And it was sometime around this point that all hell broke lose…
Yodl said something along the lines of, "squirk!", as three snow white mastiff-like-hell-demon dogs gutted and half-decapitated him as they proceeded to run up the stairs!
A furious melee ensues! Columbo chops one dog and gets hit himself. Gagner is struck but carries on in spite of his wounds and almost certain death. Floria, sensing disaster, casts sleep, but it fails to affect the dogs. Mern, shouting "RUN AWAY" , resulting in general dissent, throws a dagger rather than wisely heading up the ladder. He hits a dog and probably just made it a little annoyed.
The following round our loyal hirelings strike twice! Mern, hoping for a little luck, tries his own sleep, which also fails on the dogs (M-U mental note: there is NO saving throws for sleep. Stupid Mern).
The dogs then proceed to kill Shalid. Floria makes herself scarce by turning invisible. Mern is next in their sights, and the dogs manage to bite Mern in the throat, causing him to fall over, throat crushed, unable to breathe.
Columbo is struck again in the following round, and the party fails to accomplish much on their own, but Floria, in her great kindness, drags Mern to a semblance of safety and puts pressure on his wound so he doesn't die.
The next round sees Columbo and Etherial working together and slaying one of the dogs, but Columbo is again hit.
Columbo follows up by finishing off another dog that had been on the receiving end of the hirelings. The rest of the party misses, but the final dog bites deep into Gagner's throat, killing him while simultaneously bursting an artery, which commences to spray the entire room and its inhabitants with blood, including Floria, whose invisibility temporarily cuts out with each new bloodspray!
It is at this point that Mern christens this room, "Gagner's Bloody End".
The last living dog then tops itself by killing Zulu and being utterly missed by the remaining survivors, and following that up by killing Jong with another artery bite. Columbo and Etherial manage to hit it, but it remains standing.
These attacks appears to make the beast remember Mern, who is still barely alive on the ground, his mangled throat being held together with pressure from Floria's hands. Believing this was not enough of a hint to stay out of the fortress, the demon-beast runs up to Mern (getting a hit from behind from Columbo in the process) and bites Mern. IN. THE. HEAD. Mern thus loses his eye. Floria, with the beast literally eye to eye, decides to expend a charge from her lightning wand to finish off the creature, which she does.