Brendan examines the helms for hidden decapitating blades and finds none. He does the same for the new broadsword. He then hangs all of them on his back, fearful of using them. I have trained him well.
They enter the top room of Arnold’s secret base. The party finds a secret door and then compliments each other for ten minutes. Brendan checks for traps and finds none. He listens and hears nothing. He opens the door. There is a ladder inside and they climb up and find a small room with a pentagram, circle, and triangle. Ian does an interpretive dance in the center of the pentagram. Though he does poorly, Brendan compliments him anyways and urges him to go professional.
Ian goes down the ladder in the corner pit and descends to the door on the next layer. There is a bed, chest, and dresser. Brendan checks the chest for traps and then unlocks the chest. Inside are great riches: 80 F., 21,000 s., 56 p., 42 emeralds (200 p.), 23 rubies (400 p. each), 4 gold rings (200 p. each), 1 thick gold necklace with 5 diamonds (60,000 p.), and 1 mithril ring (400 p.).
Ian and Brendan expressed an interest in ceasing their exploration and returning home. Brendan carries the rings and gems. Ian carries the necklace and florins. They split the shillings among each other. Ian then suggests killing Musuoulus the bartender, cutting him to pieces and throwing him outside the building and absconding with the funds. Eufemmia is appalled by this plan and questions their relationship.
Brendan, then 556, then Josette, then Glern, then Eufemmia, and Ian the Reluctant. Brendan jumps down, clinking. He finds 4 demons playing cards and says Shit. They spot him and say “Hey.” They pick up tridents with burning hot tines and attack. Brendan tries dancing away. It doesn’t work. In the ensuing battle, Brendan takes 2 major wounds to each leg, and a grim wound to his left leg. 556 took a major wound to the abdomen, Glern took one to the left arm, and Josette banished 4 demons. Ian’s sword proves to be a Dancing Sword, and protects him as he is unready to defend himself. Brendan critically wounded one in the groin, which Ian decapitates and it fades away. Josette heals 556 and heals one major wound on Brendan.
They retreat to the secret room to hide. It takes them five days to heal, with Josette’s Sorcery and Ian’s limited surgery skill.
Ian again raises the possibility that they kill Musoulus. Again, Eufemmia is appalled. Their relationship is seriously strained. During the time it takes Brendan to heal, Josette uses Object Reading to identify the magical treasure.
There are two helms of clean air, and they go to Eufemmia and Brendan.
There is an +2 earth shield (can transform into a wall to protect its owner), which goes to Brendan.
There is a Woman-killing sword, which the party decides to disenchant. They also decide to disenchant the Dancing Sword, because it is powered by a Krepgan, a demon well-known to try to injure its masters.
There is a pair of boots of water walking, which go to Josette.
There are three +2 daggers, which are daggers that fly with the aid of air elementals. One goes to Brendan, one to Ian, and the last to Josette.
Lastly, there are four magic rings. The Ring of Light goes to Brendan. The Ring of Fire Resistance goes to Ian, along with the Ring of Hateful Strength (STR:24, +12 damage bonus). Josette keeps the Ring of Fire.
The party decides to continue exploring, and finds themselves stymied by a number of pools of scalding sulphurous water. Over the next two days, Josette Shapes bridges over them and they find the disassembled and smashed body of Arnold in the final room. His signet ring is the only thing that identifies him, and Josette identifies it as a Ring of Grues that allows its user to see in the dark. Ian also gets that.
They then continue to search the caverns, looking for the lost guardsmen. They encounter a group of drunken imps who hold a cave at the top of a pit, which they can’t reach. At first Ian thinks they are his lost demon children, and the imps use that knowledge to enrage him. Finally they dump a barrel of brandy on him and set it on fire, giving him third degree burns all over his body. Brendan puts his bedroll on Ian, now in shock. Josette saves his life through Sorcery, but it takes six days for him to fully recover. By then, Josette has Shaped stairs up to the imps, but they have fled.
Ian leads a determined search for the imps, but they are gone. He finds the remains of the guardsmen, who fell into a pit and resorted to cannibalism. All are dead now.
Moving on, they return to the cells where they heard the buzzing, and are attacked by six dog-sized flies with human ravenous heads. They swarm over Ian, but his plate mail protects him from their bites. Josette uses her Ring of Fire to burn them to death, and this time Ian is protected by the Ring of Fire Resistance.
The party decides to head for the surface, but Brendan is in the rear and is sure they are being followed. Ian has on the Grue Ring, so he investigates, and discovers two Brendans. They seem identical in behavior and appearance. He asks one to describe Lystdogga, a character from an old adventure. He does, and Ian promptly kills the other Brendan, who says, “Wait!” before dying. Ian turns out to have killed the right one, though in reality the demon knew everything that Brendan did. Ian had a 50% chance of attacking the wrong one, but he rolled low and killed the right one.
Next they reached Musoulus, who insisted on leaving. Ian refused and threatened to kill him if he didn’t behave. Though he didn’t know it, this last act of cruelty cost him the love of Eufemmia, though she did not tell him then. She considered him a psychopathic killer, and therefore insisted he was still her hero, at least until she could get away from him.
Brendan and Josette recharged their rings, and let Musoulus go. Eufemmia ran off as well, with Ian’s curses in her ears. Ian then put on his rings, all of them, and entered the darkness to kill the final Halka demon. He was sure of victory, and he got the first shot in, but he only gave the creature a minor wound. It replied with a critical hit, stabbing him in the right leg with a red hot tine and doing a major wound even through his armor. He went into shock, and fell. As the demon raised its trident to deliver the killing foe, Ian released his Ring of Light, first in a general glow that failed to penetrate the darkness, and then in a single burst that managed to blind the demon temporarily. Josette sent her fire against it, but it was a fire demon and received only minor wounds. Brendan, Glern, and 556 ran into the darkness to rescue Ian. 556 became disoriented and was lost. Brendan and Glern grabbed Ian and dragged him in different directions while Josette shouted directions to them. Luckily, Glern was stronger than Brendan, and Brendan kept hold of Ian, so Glern dragged them all to safety. As they emerged into the light, they heard 556 being smashed by the Halka.
After healing, Ian wanted another shot at the Halka. Josette was determined to banish it.