“Earth is the scene of the battle between light and darkness, in which each man must play his part, for weal or for woe.”
→ R. Heber Newton
This was hour sixty-five of the expedition, and Overlord Nezznar still had not found anything of value. Of course, with the new technologies and techniques, several previously unknown chambers had been found under the monastery, but none of them held pieces rare enough to appease his Dark Queen. The Drow wizard, also known in the Sword Coast as “The Black Spider” had been probing the Upper Dark caverns near Neverwinter nearly a tenday and still he had discovered no clues revealing the location of the artifact.
He paused looking up to see a small figure rushing towards him through the dark hallway. It was a goblin, one of the many Cragmaw tribe in his employ. The small creature seemed frantic, clearly excited to declare some kind of news to the Overlord. He held up his hand, causing the goblin to come to a halt about eight feet away. It mewed pathetically, and fell to one knee submissively.
“I bring word,” it croaked in Undercommon, a trading language used for trading within the Underdark regions. “Good news, Overlord!”
The Drow frowned. “I shall be the judge of that,” spat Nezznar in Undercommon. “What is your name and what is the news?”
Out of breath the small creature panted, “Master, I am Awwl. We found a concealed door in chamber four!”
“Are you sure? Nothing on the map shows a passage or chamber from that section.” This was not the first time the Drow got excited just to find out that one of his hirelings made a mistake.
“Yes, yes, Overlord, it is a door!”
“Very well, lead me there, Awwl.” The Drow narrowed his eyes. “But your fate shall be the same as the others if I find that this is another wild rothé chase.”
The goblin had led The Black Spider into the caverns past the first three chambers into the last. Several Cragmaw goblin miners stood watching their master and talking in hushed tones. Awwal pointed out the section of wall, and Nezznar examined it carefully.
“Get over here and get this open!”
Goblins scrambled to respond to the Drow’s orders. Awwl began to chirp out orders to his team, gesturing wildly. After cautiously prying at the cracks, thirty minutes of labor reward the goblins with a blast of stale air and dust. Another twenty minutes of work and they are able to open the door enough for the smallest of the Cragmaw to squeeze through. After the goblin returned unharmed, another ten minutes of effort opened the door wide enough for Nezznar to enter.
The Drow disappeared through the doorway, and the goblins flinched as they saw the Black Spider’s monk bodyguard, Foo, melt from out of the shadows to follow behind the Drow. None of the Cragmaw goblins moved, but they continued to talk in hushed tones.
After a few meters in the tight tunnel, the two found themselves in a large chamber. A feeble light from an undetectable source illuminated the small chamber decorated with frescoes depicting the forest and Fey creatures. Fauna of all shapes and sizes are incorporated into the walls and floor. Their attention was drawn to an object in the middle of the room. It appeared to be some sort of altar made completely of wood.
Upon the altar rested a book with a large, odd symbol on the cover. The Black Spider moved quickly, his mouth twitching, to the altar and started to leaf through the pages. Foo moved up behind the Drow, peering over his shoulder.
“Foo, do you know what this means? This is fantastic! Go tell the goblins to bring in the equipment and a crate for this book. I must get this book back to Menzoberranzan so that the Archmage can examine it.”
Foo nodded, and melted into the shadows.
Nezznar stood gazing at the book, pouring through a few more page. “Excellent,” he said out loud. “Yes, this is exactly the edge we need to put ourselves ahead of those damned monks.”
He turned, looking towards the ceiling, closing his eyes and reaching out with his will towards his Queen.
“Lady Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders, Demon Queen of the Abyss, Queen of the Demonweb Pits, Weaver of Chaos, the Hunted, the Mother of Lusts, Dark Mother of All Drow, Lady of Spiders, Mother of All Magic,” he said to the darkness around him. “Behold, I have finally found the Book of Lacc.”