The party, now confused by the moral dillemma of the legality of slaving, takes one of the captured duergar as a guide to the Horned Hold, where they are told the human slaves are held. They walk for an hour or so down dark subteranean passages, hearing nothing but the ever present drip of water, the sounds of their own footsteps strangely muffled and insignificant, and the weird howling of air soughing through the tunnels.
Their guide takes them down a turn from the onward leading main passage, in a narrow ledge that crawls along the wall of a deep crevasse, at the bottom of which a sulphurous trickle of almost frozen lava heaves and belches. After a hundred yards or so, the party comes to signs of habitation. Two narrow spans cross the crevasse, connecting a fortified bastion on the near side, to two others on the far side. On the near side, a portcullis is down over the doorwary into the first bastion, and a pair of what look like Orcs guards the entry.
The party approaches expecting to parlay, but the Orcs immediately level their crossbows and fire. Luach’s moves to the fore and attacks, and bears take a couple of hits as the melee ensues. There is a tough confrontation, but the party wears down the 5 defending Orcs quickly. Before they can capitalize on this, more defenders emerge – a Duergar spellcaster starts to really hinder the party with vicous blinding fumes and hails of brimstone. Several times the party’s spellcasters are downed or blinded before they can bring the situation under control.
Indeed, although they eventually succeed in driving the defenders out of the first bastion, they are compelled to retreat to a safe haven and recover before attempting to press on.