Erijay recalled some warning from Zoloren about the ape heads, so they party investigated the smoking pit first. A circular stair led down through the smoke, so with Erijay in the led, the party descended as the elf carefully tapped ahead for traps with a 10' pole. They found themselves on the edge of a circular amphitheater, built out of white and black stones forming a spiral pattern that lead to the bottom. To the west lay a door, presumably leading out through the adjacent ruined tower they had seen on the surface. To the east the smoke continued to pour from another corridor. Heading down into the bottom of the amphitheater, Erijay poked with the 10' pole at the floor where the spiral pattern ended. Nothing happened to the white stone, but when she pushed on the black stone, a circular piece of floor shifted down and to the side, revealing a rusty iron ladder bolted to the wall of a shaft. This the party descended to a stairway which headed deeper still before opening into a corridor. This was constructed of some strange sort of stone-like panels. To the west the faint outline of pillars were seem, just at the edge of their light. The corridor seemed to continue to the east, so the party headed that way. But they were soon stopped by a yawning opening that blocked the corridor. Looking for a way across, Erijay spied an iron ring set in the ceiling, so she tossed her rope and grappling hook to catch onto it, and then proceeded to swing across the gap. Unfortunately, just as she reached mid-swing, the ceiling holding the hook opened up, dropping the elf screaming into the pit. Especially unfortunate was the presence of a massive rock hidden above the ceiling hatch, so the elf maid not only fell (through two more hatches that opened as she passed) to a painful stop after about 60 feet, but was also crushed by the rock following her.
That done, Khoog and Guy now crossed the pit and the party moved on. The corridor again switched to rough, natural rock after a short distance, before reaching a "T" intersection. One arm extended up, presumably, based on Erijay's map, towards the source of the smoke. The other curved down into darkness. Erijay and Lomar crept forward to look, and found a round chamber with rust streaked walls. Looking down, they saw three strange creature; they had large round bodies perched on three spindly legs, and a small round head perched on an equally spindly neck, topped with a trio of long ant-like antenna. As the pair watched ,the three creatures started to get agitated and bounce up and down in the chamber. While no one was about to go down in the whole, Erijay and Lomar both decided against a prophylactic fireballing, thinking they might need that spell elsewhere.
Figuring the Cerebral Shield must be somewhere deeper, the party headed down the stairs. These ended after about 40 feet.West lay another stone corridor, and a spiral staircase descended down even deeper into darkness. Choosing west this time, a short walk led to another room. This was filled with huge piles of what appeared to be upholstery stuffing or cotton wool. From the piles came the dreaded hooting and howling, and three more of the ape-spiders emerged. These were taken out much easier than the first lot, with a combination of web, wand of cold, and good old fashion smashing and slicing. Once the three creatures lay dead, Erijay and Lomar poked through he fluff. They found a smattering of coins scattering among ape feces and old bones, and surmised that these were some sort of nests. A quick count came up with about 20 nests packed in the room, so apparently there were more of these ape things around. Low on spells and expecting Kern and Bjorn to rejoin them any time, Lomar and Erijay elected to ascend once more and camp beneath the stars.