Having made their way through the island jungle, the Pathfinders came upon their destination – a narrow walkway descending along a cliff face. Batman and Green Arrow investigated, finding a secret doorway in the stone. With the help of Superman, Black Canary and Thor they managed to pry open the heavy door – though not without inadvertently triggering a Glyph of Warding, which exploded with sonic energy. Batman took the brunt of the damage, while Thor recoiled slightly. The Glyph warned the denizens inside – a handful of Drow guards – who fired on Black Canary and prepared for battle.
The Pathfinders rushed into the bottle-neck cave, taking formations and fighting as a unit for the first time. The darkness proved difficult for some, but thanks to Magneto’s illuminating of Mjolnir, most were able to see comfortably. Thor dispatched one Drow with a single hit, while Green Arrow and Magneto damaged others. Everyone rallied against those who remained, and Elixir mentally compelled the last guard to collapse. It surrounded itself in magical darkness, but that didn’t stop Thor from throwing his hammer into it – ending the threat.
After briefly exploring their surroundings, the group moved on. In the next chamber Iron Woman scouted ahead. Though she could see only darkness, a foul whisper echoed in her mind. Without thinking, she turned and announced there was nothing to see there. Suddenly she turned on Elixir, firing her arm-bows. Batman and Superman rushed to stop her, but her armor proved too formidable. Within seconds Iron Woman took down her ally, finally snapping out of her compulsion. The others rushed into the cavern to find the perpetrator. Peering into a pair of blood-red eyes, Black Canary screamed with fear. She retreated into the unwitting arms of her husband Green Arrow, clamoring for safety.
Barely able to see their foe, the united Pathfinders identified the culprit – a monstrous Shadow Demon. The demon hid amongst the shadows until Thor threw Mjolnir its direction. Furious, the creature rushed into Thor, causing massive damage with its incorporeal claws. Superman and Iron Woman attacked the demon, but did little good. Magneto, Elixir and Batman could not affect it. Green Arrow had his hands full – literally – with Black Canary. Thor, though wounded, valiantly fought on – able to damage it with Mjolnir. In time, however, the demon overwhelmed him. Thor fell, leaving the others to carry on.
Canary, eventually free from the demon’s fear, joined the fray. She and Arrow attacked, pummeling the creature from afar. Finding his heat vision and punches useless against the demon, Superman reached down and miraculously wielding Mjolnir. He swung the heavy hammer, missing at first, but finally nailing the demon beneath the chin. Mjolnir exploded in a burst of light, engulfing Superman. Suddenly in the flash Superman vanished, without a trace, dropping Mjolnir to the ground.
Heavily wounded, the demon retreated. The Pathfinders followed suit, firing into the darkness. In an act of redemption, Black Canary chased after. She launched two telekinetic attacks, one missing but the second finding its mark. The demon howled in pain, slamming against the wall by the force of the blow, and fading away.
After raising Thor to consciousness, the group pressed on into the nearby room – a barracks. There four Drow – two of them survivors from earlier – opened fire from behind two overturned tables. They felled Green Arrow in one attack, and prepared for others. Thor shattered one table with his hammer, while the others rushed in to face the hidden enemies. Batman utilized the darkness himself, throwing his batarangs to take down one of them. Cornered, two guards drew their swords and rushed Thor – nearly killing him with well-placed stabs to his ribs. Magneto countered, blasting them with superheated magnetism and reducing them to ash. After a lengthy battle, the remained two Drow finally fell to the heroes.
While the others explored and secured the room, Magneto noticed a figure strapped to one of the tables in a back corner. It was Bruce Banner (Hulk), unconscious and grievously injured in anatomically-poignant locations – almost as though he was experimented upon. Raised back to consciousness by a healing potion dropped by Superman, Banner thanked his rescuers and tried to recall how exactly he ended up there.
At last granted a brief reprieve, the Pathfinders recuperate and prepare to continue their trek into the dark cavern…