Having recovered the orb, the travelers activated the portal and let fate take them where it would. They ended up in a large room with dozens of similar portals, some of which were active and some which were not. It appeared to be the hub of whatever organization they had crossed. They also found a large gold door which would only open with an oddly shaped key, a platinum door which led to a trapped corridor, and a bone door which also had no locking mechanism. Meriele picked the lock on the platinum door and spotted the trap, which she was then able to disarm, revealing a room at the end of the corridor filled with spinning blades. The party defeated the blades and discovered a chest an a glass box containing and odd book.
With the book in hand, they destroyed the bone door to discover three sleeping drow. Something told them not to wake the sleepers, nor to kill them, but it didn’t stop Meriele from stealing their circlets and belts for her companions to wear. From there, they passed into a smaller room where the battle proved to be just too much for Keldryn. The noble warlord fell when two gnome casters ambushed the party before they had time to heal. His companions made short work of the gnomes and then lay their fallen brother across their small beds before taking the time to rest and heal themselves. Cillian marked each of them with his own blood, bonding them together with a tribal ritual from his people and the others all reaffirmed their committment to each other and to destroying whoever had started this.
When they left the sleepers’ room and emerged once more into the room of portals, the party was surprised to discover a lone dwarf coming through another portal. He also had the strange brand on his neck and so agreed to join up with the others in an effort to solve the mystery and hopefully find his way out of the maze of fortresses. He had just lost his party in a battle, but claimed to have training and experience on the battlefield, so they let him help with tactics in the next fight.
After finding nothing but dead ends and the gold door, the party was forced to climb through a glass trapdoor into the floor above, where they were greeted by enormous crocodiles. During the ensuing struggle, Cillian nearly drowned, but emerged victorious and began his now famous tooth collection. With the lizards behind them, the party next defeated a mage and took an oddly shaped key from his corpse. Luckily, it was the key to the gold door, which granted them access to the rest of the fortress.