The party rested up in the barracks room in preparation for what would likely be the final efforts to clear the goblins/hobgoblins from the cavern system. Once fully restored, they entered the double doors to the east and scouted ahead. In the next room (a large, dark room with an ornate arch in the western wall), Amastacia noticed four hobgoblins that seemed to move around slowly, and without purpose. Being spotted, she quickly summonsed the others to deal with the hobgoblins. It soon became apparent that these hobgoblins were zombies. The party managed to dispatch the zombies without too much difficulty and then examined the arch more closely. Unlike the arches in other doorways, this arch was badly broken and didn’t appear to lead anywhere – it had a blank wall behind it. Some investigation revealed various symbols around the arch, but they didn’t appear to be a type of writing – rather they were more like symbolic icons.
Rick worked out that this was probably a teleportation portal of some sort. Gundahar attempted to repair part of the arch, but soon realised that this would take a long time, given the size of the arch and also that it would probably not restore the arch to “working order”. They decided to move on, given that there wasn’t anything else of interest in the room.
Passing through another demon arch in the east of the room, they could see that there was a short corridor that then opened into a room. This room was clearly the same room that the party had seen from the other side, when they were stopped by several hobgoblin guards. They could hear a voice coming from the room – a chanting incantation. However, the room was obscured by a series of cloths hanging from the ceiling – so it wasn’t clear who was in the room. Amastacia and Rick decided to scout while the other hung back in the corridor. On peaking around the draped fabric (which on closer examination seemed to be embalming cloths), Amastacia and Rick could see a hobgoblin priest praying at an alter. He was surrounded by three skeleton bodyguards and there was a hobgoblin guard on the far side of the room. The hobgoblin guard spotted Amastacia and raised the alarm. The skeletons quickly closed in on the two adventurers, jabbing at them with spears. The hobgoblin cleric targeted Rick with a spell that caused pain and internal damage and followed this up with a spell that beset him with a deep fear – causing Rick to flee the room. With all the skeletons and the hobgoblin focusing on Amastacia, it wasn’t long before she fell, wounded and unconscious. At this point, Jenny, Gundahar and Maloch entered the fray – tearing down the cloths that were obscuring line of sight, rapidly dispatching the skeletons and eventually overcoming the hobgoblin guard. In the heat of the battle, the hobgoblin cleric disappeared (perhaps magically?) Searching the room, the adventurers discovered a pile of treasure next to the alter, mostly coins, but also some candle holders, two scrolls, some silver arrowheads and a jade bracelet. There was also a small statuette which was broken, but Gundahar mended it – revealing a four armed figure, holding kris daggers in each hand. On the alter itself were two candles and a figure of a musclebound hobgoblin – seemingly the subject of worship. The party took a short rest at this point before moving to the double doors in the east of the room.
The doors were barred from the inside, so they required significant physical effort (and several minutes) to smash them apart. These doors let to a short corridor that opened into a small room. The room was fairly dark, lit only by a small candle on a desk in the north of the room. Being first in, Amastacia noticed two small, dark figures disappear into the corner of the room. The hobgoblin priest (Nambrakh) was also in the room – unarmed, and he very quickly surrendered. On being questioned, he explained that the adventurers had destroyed the goblin clan and there was no point in him resisting further. He also explained that the dark creepers were emissaries that had been sent by some drow (who he had not met) to explore the cavern system. They were particularly interested in the mirrors and the gates and the sigils and had reported back to the drow from time to time. There was a narrow crack in the corner of the room, leading to a rough stone tunnel – this was where the dark creepers had escaped.
Searching the room, the party discovered some sheets of parchment in the desk drawer. One had a drawing of the shattered arch and a note written on it in Undercommon, saying “Ruined – no salvageable sigils”, and another was a map showing a forest, with a path leading through it to a marked cabin. The map was titled “Surrinak Hunting Lodge” and there were annotations on the map “trapdoor hearthstone”, " stairs leading down", and “demon arch”. While some of the party were looking at the scrolls, the priest made a dash for the tunnel. Maloch attempted to stop the priest but he managed to slip into the tunnel and flee. Amastacia chased after him for a while but eventually gave up after she was unable to catch up with him. The rest of the party joined her and they followed the tunnel up to the surface where they emerged in the woods – not far from the clearing where they would meet the wagon at noon.