Session 65: The Spring Equinox

It was dark when the group returned to the keep, and, looking forward to Brother Martin's dawn sermon, they all hurried to their quarters so they would be fully rested.

It was still dark when Valeria woke, and woke the rest of the occupants of their shared quarters.

Philip was particularly tired, and had a slight headache.

They stopped at The One-Eye Cat for a quick meal. Jess was notably absent. Valeria asked Wilf if he knew where she was, and he went off to find her. When he returned, he said she was still sleeping and he could not rouse her.

When they arrived at the chapel, Brother Martin was already at the altar. Abercrombie and the acolytes were nearby. They took seats at the front of the chapel.

"Thank you all for coming," Brother Martin began. "I know it's a little earlier than you're used to, but since we're all here, let's get started. Please join me in the Song of Dawn."

"Wake from your sleep all you weary ones
Who are leary of the night
Look to the east all you dreary ones
Who are waiting for the light

Dawn is breaking and a new day is born
The world is singing the song of the dawn
Birds are singing
Hear them welcome the morn
They're sweetly singing the song of the dawn

Yesterday the sky was grey
Look this morning they're blue
The smiling sun tells everyone
Come and start life anew

Sing hallelujah
For the dark night is gone
The world is singing the song of the dawn
Sing hallelujah
For the dark night is gone
The world is singing the song of the dawn"

"Last time we gathered, we discussed who Lathander is. This time, I would like to talk about how he informs my thinking and how I think he can help us get along in our adventures."

As Brother Martin continued, many people wandered in and, hearing Brother Martin preach, sat in the pews.

"Thank you Lathander for granting us this new day and a light to illuminate our path, and thank you everyone for coming," Brother Martin preached. "Something I’ve realized recently while adventuring and fighting alongside all of you, is that being good is not always easy. Even Lathander, in his attempt to improve upon the pantheon of gods, was challenged and met with misfortune that led to the Dawn Cataclysm, but in his wisdom, Lathander knows that each defeat is simply marking a new beginning to come. We sometimes fear that we made the wrong decision or weren’t good enough when it mattered most; I know Yanliz, particularly, was dismayed by the events that unfurled with the bugbears, but Lathander teaches that as long as you strive to improve yourself and the world, you are not forsaken.

"I believe that we are improving every single day, including yesterday when we met all those kobolds. We didn’t have to engage in some sort of conflict. We didn't have some epic fight between good and evil, but instead we showed them mercy, and we gave them a chance to become better. They even offered to help us defeat a greater evil, though in the end we didn't end up needing them and the price was too high. But nonetheless, we were all able to go back to our separate sides without having to resort to violence, and nobody had to pay. The opportunity to give those chances, and allow others the opportunity to be something better, is really what Lathander means to me.

"It's hard sometimes to stretch a hand out to those that may do us harm, but Lathander insists on forgiveness because killing someone, even if they may want to do you harm, does not increase the amount of good in the world. Like getting rid of someone, even if they're evil, doesn't make anything better. It doesn't increase the good. It does get rid of the evil, but the good is not any greater than it was before. What we can do to increase good is show others the right path and give them those chances, those opportunities to do good, like we did with those kobolds. Because if we don't, then we're not really building on the good in the world.

"Lately, I’ve been wondering exactly what I am fighting for when I came to join you. I knew that I wanted to help the people of The Keep. And I knew that I wanted to support my friends. But one of the reasons I'm here is to give the caves a rebirth. For a long time they have been a symbol of evil, and as a place for evil to nest and create more evil. But once we get rid of that evil, it will have a new chance to develop into something good, and I think that's what it comes down to, and what Lathander means to me.

"What we have been doing is difficult, and we have been met with much evil intent along the way, but every day when the sun rises, we have a new opportunity to put good into the world."

"Amen!" erupted from the pews as Brother Martin's companions applauded, along with a couple of the acolytes.

"If you have any questions," Brother Martin offered, "I'm sure I can answer them."

"Sure," Vernim asked. "What do you take out of the Dawn Cataclysm? I know you briefly touched on it, but I was wondering if you had anything more to say about it."

"While it was not as successful as it was supposed to be," Brother Martin opined, "restructuring the entire pantheon is definitely a hefty task — but what is most notable is that even in his defeat, and the destruction of Tyche, Lathander did not lay down in defeat. It's about getting back up and trying things again, because even defeat is an opportunity to start something again."

"Thank you," Vernim replied. "That's very inspiring."

"Brother Martin?" Prynhawn asked. "I thought your words were wonderful. I truly related to what you're saying. I just had one curious question. So during this adventure, we've been facing many situations where we had to draw lines between giving a second chance and actually having to deal with the problem. Where do you think we should draw lines?"

"And that is the hardest part!" Brother Martin explained, "Because I think that we can all agree that we should only be helping those that really want to change. Those that want to do good. And what we have to do is find those that are willing to change, because obviously necromancers that are creating undead are probably not looking for a second chance. But those kobolds, they had their backs up against the wall. They were being invaded from all sides, and it seemed like they were looking for a way out. It didn't seem like they wanted to fight, and that's the kind of thing you have to look for when you're deciding who to forgive. It's those who don't want to perpetuate violence. It's those who want to start something new. Those who are looking to make reparations."

"Okay," Prynhawn replied. "So do you think that we should kind of consider it case by case, rather than applying— "

"It's so subjective," Brother Martin interjected. "If it were easy then everyone would be doing it. And as much as I would like to forgive everyone — and I really would, it would mean everything —  some just aren't looking for it, so the best we can do is forgive them once and if they try to perpetuate violence more then we keep them from keeping others from their new beginnings."

"I see," Prynhawn replied. "Thank you."

Brother Martin stepped down from the altar and joined his companions, taking with him a planter from the altar.

"All I can say is that it was very good," Philip chimed in. "It definitely put things in a new light for me. I haven't really thought about it that way. It's very inspiring and i'm really glad to work with you, because a lot of these things are so tough, and so situational, and it's so hard to know what's right. But it seems like you really have a handle on it, and I really appreciate what you said."

"And one of the biggest hiccups was the bugbears," Brother Martin explicated. "Yanliz, I know that you were really struggling with that internally, and I think that as long as you continue to strive to make those decisions better, that everything will work out well."

"Ah, thank you, Brother Martin," Yanliz replied.

Some of the congregants had gathered around them to listen to their discussion.

Brother Martin produced flower seeds from a pouch and handed them out to his companions and all those who had gathered around him, inviting them to plant the seeds in the pot he held.

As Philip took the seed, he stood up on the pew to look into the pot as he planted the seed. "This is very nice. Do you know what kind of flowers these are?"

"Morning glories," Brother Martin replied. "We used to plant them where I was raised."

The congregants that had gathered around and planted the seeds thanked Brother Martin for his words of wisdom.

After they had dispersed, Abercrombie approached. "That was very nice, Brother Martin, very nice. Good luck on your adventuring today."

"Thank you," Brother Martin replied. "And you, with whatever affairs you have coming."

"Good luck today," Abercrombie said to the rest of the group, "banishing evil from the wilds!"

"Thank you," Valeria replied, "We might take a rest today, but tomorrow we will be back."

"A rest day?" Abercrombie snorted. "I guess it is the spring equinox."

When they left the chapel, they headed to the Quartermaster's shop.

Quartermaster Moseley greeted them and was happy to sell them rations and bowstrings.

When they left the Quartermaster's shop, they headed back to The Green Man inn, except for Brother Martin and Philip veered off to drop the planter at Brother Martin's apartment before returning to The One-Eyed Cat for a late breakfast.

At The Green Man inn, they picked up some treasure from their room before heading to the bank, where they greeted Mouse, and Valeria sold the dresses, goblets, and candelabra from the caves. She deposited the proceeds in the bank, along with a bunch of extra coins.

At The One-Eyed Cat, Brother Martin and Philip were greeted by Mendel, who was picking up plates of hot food from the counter. "Oh, Brother Martin. And Philip. Good morning! I didn't expect to see you here! I thought you would be at the caves, ridding the area of evil." He brought the two plates to the table, where another man was seated.

"We decided to take the day off for the spring equinox!" Brother Martin explained.

"Of course," Mendel nodded. "Would you like to join us? Me and my good friend Asham over here were just enjoying breakfast."

"Sure..." Brother Martin agreed, slightly confused. "Philip, do you mind?"

"Eat," Mendel said to Asham, placing a plate in front of each of them. "Enjoy."

"Thank you!" Asham replied. "You're a good friend."

Brother Martin and Philip grabbed some food from the counter and sat down beside them.

"Uh, you two..." Brother Martin stammered slightly. "Are you two just sitting here as friends having a conversation, or doing business?"

"A little bit of both," Mendel replied. "A little bit of both."

"Asham, how are you feeling?" Brother Martin inquired. "The last time I saw you, you were not in the greatest of states."

"Oh, I'm good!" Asham replied. "I'm just enjoying a good breakfast with my good friend Mendel!"

"Any word from Baricus?" Philip asked the merchant.

"No," Mendel replied. "I haven't seen him in while. I've been here at The Keep since the last time I saw you, a couple of days ago. But I'm leaving this morning. Devdas and Ohtar are getting everything ready." He turned to Asham. "Asham, you said those barrels will be ready for me, right?"

"Of course," Asham replied. "Just like we agreed."

"Where are you headed?" Brother Martin inquired.

"I'm headed east," Mendel revealed. "Philip, if I happen to run into Baricus, would you like me to deliver a message?"

"I was just wondering," Philip replied "I don't have a message, but I was just wondering if he's doing alright. I'm sure he is."

"He was doing good the last time I saw him," Mendel replied. "The lucky stiff! The last time I saw them they were looking to settle down."

After some more small talk, Mendel and Asham had finished eating.

"Well, I'm going to be heading off," Mendel said, rising from his chair. "It was a pleasure to see you both again. Asham, shall we?"

"Of course, friend Mendel," Asham replied.

After the two had departed, Brother Martin and Philip commented on the awkwardness of the meeting, and Brother Martin had to explain what a lucky stiff meant to Philip.

As Philip and Brother Martin were discussing where best to plant the morning glories, and finishing their breakfast, the rest of their companions returned from their errands.

They discussed whether they should purchase horses with their newfound wealth. Brother Martin thought it would be a good way to reduce the travel time to the caves and back. Yanliz was concerned about where they would keep the horses while they were exploring the caves. Philip wondered if they could keep the horses in one of the caves they had already explored. Prynhawn didn't think they would be worth the trouble. Valeria thought it would wind up being a waste of coin.

As they were debating the issue, Jess entered the common room. When she was finished eating, they headed to the stables.

Tella, the stable girl, showed them Dynamo and Happy and promised she had been taking good care of them. They looked to be in good shape. She confirmed that they have eleven horses they could sell: six draft horses, four riding horses, and one old war horse.

Ultimately, they decided the caves were too dangerous a place to leave horses.

"Jess," Valeria asked, "did you want to deposit anything in the bank?"

Jess agreed, and they all visited the bank, most of them for the second time that day.

"Welcome back," Mouse greeted them. "You're back so soon. Hi there, Philip. Good to see you. I'm glad you were able to stop by."

"Hi, Mouse," Philip returned. "Sorry I wasn't able to stop by earlier."

"Hi, Mouse," Jess greeted. "Can you take a look at this sword?" She handed Mouse her silver sword.

Brother Martin cast detect magic and examined everything they were carrying, confirming that the silver sword was not magical.

"This is a nice sword," Mouse exclaimed after examining it. "I'll give you 150 gold coins for it. Where did you get it?"

"I found it in the bugbear cave," Jess revealed. "One of the bugbears was using it as a meat skewer. But Mouse, this is a pretty nice silver short sword. Come on, we've known each other for a while. It's got to be worth at least 200."

"You know what?" Mouse agreed after some haggling. "I'll give you 200."

"Thank you," Jess replied, pulling out the ax she took from the Minotaur. "How about this great ax?"

"Wow, what did you do to this thing?" Mouse balked. "I'll give you 15 gold coins for it. It looks like you used it to chop down a stone tree."

"I got it from a Minotaur," Jess bragged. "That should bring the value up. You gotta give me at least 20 for this. It's a strong weapon."

"Alright, fine." Mouse conceded.

"Mouse, I have one more question for you," Jess continued, pulling out her six Minotaur horns. "Would you be willing to purchase any Minotaur horns?"

"What do I need a Minotaur horn for?" Mouse questioned.

"I don't," Jess replied. "You could use them for decoration. Bragging rights?"

"I'll give you a gold coin for each," Mouse agreed.

"How about eight for all six?" Jess haggled.

"You know what, Jess?" You're lucky I'm giving you a gold coin each."

"Alright," Jess agreed. "I'll give you five. I'm keeping one as a souvenir."

Jess deposited the coins she was carrying for the party in the bank as well.

"Thanks, I'll see you soon, Mouse." Philip said, as they left.

At noon, they made their way back to the chapel.

As they approached, they heard shouting from within. Once inside, they saw that Abercrombie was in the middle of a sermon:

"It was said today, that being good is not always easy. And that we all surely know all too well. Helm tells us that we must remain vigilant to ensure we don't falter! To ensure we don't take the easy path. The selfish path. For that is the path to chaos! It is easy to turn on our backs on the gates between civilized society and the chaos on the other side! Or maybe we see a friendly face on the other side of the gates. Or a helping hand. But I say: beware! For too often the helping hand is a distraction from the other hand that holds a knife behind one's back! The friendly face is born by those that seek to mislead and beguile! That is why Helm tells us we must all remain vigilant and guard the gates that separate us goodly folk from those that would lead us into chaos! And when that chaos pushes up against the gates and refuses to withdraw, it is our duty to engage them in conflict and not shy away! Those that push up on the gates are not deserving of mercy. For mercy is just a chance for them to regroup and come back stronger! Those that would spread chaos live in chaos. They may fight among themselves, but do not let yourself be drawn into their squabbles. We must not turn our back on them just because we share a common enemy! We must not be tricked into thinking we can open our doors to them. We must not be tricked into thinking we can teach them to live like us. For that is not the teaching of Helm! There is no righteousness in offering them a  place in our hearts or a foot in the door. Helm says those that will not back down from the gate must be put down! The only way for the good and the lawful to live in peace is to eradicate those that would try to infringe on our civilized society. For when chaos is gone, what is left? What is left is our good and civilized society. So you see why we cannot be lazy."

Abercrombie pointed to the group as they stood in the back of the chapel.

"Like these adventurers; when they're not here, they're taking up arms in the fight against chaos, as Helm requires of us all. Like Helm, we must be ever aware and ever on the offense against the chaos that threatens this land! The righteous will have their day, when evil is brought down, but only if the good remain vigilant!"

There was a chorus of "Amen!" erupted from the pews when Abercrombie was finished.

Abercrombie approached the group. "I'm so pleased you made time to listen to the teaching of Helm on your day off."

"It was a pleasure," Valeria replied.

"It was great, Abercrombie," Vernim added. "I really resonated with a lot of that. I think it was a great sermon. I really enjoyed it. Thank you, Abercrombie."

"We were actually wondering if it would be possible for Vernim to give a sermon," Valeria inquired.

"Of course, of course! We have a packed house," Abercrombie confirmed, turning to the congregants. "Everyone, remain in your seats. We have a special guest today."

"The stage is all yours," Abercrombie offered to Vernim.

"I'm very honored by you saying that, Abercrombie," Vernim replied. "Thank you very much."

Vernim walked through the aisle between the mostly uninterested congregants.

"Abercrombie was really riled up today!" he heard one say to another.

Vernim stepped up to the altar, and began, "Greetings and salutations to you all, and I thank you for attending this sermon on Lady Luck, also known to many as Tymora. As some of you may or may not know, I personally follow Tymora and many of her ideals. In this sermon, I will discuss the history of Tymora’s existence in her various forms, and I hope to follow it up sometime when I delve into Tymora’s complex belief system and her ideals. Is that acceptable to everyone?"

After a pause, there was an "Amen" from the pews.

"Wonderful. All I ask you to do is listen to the history and at the end tell me what meaning you may have gotten out of it. Before I discuss Tymora, let me tell you all about Tyche, the original goddess of fortune. Tyche encompassed both good luck and bad luck. Fortune and misfortune. When she manifested in the mortal realm, she did it in different forms that depended on if she brought good or ill luck. When appearing to grant good fortune, she often took the form of a silver eagle or a silver pegasus. Sometimes, she also manifested as a silver glow that was evident only to gamblers she favored and not those around them. When this happened, something favorable would occur regarding the wager. When appearing to herald misfortune, she preferred to appear as a 12-foot-tall giant female with her skin a purplish hue brought on by hysteria, wreathed in snow-white, swirling hair, with her features twisted into a sneer of madness while laughing maniacally. As you can tell, there's a huge sense of duality in Tyche, and that's going to be very important for what's going to happen very soon. Tyche was a strong ally of Lathander, as many of their ideas and visions for the world aligned. Some even whisper that Tyche and Lathander were once lovers. Nevertheless, as my good friend Brother Martin may know, Lathander’s attempt to shape the pantheon of deities more in his own image, also known as the Dawn Cataclysm, was an unfortunate failure, resulting in the destruction of several deities and powerful outsiders, including Tyche. But in the sermon today, if you did not attend it, Brother Martin was speaking about Lathander and what Lathander means to him. I really resonated with Brother Martin’s message of offering a second chance, and that is definitely something we should remember. An evil god named Moander infected Tyche. Good gods and goddesses were unsure how to handle this, but thankfully, the merciful goddess Selûne, who all followers of Tymora, including myself, are eternally grateful for, split Tyche into two deities. It was said that moment resulted in a gigantic explosion of cataclysmic proportions. Out of the ashes came Beshaba, the evil goddess of misfortune, who encapsulated all negative traits from Tyche, and her sister Tymora, the goddess of good luck and fortune. In Tymora, Selûne had saved all that was good and pure in Tyche. And as I said before, Tyche was both good and bad. Both fortune and misfortune.  And Tymora was all of the positive things: good fortune, goodness of the world.

"During the times of troubles, a time where gods walked the earth, It is thought that the manifested presence of Tymora's avatar spared kingdoms from chaos, which affected most of the rest of Faerûn at the time. This is one of the reasons I follow Tymora. She brings wealth, safety, and security to all of her loyal followers who adhere to her belief in luck. Tymora was involved in an unfortunate misunderstanding when Sune encouraged her and Tyr to pursue a romantic relationship. Tyr was led to believe (some say due to the machinations of the evil god of murder), that Helm, who was chaperoning the couple, was seeing Tymora behind his back. This led to a fight in which Helm was apparently slain. So upset was Tymora at this turn of events, that she abandoned her realm in Brightwater, a Celestial plane. She was promptly accepted by Selûne to live in the Gates of the Moon. This is another example of why the followers of Tymora are so grateful for Selûne. Beshaba was her fiercest foe, but she also held enmity for Bane and Moander. And no matter what god you worship here, I think we can all agree that evil gods, such as Bane and Moander, have no place in this world. Though she held no malice towards them, she occasionally played tricks and pranks on the more stoic deities, such as Helm and Tyr. Followers of Tymora are especially grateful for the gods Lathander and Selûne, who I mentioned earlier. At any rate, as luck would have it, it seems our time is up. Perhaps you will let me speak about Tymora’s beliefs sometime and why I am so insistent on following the belief of good fortune and luck. May Tymora shine on you and smile upon you. Thank you."

"Does anyone have any questions about Tymora," Vernim asked. "I'm happy to answer them."

Most of the distracted congregants rose from their seats and lined up to meet with the acolytes who were waiting at the side of the chapel. When they were done with the acolytes they made their way to the exit, tithing on the way.

"Thank you for listening about Tymora," Vernim waved. "I hope you come back again sometime."

Yanliz was sitting in the back corner, twirling an arrow.

"I have a question, actually," Brother Martin spoke up. "I don't think I've ever talked to you about this. When I think of how I follow Lathander it's a lot of influence on how I live my life. How does Tymora impact your day to day behavior? What is her morality?"

"Sure," Vernim answered. "I generally try to be as good a person as I can, and I try to follow the principles of— I try to be kind to the world. I try to treat others as I personally would like to be treated. And I definitely don't intend on being cruel, or patronizing anyone. That's definitely something I try to avoid. I also attempt to— Another way Tymora influences me is I lean into her principles of good fortune and I believe that the principles of luck will guide me and will lead me to success. In many ways that's sort of like Waukeen, I guess you could say. So if we're confused on something — I know some people don't appreciate this as much as I do — but if we're in a situation where we're not sure what to do, I believe it is wise to put ourselves in the faith of Tymora, as Tymora will guide us toward salvation, and Tymora will guide us in the right direction, if that makes sense."

"And if, for example," Brother Martin asked, "when we're in the caves, if you flip a coin, and it leads to something bad, what does that mean to you?"

"I believe that everything happens for a reason," Vernim explained, "and the mistakes we make and the decisions we make are ultimately so that we can become better people in the eyes of Tymora. And if someone meets an untimely end, Tymora has better plans for them, or the gods have better plans for them in the afterlife. Or perhaps they die a martyr for their cause, or they die and will eventually be reborn."

"Huh," Brother Martin acknowledged "That's interesting."

"So, Vernim?" Prynhawn asked. "Do you believe that if you do good deeds that you will receive good luck?"

"Yes," Vernim replied.

"Okay," Prynhawn replied. "Yeah, I was wondering about that, because — I don't know — this is my opinion, but I don't necessarily felt that — I always thought that like was rather something that you cannot control, so I thought it was very interesting that— "

"Well, you can't control it to an extent," Vernim corrected. "I mean ultimately, as I said, Tymora will make the right decision for you, but definitely if you follow Tymora and you adhere to her ideals and in doing so you're a good person, you can become favored by Tymora and Tymora will give you good luck. That sort of thing. If that makes sense"

"Oh, I see," Prynhawn replied. "Thank you."

"I have a question," Valeria said. "So you said that if you are a good person and you follow the tenets of Tymora, you're more likely to get good luck. Does that apply in the opposite as well? If you're a bad person, are you more likely to have bad luck?"

"Not really, no." Vernim explained. "Because Tymora only gives good fortune. Although that's a good question, I don't think so, because Tymora only gives things to people, she will never take them away, and that's something that Beshaba would do, Beshaba, as I said, is the goddess of misfortune and bad luck. So, I definitely need to read more on Beshaba. That's a goddess I do not align with, but yeah, Tymora will give you things, but she will never take them away. Does that make sense?"

"She won't take them away," Valeria reiterated. "Okay. Yes."

They thanked Abercrombie for allowing them to enjoy their chapel.

On their way out, Philip, Brother Martin, Lawrence, Prynhawn, Valeria, Yanliz, Jess, and Vernim dropped coins in the bowl held by the acolyte by the door.

They spent the rest of the day enjoying the spring festivities.

Philip and Vernim took their mounts for a ride, just outside the keep. Philip practiced standing on Happy's back as they galloped around.

The next morning, they rose early and left for the caves.

The sun was high in the sky when they made it to the caves.

After checking to make sure no one was watching, they entered the labyrinth with Valeria carrying the light and the double bladed ax.

At each intersection, they marked the wall with a unique numeral.

After many intersections, they came to a dead-end after a long tunnel. They knew there was a secret door on the wall. Valeria waved her ax in front of the round portal, and it became clearly visible from the surrounding wall. Prynhawn opened the thick portal and Yanliz peered inside.

It was dark inside, but Yanliz saw slight movement coming from multiple humanoid shapes. Some were lying on the ground.

They closed the door and returned to the next intersection.

At each dead-end, Valeria waved the ax, but no secret doors were revealed in many of them.

At a dead-end, Valeria revealed a secret door in the wall. Yanliz opened the door and peered in, stealthily.

Yanliz saw a man and a woman sitting on either side of a small table. On the table were two candles, one red, one black, that had almost burned out. They were staring at small figures on the table. The man and woman were partially disrobed and several articles of red and black clothing lay strewn about on the floor.

He closed the door and described what he saw, concluding that the two were probably playing a game. Valeria suggested they were probably playing chess.

They considered taking advantage of the situation, but agreed to finish mapping out the secret doors.

They reversed course to the next intersection.

At the next dead-end, Valeria revealed a secret door on the ceiling. Yanliz climbed on top of Prynhawn's shoulders and pushed the portal up. The thick door swung up easily.

The small dark chamber above smelled like rot. Yanliz recognized the smell from when they fought Lykos.

After consulting with the group, he stealthily climbed up into the chamber, ducking under the low ceiling of the natural chamber. Fifteen feet away was an exit. Peering out he saw sticks, bones, dried grass, scraps of fur, and bits of metal were strewn outside the area. Beyond that was the fungus cave.

He slipped back down through the portal, closing the door above him.

He described what he saw to the group, and they returned to the next unexplored intersection.

At a dead-end Valeria, revealed a secret door in the wall. Yanliz peered inside stealthily and immediately recognized the bugbear common room.

He closed the portal and they reversed course to the last intersection.

At a dead-end, Valeria revealed a secret door in the wall. Yanliz opened the portal and peered inside. From a corner of a small empty room, he saw a small wooden table with two chairs sitting in the middle, and a chest against a wall. There were two stone doors at opposite ends of the room. A chalk map of the wilderness around the keep was drawn on the far wall, with many annotations scribbled on it in some strange runes.

He recognized the secret room connecting the bandit cave and the old orc cave.

He closed the portal and the reversed course back to the last intersection.

At a dead-end Valeria, revealed a secret door on the ceiling. Yanliz climbed on top of Prynhawn's shoulders and easily pushed the thick portal up. Peering inside he saw a small, bare room with a little wooden table and three toppled chairs. He closed the door, and climbed down from Prynhawn's shoulders.

"It's the bandit cave," Yanliz explained. "Where the bandits were playing cards."

They reversed course to the last unexplored intersection.

At a dead-end, Valeria revealed a secret door on the floor. Yanliz pulled the portal up and peered down into a small, narrow chamber with manacles on the wall. On the far wall, the exit was blocked by a large piece of furniture.

They were surprised to learn that there had been a secret door where they had kept Duranki for so long.

They reversed course to the last unexplored intersection.

At a dead-end, Valeria revealed a secret door in the wall. Yanliz opened the portal and recognized the room where Dubricus had blasted the kobolds with a thunderwave.

After passing the spot where they had fought a Minotaur, they reached the boulder room.

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