Last post the party was finishing off several trogs in a brief battle. Some of the party had spotted more creatures fleeing the scene, and the group was slightly split by room configuration. What could possibly go wrong?
"They're getting away!" cries Locky as he starts running down the SE corridor, then E past the statue and into another ten foot wide corridor, after the trogs who fled the group.
"Who?" asks Raúguey as the little halfling runs past. Locky doesn't hear or doesn't answer, so Raúguey joins the chase.
"Uh oh," mutters Rawon, then "Mordikarr! Locky is chasing after the trogs, come on!" The elf takes off in pursuit. Maro sees his elven friend following Locky, and follows, though his heavy mail slows him a bit.
Mordikarr ignores the elves and starts checking the pits with Durego. Ohwatoo, Ingvild, and Dagmarten also enter the pit room, and pull the W door closed behind them. "Just in case," mutters Dagmarten.
A quick check of the pits shows they are about five feet across, but fifteen deep, narrow things lined with mortared stone and brick. "Over here!" calls Durego at the northernmost pit.
The others gather and peer down the narrow shaft, where they see a lone man dressed in a ragged tunic. His dark hair and beard are long and unkempt, and he squints up at the light the cleric holds. "Please help! Get me out of here before they come back!"
Meanwhile the pursuers run past a single N door (closed), through E facing double doors, and find themselves in the statue room. The north doors are open, the E doors closed. "Did we leave those like that?" asks Rawon, who has caught up to Locky.
"I don't know. Let's check north first!" He trots through the doors to the edge of the pit, and peers past it. "Nothing in sight here. Raúguey, try the E doors."
"Already on it," says Raúguey, yanking hard on the door's pull ring.
Meanwhile, back in the pit room, Ingvild pulls out his ever-handy rope, and lowers it down to the stranger in the pit. "Hang on and we'll pull you up!" He and Mordikarr start lifting, and Dagmarten and Durego help pull him out when he reaches the edge. He's emaciated and filthy, but clearly human beneath the rags and hair.
"Thank the gods!" he says, "Now let's get out of here!" He scrambles to his feet and his eyes dart to the E door. "Is that the way out?"
"It is," says Durego, "but slow down. There are foes nearby. Let the others be sure it's clear first. Who are you anyhow?"
The man blinks, sags a bit, and then takes a deep breath. "Tesso is my name. I was hired as a guard by a group of surveyors. They were hired by Thambar the Prudent, Lord of Hembard Wilds, Defender of Highcliff Keep, Recognized Lord of the Peerage of the Kingdom of Jal, Meisterburger of Auslaug, Hustwood, and Brekkevale to survey the lands west of Brekkevale. We were two days west of Stonefinger when we were attacked by big hariy creatures, at night. Several of us were captured, chained, and led to a village of those things. We were split up and two of us were taken further west. We marched for days, and then went into caves. I... I don't remember much beyond that, I got sick and lost track of time. My companion was gone when I finally regained my senses, and I was here."
"Dog heads take many slaves," mutters Mordikarr. "Bad. Should go follow others and leave this place. More snake head things may come."
"More?" asks Ingvild.
"Some ran away. Maybe get help. Maybe go behind us. Maybe set trap."
"Why didn't you say so?" cries Durego, starting for the east door.
Mordikarr scowls. "No one ask."
Durego looks out the east door, steps into the hall, moves past the defaced statue in the corner, and down the east passage. He can just see Maro and Raúguey in the statue room...
"Stupid door is stuck," says Raúguey. "I'll show it." He pulls his crowbar free and rams it between door and jamb. Or tries to. The tip slips aside.
"Magic!" says Maro. "That's been sealed with a spell. Be careful, it may be a trap!"
"We need to spike that door shut", Locky points to the magically sealed east door, "Then we need to spike that north door to that room shut! If they are summoning something, perhaps it will be unhappy and get them (trogs)." His eyes light up, "The secret passage!" he hisses. The halfling dashes to the secret door and begins fumbling with the locking mechanism.
Raúguey pulls out mallet and an iron spike and begins hammering it in beneath the door's edge, while Rawon and Maro go to hurry the trailing group. Durego sees the way the tide is turning and calls out "Give Tesso a weapon! Let's head for the stairs!"
"What do I look like, a weaponsmith?" grumbles Ingvild. He pulls Tesso upright. "Come on lad, looks like we're going. Can you walk?"
"If it means getting out of here, I can run," pants Tesso, who seems uninjured, but a bit shaky.
"Let's go then. We'll fix that when we're clear," says Dagmarten. The brothers, Tesso, and Ohwatoo head toward the statue room, where Raúguey's pounding is creating quite a bit of noise...
Rawon pokes his head into the north corridor. No Locky. "Cursed hasty halfling! Come on everyone, Locky's leaving us behind!"
The halfling is already at the north door of the secret passage. He slides the stone that releases the latch and peeks out. Empty and dark. "Oh bother. I guess I need a light." He fumbles in his pack, casting a wary eye back down the passage to see if they others are following. By the time the lantern is lit, the infernal hammering has stopped, and the others are filing into the passage. Mordikarr in the lead.
"It's clear up here. Try the other door!" Locky ducks into the corridor and pulls the door shut behind himself. He trots east, peeks through the open door into the empty room, and then crosses to the south door, just as Mordikarr and the others open the other secret passage. Everyone piles into the corridor at the base of the stairs, and Mordikarr looks through the open door into the summoning room.
"Stinky lizards not here!" says the beastmaster, and Suren grumble-snarls agreement.
"Let's check it thoroughly, everyone else stay here!" calls Raúguey, gathering up Mordikarr and Durego with a glance. The trio enters the summoning room, then checks the W corridor that leads to the held and spiked door. Nothing.
"Where did they go?" asks Dagmarten when the three return to the main passage. "And more importantly, what are they doing?"
"I don't know, but I don't think we should stand around here to find out," says Durego.
"Agreed," says Ohwatoo, "but where should we go? Camp is a long ways away."