The spiral stairs came down to hallway that split to the east and the west. The east door was made of wood and open, but the door to the west was made of stone and bore the life-size bas relief of a tall horned-and-cloaked figure holding a maul in two hands. From the open door a male voice could be heard alternately moaning and mumbling unintelligibly. The adventurers went through the open door and found another split with corridors running to the north and south. The moaning/mumbling was coming fro the north. Five cells lined each side of the northern corridor and the male voice was coming from the room which opened at the end. Each of the tiny cells had a locked wooden door with a small barred window. There was nothing inside but some scattered bones and the rusty remains of manacles attached to the walls.
Beyond the cells in the hall laid what appeared to be a torture chamber. Seated on a stool in the center of the room, Theren saw a bald man with his back to him. He was stripped to the waist, and his back was a bloody mess of lacerations. He had clearly been whipped. The man was just sitting there rocking back and forth and wordlessly babbling. Long chains were attached to the arms he held limply by his sides. In front of him stood a lecturn upon which laid a large open book. Its pages were covered in a messy crimson writing that must have been blood. The moaning man suddenly shook his head vigorously as if denying something, and Theren noticed that his eyes had been torn out and his worn face bore cuts around them.
Theren shouted at the man asking who he was and if he could help him. The man stopped his mumbling and sat quiet for a moment. The cuts around the man’s eyes were the triple sickle shape seen around the eye of the domed chamber.
“I know you.” the man suddenly sneered, “You’re no friend of Volkanth. You’re one of them! One of those the Sleeper told me!” At this point he pointed to the bloody book and started straining against his chains and screaming. When the man screamed a blinding flash of light erupted from his eyes and two foulspawn berserkers exploded from the sockets and attacked Uthrid and Rudy. Theren quickly shot arrows into the man who continued to scream. Nim hit the man with a spell as Uthrid and Rudy engaged the berserkers. The man screamed again and three foulspawn manglers appeared behind him while a skeleton emerged from on of the cell in the room. The screaming man was killed but the battle with the foulspawn was grisly and disturbing. Uthrid and Rudy were both seriously wounded during the fight and Nim was hit by a mangler. The unintelligible voices of the mad foulspawn gibbered telepathically in the ears of the adventurers.
When the last foulspawn was slain, Uthrid was unconscious on the floor. Rudy and Theren helped him regain consciousness with some healing but he and Nim were extremely shaken by the encounter. They huddled against the walls with their eyes darting about, expecting foulspawn to emerge from thin air at any moment and attack. Theren and rudy understood that the mumbling man had been a sort of Seer and had summoned the creatures but that could not convince their friends to relax. Uthrid thought he saw movement in one of the cells but there was nothing there when Theren checked. In a cell across the room, however, Theren did hear some low moaning. When he checked he saw a man in rags huddled in the corner of one of the cells.
Theren spoke to the man in the cell and the frightened man moaned and asked to be left alone in a slow, thick voice. The voice got Uthrid attention.
“Erthic?” said Uthrid as he crept toward the cell door, “Is that you? You sound strange.” When Uthrid reached the door the man turned around. It was Erthic but some dark torture had caused a gruesome change in him. He was bald and thin with the normal marks of torture from lashings and brutalization but part of him was horribly mutated. One eye was gone from its socket but more disturbing was the other eye which swelled too large in its socket and was scarred with a jagged X across the pupil like it had been sliced but had grown back together. His skull bulged unsymetrically on the side of the grotesque eye and the skin was frighteningly bumpy like it had melted leaving blisters and lumps. The skin disorder ran down the side of his neck and consumed his right shoulder. The bicep of the right arm was skin and bone but below the elbow the arm bulged in a large mass of boiled flesh. The forearm seemed to have fused with the hand into a terrifying piece of puckered meat. The fingers of the hand had grown together and did not look at a hand at all. At the end the nails of the hand had fused together into one long, thick, brown pointed talon.
A low, sickened moan escaped Uthrid as his eyes widened with horror at the thing that had been his brother. He backed away from the cell and drew his sword. Erthic quickly turned back and huddled in the corner, obviously ashamed at his appearence and the reaction it had caused Uthrid. Rudy and Theren knew the party needed to take a rest. They didn’t know what to do about the thing in the cell but they needed to rest and get Nim and Uthrid out of their sttes of paranoid shock. The decision about Erthic should be left to Uthrid but whatever choice he made for the poor fellow could not be made while he was in his current mental state.