Finally the group was able to get in an Extended Rest. The party had been harried and attacked not once but twice in their previous attempts at getting some rest. Most had used almost all their most potent Powers (their Daily Powers) in the first big fight, so the second battle got pretty hairy using only At-Will and Encounter Powers, culminating in a near death experience for Koji the Monk (he was down to 3 HP's with no way of getting healed).
This time the party retreated to a location within the dungeon that they felt would give them a much better chance of respite: the Secret Armory. It would have taken extraordinary luck on the part of the hobgoblin patrols (doubtless searching the dungeon for the party after so much mayhem) to not only find the secret door leading to this room, but to then also figure out that the eastern wall within was actually an illusion, and that the party was on the other side.
Eladrin do no sleep. Instead, they enter a meditative state they call the trance. While in the trance, Eladrin are fully aware of their surroundings and can become fully alert in seconds. And so, as usual, Zekknar assumed guard duties while the other slept.
How Zekknar managed to trance after bearing witness to Thunt preparing to bed down for the night is anyone’s guess. The group was “surprised” (horrified) to learn that Thunt prefers “the feel of the Earth Mother’s blessing on his skin” when he sleeps. All of his skin. shudder Let’s just say the sight of a naked and disturbingly hairy dwarf bending over to spread his bedroll out (thank god that’s not a euphemism) is a sight that will haunt Zekknar and Koji’s nightmares for weeks to come.
After an uneventful rest, the party, determined as ever to reach Kalarel and stop him from completing his ritual to summon the shadow dragon Shadraxil from its pocket plane of the Shadowfel, made their way back to the stairs leading to the 2nd level.
Koji stealthily scouted out the Hobgoblin Guard Room and discovered two hobgoblin grunts guarding the room that had been the scene for no less that three deadly encounters. The grunts standing across the room, in front of the door to one of the barracks rooms. You would later discover that the hobgoblins had temporarily disposed of the bodies from the last battle in this room.
With the guards still unaware that Koji had spotted them from the shadows of the stairway, the Monk silently padded back up the stairs to Zekknar and Thunt, who had remained further back so as not to reveal their position. Thunt felt confident that he could sneak just as well as anybody in the group, using what has come to be called “Dorf Stealth”, but the others weren’t so sure that was a good idea. As far as Koji and Zekknar could tell, “Dorf Stealth” seemed to mostly involve a great deal of jingling chain mail, clomping boots, and regularly thumping your shield into whatever is at hand at any given moment (like your knees, your warhammer, the wall, what-have-you).
From further up the stairs (well outside “Dorf Stealth” range), the party put together a plan of attack. Their primary concern: making sure neither guard would be able to flee the room and call for reinforcements. And the plan worked brilliantly!
The elves ability to move silently is legendary, and so the Eladrin mage Zekknar joined Koji, as the barefoot monk stealthily worked his way back down the stairs. Once in position with Koji within the shadows near the end of the stairs, Zekknar used a simple cantrip he had learned as a student in Myth Drannor to create a noise coming from the well in the center of the room. When the guards came to investigate, the mage then Hypnotised one of feebleminded brutes and commanded it to jump into the waiting arms of the party’s old friend… the well. Moments later, Koji sprang from his position on the stairs, sprinted across the room, leapt into the air, and delivered a devastating kick to the remaining (and completely surprised) guard. The hobgoblin grunt was dead before he hit the floor.
Somebody, presumably more hobgoblins, had clearly discovered the dead bodies from the last battle and dragged them into an adjoining room (to be properly disposed of later?), the party moved further into the dungeon. The near half dozen hobgoblins (and one bubgear) that had fallen victims to Zekknar’s mesmerizing gaze and flung themselves down the well were still there, though it’s unclear wether the hobgoblins knew that. Opting not to search any of the bodies, instead fearing an imminent attack, the group moved on.
Further into the dungeon, the party discovered a barracks area. Judging from the flagons, mugs, and plates on the tables in the chow room, as many as a half dozen or more humanoids had been using the area recently. A well stocked supply room nearby looked as though it could support dozens of humanoids for at least a month. But the interconnected rooms were all empty.
The party then left the barracks area to investigate a room down a hallway to the south. As Koji silently crept down the hall to scout out a room no more than 50’ down the passage, he failed to notice a misaligned stone in the floor that turned out to be the trigger for a portcullis that slammed down to block the entrance to the room he’d been approaching. From this side of the portcullis, they could see a large table in the room beyond, but not much else.
The bars weren’t reinforced well, and it was thought that they could possibly be bent, allowing room to squeeze through; but the group instead felt it would be wiser to lift the portcullis and wedge it into place. Unfortunately, they couldn’t lift it: it wouldn’t budge. Thinking that perhaps there was another route into the room beyond, they backtracked to look for an alternate route.
While trying to find another way into the room beyond the portcullis, the party wandered into a large, dark room with 30’ high vaulted ceilings. Near the center of the room was a giant statue of a warrior wearing plate armor, wielding a sword. In the northeast and southeast corners; statues of dragons on 10×10 platforms. To the south: an short passageway with vases of cherubs holding pitchers.
Every statue turned out to be traps. The giant warrior statue could swivel at the waist, and at the shoulder of its sword arm, and demonstated as much (to good effect) on Thunt when first approached. The dragon statues emitted waves of forces when anyone came near. Waves of force designed to push invaders and knock them off their feet within reach of the giant warrior statue.
The short passage to the south was deadliest of all. While trying to get out of range of the southeastern dragon statue, Koji sprinted into the alcove. As soon as he passed between the first two cherub vases, walls of force slammed down over the entrance of the hallway and the double doors to the south. Then the cherub vases came to life, if only for a few seconds. They tipped forward their pitchers, and water with the force of an aqueduct began to gush forth from all four statues. The monk was trapped in the tiny, water-tight hallway, and the water was rising.
A couple rounds later, finding no way to escape the hallway, just as panic began to sink in, water level already to his knees, the monk attempted to turn one of the vases and redirect the flow of water towards one of the walls of force. While he was unable to turn the small statue, he did manage to crack the pitcher, and jets of water shot through the break. lighbulb!
Next round, as the water was rising to nearly three feet, Koji launched a sidekick at the nearest vase, shattering it. The water enchantment from that vase ended, and the water with it. But there were still three more to go.
By this time, Thunt had reached the hallway. Separated from his friend by the arcane barrier, the Chauntean Cleric tried desperately to devise a way in which he could help his trapped friend.
Meanwhile Zekknar, having divined the nature of the mystical symbols carved upon the dragon statues in the room without, had nimbly leapt upon the statue to the southeast and was working frantically at effacing the markings. The elven mage’s desperate hope was that the runs were somehow tied to the power of the walls of force.
The following round, just as Koji was about to surge across the room and destroy the next vase, a powerful whirlpool formed in the center of the hallway! In seconds, the magically driven maelstrom was at full pitch, savagely twisting and driving the water throughout the room with staggering force. Koji was in trouble. He needed to reach the far end of the hallway to break the last two statues, but the force of the water Slowed movement to half. Koji’s Speed is 6, reduced to 3 by the Slow effect, and the closes statue was 4 squares away. But the redoubtable monk had trained long under the tutelage of ((insert missing backstory here)) in the city of ((insert missing backstory here)). Even now, Koji could hear the words of his Master, as he lectured to him on the fundamental’s of the Crane’s Wings Movement Technique: “Air is as real as you and me. You may step on it as if it were a stone, swim through it as if it were the sea. All you have to do is believe.” And with that, Koji suddenly sprang from his perch on the vases pedastal. More floated than leapt. Across the room to the next statue, his foot lightly slapping the chaotic vortex below just once—twice; as if to help bouy his feathered flight to the far vase. With the help of his Master’s technique and his teachings, the monk was able to shatter the last two vases.
The moment the last vase was destroyed, the walls of force dropped, the whirlpool subsided, and Thunt hurriedly ducked back behind the corner as the water from within spilled into the room.