The dungeon of Ravenscraeg threatened to become the party’s grave. With their ears still ringing from the thunderstones, trolls in the hall behind them, and a forbidding staircase leading further down into the dungeons, the party was running short of options.
Rehoofa volunteered to scout ahead down the stairs. He crept ahead, tripping over a tripwire trap. Deaf as he was, he couldn’t hear anything, but he suspected an alarm had been triggered. Then he poked his head around the corner to find a horde of zombies waiting for him. He fired, taking down a few of them, but many more were coming. He retreated back up the steps, finding out the hard way that there was more than zombies behind him: acidic rays blasted him from behind, nearly knocking him flat.
Rehoofa was in full retreat, but the rest of the party was trying to figure out what had spooked him. They found out soon enough, as a twisted, troll-ish thing made it to the top of the stairs, throwing spells and backed up by zombies. Elsa tried to slow it down with her Flaming Sphere, but flubbed the spell because of her deafness.
The party soon joined Rehoofa in running away, though Ulf took several bad hits from Magic Missiles. They ran into the hall, where Rehoofa did his best to distract the trolls, using both his monk moves and dwarven defensive training to buy time. The trolls still got a few furious swipes in, wounding the party as it ran past.
Somehow the party broke away, bloody and broken but still able to run. They made it to the back exit and ran, pursued by ravens that harassed them as they escaped down the mountain.
By the time the party got to the bottom of the mountain, their hearing had finally returned. They quickly broke their camp, making way for another part of the Grungir Forest to hide out in. Later in the day, they chanced going back to their first camp site, since Spivey was going to come back soon.
Grigori, on his way back to Kalsgard with Lute, had a sudden premonition, a whisper on the wind that his friends were in trouble. He gave Lute some food and pointed him towards Kalsgard, before wheeling around and making his way back to Ravenscraeg. He arrived at dusk, to find Spivey hovering around looking for the party. All she knew was that they’d made camp near the secret back entrance. Finding no horses and no sign of a camp, she was at a loss for what to do. Grigori suspected that the party might have gone into Ravenscraeg, and the two of them were just about to start their way up towards the hall when Marcel called out to them: the party had come back to try finding Spivey.
Spivey was happy to find her friends, and dropped off the wand of Cure Light Wounds she’d bought back in Kalsgard. She stayed the night with the party, while they caught up Grigori on what had happened. Ulf explained that the troll-creature had been none other than Goti Runecaster himself. Quite frankly, they were lucky to be alive. The party also used up about a quarter of the wand’s charges healing up their wounds. They realized they were going to need another wand, sooner rather than later.
The party sorted through their loot so far. They read through the notebook from the strange, demonic bedroom, finding it to be the experiment notebook of Goti Runecaster. Goti wrote about several experiments, the most notable of which was infusing a sea hag with demonic essence. Apparently the hag had transformed, shedding her old skin like a snake and becoming obsessed with a demon lord. Goti had chosen to release the transformed hag, seeing no more reason to keep her around (and possibly feeling she was dangerous to keep). The hag’s skin in the bedroom was undoubtedly hers.
When day broke, the party awoke, recovered and stronger. They gave Spivey some of the platinum pieces they’d found and sent her back to Kalsgard to get another wand. She wished them luck and flew off. The party, plus a much more hesitant and doubtful Ulf, went back up to Ravenscraeg.
This time there were no thugs waiting for them. Instead, the Spider Eater from earlier had taken up residence just inside the hall, and ambushed them as they tried to get in. It fought fiercely, but the party regrouped quickly and fought it off. This time, they brought it down and killed it.
The party made its way into the hall and back downstairs. This time they investigated the room full of water. Rehoofa leapt across the water easily and landed on the other side, where he picked open the locked door and found a small well with a flickering orange glow coming from it. He looked down to see the well had been used as a sort of dumpster, filled with rubble and detritus from the recent excavations. Wedged in with the rubble was a sword, that appeared to be on fire.
Rehoofa suspected he may have finally found the real Suishen, the magical blade that had brought them to Kalsgard in the first place. But the sword lay fifty feet down a well that was less than a foot wide. So close, and yet so far. Rehoofa grumbled that he wished they hadn’t sent Spivey away that morning.
Rehoofa was about to leave when a bizarre flying, bag-like creature dropped out of the ceiling, wrapping itself around his head and biting. The party saw Rehoofa struggling and tried to help, but they were quickly distracted by an all-too-familiar high-pitched giggle. Buttersnips, the Quickling from Brinewall, had appeared.
Buttersnips was up to her old tricks, zipping around the battlefield, skipping off the water itself with her amazing speed while she cut up the party with a poisoned knife. The party had some new tricks, though: Marcel cracked out his new spell of Blindness, which struck the Quickling blind. She was frustrated but still dangerous, cutting up a few of them before Rehoofa finally pinned her down with some arrows and Marcel struck her down with his sword.
While most of the party was fighting Buttersnips, another battle was going on. Ulf, Grigori, and to a lesser extent Rehoofa, fought a small group of the flying bag-things. Grigori slipped in the water and floundered around, largely trying to stay out of the way after one of the bags enveloped his head and another bit at him. Ulf fended off two or three bags at a time, doing his best to stay alive. After Buttersnips went down and Rehoofa successfully stomped her to death, the rest of the party regrouped and helped Ulf fight off the bags.
The party healed up and fought off the last of Buttersnips’ poison. Elsa revealed her latest ability, shape-shifting herself to look like Goti Runecaster before stepping out to see the trolls. Unfortunately, she had forgotten that she doesn’t speak Giant. A Tongues spell from Marcel translated for her, but then she had to speak very quickly to explain that she was escorting prisoners, even though the “prisoner” was casting spells on her. The trolls looked less than convinced, but another Charm Person spell helped keep them distracted.
The trolls referred to Elsa/Goti as “little cousin,” and seemed to defer to her, though they did complain about the cold and asked if any of the prisoners were going to have to deal with “the scary ’un.” They also asked which prisoner they’d get to eat, since apparently they always got to eat a prisoner when a new crop came in. Elsa talked them off of that and distracted them by giving them Buttersnips’s body to eat. One of the trolls chomped down the little Quickling in one bite; it was then that Elsa realized the party hadn’t taken the time to strip Buttersnips of her gear, and the troll suffered some brief indigestion as Buttersnips’ poison reserves hit him.
While the troll was burping off the upset stomach, the party went into the dojo and closed the door behind themselves, closing the trolls off in the hallway again.
Things had changed: a prisoner was against the back wall, tied up with a bag over his head (this bag a standard canvas thing, not an animated monster). He cried when the party came in, and said he was just a puppeteer named Omoyani. Marcel gasped and went to help, getting the bag off the prisoner’s head and confirming it was the puppeteer they’d taken in at the caravan.
Rehoofa decided to investigate the rest of the dojo and opened a door at random: he was immediately hit by a sword as the ninja hiding behind it struck.
Then four more doors opened and more ninjas came out to attack…