The Eldritch Blades decided to explore the manor further. They were still worried about the missing Lord Vhalantru. They spread out, investigating all of the second and third floors with no sign of the Lord Mayor. While exploring the first floor more thoroughly, they discovered a hidden room with a large shaft descending below the manor.
The group chose to descend into the shaft to continue their exploration. They rappelled down about a hundred feet, halfway down the shaft, when they encountered a large, round door. Savain was able to open the door and the group entered into a long antechamber. The matching round door at the far end of the room led to another shaft down. They left the larger, round double door in the center of the room alone, deciding to retreat and lick their wounds before proceeding further.
After a much needed rest, they returned to the antechamber ready to face their next challenge. Savain unlocked the double doors and the party opened it. They faced a large circular room. A large triangle lay inscribed into the floor, bound by a ritual circle. At each corner of the the triangle lay a bound, shackled figure. In the center of the circle stood Lord Vhalantru, chanting the final refrain of his ritual. Before the group could act, arcane lightning arced from the three figures, engulfing Vhalantru. The three figures were quickly consumed by the ritual, reduced to ash. As the ritual ended, a transformed Vhalantru turned to confront the intruders.
Jösh demanded an explanation from Vhalantru. In his hubris, Vhalantru explained his involvement with the group, the Cagewrights, and their plans to summon an army of demons from the prison plane of Carceri. Their plans were nearly complete. The Shackleborn had been gathered at the Tree of Shackled Souls. The Ritual of Planar Junction would soon begin.
With that, Vhalantru gave a shudder and began to expand. His skin could no longer mask his true form. The thin skin burst apart, revealing the horrid body of a beholder. Modified by the ritual he’d just performed, Vhalantru oozed slime from his maw. His large central eye gazed down at the Eldritch Blades. With a laugh, he set to the destruction of the party, beams shooting from his eye stalks.
The battle was fierce. Fighting in the entrance way to the room, the group suffered under the gaze of the beholder’s central eye for much of the fight. They were continually bombarded by rays of varying effects, hindering their ability to battle the beholder; many times being nearly killed by the effects of the more heinous eyes. Poor Morwin was turned to stone. Through concerted effort and moderate teamwork, the Eldritch Blades finally slew Vhalantru; Savain driving his dagger through the beholder’s central eye.
The group gathered to recoup and decide what to do next.