The party of 10 and a mule continued down the road that exited the tunnel into the enormous cavern known as the Vault of the Drow. They walked through the valley of a dark canyon with crystalline, lichen, and fungi growths of every description sprouting in the gorge. Their way was eerily lit by hazy plum colored moon that never moved across this cavern sky. Humans could see without any light source clearly 40 yards ahead of them and 80 yards out dimly. Dwarves, elves, and halflings with infravision could see double that distance. Human vision was limited to blacks and grays with bluish tints. Infravision was also impacted, with the color palette only consisting of black, grey, blue, purple, dull red, and an occasional green.
As they strode down the road, near the exit from the canyon, a band of 16 crested lizard men known as troglodytes approached them. They wore black tabards depicting an adamantite mace and were armed with maces and polearms. To those with infravision, the troglodytes were puce colored (grey colored for human vision). The troglodytes asked the party in halting Drow elven mingled with hisses if they were friendly to the Dessspana clan. The party presented their Lolth medallion from Trysik, and the troglodytes asked if they were of the Eilservssss clan (turning slightly dark purple as they asked), and the party responded that they were not. When pressed about who they were, the party presented the medallion again and said it was from Trysik. After discussion amongst themselves, the troglodytes concluded they were of the Kilsssek clan, and became disinterested and wondered away northward.
Shortly thereafter, the party came to a crossroads. From the foot traffic, they suspected that the black tower they were to go to was the road straight ahead that climbed a mesa. At the top of the mesa about a mile from the entrance to the Vault was a 55 foot high and round black tower, its stone walls smooth as a stalagmite worn with the ages. Atop the battlements were male Drow guards manning heavy crossbows akin to mobile ballistas. The guards seemed unfazed by the party’s approach, and curtly told the party to “Go in” in common tongue. Indeed, the massive bronze gate to the black tower stood open, and the party walked into a short hall with arrow slits to either side and murder holes above that ended in another gate. The gate of 2 massive adamantite metal bound doors was shut, but a smaller door within it to the left side stood open. Walking through the small door, the party entered a round room and met the High Bailiff of the black tower seated at a desk and flanked by male Drow guards. The High Bailiff did his job in a disinterested fashion, asking the party their business and which clan they associated with. The party’s response that they were traders with clan Sobanwych drew mocking laughter from the Drow, but the High Bailiff was not too concerned with their answers. He took their Lolth medallion, tossed it in a box with other such medallions, and issued each of them a neon lime green cloak (neon blue colored to human vision) to be worn at all times in the Vault by foreigners upon pain of death. He then waived them away, and the party exited the tower and returned to the crossroad below the mesa dressed in their issued cloaks.
From the crossroad, they took the north branch that soon turned westward around the mesa and continued straight to the city of Erelhei-Cinlu as they were informed by the High Bailiff. They met no travelers along the 3 mile route to Erelhei-Cinlu. Along the way, they passed by the edge of a large fungi forest with massive mushrooms growing as tall as 9 feet.
The road they traveled ended at the gate of Erelhei-Cinlu, which was circled by a 30 foot tall wall of black stone and patrolled by male Drow elves. Like the gate to the black tower, the city’s gate was open to this ancient and depraved city of the Drow – a city as big as Dyvers on the surface world above. Beyond the gate, the road forked into 2 main streets, north and south. The party chose the street to their left and wandered south. The main street haphazardly snaked through tightly crowded and strangely disturbing stone buildings. The street was dimly illuminated by phosphorescent lichen and fire beetle cages. The thoroughfare was thronged with the most unlikely mixture of underworld creatures imagined, many wearing lime green cloaks: Drow elves, bugbears, troglodytes, Koa-Toan fish men, mollusk men, orcs, goblins, and various miserable Drow slaves (including dwarves, gnomes, surface elves, and humans). Three mean-looking ringlefinch trolls marched through, and the party and other city folk wisely gave way so as to not provoke them.
Dug Rocktoad, Hemdar, and the 3 packbearers with the mule decided they did not wish to venture too far into this evil city, and the adventures decided to split from them as they stabled their mule with pack lizards. The men remaining behind rested themselves in the stable with the mule after a day of travel because there were few options for a place to sleep in this city that never rested. The 5 adventurers went on to hunt for Lareth the Beautiful.
On their way through the winding street, 3 signs scribed in phosphorescent chemicals took the adventurers’ eyes: Two dice; Three alluring elven women; and a Surface elf head with a dagger through its eye. The elven women sign drew them in, and not surprisingly they entered a bordello. The brothel madam was a Drow woman. In common tongue she welcomed them and said that she would match them with suitable female whores. Aguiler got exceptionally lucky, and for 10 pps he slept with a gorgeous surface elf – best night of his life. Jadis slept with a human whore with beautiful long legs for 5 pps. Something was darkly sinister about her look, and he managed to resist kissing her as he curled off to sleep after humping her legs. Night Shadow was presented with an orc whore for 2 pps, and even needing rest, Night Shadow brusquely refused such an indignity. The Drow madam took offense to the rejection, and a hefty bugbear bouncer was ordered to throw him out. The bugbear tried to grab Night Shadow, but the thief swiftly avoided the bugbear. Night Shadow leapt out of the bordello only wishing that he could have landed a cheap shot on the bugbear before he left. Mardak and Torc went out with him.
As Aguiler and Jadis enjoyed their rest, Mardak, Torc, and Night Shadow entered a tavern with the sign of the elf head with a dagger through its eye. A scurvy orc served up fungi gruel and sour wine to them. At a table behind them, Night Shadow heard the name of Rannos Davl mentioned and perked up his ears. He remembered that Rannos Davl was the associate of Gremag who poisoned their army before the battle with the Temple of Elemental Evil. He overheard the male Drow thief named Lymne behind him say to his Drow friend that he had stolen the ruby studded chalice from the lesser temple of Lolth in the “Egg of Lolth”. Lymne sold it to Rannos Davl who was staying at the city guest house of the noble clan Everhate. However, Rannos Davl double crossed him by selling him platinum plated bronze bars. Lymne returned to Rannos Davl to try to talk to him, but he was chased away by a night dragon! This dragon was a pet of a mysterious colleague of his. Lymne wagered his friend that Rannos Davl would ransom the chalice back to the temple before 2 days passed.
(My traditional closing information has been edited out this session).