Having searched the throne room, Novak lead the party onward where they immediately came upon a room and a horrible sight. A savage knelt over bound captives along with a menagerie of ghoulish foodstuffs. Various body parts of animals, monsters and men were in different states of consumption, and one of the savages added to the collection by sawing off the arm of one of the captives.
“Die degenerate dog!” cried Novak as he rushed forward. His trident dug deep into the unclothed torso and his foe gurgled his last breath.
They untied the two captives. One hovered near death, bleeding from his lost arm and unable to speak due to a missing tongue. The other bore a familiar face. It was Colin, the unlucky thief Novak rescued a year before. Once free of his bonds, the old thief grabbed a knife and slew the other captive. He explained some sort of cowardice from his companion that got them captured by the cannibal savages. Novak shrugged, as whatever dispute between the two was certainly now resolved. He offered Colin a place in the crew if he didn’t want to try escaping the tunnels on his own.
Presently, they came to another chamber where they found three men plus a woman holding a baby. All were filthy savages, eyes gleaming with ill intent. The two men rushed forward and one found his death at the end of Novak’s trident. The cleric engaged another, and the old thief also stepped up. The halfing squeezed past them to confront the woman. An errant stab stuck the infant. The savage woman returned a blow with a venom-soaked dagger that Core shrugged off. Presently, the cleric killed his opponent and the cannibal woman also fell.
Novak tackled the remaining cannibal and bound him for questioning. Unfortunately, either due to profound stupidity or ignorance of the common tongue, communication progressed slowly. The ranger attempted hand signals and drawings in dirt floor. The left the savage to his fate, still bound among piles of junk, and headed for a chamber where they remembered seeing a sleeping dragon.
A plan was formed. The cannibal woman’s dagger still dripped poison. Cora would sneak up on the sleeping dragon and deliver a surprise blow. If that didn’t work, the cleric planned to use his lightning ring as he had with the ogre.
The halfling crept up but spoiled surprise with a loud misstep. An armored lizard turned on her. Steam billowed. She stabbed with her poisoned dagger. The great lizard shrugged off the effects. She ran.
With great fortune, she kept a step ahead of the fast-moving lizard. The cleric let loose a lightning bolt from his ring that devastated the reptile, gutting it.
They stood over the corpse and had to admit it was no dragon. They decided to search further.
River to Kobold Lair
Previously avoiding the river, now they felt it was their last avenue for exploration. The water remained knee deep as the trudged over stones. Soon, they saw kobolds on a beach. They quickly exterminated the fleeing kobolds with bowshots. Cora sampled foul liquid from a discarded jug before they entered the kobold lair.
Wandering in tunnels, they spied kobolds at a higher elevation. Not wanting concede the advantage, they circled. Before long, they came to steep slope where a red glow shot up from fissures. A crowd of kobolds waited at the top of the rise. The magical elf called Domastaet cast a spell of sleep and most of the tiny lizard people fell over. The rest were killed swiftly. They and their sleeping companions were shoved in the cracks to fall into molten lava.
Deeper into the lair they pursued more kobolds, and they found a group making a stand. A burly leader shouted his warriors into formation. The magical elf let loose arrows at the chief while the rest of them hurled flaming oil at the grunts. They died like meat left too long over the coals of a campfire.
Of note was a nice javelin, obviously magical. Novak stopped Cora from tossing it as a test. His intuition provide fortuitous, for they learned later it held the power to transform into a lightning bolt.
Lair within a Lair
Around a corner, they met two more of the big lizards. The magical elf webbed them up and they were stabbed to death with ease.
And then the party came to an unusual room with a sooty smell. The walls were charred and a few things inside seemed melted. Blacked skeletons of various types littered the floor. Yet a suit of shining plate armor lay in the center of the room, tempting Novak to snatch it.
He turned away from this temptation. He lead his crew back to the river. They followed it down and out of the caves. A bit of orientation pointed them back to their friends, the witches. Soon they were joined again with Queenie, and the witches told them of the magic in the javelin.