Well rested, the Eldritch Blades readied to continue their exploration of the caverns. Entering back into the complex, an invisible alarm sounded, alerting the half-orc mercenary waiting for them. The half-orc was only able to get a handful of arrows off at the Blades before he was felled. As the Blades closed to search the half-orc, they exposed themselves to his friends in waiting, several more half-orcs and their leader, a surly looking dwarf. Savain staggered back under a hail of arrows as the rest of his comrades jumped into the fray. A fierce battle ensued. A dire wolf entered the fight, helping the mercenaries against the heroes. A concentrated attack on the wolf, along with a terrible blow from Alex, staggered the wolf. At which point, the dire wolf transformed into mist and escaped down into the caverns. The Eldritch blades were soon victorious, dispatching the dwarf and half-orc mercenaries.
Eager to pursue the wolf, they made their way further into the caverns. It wound down deeper beneath Cauldron. Discovering rough hewn stairs, they investigated where they led, coming to an open landing and a closed door. Commotion could be heard from beyond the door. Making haste, the Eldritch Blades burst in on several more half-orcs and their leaders, a tiefling wizard and a cleric of Bane, trying to make a quick exit. The Blades immediately engaged the mercenaries, preventing their flight. The battle was savage. The tiefling wizard exploded thunder amongst her foes, staggering them from the concussive force of her magics. The Blades were able to bring down the mercenaries, laying the last half-orc low. Among the mercenaries belongings, the heroes found ledgers and communiques showing the mercenaries to be led by someone claiming the title, The Blue Duke. The mercenaries were being hired by some unnamed noble within Cauldron itself. The mercenaries had made a deal with one, Drakthar, to the his caverns to smuggle themselves into the city. Enough provisions were stored nearby to supply a much larger force than was currently occupying the caves.
The Blades continued their exploration of the caverns, eventually coming to a recent campsite and a cave entrance in the side of the mountain, opening to the jungle below.
Returning to the caves, the Blades finally came face to face with the owner of the caverns, Drakthar, himself. Beckoning them to their doom, Drakthar battled the heroes, hoping to end the threat to his domain. As the Blades closed to battle Drakthar, the skeletal remains of his foes, scattered around the room, reached out and grabbed at those foolish enough to draw too near. Drakthar soon revealed his true nature, that of a vampire as Linden fell under his gaze and under Drakthar’s control. The battle was wild and furious. Linden was able to break free from Drakthar’s control, only to see others fall to the vampire’s dominance, Morwin and Alex in turn. The pressure from their assault proved too much and in a puff of mist, Drakthar retreated from his throne room.
Quick to pursue him, the Eldritch Blades followed him, needing to cross a 50’ deep chasm to reach Drakthar and his crypt. Vampire spawn erupted from the ground around them, aiding Drakthar against the heroe’s onslaught. It was here that Alex fell under the deep control of the vampire, dominated by his undead gaze. Alex turned his considerable battle talents on his friends, while his mind cried out for release. The battle was fierce. Drakthar was able to drop several of his foes, only to have them rally time and again under the inspiring leadership of Keira and Joesh. Finally did they strike the final blow and kill Drakthar, but not before Alex bullrushed a wounded Keira off the landing to the cold cavern floor 50’ below. Only as the vampire fell was Alex’s mind freed.
With the vampire dead, the Eldritch Blades quickly saw to their wounded, preventing any losses amongst them. Exhausted, the Blades took a long rest, before returning to Cauldron to report their findings and claim their bounty.