Shortly after the death of Val the witch, the party returned to the village to rest up. There, they noticed an elf following them, and naturally invited him to join the group. While Tyrannyth Serpenthelm went off on his own, the others set out one more time for the kobold cave. Third time’s the charm, right?
Wrong. This time, the party spent a half-hour searching the first thirty feet of the kobold caves for traps (they found one: the same pit trap that nearly killed Val). Upon reaching the trap, they encountered a patrol of six kobolds. One kobold laid a plank across the pit trap to fend off the intruders, while others threw javelins. The dogs did most of the fighting, aided by Feredir the elf. Nathanial Greenstone stood back and watched for the most part, a decision that would haunt him later. Eventually, Keyrock of the Cave People triggered the pit trap again, causing himself and the elf to fall in. The kobolds finished off two of the dogs before Nathanial was finally moved to action, casting a sleep spell that ended the encounter. The party was forced to retreat back to the village again, due to the near-fatal fall into the pit trap suffered by the Feredir.
Back in town, the party went to the local church, a temple of Pholtus. They met a cleric named Misha Devi, who agreed to heal the party in exchange for a favor to be determined. Misha healed the party (except Nathanial who remained untouched), and they returned to the Inn of the Slumbering Serpent to rest. Keyrock also made a deal with Gade the liveryman to kennel and heal the wounded war dog Hans over the next few days.
That night, Feredir heard noises coming from Keyrock’s room. He investigated and found a troglodyte leaving Keyrock’s room. The troglodyte ran, and Feredir followed until he determined that the troglodyte would make it into the Mistmarsh before he could catch up. Keyrock and Nathanial, awakened by the elf’s shouts, also attempted to follow but could not catch up. In the end, the party decided to return to the inn, gear up, and follow the troglodyte’s trail into the marsh. In their haste, they forgot to wake up Tyrannyth.
The trail proved easy enough for Feredir to follow, and the party appeared to be gaining on the troglodyte, until they found themselves surrounded by mist. Once the mist cleared, they were unable to find the trail, and, continuing in the same direction, they slowly realized that they could no longer identify their surroundings. Unwilling to turn back (the troglodyte had stolen all of Nathanial and Keyrock’s gold, after all), the party continued for a number of days. The swamp’s water level rose, and they chose to use an old abandoned raft they found. A crocodile attacked, and they rowed away in fear. A giant toad surprised the party by attacking Nathanial from a distance and reeling him in with its tongue. In its attempt to swallow the mage whole, it succeeded only in biting off his leg. There was some talk of waiting to see how the mage fared before expending their resources, but Keyrock and Feredir ultimately killed the toad. Unfortunately, Nathanial also died from his wounds.
Keyrock and Veredir continued into the swamp. That night, they encountered a band of Vistani, who told them of the nearby village of Marais d’Tarascon, warned the party to avoid the village at night, and left them with an additional warning: “Beware the madman. Beware his blood.” Despite some good first impressions, the relationship between Keyrock and Veredir and the Vistani was not especially positive by the time the Vistani left.
And still, the party continued into the swamp. The next day, they found an elevated house, held up by poles, where a young lad sat in a catatonic state, surrounded by lanterns. Keyrock and Feredir stayed in the house overnight. The youth sat quietly holding a book except for two events. First, on their arrival he slowly spoke the following: “The on descend shall evil of night the land, at near is signs of hexad this when hand.” Second, when one of the men extinguished one of the many lanterns surrounding the single room in the house, the youth flew into a rage and began bashing his own head against the floor. When the lantern was lit, he stopped. And when Keyrock tried doing the same thing again, the youth again bashed himself against the floor until the lantern was lit again.
Meanwhile, a dwarven craftpriest from the hills to the southwest of the Mistmarsh went exploring in the swamp and was also surrounded by mists before finding himself near Marais d’Tarascon. He was discovered by the local priest, Shaman Brucian, who was bringing food to the youth in the pole-house. The man and dwarf arrived at the house, where the priest was questioned at length by Keyrock. Eventually, the priest became fed up with the increasingly detailed and invasive questions, and he left. The dwarf and the elf went with him, and Keyrock stayed at the house.
In town, the dwarf and elf found rooms at the Full Moon Inn before witnessing a disturbing funeral, in which the coffin was bound with chains and its inhabitant was clearly trying to escape.
Earned XP: 32 each.