The group watched as the fire giant guard retreated in haste to warn others of the intrusion, and decided to investigate several tunnels to the west. They were interrupted by a number of bizarre, shelled jumping-spider creatures called steeders and their duergar masters. The duergar were no match for the combined might of the outsiders, and were determined to be slaves of the House Eilserv drow. The group tracked the duergar back to their shelter where they discovered a figure bound in spider silk. The bound person was none other than the elven scout Rhys Ravenwind whom they had encountered at Shinnerman's Fortune. He was comatose due to drow poison, but the group's healer was able to revive him.
Rhys had been captured in Kragnaroch while searching for his daughter Karys Greenbough and brought to Ashpeak by the invading giants. He managed to slip away from his captors and made his way down below where he encountered the drow. He eluded a drow patrol just long enough to hide his gear in the glowing green pool with magical displacement charm. The drow in turn handed him over to the duergar to be used as food later on. The group was able to help him find his way to the pool and retrieve his gear, and he decided to accompany the group until he could discern the whereabouts of his daughter.
Attempting to make their way across the northern end of the dragon's chamber proved elusive as darkness plagued their path and a poisonous fume pushed them back into the western caves. The drow were preventing them from progressing east it seemed. Turning their attention to the western tunnels, the group determined that they were largely unused. The group pursued them to their natural ends and were turning back when they found themselves hemmed in by impenetrable darkness. The drow had followed them! Magical radiant light drove away the inky darkness, revealing a number of male and female drow combatants under the direction of a male drow mage. When it was eventually captured and slain, the mage dissolved into a pile of ice and quickly melted away, another simulacrum.
Shortly after this encounter, the group was witness to a horrifying wall of dragon's fire filling up the cave. The effect was just a powerful illusion meant to capture their attention. The drow archmage Sissivex Eilserv wanted to make one last effort to bargain with the intruders. He warned them to circumnavigate the dragon's chamber or else his mistress would be alerted to their presence and forced by duty to stop them. All Sissivex wanted was to be left in peace so he could complete his experiments. The group heeded his advice and plotted their path through the Underhalls.
While making their way along the southern perimeter of the grand chamber, the cowardly fire giant returned with two other brethren intent on personally stopping the invaders. The coward suffered a quick but painful death amid a hail of arrows and bolts. One guard met an instant end at the hands of the legendary hammer wielded by the dwarven hero. The other suffered a truly grievous blow from Calistria's Sting and was summarily cut down. The group hastily moved on and came upon the outskirts of the drow encampments which seemed to be guarded by mottled walls of tentacles. The invaders prepared themselves for the coming battle…