The entire party slept in a pocket dimension, after previous attempts to sleep in the town resulted in horrible nightmares and potential sapping of Will.
The next morning, Algorath the Seer sent for them, inviting them to his manor on the affluent Brink’s Hill. He explained, at length, that he’d researched the cause of the malady afflicting the city, and believes the answer lies in the Deeper Dungeons below Krelon Keep. As the Keep was the home of both the city guard and the Marchioness’s court, and the party were not welcome, Algorath suggested a different approach: the city sewers. Ancient architectural drawings revealed a narrow tunnel from the city’s effluvium to the dungeons.
It’s a tight fit, but with climbing help from the dwarf the party squeezed through to a main drainage area. While John was busy putting his armor back on, the party was attacked by a horrid black tentacled ooze which filled the room with toxic, acidic tendrils and mindlessly assaulted numerous heroes with spontaneously-grown pseudopods. A disgusting battle later, the party emerges victorious but slimy.
Further explorations revealed the dungeon to be disturbingly empty. A guardpost appeared to be abandoned, even leaving a cold (but unspoiled) sausage behind. Following the map, the party came upon a madman in an opulently-appointed cell – the Mad Marquis! He engaged the heroes in babbling nonsense (later revealed to be mostly Abyssal), but while attempting interrogation the party was suddenly beset from all sides by shadows.
The fight was devastating; the heroes had trouble hitting the incorporeal shadows, and Ismelda fell early to the strength-draining grasp of a shadow. While the Marquis threw powerful curses from the relative safety of his jail cell, John forced some shadows to flee and pulled Ismelda’s slowly-fading corpse out of the fray to raise her with the last charges of the staff of life. Revived but weakened, Ismelda took cover to cast spells. The Marquis continued making the situation worse, filling the area with black tentacles and cloudkill. With the fighters struggling against the shadows, Goldie also fell. Finally, from cover, Ismelda defeated the Marquis, first using disintegrate to nearly destroy the Marquis outright, then finishing him with a scorching ray. Too late, Goldie rose as a shadow herself, but as the party had defeated her creator, she was uncontrolled and confused, not aggressive.
A quick smash-and-grab later, the Marquis’ body ended up in a bag of holding, Goldie’s body over John’s shoulder, and the party absconded to safety to lick their wounds and consider their next plan.