After defeating the hook horrors and their Rakshasa “chieftan”, the party was granted the safe passage through dark creeper territory they had been promised. Not far beyond the creepers’ caverns, they were presented with yet another obstacle, when suddenly Gnarl refused to take another step, apparently under the influence of some sort of antipathy effect. The group eventually decided to tie the gnome to Barrah in order to advance. Upon entering the field, the party was stunned to discover that the caverns within had somehow been shaped out of the underdark stone, rather than naturally developed or carved. Turning to Ember for an explanation, the adventurers were surprised to learn that the dwarf could come up with no known comparison for the craftmanship. Suddenly, some of the apparently decorative stalagmites roared to life and attacked the group, revealing themselves to be ropers. Despite being surprised by the creatures, the party managed to fend the ropers off, only to encounter more of them as they continued to explore the caverns. Eventually, they found themselves in some sort of stone maze, at the center of which was a crystalline tree bearing gemstone fruit. As the party considered the implications of this discovery, a strange three-armed, three-legged and three-eyed creature rose out of the floor as if surfacing from shallow water. Fortunately, the xorn proved to be intelligent and shared what it knew of the caverns in exchange for a meal of gems. The party was directed to a nearby cavern which contained a strange statue of a tall, pale elf wearing a necklace containing a large smooth milky white stone with blue striations, which proved to have some sort of powerful life-enforcing enchantment. In order to recover the stone, however, the group had to fight their way past another pair of ropers as well as a strange creature that camouflaged itself against the ceiling before attempting to engulf and suffocate party members. Finally, following the xorn’s directions, the party found its way to the end of the cavern complex, whose exit was guarded by a significantly larger roper, which they dispatched relatively easily, having developed tactics for fighting the monsters.
After leaving the “smooth caverns” the group traveled uneventfully for a few days, eventually encountering another wormhole-ridden area, where they were attacked by a pair of umber hulks, which gave them considerable trouble. After dispatching the beetle-like monsters, the caverns began to shake violently, much as they had when the group previously encountered cave worms. Deciding that discretion might be the better part of valor in this instance, the group proceeded to flee down the tunnels in the direction of the City of the Glass Pool, employing a variety of strategies in their attempts to either lose or outrun the creature creating the tremors. Eventually they managed to lose their pursuit, taking a moment to rest. While the rest of the party gathered their breath and wits, Koreth decided to scout ahead with the aid of an invisibility spell. Unbeknownst to the group, a party of slavers had done nearly the exact same thing, sending their scout out under cover of invisibility while they prepared to break camp and journey through the underdark. The two scouts unknowingly passed each other both coming and going, leading the slavers to set an ambush for the party, who advanced with the knowledge of the slavers’ location. The ensuing battle was a pitched affair, with the party being divided in three parts, winning despite the savers having the initial advantage, due largely to their greater numbers. In the end, two of the slavers, the scout and dwarf wizard, managed to escape.
Journeying on, the party believed themselves to be drawing near the City of the Glass Pool. What they encountered next was surprising, a guard post manned by derro. The svirfneblin had mentioned derro near the city, though they had made no mention of the mad creatures being affiliated with the kuo-toa. The party approached but were heard by the derro, with Koreth noticing two other monsters lurking in the shadows of the guardhouses. Once the battle was underway, the lurkers revealed themselves as perhaps the most feared of all underdark denizens; mind flayers. Eventually, the party prevailed, with one of the illithid plane shifting to safety.