Meepo the kobold led the group beyond the Dragon Keeper's chamber, down a long hallway, and into an empty chamber. Beyond that room, he stated, he had no knowledge of what lay in wait, only that it was the way to goblin territory. The empty chamber was home only to rat droppings, crumbled flagstone, and stains. A single door led to the north, and after checking it for traps, the group moved through.
Dust and odd bits of stony debris and rubble lay scattered on the floor. An ornate fountain was built into the eastern wall. Though cracked and stained, the fountain's overarching carving of a diving dragon retained its beauty. A relief-carved stone door stood on the western wall. Carvings on the door show skeletal dragons, and Meepo translated the Draconic inscription on the door which read "Something the dead, open the way," (the first word was beyond the kobold's vocabulary). Meepo commented that within a few feet of the door, the air was noticeably cooler, and the door itself was cold to the touch. Osric recognized the style of carvings and the type of door as potentially blocking passage into a burial chamber or tomb. Meepo translated an inscription at the base of the fountain, and the dragon's mouth belched forth a red liquid which, when collected and examined, was shown to be a potion of protection from fire.
Upon investigating the door, Karyl found a trap mechanism which would release a scything blade from the top of the door frame. Holding it aside was easy, and the group opened the door and entered the chamber beyond.
Five dusty sarcophagi, three to the north and two to the south, stood on end in that silent chamber. Each of the carved stone coffins resembled a noble, elf-like humanoid in ceremonial robes. An altar, with images of dragons carved into its black obsidian, was set in the center of the west wall. A single candle burned brightly on the altar. Next to the candle were a small whistle and a crystal flask. Karyl was immediately drawn to the objects on the altar, but the rest of the group hesitated. After a quick, hushed deliberation, Karyl and Osric approached the altar, and Karyl snatched up the flask and whistle.
Immediately, the five sarcophagi burst open revealing animated skeletal warriors which set upon Osric and Karyl. The rogue blew on the whistle, but was mortally wounded fairly quickly. She cheated death and was back on her feet after a few seconds. Osric, the cleric, groaned about not getting to the teachings about turning undead in the Cleric handbook just yet, and lay into the skeletons with his martial weapons. Hammer, with his maul, laid waste to the skeletons quickly, with Morthos remaining outside the chamber, unsuccessfully calling on his warlock skills to bring an end to the combat. Soon, though, all that remained were piles of bones. As the group caught their breath, however, a sixth skeleton crawled up through the ruined floor and stood staring at Karyl. The whistle, it turned out, summoned the creature to do her bidding. She named it Howard.
Continuing on, the adventurers moved through another empty chamber to the north with a single door leading from it. Investigating that door turned up no traps, so Hammer opened it with gusto, setting of a set of chimes and bells that were attached to the door with thin lines of twine. Waiting, nothing set upon the group. Beyond the door they found a ten-foot-wide, thirty-foot long hall liberally strewn with sharp caltrops. On the northern wall, passage to the room beyond was partially blocked by a roughly mortared, three-foot high wall, complete with crenellations. Karyl ordered Howard the Skeleton to move into the hallway and begin sweeping aside the caltrops.
As the skeleton moved into the hall, two goblins popped up over the wall to the north, brandishing short bows. They attacked the undead creature, but Morthos was quick on the draw as well, launching a kinetic bolt of force at the greenskins – and missing. Howard was dropped quickly, but had managed to clear a section of the hallway allowing the adventurers to move in for the attack. Morthos' second eldritch blast took one of the goblins out, and the second fell to various ranged attacks.
Investigating the room that the goblins were guarding, they found a chamber with filth on the floor, stains on the walls, and shabby hides. A firepit attested to the years of use this room had seen at the hands of creatures unconcerned with hygiene. From here, the group found another door that would leave them westward, back into the depths of the ruins, however they decided to backtrack, concerned about leaving unexplored areas behind them.
To the north-east of the caltrop hall, they found a series of six rooms containing abandoned rat nests, and some not so abandoned. They made quick work of three giant rats, and moved from there into a large open chamber. The cobblestone floor contained two trapdoors blocked open by iron spikes. The north wall held a dry fountain carved with another overarching diving dragon with an inscription at its base. A faint rotten stench filled the room.
Before the words on the fountain's base were spoken, however, Osric's keen eye noticed a series of suspicious-looking tubes in the dragon's mouth. Arraying themselves against the far wall of the chamber, Meepo translated the inscription from Draconic, reading out loud "Let there be death." Immediately, gas spurted from the dragon's mouth and filled a 20' area in front of the fountain, but the adventurers remained safely out of the poisoned area. After a few minutes it cleared, and the group approached a door in the west wall – the smell of rotten meat was even stronger here.
Osric attempted to quietly open the door, but his heavy armour made enough noise that anything beyond the opening would have heard their approach. As the door opened, the group was overcome with a terrible stench. The oppressive smell suffused the air, rising from chewed carcasses of cave rats, smaller vermin, and a few humanoid-looking creatures. The bodies lay upon a floor of filth, old bones, hair, and fur that combined to make a particularly large and vile nest. Waiting for the adventurers in this room were three giant rats, and another that was larger than the rest – a monstrously bloated female rat, putrid-smelling, with diseased flesh. Meepo set eyes upon this mother rat and squeaked the word Guthash before clawing his way back into the fountain room they had just come from.