In a few minutes, the warning voice ceases. The corridor dead ends about twenty feet past each gate. Just before the dead end, a cylindrical shaft descends into the floor. Jager grasps the bars of one gate and pulls up. The metal rattles but holds firm. Azereen sends his cat Shadow through the bars. The familiar peers down the shaft and learns that it opens into another corridor or room after twenty feet. A steel ladder runs along the inside of the shaft.
As a group, the Band strains to lift the gate. After a number of tries, the gate screeches and grinds upward a short distance before jamming in its track. Everyone except Fixit can easily fit under the gate. While the rest of the Band works on pulling Fixit through, Mila carefully climbs down the ladder.
Mila advances head first so that she can get a view of the area below before entering. About halfway down, she feels something smash the wall beside her stomach. She looks up and sees a spider-like creature on the wall across from the ladder. The creature projects a ropy appendage from its body, and a stinger bites into Mila’s thigh. She shakes off the poison and lets gravity pull her legs down, simultaneously kicking at the creature. The blows connect, but have no serious effect.
Jager breaks off helping Fixit and rushes to the shaft, drawing his bow. He fires once, and the arrow buries itself deep into the creature’s disc-shaped body. Mile then leaps across the shaft and grips the protruding arrow, dislodging the creature as she falls. Both Mila and the creature land safely, and the battle continues in a long corridor on the level below.
Jager still benefits from a Spider Climb Fixit cast upon him earlier. He crawls down the shaft to aid Mila, but before he reaches the bottom another spider creature appears and attempts to sting him. Jager ignores it and gangs up on the first creature with Mila. The creature has no eyes, ears, or mouth, and does not bleed, resembling a construct more than a living being. Mila and Jager strike until it stops moving.
Fixit finally squeezes through the gate. Azereen rushes forward and jumps down the shaft. In an amazing feat of acrobatics, he lands on the motionless creature without mishap, and fires off a Magic Missile at the second creature behind Jager.
Soon the entire Band of the Nine Towers joins the fight. Fixit plummets down the shaft while Scylien climbs the ladder. As each person descends another spider creature appears to attack that person. The corridor below the shaft is only eight feet wide, and the battlefield is crowded. One of the creatures takes advantage of its eight articulated legs and assaults Scylien from the ceiling. Somehow Azereen avoids the questing stingers and lines up two of the creatures for a Lightning Bolt. Jager also gets singed in the blast.
The battle ends without any serious injuries, and the application of healing wands brings the wounded back up to fighting strength. Now the search for Jenna can truly begin.
This lower level contains a rough grid of eight foot wide passages. A methodical search discovers three doors for three rooms. Each door has a small crystal window. The designations B1, B2, and B3 are carved in Draconic next to the doors. One room holds the mummified corpse of a humanoid that resembles an Illithid, another is empty, and the third contains some sort of liquid, perhaps water, so an opening is not attempted.
During the exploration, Jager and Mila feel a faint rumbling. They run through the corridors and discover that one passage has become a dead end and another has opened to a steep upward incline. The walls, floor, and ceiling of the new tunnel glisten with a slippery substance.
Although the footing is treacherous, Jager still has the use of Spider Climb. He carefully advances to the top of the incline and fastens a rope to guide the others. The incline opens into another rough grid of passages, but these are even more narrow. As the Band passes the first intersection, gates crash down and separate them into three groups: Mila and Jager, Azereen and Scylien, Fixit and the familiar Shadow. Spider creatures materialize in each area and attack.
Jager and Mila handle their adversaries with ease. Fixit avoids his creature by the judicious use of infusions and scrolls. Once Fixit places Construct Bane on his crossbow, the spider goes down fast.
Azereen and Scylien have a more difficult time. Azereen manages to line up a couple creatures for a Lightning Bolt. The spell also catches Jager in the blast. The last creature seems tougher than the rest, and stings Scylien into unconsciousness before being destroyed. When Azereen turns to aid her, she is gone!
The gates soon rise into the ceiling. Mila detects Scylien’s direction with her Mark of Finding. The Band must backtrack to reach the Bard. Now they must recover two lost members.