The group took a short rest, taking stock of the small treasure they’d found in the glittering cave. Soon they were exploring again as they made their way back through the caverns. They were immediately startled by a chanting coming from further in the cave complex. Stopping to listen, they were able to determine some religious bent to the chanting and eventually the name Demogorgon could be heard in the cadence.
They cautiously made their way forward, with Linden and Savain taking the lead hoping to scout out what was amiss. Unfamiliar with the underground terrain, the two scouts crunched rock underneath their footfalls, approaching louder than they’d hope, alerting whoever lay ahead. They made their way to a cave entrance, from which a deep, menacing voice called out them, “Enter, fools. Enter and meet your doom.”
Not to let a challenge go unanswered, the group entered into the large cavern. Stalagmites covered the cavern floor, clearing at the back. A large altar sat at the back of the cavern, lit candelabra atop it, and flanked by two large braziers. In front of the altar, etched into the ground glowed a circle of terrible symbols, pulsing with unholy power. In the center of the circle stood a armored gnoll, facing the group, skin pulled too tight across its body, ripped in several places exposing rotting muscle underneath. Scattered around him in the cavern were several skeleton warriors.
The Eldritch Blades charged in, hoping to quickly subdue the gnoll and his skeleton minions. The skeletons fell quickly in the first seconds of combat and the gnoll besieged by the heroes. The circle pulsed with dark energy, causing the skeletons to rise again and healing their gnoll master. Thus began a tremendous battle, the Blades harried by the continuing resurgence of the shattered skeletons and the dark forces the gnoll was able to bring down upon them. Alex was the first to attempt at disrupting the circle, though unsuccessfully. The fight raged on, wounding several of the group and incapacitating others. Bloodied and unable to contribute directly to the fight, Savain set about disrupting the circle. His trained eye was able to pick out flaws in the design and exploit them, causing the power of the circle to fade with his efforts. Wounded herself, Morwain began prayers to Bahamut to aid in disrupting the circle. All the while, the others continued their prolonged battle against both gnoll and skeleton. Together, Savain and Morwain disrupted the energies empowering the circle, causing its foul power to fade from the battlefield. His skeleton warriors collapsed as the circle’s power did, and its necrotic energies would no longer heal the gnoll. With his support gone, the gnoll quickly succumbed to the combined might of the Eldritch Blades.
Battered and broken, the group decided to secure the cavern and take a long rest to recuperate. They were harried midway through their rest by a patrol of guards. The patrol was soundly defeated, and the group was able to continue their rest unhindered.
Waking refreshed, the group continued their exploration of the complex, seeking the much needed ritual components. They passed several store rooms, barracks, and a mess hall. Eventually, they found their prey. Triel had barricaded up in her quarters, with a contingent of guards. They fighting quickly ensued, neither side giving quarter. Triel proved to be a skilled foe, but eventually she and her guards were brought down by the continued assault of the Eldritch Blades.
A search of her quarters resulting in the discovery of several dark tomes and a locked chest, containing several of the ritual components they had been searching for. But the collection was not complete. Several of the needed ritual components were still missing.