This morning, with the aid of a crude map found on the body of one of the dead duergar within the Chamber of Eyes, the party set off in search of the duergars fortress: the Horned Hold. There they hoped to finally find the Winterhaven villagers.
Upon arriving at their destination, they find a VAST cavern, so huge that it dwarfs the Seven-Pillared Hall. Soon after entering the cavern, the party is ambushed by predators: a pair of ropers. The powerful creatures put up quite a fight. Thranduil, Garreth, and Koji are severely injured.
After the fight the ropers and their long journey through the Labyrinth, the party is so exhausted; the drop their packs where they stand and try to make camp.
Shortly thereafter, a duergar patrol wanders by. The party is far too powerful for the four duergar, and the gray dwarves are quickly overcome. But one turns invisible, and escapes! The party sets off in pursuit.
The chase leads them to a bridge over a large subterranean river. Another battle with a half dozen duergar and two of their giant spider mounts!
Thranduil manages to calm one of the giant spiders, and Apavan happily claims him as his new pet.
The party preses on, and finds a work gang overseen by a handful of duergar. The slavemaster is whipping one of the slaves when the party happens upon the scene, and in a fury, the party attacks.
Unfortunately, none of the few slaves they free ends up being from Winterhaven. Nonetheless, Munder Gallowgate (a simple wanderer traveling to Cormyr from Ashabenford when he was captured by the Bloodreavers) and Will Datchett (a drover from Arabel in Cormyr) were impossibly grateful to have been freed.
The party decides its best if the two freed slaves stick with them until they can find a place to hide them.
Mundur has heard other slaves speaking of a tunnel to the north, leading into the caves behind the Horned Hold (which is carved into the eastern face of the giant cavern). He assumed it was a lie, but what little he heard was that those brave enough to risk the horrible torture the duergar inflicted on slaves who attempt to escape, were all killed by a monster that lurked in the tunnel.
The party sets off in search of this back entrance, rather than taking the direct approach and simply marching through the front gate of the intimidatingly large and tough looking fortress.
As it turns out, the tunnel was home to a basilisk. Koji narrowly escapes being turned to stone, but the basilisk is slain.
The party rests for the day.