After the challenging battle with the ogre Iceshield tribe chieftain, the Great Ulfe, my comrades and I were in desperate need of rest and recuperation. Wary of what other enemies still remain in the subterranean halls of Khundrukar, we improvised a fortified position by stacking crates and sacks from the store of loot that the orcs had pillage from the countryside around a little used section of the cavern they were using as a warehouse. Biggle and Dovak decided to check if the two prisoners that we had freed had made it to safety and it was agreed that we would return to this location in two days if we failed to hear from them beforehand.
After a much needed rest and healing from Gorm, myself and the remaining party members decided to explore more of Khundrukar. We happened upon a nearby cavern that contained a door with several charred orc skeletons before it and a large stairway carved into the rock leading down. Deciding to explore the door first, we quickly found during our efforts to open it that it was trapped to shot jets of fire into the area in front of it. After sustaining some burns, we were able to successfully disarm the trap mechanism and found that there was nothing beyond the door except the trap mechanism and the vat of oil that fuel the flames. Seriously wounded for our efforts, we decided to rest inside this room (which should prove haven enough from the orcs) and I used the power of Gorm to heal me and my companions.
Following that long rest, we continued our explorations by proceeding down the stairs into the cavern below. The stairs lead to an underground stream and a flock of stirges, which we eliminated easily enough and continued out explorations. The caverns on this level appeared more natural and not cut out as they did above and there were several options on where to proceed. We randomly chose a path and came upon two reptilian-looking humanoids that appeared to be mining the walls of a cavern. Aszh’s attempt at conservation with them was met with an immediate attack and a third creature with a large bear arrived as reinforcements. The creatures (which I later learned with Troglodytes) were dispatched and after several unsuccessful attempts to befriend with bear with calm words and food, we killed it as well.
Our continued explorations found a large cavern naturally lit by light-emitting fungi. This area held dangerous creatures (strange snake-like creatures with star-shaped toothed maws) that were able to camouflage themselves with the surrounding stone. They ambushed our party from several directions at once and several melees broke out as we tried to coordinate our efforts. I must commend Aszh for stepping into the role normally taken by Gorm’s loyal servant Dovak, as he positioned himself to take the attacks of the majority of the creatures expertly used his sword and shield to fend off the blows while the rest of the party concentrated on killing the creatures. It was a successful tactic and we dispatched the creatures will only some minor wounds.
A search of this cavern showed several routes of exploration, including a well-made door of dwarven craftsmanship. Allegro was able to successfully pick what he told us was a very complicated lock and we proceeded past the door up a stairwell that lead to a small room containing three dwarven statues of axe-armed warriors. After some trial and error (as well as injuries), we were able to locate a secret door behind one of the statues that lead to another level of Khundrukar. Like the initial level we entered the mountain at this one was carved into smooth walls, floors and ceilings and it was occupied. We were challenged by dark kin of the dwarves called the Duregar who claim rule over this level. Not knowing their full numbers and not yet seeking a fight, we were able to negotiate passage through part of their level for a toll. They spoke of parts of the level haunted still by the undead and Aszh and I were able to convince they others that we needed to cleanse the undead from this place…