We descended into the darkness and found a stone circle in the center of an open room. It appeared to be a portal, but we couldn’t find a key at first. Avaerth and ZZ found a sigil on top of the circle and activated it, opening the gate. ZZ went through and found an empty room on the other side. We all followed and turned the portal off, which caused another set of stairs to descend. We headed up to a large empty, dusty room with six other sigils on the walls, one of which was lit. At the end of the room was a door looking out into clouds. When we explored further, we discovered that it was a city – a floating city of the Netheries. The place looked as though it had fallen into decay and ruin over uncounted years, and the people had simply vanished. Aramil figured out that the city was probably hidden in the clouds above the mountains in the center of the desert. But our magic users warned us that wards might still be active in buildings, so we refrained from immediately breaking in and looting the place. We ended up going back to the first building and opened the second sigil. It led us to another group of buildings identical to the first batch, but we heard the voices of hyenas on the wind. We considered holding out and slaughtering them, but then we realized that there were at least 20 distinct voices and bravely ran away, to explore that area later. The third sigil in the floating city led us to a building that had a door blocked by fallen mountain stone, and we were forced to turn back. The fourth sigil brought us to a cooler, more humid area by a drying up freshwater lake. The day here was cloudy, and we detected the smell of cooking fish from the kitchen building. After some discussion, we saw a pack of aquatic goblins come over the hill. Upon seeing ZZ they yelled “Dinner!” and charged us. We retreated to the armory and began picking them off as they came. We realized that their non-combatants were following behind them, but as they were attacking us with extreme prejudice (as most people feel against Zazoo after meeting him) diplomacy was well and truly out of the question. After killing more than 20 of them, we were approached by three goblin champions and two of their rat-dogs. They put up a mighty fight – and gave ZZ mange – but were defeated in the end. Valin and Akull headed down into the secret basement under the armory with a spell that hid them from the undead so they were able to get into the smaller secret room without having to fight for it. They found a bag containing a mysterious magic rod with buttons, which Akull determined to be a control device for a larger contraption we hadn’t assembled yet. We headed back to the floating city (leaving the skeletons for any Zhents who might follow in our tracks), and from there back to the ranch to rest up and prepare spells before we moved on to the final two portals.