From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna
Godsday turning Waterday, 19th day of the Readying, inside the ruined moathouse east of Hommlet
Our last night in this evil place. All the preparations have been met; all that remains is one more night. The source of corruption that permeates this place remains unknown, but it will have to wait. Our charges, the Ross brothers, cannot hope to live another day without proper medical aid, and our company too is tired and in need of rest in safe and hospitable surroundings. We made one last round, down in the cellars of the moathouse, as we feared the evil influence might awaken the dead from their eternal slumber. My companions deemed it prudent to decapitate the ogre Lubash, and Weebrian suggested the idea of impaling the head on a spike and displaying it as a warning sign in the courtyard. Let us hope it will be to some avail. We investigated the cells but found them strangely clean and empty, and no sign was found of a hidden passageway which could explain the secretive perambulations of the Blackhand leader Hal.
We took turns keeping the last watch. Not long after strange cries were heard coming from down below, confirming that our enemies still dwelled there unmolested. One more night, and we can depart.
Dawn came, and with it two familiar faces. The elf woman Ellaria returned from Hommlet, accompanied by none other than the ranger Elmo. Ellaria had relayed our findings to lord Burne and sir Rufus during a town meeting, and had hastened back afterwards. Elmo was his usual thick self, but made himself useful by taking the fate of the Ross brothers out of our hands. I fear for their safety in the hands of that oaf, but they need to be returned to Hommlet forthwith, and my companions have made it clear that they wish to investigate the source of the sounds in the cellar, before we set off. With a heavy heart and a sense of foreboding I put on my armor, and make ready to descend one final time.
We found the cellar devoid of bodies. The mystery of their disappearance was soon solved, however. Our intrepid companion Chryseis led us back to the ogre’s room, where she discovered, in the nick of time, a tripwire in the doorway, leading to the larder. The halfling rascal Basil immediately set to work in neutralizing the trap, but the chosen method of doing so - namely pulling the wire - proved more hazardous than at first surmised. The sound of shattering glass could be heard, and a billowing cloud of gas started filling the room. Most of us withdrew at once, but Chryseis and Kazireh succumbed to the expanding cloud. Bravely - and foolishly - Madrak charged in to haul them out, but his attempt proved no more successful. Once we had reached a safe distance, we heard a scraping sound coming from the ogre’s chamber, and I suspected our companions were in peril. I charged in and withstood the ill effects of the gas long enough to discover the source of it in the larder, attempted to douse the flame and look for my companions. Only discovered two of them, before the gas became too overpowering and all I could do was to leave the room before I too collapsed.
Awoke later in the courtyard. Philius Tilm had apparently managed to drag out Kazireh and Madrak on his own - quite the feat for one of such a diminutive stature - but Chryseis had vanished without a trace. Without wasting more time we returned below once again to find our missing comrade. By now the smoke had all but dissipated, and thanks to the keen eye of Ellaria we soon found a secret passageway leading from the ogre’s room. It proved to be the very same passage Hal had used to escape the strong room above, but it also led even further down through yet another secret door. We descended a flight of stairs, evading an obvious trap, as Kazireh followed a trail of yellowish gas residue, to find ourselves in a set of narrow tunnels leading off in two separate directions. It was not long before we were beset from either side by a band of bugbears, but they proved no match for our prowess and the keen edge of the song spear. Soon after we heard the sound of approaching dogmen; they too will fall before us.
[Here the notes end abruptly; in a different handwriting the following is scrawled in the margins of the page]
A trap! Chryseis taken hostage by foul beasts, and Ellaria, Alric and Wilstan suffered the same fate!
[In a third handwriting, slightly different from the first, the notes continue]