Carnival of the Black Elves
The Lower Levels
The Fifth level of Twin Rivers Spire
The elevator moans to a halt quite unexpectedly amid creaking and rattling. Its been three weeks since the structure started moving down, and the idea of an end to the ride seems a distant memory.
No fires have been lit since the end of the first week, when undead began raining onto the elevator from above, drawn to the light as it passed the floor they roamed on.
Sometimes they only scented the group, or had heard the clumsy structure clacking and rattling in the distance. Drawing them to the ends of the corridors, to watch, to wait, hungry for the flesh, blood and life energies they fed upon.
It was indeed a kind of siege as waves of them launched off their floor to the gap of the shaft, to fly, glide and plummet down like a missile, then crash into the elevator with the force of a ten stone catapult shot. It was built to survive such abuses, the party of twenty fighters and clerics was very suddenly and abruptly sixteen after the first attack.
Back then the party had spread out across all the open spaces of the elevator, it was only blind luck that only those four died in the rain of dead. Hundreds had poured off their floors and slammed into the cross bar holding the main chains, and into the floor like a grizzly rain of bodies.
Most flew apart when they hit, spreading only their remains and pummeling the survivors with debris. They were only safe pressed hard against the wall, and eventually using a sort of breastworks to keep the piles from constantly toppling over.
Around the end of the second week they passed into a another plane briefly, where ghosts were as thick as mosquitoes in a swamp. The religious types were solely pressed and were considerably weakened from the experience, that taxed their faith for a solid three days.
After that level of the dungeon was passed, the group was left largely unmolested for most of the rest of the trip down. The strange noises which preceded the crackling thump on the bottom floor woke those sleeping, and those awake all started at the sudden new unseen threat.
The portal to exit the elevator was a simple stone door with bevels and lands to make the heavy door swing easier, only a handle to pull the door open from the elevator gave any indication of decoration. The only other feature was a pair of holes in the frame at the same level as the handle.
Once opened the corridor beyond was built with large and heavy seeming stones, each one intricately carved in the semblance of skeletons. As the party advanced into the corridor, the stones came alive. They werent carvings, but carefully made settings for the skeletons to rest in as part of the floor.
The much diminished religious types only barely managed to command the floors to be still, when the vampires revealed themselves. They politely presented themselves, asked after the world outside and hosted the group in comfortable apartments.
They said they would eventually kill the group, but first wanted to hear what news there was, and if any wanted to join them, those that did would have to be agreeable to those already present. Death was inevitable, there was no need not to be civil about it. The religious types made a bit of a fight of it, and were killed. Rather quickly along with a few of the fighter types they were close too, and a few others acting on oaths taken to each other in earnest. But nine remained without remorse at the loss of their comrades and took the proffered extension to a desperate life.
They were kept alive for many years, learning many ancient secrets and living as treasured guests to the vast coven. Three were consumed for various reasons like stealing, being rude and getting too close to some of the less controlled vampires.
But the remaining six were turned with much ceremony and sent back up the elevator shaft with a condensed chronicle to sell. The book sold tens of millions of copies over thousands of years.
Every few years a group figures they are up to the challenge, because they read the book, and ventures down into the depths to brave the horrors and carve the undead loose. There are only various levels of success possible with the volume of undead present in the lower levels.