Staunton Vhane was defeated but there were still demon denizens in Drezen, and the Sword of Valor was not recovered yet. The lower dungeons of the Drezen citadel awaited us.
We recovered, gathered our gear, and companions (including a new one, Tirdal an Aasimar who wielded arcane magics) and proceed to the depths of the citadel. The upper citadel had an evil aura that damped our efforts, here in the lower parts the evil aura intensified. We were clearly in enemy territory. We first arrived at a sort of prison cells that were now empty. We proceeded down a corridor with more empty cells, and we were ambushed by some wraiths that were quickly disposed of. One actually ran away from us, and we gave chase only to arrive at a room with several vampire spawns. Bundühr, Ragnor, and me went to battle on melee, while Threkil, Arkazar, and Tirdal stayed behind blasting from afar. They weren’t so hard to defeat, but we needed some wooded stakes to keep really extra ‘dead’.
On our chase we passed two sides doors which we skipped because of the pursuit of the wraith. We went through one of this doors, went down a stairwell, only to find 2 demons, 2 vampire-spawns, and an orc vampire, the leader of the spawns. The mages shined now after slacking before, Tirdal conjured a flame wall and even called down an ice storm on our adversaries, and Arkazar shoot some fireballs in the whole mess. After the magics fall off, we entered in melee to mop up what was left. This room had nothing special, but there were a couple of other rooms, an office and more cells. There was one survivor, but was too exhausted after tortures and the feeding of the vampires, that all Threkil could do was stabilize him.
After the battle the orc vampire was not vanishing/decaying as the vampire spawns, his coffin and source of power still prevailed. We thoroughly searched for it, and Threkil found a small opening into a secret chamber with a coffin in it, jackpot! After discussing how could we enter, Bundühr just created a door by using his divine magic. A divine cleansing finally destroyed the vampires power, and his body began to decay.
While all this happened tremors began to rumble through the dungeon. I first detected this disturbance, but others began to feel them as well, the tremors were intensifying in power. We recalled that the seneschal Chorussina wanted to destroy the city, the tremors were a bad omen, some evil ritual was being performed and had to be stopped, quickly! No time for a rest. In preparation Arkazar summoned an earth elemental, which would be a big move.
We headed to the only other obvious location, the other door in the corridor with cells. To our disappointment we did not find anyone here. It was just more prison cells, but these ones made to contain more powerful beings, including anti-magic fields. One of the cells was of particular interest. The walls were full of butterflies, the symbol of Desna the goddess of dreams, stars and travel. This was probably where the heretic succubus was being held before she escaped. Staunton Vhane was searching for her in vain after she escaped, her current whereabouts are unknown. This cell still had a lingering presence of Desna, which explains how the succubus escaped. It also worked to our advantage, inside the cell the evil aura dissipated helping our clerics cast their spells.
The tremors continued to intensify, and we had no clear indication of where to go. We probably missed a secret door. Bundühr called on Torag to guide us, and we got a general direction in which to go, the first room with prison cells. There we found the secret passage into the Forge, the one being used to corrupt holy weapons.
We were on a platform 10 feet above a huge room with the forge. Bars blocked the fast way down. A small 10 feet sq elevator lowered into the room. Guarding the forge were 6 salamanders. Bundühr, Threkil and Ragnor went down to battle toe to toe. The rest stayed above firing arrows and blasting magics to them. The best move was Brock, the earth elemental. He took the brunt of the salamanders attack which included a fire damage each time one hit them in melee, The battle was fierce and Ragnor had to be healed through the damage. One salamander avoided fighting and just went to the back to open the sigils protecting the back door. As he finished disabling the seals, we brought it down. The battle was won. We recovered our wounds, and took 5 min to rest. Chorussina awaited and we had no time, the ritual was nearing conclusion.