The party flees the tunnels.
Everyone is fatigued. The entire party moved at a hard pace through the tunnels to get to the surface quickly. Taking turns carrying Jax, everyone has been awake for close to 24 hours and has been marching for at least 16. Finally, the party makes it out of the cave to discover that its past nightfall.
And they’re surrounded by kobolds.
What happened next was probably the easiest difficult battle to happen so far. Severath shot his wad and saved the day – by casting web and ensnaring at least 9 kobolds out of the 15 present. The rest fired crossbows ineffectively against most of the party. Jax worked some crazy magic and summoned a category Huge viper, that apparently spawned from hell or something. It was deep red with glowing red eyes and gave off a blackish smoky aura. It snapped a few times at the lead kobold, the finally with a wide bite, swallowed it whole.
Kuma is (apparently) terrified of snakes and immediately started roared out a battle cry, shooting his bow at the monster. Luckily he didn’t do any damage before realizing it was an ally and directing his attention to the nearest kobold.
The snake managed to eat up two more kobolds during the battle, while the others either fled, fought back in vein, or struggled to break free of the web. Severath sparked a fire on the web and it spread quickly. Three of the kobolds were unable to free themselves before burning alive. One even sat down in the web, accepting its fate while looking up at the gigantic snake before it snatched him up and swallowed him as well.
All Faenya and Thorsun managed to do was damage a tree slightly before finally killing one kobold each. After the battle Mahkdoh broke from his revere and cast “create water” to put out the fire. Faenya cried, hugging the tree that she chopped at (when missing kobolds) and tried to hug the trees that were scorched by webbing. All she really did was get charcoal all over her face and hands.
At one point, the party asked Jax if they wanted to free the remaining kobolds stuck in the flaming web, but she stood their stoically and said “let them burn.” That, combined with the demon snake thing, has had a few folks questioning how much they really want her around.
Nevertheless, the kobolds burned.
After the battle, everyone crawled off into the brush to sleep. Jax, now given a moment to rest, removed her jewelry in protest of her former life, keeping only one necklace because she found it pretty. The party gains several hundred gold worth of jewelry, as well as two rings that appear to be magical.
That night everyone had a strange dream. Most folks seemed to dream of home. Mahkdoh had a dream about an orc and kobold army, and more bones. Pe-Ling dreamed of his monastery, but it was full of elves who either sprouted wings and flew away, or turned into snails. Faenya forgot hers.
On the way back to town, the party discussed what they want to do with Jax and the bones. Send her back to the temple? Have her take the bones with her? Should they go with her? While discussing what to do with the bones, Jax goes “Do you want them? Here!” and thrusts the pouch/necklace at Kuma. Kuma puts it on, and immediately hears whispers. At first it was just echos of words people were saying: “Bones. West. Jax” but it started getting louder. Most folks who hear the whispers have had a moment like this before – where the whispers seem to take over. Recognizing this was happening, they keep an eye on Kuma but mostly leave him alone. Severath pokes him and hears “Bones” as a whisper, confirming that “yeah, hes’ having a moment.” Kuma puts his hands over his ears, closing his eyes and crouching down, trying to calm the whispers. Finally the episode ends and he stands up, clear-headed again. He says something like “There are bones to the west, and there will be war.”
Well the whole world is torn by war right now, so what can you do?
The party walked south toward the Beekatin farm, owned by a man they met on their way north. Luckily, the cart they originally brought along was still in tact (and the donkeys well) so they pulled Jax along in that, hiding her in the barn. Everyone gets to meet the whole family: Warziver, Kary, and their seven-year-old daughter Tanzy. The family was very welcoming and eager to hear of your adventures. A few folks helped out around the farm where they could, and helped tidy the house. Eventually, they were forced to come clean about harboring a Kobold, and Warziver wasn’t too happy about it. He told everyone they could stay for one night, but that was it, and don’t tell his wife about the Kobold. Nuada gave him a gold coin for the trouble, and told him to head to the mini sproket and drop Nuada’s name if he ever needed anything.
It turns out that the Dimwin farm is a minor landmark for where its acceptable to camp outside the city. The party set up camp when they got there, and Faenya kept watch over Jax while the others headed into the city.
With Thorsun along, the permit process goes much faster. Having Dwarven Royalty throw their weight around really helps to avoid the two-week waiting period. Everyone received permits to enter the city, and permits to sell specific goods (jewelry, perfume, and oddities). Thorsun also received a permit to enter the Dwarvish embassy.
Everyone takes some time to go about their own tasks. Thorsun meets up with the dwarvish ambassador, Durmar Ironsmith. They exchange information about the state of the clan and events in the city. It sounds like Thorsun’s brother has finally found some direction in his life, and the clan is doing well.
Severath starts looking for an easy way into the Tower Arcanus. Finding no help at the Dwarvish embassy, he heads to the elvish one. There he runs into a high elf spellcaster named Mayella Autumnshade, who proved to be difficult to speak with. Terse and dismissive at first, Severath bought her a bottle of wine to help open the conversation. It managed to work, and Mayella agreed to meet him in the morning and take him into the Tower.
Nuada went back to the “merchants guild” where things are wrapped up in chaos. All engineering projects appear to be on hold as the Mini Sproket is being used for storage. It looks like the guild is stocking up on food and booze. Mykini Seaspanner is busy overseeing things and sends for Nesben Glinklabrick to update Nuada on the current state of affairs. Apparently rumors are true: An army of Orc-lead kobolds is headed toward the city. Few people know about this, and those who have heard it dismiss it as a trivial concern. The city is safe, and kobolds are no real threat. The guild appears to be more concerned about the attack, and is stocking up non-perishables in anticipation of a siege. The goal is to wait until food is scarce, then overcharge during the height of demand. It sounds like the guild has a lot of side jobs available right now too.
It looks like it’ll be impossible to charter a ship out of here for some time – most have already gone, fearing an attack. Those ships left behind are already full, or are used for fishing. Now what is everyone going to do with Jax?
It might not be possible to head home for some time.