Elumai - Eladrin Wizard 2
Berend - Dwarven Fighter 2
Corrash - Dragonborn Warlock (Fey-Pact) 2
Kieran - Eladrin Warlord (Tactical Presence) 2 (Community NPC)
Language barriers make interrogating the goblin prisoner difficult, but the party gleans that something akin to undead may be waiting for them down below, as well as more goblins -- many more goblins -- elsewhere on this level. They tie their prisoner to the iron frame of one of the beds, and nip back to the storeroom to investigate the crates amongst which they were fighting earlier. They turn out to be full of, variously, earth, and hay. Buried amidst the latter is a fine selection of glazed tableware, some damaged, some not, but most bearing the emblem of an open palm with candle-flames at each fingertip. Elumai and Corrash confer and identify it as the symbol of the 'Bright Hand', an order of knights from the old human empire of Nerath.
Pushing north-west from their position, they come to a trio of doors behind one of which is the sound of goblin voices and laughter. Barging in, they surprise several goblins in what is clearly a tortue chamber, one of whom finds himself caught in the act of dancing for his comrades on the rack in the center of the room. A hobgoblin to the north grabs a red-hot poker and turns to face the adventurers, but Elumai has other ideas, planting a Freezing Cloud in their midst from which they can't escape. Battle ensues, a couple of sneaky goblins darting around the room and doing terrible damage to Kieran from hiding, but ultimately the heroes prevail with minimal injury. On the hobgoblin torturer, they find a suit of +1 Bloodcut Hide Armor, a valuable find which is put away for later use.
Nearby. they find a pathetic goblin dressed in scraps of clothing imprisoned in a filthy jail cell. They release him, and are immediately hailed as new friends of Splugg. Variously, the goblin proceeds to bow down and worship Corrash's god, declare all dwarves as friends for life, and offer to help the explorers through the complex. Under questioning, he mentions a nasty human "with a skull for a head", who often mentioned the name of Orcus in the few times Splugg saw him, and a fat goblin with an apparent penchant for hitting Splugg repeatedly. Taken with the little fellow, the party feeds him up and he tags along.
To the south, a pair of apparently airtight iron doors facing east occupies the characters for a while before they open them from a safe distance. Rolling a flaming barrel down the corridor on the other side, it thuds into a similar set of doors which are subsequently opened by a pair of bemused goblins (Splugg kindly translates the resulting argument). Taking advantage of the distance, a few speculative attacks are lobbed down the corridor to varying effect before the goblins retreat, sealing the doors behind them.
Splugg, under protest, reveals a potential secret entrance into the goblin leader Belgrin's chambers and leads the party to it. Careful to avoid getting the attention of a clutch of goblins doing some kind of excavation in a nearby room -- as well as whatever animals they may have guarding them -- the party surprises Belgrin in the act of donning his armour following the warning raised by his minions. The ensuing attacks are swift and merciless, felling the obese creature before he has a chance to take any effective action. By this time another alarm has been raised, and a dozen more goblins surge into the room, assailing the party. However, arrayed in a tight defense and protected by tapestries hanging from the ceiling, the result is simply more carnage, as the heroes take great advantage of the tightly clustered formations to bring their area attacks to bear.
A key on Belgrin's body opens a secure-looking chest nearby to reveal a haul of over 600gp and, to Elumai's great delight, a +1 wand. Below, the cold secrets of the Keep still await them...