Prince Murdin swore a solemn oath never to divulge the whereabouts of Mushroom Grove. The rest followed his royal lead. As exemplars of Lawful Good, Dwarves can be trusted to die before breaking their word.

In the exchange of thoughts, Ramona and Kaamber learned that the Dwarves had passed through here with only two prisoners: Aspasia, whom they felt compelled to try and convert back to Good, and Agariacus, for the murder of Sir Legram by attacking him while he was unconscious. That meant Raz and Diega were still back at the scene of the battle.

Ramona and Kaamber plunged back into the dark stone forest of the Cave of Columns seeking the beacon light of the Guardian of Faith, standing silent vigil for eight hours after the Dwarf Cleric had summoned it just before he died. There they found Raz and Diega slowly coming around and a few cast-aside pick-axes the Dwarves no longer needed, now that they had equipped themselves with most of the possessions of the fallen. Raz was furious and demanded to go after the Dwarves to get her stuff back, but as the party moved through the darkness with no guide, they soon became completely lost.

With only enough food to feed the party for a few days, Ramona offered to send a message to her father to see if he could bail them out. As the most powerful Necromancer in Cascaveda, City of Wizards, Vladimir Geminov was their best chance of getting out of the Underdark. Ramona cast her spell and received a reply, to stay where she was and await rescue.

When Vladimir mentioned getting help from the Lord of Doors, Raz grew apprehensive. She had crossed paths with Jackerel in Bendajee and now he was her only hope of escaping the Underdark. Would he consider her an enemy?

After three days, a door appeared in a rock archway. It remained locked until Ramona turned the handle and found a cubic chamber of marbled red-grey rock across which stood another door flanked by a large barrel-like object.

Raz felt a chill of recognition run down her spine.

Chapter 36: The Sultana’s Gambit