After resting up from their encounter with the troglodytes, the party pushed further into the ruins, joined by a new ally, the ranger Glavanik. The party came to a large open courtyard whose roof had collapsed, with sand having blown into it from the surrounding desert. As the party began to explore the room, Glavanik was ambushed by a carrion crawler hiding in the sand. The adventurers opened fired upon the crawler but it was soon joined by four harpy allies. The song of the harpies proved irresistible to most of the party and their screeches left the party battered and dazed, yet the party was able to win the day after a tough fight.
Exploring further, the party came across a human guard next to a metal construct shaped like a cobra, the guard was dispatched with ease, but not before he could call in reinforcements. Those reinforcements; however, consisted of several more humans who were equally ineffective as well as two shifters who at least showed some talent with a blade. Those shifters though soon found themselves standing alone against the party and proved to be no match for the seasoned adventurers.
As the part pressed further on they came across a dryad disguised as an eladrin female and her retinue which included a pair of large hyenas. The party spoke with the dryad and she informed them that she was not interested in the mines but merely wanted a safe place for her and her people to stay. She did state that she believed there was some sort of devil down in the mines. The party discussed the options with her and she eventually agreed to relocate if the party found a suitable home for her and her people and she promised not to impede or attack the party in any way as they explored the mines below.
The party ventured further into the ruins and found the stairs to the lower level of the ruins. Once down below, they located the ancient crypts used by the dwarves, and noted that the remains appeared to be in tact. Also down below they located several prison cells, one of which was occupied by an old man accompanied by several yellow canaries. The old man claimed that he had been walking in the desert with his avian friends when he was captured and brought to the ruins and placed in the cell. He told the party that he had been there for about four days and had been treated well. He stated he was from Talar and that he had just been passing through the area when he was captured. The party was suspicious of the bird man but he did not appear to threaten him. Ultimately, they let him out of his cell and he went on his way. Inside his cell, the party found a secret door that lead down into a lift that descended into the mines of the Karak Lode.
After descending through the lift, the party found themselves in the upper reaches of the Underdark, known as the Shallows, and clearly saw that this area had been excavated for mining operations. Threaded in with the rock and ore in the tunnels though they found red veins of raw elemental energy. The veins would certainly complicate the process of harvesting the ore but would not make it impossible. The party next encountered a short passage blocked off with two portcullis gates. Upon lifting and passing through the first, the second portcullis slammed down and activated a dart trap that shot out from the walls. While most of the party sought refuge inside an abandoned guard station, Kavita and Zeluska raised the second portcullis, allowing the party to exit safely. From there, the party navigated the twisting tunnels where the dwarven miners had once started to delve for ore before finding most were relatively barren. After following the signs for a short while; however, they were able to pick up the main trail and soon descended further into the mines to look for whatever may await within.