The group acquired a number of small canoes to travel more unobtrusively towards the arena. They managed to avoid the majority of the patrols along the way, and discovered that the arena was surrounded by a massive funnel cloud cycling into the atmosphere. Not wanting to try and survive pressing through the clouds, the group instead went to a side building, a barracks where the gladiators live and train with a below-ground access tunnel leading into the arena itself. They found that the barracks were indeed filled with rat-men, or the Vyrmen, as they soon identified themselves. A fierce melee ensued between the upper-level guards along with their half-ogre half-rat servants and the party, which ended quickly and brutally as the party captured one rat-man only to kill him in disgust a moment later after hearing his rhetoric. Before his death, the Vyrman related that the rats had corrupted the Altar of Kord in the arena, converting it to serve their bestial patron Demogorgon. The party then released a halfling, Flash Brisby, the arena promoter who told them about the rats taking the building over shortly after their shut-down for the winter off-season. They also cautiously released a gladiator that was known only as “The Red Devil” amongst the others but who Kayliss recognized immediately as Amnon, the tiefling warlord from his former adventuring party.
Continuing downstairs to what Brisby told them was the former gladiator prep areas, now converted into a laboratory by one of the more sadistic Vyrmen. Another fierce battle erupted between the party and the scientist and his sadistic creations, including a bubbling vat of chemicals which could be granted a horrific semblance of life from an eldritch device in the center of the room. The conflict ended with the party disabling the machine and Kayliss hurling the scientist into the bubbling vat of chemicals. With trepidation, the already taxed and wounded group looked at the tunnel leading into the arena floor, wondering what other threats remained before them.