Having successfully gained entrance to the cave the party pushed deeper into the complex avoiding the surging river. Dwyer, acting as a scout, took the lead and snuck into a large room where he found a dire bear and a troll arcanist in addition to piles of bones. Falling back to the group and informing them of the danger ahead they decided to push forward. Each member, covered in a spell of invisibility by Vennerzad, set about moving into the cave to ambush their enemies until the bear managed to sniff them out. Taking action Cadno rallied his martial abilities and flew from the ground mounting the platform the troll was standing upon and slashing down with his axe and katar, knocking the vinespeaker to the ground. Relying upon Cadno’s infernal heritage and resistance to fire Lucci uttered a word of power and the dais went up in a consuming flame. Aelar surged forward from the back ranks and although not able to close on the bear was able to call it out none the less. The venerable Chi Gong Dong cut through reality with a wave of his hand and walking through instantly appeared adjacent to the dire animal. With a staggering look from the monk the dire bear recoiled further into the depths of the cavern and ran into Dwyer as he emerged from its own shadow. The Dhampyr lashed out with his weapon but the bear’s unnatural body absorbed the blow with no real harm done. On the natural platform the vinespeaker gathered its wits and rose to its feats cutting Cadno with its claws. As if on cue one of the piles of bones erupted into the air as three small skulls ignited in black fire and flew about the room. Turning their hollow eyes on Cadno and Aelar the heroes went slack as their wills were dominated. Cadno immediately shook loose of their dark influence and drove his katar through the trolls chest as Lucci finished it with another bolt of power. Aelar, unable to shake the domination at first, turned on Lucci and folded her in half with a powerful swing of his weapon. As Chi and Dwyer continued to fight the dire bear Vernnerzad focused his attention on the blackfire skulls summoning a wolf hunt upon the skulls while also healing some of the wounds of his teammates. Chi also fell to the skulls dominating gaze as he struck out at both Aelar and Lucci with staff and stars. Aelar eventually shook off their power and put an end to their presence as the rest of the party put an end to the bear.
Moving on the party found a food storage area and what appeared to be the barracks for the members of Skalmad’s army. Finding the door locked to the barracks, Dwyer took out his tools and began work on gaining entrance as the rest of the party took up positions to breach the portal. No sooner did the latch fall open, reviling a hallway with a door to the left and right towards the front and another hallway at the end, than Cadno, Chi and Vennerzad launched their attacks. The inhabitants of the room, at what first appeared to be a pair of nothic gazers and further marrowmaw impalers, were shocked as Chi and Cadno rushed forth banking to either side of the hall and through the initial doors engaging the gazers in their rooms as Vennerzad’s deadly wolf sprang forth on the first of the imaplers at the back of the hallway. Aelar dropped to his knees, in front of Vennerzad, calling for the raven queens blessing upon the parties battle as Dwyer teleported to the end of the hallway bloodying an impaler and spotting a masked shaman hiding in a corner of the off shoot hallway. Cadno, making short work of his gazer, strode confidently back into the hall and engaged another impaler. With the team quickly wrapping up the inhabitants of the barracks Aelar called out to keep the shaman alive for questioning. After relieving him of his mask the party learned the shaman’s name was Kasszt and he managed to plead for his life in exchange for information. He informed the party that Skalmad’s throne room was nearby and watched as the party ransacked the adjoining rooms making sure their victory there was complete.
Setting out for Skalmad’s throne room the party would quickly regret their mercy as Kasszt sounded an alarm as he led them eastward towards a vast cave that spanned the earlier river with imaplers and maulers waiting for the party as well as a troglodyte chieftain. At first the adventurers found themselves bottle necked as the troglodytes took position but as Lucci unleashed blasts of arcane energy at the group of aggressors while Vennerzad’s spirit wolf and Dwyer appeared behind them they were forced to spread out or die. During the chaos of battle Kasszt made his escape knowing that Cadno would end him if given the chance. The tide of battle turned Chi finished off those few maulers that survived the opening rush of the party. And the party took count of their status preparing to push further into the cave.