While relaxing after the stressful events of the day, the party slowly make their way upstairs in various states of sobriety. Shar Kyber and Saneic all share a room, along with Amren to keep and eye on the heavily intoxicated Kyber and Shar while Etir, Draka, Shyr and Zarik all grab separate rooms for the night after checking on Boney and Steve the harp guitar. Sleeping in real beds for the first time in awhile, the party quickly drifts off to sleep and finds a peaceful and uneventful nights sleep.
Come morning, Draka quickly uses his horn to summon a Hero’s feast at the one table on the second floor of the inn. The sudden loud noise causes the Smiling Man to rush rapidly upstairs in alarm before seeing a calm group of adventure’s all enjoying their breakfast. Smiling wearily he asks the party of the food at the inn was not to their taste before assuring them he had no issues with outside food as it was not food that he made his wealth on. Saneic takes this time to ask him if he knows anything about her sister, to which he sadly answers that all he knows is that she is extremely powerful and extremely dangerous. Etir then asks how to find the inn again should they need it, to which he replies with a sly grin that the inn appears randomly based on its own musings and desires and to find it again is all based on chance.
After finishing their meal the party leaves the inn and steps back into the caverns, Etir handing Saneic his glowrod so she can see in the oppressive darkness of the caves. Shortly after leaving, they begin to hear noises in the caverns, strange growling and skittering sounds along the walls just past the range of their vision. As a strange creature comes into view it snarls and spits acid at the party who quickly move to dispatch the creature. Shyr makes it to the creatures first and begins the attack, using his shield to deflect the two closest from him as they dive. However, his shield now away from him and exposing his chest leaves him open to the other creatures hiding in the shadows. A wave of acid washes over him before he can react and he goes down, unconscious from the potent acid.
The party rushes to Shyr’s aid and Shar calls upon her healing magic to get him back up as Draka whips his chains towards one of the creatures. His weapon hits home but the slashing action of the chain splashes acid over both himself and Shyr. Zarik causes the earth under the creatures to pitch and roil, crushing all but one of them as they fall to the magic. As it turns to attack, seemingly uncaring of the fate of the others, Saneics arrow pierces it and it falls to the ground limp, a hole going neatly through its head.
With them dead Saneic takes the time to examine the bodies. They have no eyes, no ears, no nose, seemingly no way of sensing its environment. Their skin is covered in chitinous plates, and their blood is seemingly a powerful acid. Their jaws shoot forward similarly to an eels and they seem to mix reptilian and insect traits. While carrying nothing of real value Saneic does make note of what was discovered and puts it in her bag. Asking Kyber and Shar, neither of them seems to know what these creatures are or where they come from.
While continuing their exploration of the caverns, Etir does find a secret door. Letting the party know they quickly set about to attempting to open the door. While Saneic checks to see if the door is trapped Etir can detect magic on the other side of the door and alerts the party to a faint transmutation aura. Filing that information away Saneic announces the door does not seem trapped and manages to find the opening mechanism but the door seems stuck. After several attempts the party forces the door open into a cramped small room. In a small corridor off from the main room they find the source of the magic, a small metal box.
Before grabbing it, Saneic finds a pressure plate trap under the box and sets about disarming the trap. While disabling it she makes note that the trap is very very old but that the parts are seemingly in good condition, much better for the apparent age of the trap. Finishing her job she grabs the box, surprised at how light it is, yet it doesn’t yield to the pressure of her hands as the metal holds its shape. Looking at it, Zarik mentions that he’s heard of these boxes before, it was a Zheechdrian method of storing and transferring messages. Etir takes the box from Zarik and manages to get it open, and Zarik gets the message to play, the voice emitting from the box speaking in an unknown language but another voice in their head speaking common, though the message seems to skip several words.
“The…have…the outer……the city. …Warforged………tactics, are being…out faster then they……themselves. We’ve……with the other cities…to this…infection, and now…we are…our own. The counsel….considering…actions to…the plague though…hierarchics…unconvinced…………… However I remain unconvinced. Perhaps……time…ceremony……completed and…swarms…dealt with with with with with with”
Once out of the room Saneic quickly detects another trap and disables it. The trap is a tripwire and is much newer, let alone cruder, then the pressure plate. Shar growls, looking at Etir and thinking the word ‘Kobold’ at him so he can tell the party. Remembering the corpses in the cave the party takes a moment to talk when Draka comes under attack, several bolts striking his armor and leaving him unscathed as his ring goes off a moment before a magic missile hits him.
The party attempts to use diplomacy with the kobolds, and one of the creatures flies towards the party and hides behind Draka while the others ready to attack again. Attempting to intimidate them seems successful as the kobolds flee. Before getting away however, Etir enthralls them and causes them to stop fleeing, now just standing around milling about.
With questioning, they discover the Kobold who ran to them is named Meepo, and so far know he speaks Draconic and Gnomish. However, he is extremely scared of taking the time to speak in the open, nervously looking around him at all sides. The party manages to get some info out of him, like the fleshy things that kill people and then cause the fallen to get back up and that the kobolds follow the bigger goblinoids in the cavern. In an attempt to disable the group of enthralled kobolds, Shar drinks their blood until they pass out and the party takes them and Meepo to the secret room they found before.
Once out of the open Meepo becomes much more conversational. He tells them that he’s been down in these caverns since he hatched, though he would happily leave if given a chance. The rest of the kobolds likely would not however, as they follow the bigger goblinoids and they want to take back the city they used to dwell in. The party at one point mention the warforged, causing Meepo to perk up, as he explains about a massive mechanical dragon who lives in the city, made of metal and gears and extremely hostile. At the knowledge of a warforged dragon Kyber becomes ill, which causes the overfed Shar to join her. Zarik mentions humorously mentions that she is pretty much just vomiting blood, to which she snaps back “At least theres no toenails” causing Zarik to shudder in memory.
Meepo goes onto explain that the caverns have several levels as it slowly declines deeper until it reaches the city. He also offers more information of the fleshy creatures he mentioned before. He tells the party they are basically parasites, killing their prey and turning the body into an incubator for more spawn. The body then gets up and finds more people before exploding and releasing the the newborn monsters to attack the more victims. He mentions that they spit acid as well and the party realizes that Meepo is talking about the same creatures the party fought before.
With a whispered oath Shyr looks down at himself while Saneic and Shar both panic internally. Rushing to him, Kyber and Shar both find that besides some scaring from the acid he seems to be fine, prompting Meepo to tell the party that the creatures have to kill their target, no merely knock it out. Feeling tired from the long day (night? Time is strange down here) the party decides to bunker down in the hidden room while Etir mentions something about someone named Varren before bunking down for the night…