While Yivellor communes with the Formians deep in the bowels of their hive, the rest of the party stands at the lip of a foreboding—and ancient—staircase descending deep into the earth below Iskandar. They send the plucky Ugagn, still hobbling from a broken ankle sustained in a previous fight, down to explore.
Just after Ugagn departs, the party hears someone attempting to sneak up on the group. They turn, weapons drawn, and see a not-so-stealthy dwarf creeping through the gloom. Pall-Bar quickly casts Compulsion, and the suddenly compliant dwarf, Gilia Stoneforger, begins spilling out her life story to the group.
She is a godless exile, sent from Kalte to uncover the secrets of Iskandar and atone for her heretical beliefs. Her pagan remarks about the gods strike a nerve with Daukua, and the two immediately—and bitterly—clash over theology.
Ugagn returns, and is shocked to find a dwarven cleric in the group. But the party’s misgivings about the cleric dissipate when Gilia heals Ugagn’s ankle. Practicality rules as the group decides a cleric may be useful addition after all. Together, they descend into the pit.
After traveling at least 150 ft. down, the group explores two sandstone ruins, filled to the brim with mummified (but thankfully unanimated) skeletons and the remains of two ancient camps. They load up on leftover magical items, and Pall-Bar finds a mysterious book in an ancient language while searching an iron-bound chest.
The second room is of considerable interest to the group. A system of mirrors channels sunlight into the room, and a pool of water stands in the middle of the area. Pall-Bar, rereading the Osenil riddle, surmises that this might be the place where “sand, sun and glass” meet. The others take note, and the group continues exploring.
Their dungeon-delving is interrupted, however, when a group of Formians—accompanied by Yivellor—arrive in the ruins. A quick fight ensues, and the ambushed insects get the worst of it. During the fight, Pall-Bar casts Web and Confusion on a group of insects and Yivellor. The first spell traps the group, while the second causes the creatures to either gibber incoherently or randomly attack one another.
During the madness, Yivellor attempts to save the Formian empath he bonded with, only to be decapitated by another crazed Formian. Shocked and dismayed by the accidental death of Yiv, the party mourns his passing, then promptly lights his body on fire while raiding his pockets for any valuable items.
With the Formians out of the way, the group rests for a night, then continues exploring.
Delving deeper, the party finds a room full of Formian corpses, oil pits and odd rock piles. In a flash of insight, Pall-Bar realizes the piles are vaguely humanoid in shape. The group makes use of Comprehend Languages to read the unusual book Pall-Bar found, and uses the information contained within to solve a riddle inscribed above a set of ancient iron doors.
As the doors open, the group preps for the worst. But even their worst fears pale in comparison to what they find.
The iron gates swing wide. Behind the door, four glowing yellow orbs flare to life. The group hears the grinding noise of rock against rock, and two massive stone golems step out into the light.