The party continues onward after the collapse of the cave. Severath and Pe-Ling tag in Kuma and Thorson, keeping the party’s number at five.
Finally there is a branch in the tunnel, with four new directions to choose from. The wider path has a 2ft recess in it that looks like it once had water running through, although it appears to have been dry for some time. The party follows the wider tunnel for a short time before noticing a horrid smell, and its getting stronger. Assuming the Kobold settlement to be in that direction, the party actually turns back the other way to take a side branch in order to rest for a time.
Its hard to track time underground, but people start measuring distance by paces. After walking several kilometers, the party settles down to recover spells and get some sleep. Nuada hears a skittering Kobold nearby during his watch, but none come close. The group gets some well-needed rest, and continues onward. Once they return to the fork, Mahkdoh uses the bone token to verify the bone’s direction, and they continue back up the “smelly path” once again.
Its not long before they notice some moisture in the recess, and realize they’re walking closer to a cesspit. A Kobold cesspit. It takes far too long for them to pass through it and into cleaner water, and even then the scent still lingers.
Finally the party gets to another portion of the cavern that opens up and splits off. The recess is about four feet deep now, with a small trickle of water through it. A makeshift wooden bridge allows for safe crossing in the middle. This “bridge” is barely a few planks of wood stretched longways with smaller planks stacked on top of it. Nuada moves ahead to scout the area, being exceptionally quiet but exceptionally visible. From each of the five other branches, kobolds start pouring out. Kuma runs forward and destroys the bridge, cutting off one of the branches and putting himself in danger. Most of the kobolds surround him and a well-armored kobold barks out for everyone to drop their weapons or Kuma will be killed.
Thats when Thorson charged.
An amazing battle begins. Three kobolds are trapped on one side of the recess, but slowly start to climb through it to the side of battle. The kobolds who were holding action stab out at Kuma, but he manages to brush aside most of them. One of the kobolds lunges too far and falls into the recess, then climbs up the opposite side to run away.
The leader somehow sneaks off during the chaos, but nearly a dozen kobolds were slaughtered during the course of the battle. Despite being slightly more formidable than standard, most were quickly cut in half by Kuma or Thorson. Nuada tumbled in for some heavy sneak damage, and Mahkdoh was there to keep Kuma up to health. A few more kobolds ran during the chaos, and two were captured. One of them was so terrified it managed to soil itself before Nuada knocked it out. The other willfully surrendered and happily agreed to aid the party in exchange for its life.
The willful Kobolds name is Gethg. He draws a rough map of the Kobold compound in the dirt describing where most things are. In a related note, it turns out that Mahkdoh had a prophetic dream and heard the whispers while he was unconscious during the previous battle. He was told a riddle about bouncing balls and children toys. Something like knuckelbones or jax. When this is mentioned to the Kobold, he seems to hang on the word “Jax” and that “Jax is in the temple.” It sounds like the Kobolds worship a god named Kurtulmak, but its possibly the same entity as the Dead God. Gethg gets excited when the party shows him their holy symbol with the skull on it, and starts shouting “Kurtulmak! Kurtulmak!” with excitement. Now believing you were sent by Kurtulmak, he has agreed to “Take you to the Jax”
The party rests for another eight hours before proceeding into the Kobold Lair. The other kobold wakes up and glumly follows along with his hands tied. After walking several more kilometers, the party finally finds the Kobold lair.
Everyone hears the clanging of metal against metal echoing through the dark and musty chamber. Everything is humid and reeks profusely. The entire spherical cavern glows softly with a green light. Most of the surface is covered with a phosphorous mold. A small waterfall splatters into the central pond, where the occasional blind fish would be seen if the water wasn’t so murky. Cultivated moss and mushrooms are seen growing close to the water.
The party walks down a ramp from the tunnel, and into the lair. Hundreds of pairs of eyes are watching everyone, mostly silent. Gethg calls out that the strangers were sent by Kurtlmak, and we(the kobolds) should do as they ask. Nuada re-iterates this, and sets the terrified Kobold free in a gesture of good faith.
The party makes their way toward the temple, and its not long before they’re surrounded on all sides by Kobolds. Everything was silent save the sound of splashing water somewhere in the chamber. Then from the crowd someone throws a rock. Hissing starts, then swearing followed by more rocks. The crowd is getting more aggressive while still clearing a path for the party. When things look like they’re going to turn worse, the crowd opens up to reveal five distinct Kobolds. One of them is in decent-looking chain armor, while the other four are in red robes with white sashes. They appear to be priests. One of them addresses the party.
Everyone is asked their presence here, and accused of not being followers of Kurtlmak. The party responds saying they are here for Jax. At that mention, a very sickly looking Kobold hobbles forth from the crowd. She says her name is Jax.
One of the priests pushes her roughly, and demands that she has a vision. With that she looks sullen for a moment, then spreads her arms and begins to speak. She proclaims the party as the saviors of this lair, and says they will lead the Kobolds to victory against the Gnomes. She demands that everyone will stay in the temple and states that any lives you took were a sacrifice to Kurtlmak in exchange for all the good you will bring. With that she collapses into a seizure. She is largely ignored as the surrounding Kobolds bark their approval of her comments.
Everyone is taken to the temple. The priests aren’t happy with this arrangement, but they don’t argue. The altar to Kurtlmak is covered in bones, and has a gnome skull embedded in a staff in the center with fibers of red material hanging from it. Could one of those be the bone everyone is looking for?
Some time later Jax comes back and dismisses the two Kobolds guarding everyone. Dressed down somewhat, she addresses the party about her “visions.” It turns out that she has magical stones she found one day while mining, and they do give her genuine visions. However, the others didn’t feel she was having them often enough and gave her potions to induce more. Sadly, the potions would frequently make her sick. As a result she makes up a lot of visions to be left alone. She confesses that she no longer wants to do this, and the party agrees to help her escape. She takes the stones out of the pouch around her neck, and it appears that they are indeed bones. Smaller bones, perhaps of the wrist or ankle. There are seven total. Mahkdoh and Kuma both pick one up and have small visions – glimpses of home – and they are reassured that this is what you’ve been looking for.
Jax says she will return later under the pretense of giving you a tour, and it is then you will make your escape.
Once the party is past one of the guard-points outside the main tunnels, everyone turns and attacks the meager Kobold guards you had around you. They are slaughtered quickly, and Jax smiles in relief.