After fleeing from the seemingly endless hordes of large and aggressive trollkin, our adventurers spiked a door behind them and listened with baited breath. Not hearing any sounds of further pursuit, they decided against fleeing blindly, and continued to explore and map carefully. After discovering a secret door and defeating a hideous ooze that dissolved a few weapons, they secured a small clutch of gems, spiked another two doors behind them and decided to rest inside the dungeon. With a careful watch and secure location, their rest was uneventful, and after a few divine acts of healing from the groups clerics, they decided to make their way back out to the surface. They directly encountered no more trollkin, only the surprised sound of a guard coming from a newly constructed barricade and a poison trap that was defeated by Varian's iron constitution.
After successfully reaching the surface, the group made proper payments to the families of the deceased hirelings and proceeded to hire new soldiers and a few more torch bearers before returning to the grim mountain. Having decided that enormous hordes of angry humanoids might not be the best thing to face just now, the party returned once again to the Western entrance to Fellhold, where they encountered and defeated Dag's former bandit group. Exploring more deeply and more carefully, they once again triggered a portcullis, trapping them within, but before they had to resort to the aid of strongman Mihtig the Mighty, they discovered a secret crank that opened the gate. Further exploration led to a secret door opening onto a stairway leading upwards, in sharp contrast to what they've encountered thus far.
Climbing the stairs, they found an elaborate Dwarven antechamber holding six musical pipes. Experimentation revealed that playing certain pipes opened certain doors and closed others, until the proper sequence was found, opening all three sets of huge, impressive double doors. Entering, they found first a rough, unfinished section of halls and chambers, but then more beautifully crafted Dwarven architecture and sculpture, including a massive statue of Aki, the father of all Dwarves, carved from the living rock of the mountain. Though there was a plethora of doors to explore, the party found a large staircase leading farther upwards and pressed on, surprising a small band of trollkin at the top landing!
Even hemmed in by the stairs, the group made short work of them, with Yllgrad stopping the final one as he fled with a well placed thrown dagger. Following the path the dead trollkin seemed to be heading for, they fell upon another small band of trollkin, these obviously searching and rummaging around in what appears to have once been an officer's quarters. Outside the chambers was a large, magnificent hall with pillars carved in the likenesses of Dwarven heroes, warriors, and smiths. Crossing over they found a doorway directly opposite and entered a room in even worse repair, this one the nest of eight disgusting giant rats! The rats were quickly dispatched, with Sir Braxton the war dog taking especial pleasure in tearing apart one of the foul vermin. Catching their breath, our intrepid band prepares to continue to explore this mysteriously upwards reaching section of Fellhold.