The party had a brief rest before heading up the Grand Staircase. The eerily quiet staircase appeared to be deserted, and the party cautiously made their way up to the second level without incident.
At the top of the stairs the hallway opened to reveal a room with Demonic faces carved into the walls. Ragnarr lead the way, wisely choosing to avoid the Demonic faces. Just then the door burst open and two Foulspawn Barbarians looked out! In very non-typical barbarian fashion, they shouted a garbled warning to their companions and held their ground.
Sign Milnar and Halor Edgewood fired at range while Dirstav and Ragnarr closed in. Just then some Skirmishing Manglars teleported between the lines through the Demonic mouths! The Manglers put the hurt on Halor Edgewood with their magic Dagger Dance (ala Dance Magic Dance). A Grue also appeared, though failed to eat anyone. The party succeeded in vanquishing the Foulspawn and pushed forward.
They next came upon a refugee camp filled with semi-insane residents. They were taken to their leader, Madraga, a man in purple robes wearing a wooden mask in the likeness of human male. He talked of peace and non-violence, and eventually offered the party the use of his own hut for the night.
However, they were all of them deceived. During the middle of the night the camp launched a surprise attack! They burned and collapsed the hut -with the PCs still inside! Surrounded, the party fought bravely, cutting through the human refugees with ease. Madraga fired from a distance, casting Warp Orbs to daze the PCs while the Manglers focused on the the dazed opponents.
Halor Edgewood put down a consecrated ground to bolster the team, Dirstav fought bravely with nothing but his hammer on, Ragnarr use Aecris to deadly effect and Sign Milnar rained down punishing lightning attacks.
During the skirmish Halor Edgewood was knocked unconscious, and narrowly survived. Ragnarr received a double Critical Hit from the Manglers, which nearly finished him. However the party is not so easily defeated! As a vicious Mangler was heading to finish Ragnarr, Sign Milnar hit him with a mighty staff hit and dazed him on the stop, then flung him across the room. That turned the tide of the battle, and the PCs managed to kill the remaining Manglers. Seeing his followers dead, and heavily wounded himself, Madraga surrendered.
The party tied him up, and took a well earned rest. However, maddening whispers from the Far Realm gnawed at their minds throughout the night, and their sleep was difficult and fitful.