Having made it back to Greenest with Leosin Erlanthar in tow and much worse for wear the party is only given hours to recover from their escape.
Leosin and Gov. Nighthill send for the group. Their request is that they head back to the camp of the cultists to watch and investigate. Leosin in particular wants to know if they pack up and leave where they are headed, he also wants confirmation of what he suspects is going on in that encampment.
Torrin suggests it is a bad idea and that the party should simply be on its way. But the group is persuaded by Leosin and Nighthill, 150gp a piece helps convince the group that it is worth their time.
Ellenora decides to dress them all as women and march them straight into camp. When they arrive however, they find that there isn’t really much of a camp left. The group encounters some hunter mercenaries who are heading out on daily runs to capture game and bring it back. They seem to have no affiliation with the cultists and basically ignore the party until directly confronted. At which time they revealed that they care very little what the group does so much as they leave the mercs alone.
A large cave opening is the only area not explored by the party during their first round at the encampment. And so it is with a bit of trepidation they head into the maw.
The group quickly dispatches two sentries guarding the entryway. They head down a set of stairs only to come upon a room filled with fungus. The fungus is nearly waist high and as Shimara heads down the stairs he triggers a trap that dumps him to the bottom of the stairs and right into a set of purple fungus. These barely intelligent creatures begin to attack but the party handles them and after surveying for more heads through the room.
A large cavern opens up with high ceilings. The group sees that there are hundreds of bats in this room. Everyone attempts to move quietly through so as not to disturb the colony but Raziel trips and sequels as he hits the ground sending the bats into a frenzy. Unfortunately for the party hidden among the bats were blood sucking stirges. The stirges latch onto the adventurers and despite their efforts they are difficult to remove because of the chaos of the bats. The party crawls back the way they came getting separated for just a moment when Torrin realizes that heading down the stairs no one is with him.
As the group reunites they are able to get the blood suckers off them and killed. Only to realize that right around the corner is a large contingent of kobolds and flying kobolds. Apparently the party came upon the kobold barracks as some are sleeping and they all appear to be lazing about. That all changes as the players engage in battle with them. Becoming overrun and needing a new tactic Ellenora holds up her arms and shows the (fake) cultist tattoos that she applied to her and the parties arms. The moment of truth of her art skills comes true as she and Raziel negotiate a cease battle and the party is able to retreat from the room and try to head somewhere they can lick their wounds.
As the crest another stair well they are greeted by more kobolds and a significant pit from which they hear growling. The party attempts to pull another fast one on the dim-witted kobolds but unfortunately it doesn’t pan out. One of the kobolds attempts to take off and only through Freyr does Raziel realize that he is going for Langdedrosa Cyanwrath who must be somewhere in the caves. The steely nerve of Torrin manages to pull off an amazing bow shot taking down the Kobold before he can alert their nemesis. The party dispatches the remaining three kobolds quickly and tucking into the corner of the room beds down as best they can posting watch while they get some much needed rest.
The group pulled themselves up and feeling slightly more mended, but not necessarily fully recovered, prepared to continue exploring the caves searching for indication of what was, or is, going on. Ellenora tried to convince the party (mostly her brother) that it would be a good idea to take the time to train the Guard Drakes to see if they could use them against the kobolds. The room they were in contained loops on poles, chains, and a gate to keep the drakes down below. It suggested that these drakes were being trained in just this way but of course to serve the cultists needs. Ellenora she could accomplish the same task but the group decided to press on and leave the drakes for someone else to deal with.
Raziel sent Freyr down the hallway through the bat room to another room to scout ahead but unfortunately Freyr ceased communication after coming in contact with something. The party moved quickly to see what had happened and upon inspection discovered that what appeared to be a curtain made of large leather strips was in fact a trap. Barbed hooks had been sewn on the insides of the leather and coated with a mild poison. Freyr, while not dead, was badly injured and would need time to recover. The group found a battered pole arm that the kobolds must use to move the curtain when passing through. The room beyond was nothing more than a cold cellar. Dead carcasses hung on hooks around the room and some had fallen to the ground. Much of the meat was either past its prime or nearing that state. However, there were some more recent kills that had been stored here. And needing no more inspiration than that, Ellenora lugged a small elk carcass over her shoulder and headed back the way she came determined to train the guard drakes. The party given little incentive to refute her now followed.
The group spent the next few hours as Ellenora worked her animal handling and musical prowess on the guard drakes, taking each through a series of tasks to instill trust and understanding between her and the beasts. The rest of the party maintained a high state of tense alertness, watching for any sign to put the beasts down. After a few hours Ellenora was able to control the drakes and summoned one out of its cage. With the beast in tow the group set themselves back down the stairs to the kobold barracks determined to finish the job they started and find out what was in the treasure chest they’d spied in the room.
The encounter now found the party with the upper hand as they unleashed a guard drake into the fray, and taking a more cautious approach, found a battle formation that favored them (put the tank in front instead of the drow). The made short work of the kobolds with the guard drake at one point laughing itself into a kobold and eviscerating it on contact. Ellenora sensing the beasts blood lust commanded it to sup on the remains of the kobolds while Torrin looted the chest. While nothing glamorous the party was now in possession of the kobolds’ entire savings and earnings from the raid on Greenest and likely other small towns the cult had sacked.
The adventurers left the guard drake to its feast and headed back to grab another of the indispensable creatures before heading down the set of stairs Torrin had nearly gone down when the party was under stirge siege. At the bottom of the stairs opening into a decorated and minimally furnished room stood Langdedrosa Cyanwrath. He actually seemed overjoyed at the chance encounter especially because of Shimara still being alive.
Cyanwrath was flanked by two humans who at first glance looked highly primitive but turned out to simply be berserkers like Shimara. Acting quickly Raziel launched a mental phantasm at Cyanwrath and managed to hold the Dragonborn at bay in a state of fear as his mind was assaulted by a banshee. This gave the others the chance to dispatch the berserkers who put up quite a fight landing multiple blows on Shimara. When Cyanwrath broke the mental illusion his rage was profound and he immediately tried to take out Raziel. But again the Drow came through and shattering the crystal they had found on the road together prior to arriving near Greenest, he summoned an air elemental who pummeled Cyanwrath and together with the party felled the foe.
Upon inspection of the room, the party realized it was a mini shrine to the five headed dragon goddess Tiamat. The art was crude and further inspection revealed a swath of primarily black dragons which upon speculation made sense as Rezmir who the party had seen commanding forces outside of Greenest’s keep during the raid was a black dragon born. One large chest sat near the shrine and being no fool Torrin used his mage hand to disarm the trap and open the chest revealing pearls, a ring, and a pouch with masterfully cut and polished gems.
The party, now on high alert searched the room only to find a hidden tunnel in the south west corner of the room leading straight up. A ladder was attached to the tunnel allowing Torrin to climb up and see what was there (after Freyr, who had recovered enough to scout said it was “soft”). A rug sat on top of a trap hole. As Torrin lifted it just an inch he could see feet walking out of vision. He came back down and the party decided to try their luck heading east.
In the largest room they had encountered thus far the party found another caged pit. In the caged pit they discovered were three what appeared to be eggs. Dragon eggs. Raziel without hesitation destroyed one. This angered Ellenora as she felt that the group, emboldened by her success with the guard drakes, should take the eggs and raise the dragons as their own to fight on their behalf. Shimara warned against it and as they were arguing Raziel was hit with a rock followed by a glue and fire bomb lobbed from some kobolds hiding in the far eastern part of the room. The group also realized that in the pit were more guard drakes and what appeared to be a Roper. Ellenora communicated with the Roper who was mostly bored by the ongoing skirmish but did snap out a tendril to kill and eat Ellenora‘s guard drake. After taking out some of the kobolds Shimara headed into the pit to try and deal with the guard drakes. However, just as the party was attempting to help him the Roper grabbed him and in a burst of speed fled the room through what could only have been a magical portal. The roper’s words “this has all been interesting but now it is time for me to go and I’m taking this one with me” echoed in the now silent chamber.
Ellenora went into a state of shock as she screamed and battered the wall trying to get to Shimara. Neither Raziel nor Torrin could snap her out of it. Unfortunately for the now diminished party Elenora’s wails did not go unnoticed and a pack of kobolds came storming into the room to asses the situation. Torrin and Raziel managed to bring some of them down and eventually Ellenora was able to pull herself together and help the group. With the loss of their friend the party decided to expedite their search for information and proof on what was occurring in the camp. They doubled back hoping to head up to the hidden tunnel only to find Frulam Mondath waiting for them in Cyanwrath’s chamber. She had little to say as did the party, their emotions still raw over the loss of Shimara. Mondath took a few big hits right off the bat but managed to summon a spectral blade that worked its way through the party eventually cutting down Torrin who fell to a heap unconscious. Elenora and Raziel were able to take down Mondath and Elenora managed to heal her brother and bring him back to consciousness. She then proceeded to take Cyanwrath’s dagger and deface the body of Mondath in a gruesome display of violence.
Meanwhile Torrin snuck up to Mondath’s chambers and managed to pocket a map and numbers ledger proving the work of the cultists and showing where they are headed. Peeking around the corner Torrin discovered 15 soldiers, clearly the human barracks and adhering to the Rogue’s credo snuck away to fight another day.
The party worked their way back through through the tunnels and despite hearing noises didn’t encounter any additional creatures before making it out of the caves and into the former encampment.
Weary and with heavy spirits the group pushed through until sunrise putting as much distance between the caves and themselves as they could. Exhausted the collapsed on a sparse mound that provided some cover and good visuals so they could rest before heading back to Greenest one member less than they set out with…