The party continue further into the Merry Critter, trying to catch up to @Voss, leader of the @Black Rat Boys, who ran from the previous fight. They bolt into the next room, which is slightly larger, with three doors leading out and one large staircase leading down. @Trick Ravenscar searches the first room, which contains six white statues of stone, and, unknown to her, depicting the @Xammux, or @The Six. One of the entities holds a censer, another some calipers, and a third, a onyx-black curving ritual shortsword (+1). The items are locked within the hands of the statues. The second door they check out has no handle on it, and @Garret Hilltopple tries to slam it open with brute force. Unsuccessful, they look though the third door in this room. They enter another room which is split into two parts by a heavy cloth divide. In the first part of the room they find a desk with vials, notes and illustrations of rats and men, as well as brainrats. Notes are research on shapechange, potion trials and mind control. In the second part of the room, on the other part of the green cloth, they find another desk. Each wall in this part is covered in notes, and @Trick Ravenscar picks up some notes. On tieflings and devils, experiments made on the tieflings. @Mana remembers that she has some papers in her bag too, one being a contract between @Voss and @Azirn, the red robed and twisted mage they’ve encountered one before. In the contract, @Azirn is presented as a representative of @The University of the True. The trade, it seems, was the @Black Rat Boys dirty work (gathering tieflings) for new powers (shapechange). While an annoyed and irritable @Garret Hilltopple tries to hurry the party on after @Voss, the rest of the party find a small puzzle next to a closed version of the @MagicBook they also encountered earlier. As @Trick Ravenscar reads out the text beneath the puzzle: “thy humble servant”, the book slams open to reveal a hidden compartment inside. Within the compartment they find four round disks that fit with the puzzle.
@Garret Hilltopple finally the rest of the party to make haste after @Voss, and they make their way downstairs. They eventually make their way into the boat room, only to find one boat missing. They see ripples in the water, and figuring that @Voss cannot have gone far, take a boat and rush after him down the tunnel that leads out of here.
@Arielle Nailo, who was a bit slow in getting her shit together, has to get her own boat and tries her best to catch up to the others. As @Mana and @Garret Hilltopple start making their way out the tunnel where @Voss supposably left, @Mana looks down the tunnel and see @Voss ’ figure, standing still on his own boat, facing them and holding a large crossbow at the ready. He yells at them to stop, and to let him go. @Garret Hilltopple refuses and insists that @Voss comes with them. Voss tells the party that he refuses to be put in a dungeon to rot, and that there is more to win in letting him go. He informs them that he was a poor man in #Darasi, #Isarads underground, and that he was betrayed and cast out. He seeks revenge upon the underground and better days for the @Black Rat Boys, and the pact/agreement with @Azirn made it seem possible. They we’re paid in coin and powers for their service, not being able too ask too many questions. He argues that he is no threat without his friends, and agrees to not team up with any #Darasi scoundrels. @Mana tells him that he may act out his revenge, but make no other trouble or business with the underground gangs that roam there, should they let him escape. @Voss agrees to this, and promises information in exchange for his escape. On @Azirn, on the tiefling mystery – and, if they let him go to exact his revenge in @Isarad, and they meet him there by chance, he will show @Mana who it was that gave him the information on the hit put out on the elven girl that was on the list. @Mana agrees to this trade, and argues to let @Voss go. @Garret Hilltopple refuses to let @Voss escape, and charges the boat closer to @Voss’ boat. Feeling threatened, @Voss shoots him in the shoulder. @Mana talks @Garret Hilltopple out of it momentarily, and @Voss escapes. @Garret Hilltopple is extremely maddened by this, feeling his morals and principles betrayed. They go back to the The Merry Critter, and @Trick Ravenscar talks to @Garret Hilltopple and makes him feel a bit better, arguing that she understands his inner conflict, but that sometimes one must let a smaller evil go to have a chance at beating the greater evil. And that the evil beneath #Isarad, within #Darasi, is indeed the greater evil. @Garret Hilltopple begrudgingly accepts, letting it go for now.
In the other rooms on this level, they find several notes and items of interest, among them one pair of boots with strange footprints illustrated on the sides, and a horn (of silent alarm). @Arielle Nailo picks these up and brings them back upstairs to where the others have now gone.
Upstairs, the party once again make their way into the room that was divided by a green cloak, and where the two desks with vials and notes were. They do the puzzle, and solve it, and the door without a handle suddenly opens. They walk through the doorway, and make their way down. As they move through, they notice that this place looks very different from the rest of the @Black Rat Boys #The Merry Critter hideout. The walls are painted white and seem more even/ smooth. Smooth rock covered in white plaster. They soon come into a large hallway with cages and cells on all sides. Most are empty, but clearly lived in. Some have the shapes of dead or lifeless humanoids inside. @Trick Ravenscar looks at quite a few of the cells, and soon comes upon a small humanoid, a female gnome, sitting huddled in the corner of one of the cells. A good perception check reveals that the individual is breathing, and @Trick Ravenscar picks the lock and makes her way inside. She meets @Nadim, who ushers her to keep quiet and sit still within the cell, or leave, for the patrol is coming. @Trick Ravenscar tells @Nadim that she may escape now and that the party is there to save her, but @Nadim refuses to leave before the party has proven this capability. @Trick Ravenscar leaves the cell, and the party soon hears the patrol: a lone research assistant checking each and every cell. The party move thought the halls, avoiding being seen, but soon decide that they have little choice but to take him out so as to avoid having to deal with way too many foes at the same time. They kill him, and discover that the assistant does not speak, and is wearing some kind of goggles. @Mana wonders if the assistant did not say anything because his tongue may have been cut out, but does not check.
After the kill, the party moves further in. They hear footsteps and growls, and @Garret Hilltopple decides to rush in, Leroy Jenkins style. Within the last chamber he is greeted by @Azirn, a research assistant and two tiefling devilghouls, and is quickly swarmed. The party face a difficult fight, but eventually succeed in killing @Azirn, the tieflings and his assistant.
Within this last room of the dungeon, the party discover an unconscious and wounded spiked devil, likely summoned here by @Azirn. The party leaves it where it lies. They retrieve the pendant from @Azirn, and then go back to find @Nadim, the gnome they’d found in one of the cells earlier. As they return, she still sits with her hood up, her face onto her knees. @Trick Ravenscar reenters the cell and informs @Nadim of @Azirns defeat. @Nadim uses hear ears to check if the sounds of the dungeon supports this, and decides to go with the party. She gets up and walks over to @Arielle Nailos wolf that has made it up to the cell door, and grabs his neck gently to support herself as she walks on. With a small limp, the party leaves this part of the dungeon behind.
On their way out, the party uses @Azirns pendant on the indent in the room with all the @Xammux statues, and the statues release the items they are holding. Both @Trick Ravenscar and @Mana want the sword, but decide to distribute it later. The party, and @Nadim, decide to make camp not far from the #The Merry Critter, and sleep there. @Mana decides to meditate instead of sleeping, and gives @Trick Ravenscar her bedroll. The end.