The party convene to put together a plan for freeing the slaves, not content to let them rot under the boot of the drow. Plus, a mass revolt will provide a lot of needed chaos to allow the party to slip under the radar practically unnoticed.
They split, surrounding the mushroom farms around the Kron'tis Estate, with Rorik, Pleedleploplina, and Sporp taking one side, and Jancer, Jimothy, and Elspeth taking the other. Rorik tells Quagmiran that he has the most important job of all—to stay in the forest to "oversee the whole operation". Rorik, Jancer, and Sporp all use 'Disguise Self' to appear as drow, with Rorik looking like a discount Jorlan Despana he calls "my original character, Borelan Despana" and Sporp appearing as a short dark elf with a sombrero.
The Black Antlers charge in on either side, past a line of mushrooms that start shrieking through pores in their caps, drawing all eyes to these attackers as they begin cutting down quaggoth ch'zat-tong and breaking the chains off of slaves. It is easy for Rorik with his macuahuitl of sharpness, and Sporp commands the newly liberated folk to rise up and fight for their right to party. The slaves seem inspired by the words, but cower as drow on riding lizards begin moving towards them.
Suddenly, a sky blue tyrannosaurus rex with flowing red hair bursts from the forest and picks up one of the overseers in its jaws, and the slaves cheer and begin fighting back!
Jancer is inspired by Sporp's words too, and fires off a 'Vitriolic Sphere' at a charging squad of quaggoth led by a drow. The acid orb crashes into them, leaving half-melted casualties that are beaten as Jimothy and Elspeth break the chains off of slaves and get them to join in on the uprising. The gates of the Kron'tis Estate fly open and more guards begin surging forward!
Jimothy and Rorik begin moving to meet them, while Jancer pulls out a flask and tosses it onto the ground in front of the charging troops. It smashes and the oil of slipperiness within splashes everywhere, sending the quaggoth and both drow commanders falling onto their backs. An armored troll makes it through however, and the Armor Bros join it in battle. Rorik has horrible flashbacks of their last encounter with one of these beasts as he reaches for a blade, and instead chooses to use his 'Shadow Blade', which slashes at the enemy's psyche rather than its body.
As they beat into the troll and the guards begin standing back up, Jancer lobs a 'Fireball' on top of them, igniting the oil beneath their feet into an inferno! Jimothy throws up his shield and is blasted back, while Rorik casts 'Absorb Elements' to infuse his blade with flame, finishing the troll. With sixty-nine slaves freed, the party lead them forward to the neighboring plantation, where hundreds more labor in bondage.
Rorik takes the western fields, riding in atop Pleedleplopasaurus and holding off the guards as the liberated begin freeing their comrades from their chains. Jancer uses his Wand of Polymorph on his lead skeleton and it becomes a skeletal viking T-Rex that he and Sporp teleport on top of as they move into the central fields, firing off magic attacks left and right at their foes, the most dramatic being a 'Finger of Death' that turns a troll into a zombie. Jimothy and Elspeth share a fist bump before calling forth their paladin steeds (September the Elephant for Jim, and Blinky, now a celestial spirit, for Elspeth) and running down the drow in the eastern fields with gusto!
Dozens of slaves die fighting for their freedom, but the drow forces are scattered, giving the Black Antlers the time to rally the liberated forces and lead them into the cover of the fungal forests. The party pick off the few enemies that choose to pursue and eventually take their army back to the ruined Torixaxos Estate.
Jimothy and Elspeth cast 'Create Food and Water' to create food to try and feed this new 240-odd man army. Maxiref fumes at the party bringing such a noticeable and easily-tracked thing as an army to his secret hideout, but is placated when Jancer points out all of the fresh corpses in the wake of the uprising and all of the corpses to come as the fight continues.
Three leaders come forward from the slave army to thank the party and offer the service of they and their fellows:
- Josephus Jones, a humble goliath hunter who hails from the same clan as Jimothy, having been brought down here over twenty years ago after the attack that left the young Jim orphaned (and eventually led to his adoption by the Knights of the Bloody Hand). Josephus offers to help gather food for the army and track the movements of the drow in the surrounding area.
- Artor Anvilrage, a well-bred dwarf illusionist who claims that he was kidnaped from his home and forced into servitude in the Underdark. Artor says he will help the party however he can, as well as cover up the existence of the army as best he can with his illusions.
- Tobin Shanks, a grizzled human veteran who Rorik recognizes from Brentil Keep, as he was the man who hated drow and tried to kill Shaela Vae. Tobin says he led an expedition to try and help free slaves himself, but now that he's free, he'll be happy to continue a guerilla campaign against the dark elves.
Jimothy and Elspeth help take care of the sick and wounded. Jimothy comes upon a very bad-off half-drow, half-orc woman among them, who everyone else seems to be avoiding. The woman tells the paladin to stay back, as she contracted the terrible pox carried by the beggars in the city, but Jimothy is not dissuaded, as he is immune to disease.
"Do not worry, I carry light of god."
"There is no light down here."
"But is light in here."
Jimothy touches her heart and takes her disease with 'Martyrdom of Ilmater' (which he learned from Cripple Talth). The woman looks at her hands and tears stream down her face as she watches the lesions on them begin to close. She thanks Jimothy and hugs him.
Rorik and Tobin bond over their shared upbringing as simple farmboys. Tobin says he was trained in the bow by the eladrin after being freed from the drow the first time by Grekas and the Sixteen Rapiers, and helped defend Brentil Keep from the Kibbelese army afterwards, though he was sad to hear his hometown of Kelver's Crossing had been destroyed in the process. Rorik says he left his hometown of Riverslee himself, to pursue things that the village could never have provided, and wonders what has become of his town, which, when last he saw it, had been sucked into the Abyss, just as the whole Material Plane now threatens to be…
Artor and Jancer exchange spells, and Jancer learns that the illusionist could mask them in a mass illusion that could make it very easy for them to sail across the treacherous lake at the heart of the Vault of the Drow, circumventing the gates of Urvae Ch'lloth as they try and reach Kabal Koribesh on their mission to reacquire the Mother of Flesh for Maxiref.
Getting into their folding boat, the party pass under the notice of the demons and yugoloths swarming around the sacred island where Lolth's temple sits with the help of Artor's 'Seeming' spell (enhanced by the illusion segment of the Rod of Seven Parts). As they pass the island, Jancer feels the incomplete Rod in his pocket pointing to the temple at its heart like a magnet, almost drawing the half-elf towards the place where the drow are holding their pieces of the Rod.
Their journey over the dark waters ends, and the neon glow of Urvae Ch'lloth, stinking den of depavity that it is, welcomes them into its disingenuous embrace.