We proceed forward and take a side door and explore the living quarters and bedroom of the Misha and her followers. We find some coin and some writings from Abrahmo and Decius. After not finding much else we go back to the main hall. Pretty sure we are walking west. The next room that we come across looks familiar, it’s the lake room where we saw the glow-frog but we don’t stay. We have to climb some rubble to go on. Through the next door a stench of a thousand bogs meets us and some of us leave our previously consumed rations on the ground. Talhier sees something bobbing in the water. Herm uses mage hand to poke what we find to be a bloated body in the water. In fact, there are dozens of bodies all around. This is where they dump the bodies. Let’s go back. We are now in another lake room, boy there are a lot of lakes down here. We walk up to the lake and there is no way around it and there is no boat to be seen. Nesse picks up some dirt and throws it into the water. Oh great, now there is some motion in the water.
Talhier decides that as he has never row, row, rowed a boat, that he is not going to go in search of the boat. He nominates Cael to search for the boat, using the logic that a cave is just an underground forest. It doesn’t work. The rest of the team agrees Cael should go – she is hesitant, but Nila says she can help. Nila casts Spider Climb on Cael. Her spidey sense is tingling. She climbs up the wall and makes her way across the ceiling, and she sees the boat around the corner. Right before she is able to alert the team, her hands slip and she almost falls into the lake, but manages an amazing save as she grabs a convenient handhold shaped root. The falling dirt disturbs the water and a reptilian head breaks the surface, only showing slitted eyes and nostrils. She makes it to the boat, and checks out the path behind the boat. It leads to a nondescript dirt wall. After seeing nothing, she pushes the boat into the water. She rows back to the entryway where everyone is waiting, and the crew gets into the boat. We head back to the area where the boat was from where several of us try to check out the dirt wall. Most of us just see dirt – Nila starts feeling along the wall and since she is preoccupied, she almost walks straight into the water. Bingo does an amazing save and catches her by the back of her cloak before she tumbles in, surely to become a snack to the giant waiting gator creature. Eventually, Herm takes a look at the dirt wall and realizes it is very straight. Almost too straight. For a dirt wall. After further investigation, it is revealed to be a door. Opening the door leads to the hallway outside of the room where we fought Misha and her crew.
We decide to get back in the boat and row to the hallway that is across the lake from where we found the boat. After long stretch of dark hallway, there is a locked door. Issana picks the lock and we enter the room. The room has a door leading to an unknown area, and the far side of the room opens into another room. The inside of this room appears almost stable-like. There is straw for a potential feeding area in the corner, and a giant trough.
Nessie hears a low growl come from inside the farther connected chamber. Some low squat creatures come out of the room each holding a section of chain. The chain leads into the dark recesses of the room behind them. Out of the blackness comes a large reptilian creature. There are several more of the small squat creatures prodding the giant creature out into sight towards us – and that’s when we notice the creature's wings. The mystery creature is a dragon, although small – maybe 15 feet in length at most. Its scales are rusty red, though they may be caked in dirt. We prepare for battle.
While we are focused on the dragon, several bat sized mosquito creatures buzz around and join the fray. Cael shoots and nearly kills one of the troglodytes. Nila runs to the front and casts thornwhip – but she misses. Talhier ruins out fun of trying to save the dragon from slavery by running up to confront the dragon and deftly slashing it. He says nobles must kill dragons. Herm casts flaming sphere in the middle of the troglodytes. Bingo lines up the hurt troglodyte and finishes it off. Nila, Herm, and Nessie take some punishment once the enemies move into range Nessie and Herm are latched onto by our resident bloodsuckers. Nessie retaliates by smacking the stirge into an explosion of blood on her warhammer – Cael skewers a stirge near Talhier, covering him in a misty red cloud. Herm phases out behind Cael, and leaves behind the stirge. The frustrated bug turns toward Cael and lands a hit on her face. Another stirge attaches itself to Bingo. Cael almost stabs herself in the face in an unsuccessful attempt to remove the stirge. Herm follows this up by almost burning her face off with missed fire bolt. Bingo can’t get his stirge off of himself either. Some heals happen to keep people alive. The flaming sphere heads towards the stirges – the one on Bingo flees, and Cael skewers it. The stirge on Cael keeps attacking (Sebastian: "Exsanguination!"), but is burned to a crisp by the flaming sphere. The dragon slashes and smashes Talheir with its tail (two attacks!) Teagan aids in the fight by helping to dispatch troglodytes.
Once the dragon is alone, Talhier determines that it may not actually be a dragon but a dragon-like creature, but we cannot tell. It seems less intelligent than normal dragons. Since it is red, and chromatic dragons are generally evil, we decide to kill it anyway, until Nila runs up to calm it using speak with animals. She tells it its captors are gone. It reacts by backing up to the corner and curling into a small ball. Nila continues to talk to it, and feeds it some rations. It slinks back into the larger cave area. We decide to release the chains that bind the creature – but without getting too close. Nessie convines Issana (Sebastian: “Compassion!”) to use Mage Hand to release the dragon creature's collar from a safe distance. With the chains released, it gives itself a good neck rub on the wall, not unlike a cat. Nila feeds the dragon and it relaxes. To Herm’s dismay, we decide to short rest in the room with the dragon creature. Talhier feeds the dragon some cheese, and Bingo sings the dragon a soothing song. The dragon wanders to the body of the dead troglodytes and has a delicious dinner while being serenaded. We give the dragon a gold and… it eats it and then spits it out. (Sebastian: “Rejection!”). Nila tries to touch it, and only succeeds for a moment – the dragon has scars around its neck.
We head out to check around the lake for anything else of interest, and we notice the dragon friend poke its head out of the hallway, and in one leap it clears the lake into the hallway that leads out. Talhier and Herm want to give chase because they fear that there will be fields full of children for this dragon to eat – however, we’re more than several days away from a town, so the people that can (and will row, unlike Talhier) decide we are going back to the dragon stable room to check out the door and where it leads. After checking for traps, Nesse takes the lead and the stairway slowly turns from dirt into stone.
We come upon a small area with water and stepping stones – most of us make it across dry except for our gnomish friends, who need help getting out of the chest deep water. After following the hallway some more, we come upon a room where we all enter. As the last of us passes the threshold, the roof of the room collapses. Eeep!
Nessie, Nila, Bingo, and Teagan are all trapped under tons of dirt and suffocating! Upon seeing her small charges trapped, Crea rages and call upon Krom the Badger Lord to lend her strength to dig them out. The rest of us who are not trapped lend Crea a hand. (Sebastian, muffled: “Excavation!”). We try to dig them out as Bingo begins losing his shit. Luckily Herm the extremely buff gnome pulls Nila out. Crea, in her rage, plows into the dirt and pulls out Teagan, who is coughing and sputtering up dirt. Issana reaches in and catches Bingo, who attaches himself to her for dear life, and vomit dirt and bile all over her. Nesse, with her indomitable constitution, remains fairly calm regardless of being the last one pulled out. To our dismay Sebastian is unconscious! (“Resuscitation!”, Sabastia probably). As Nesse casts as much healing magic as she can, and he slowly opens his eyes. (Sebastian: "Confusion.")
Talhier hates to admit it, but he helped do the menial chore of digging out our buried party members, but quips that he did not like it. Bingo’s instruments are miraculously unscathed. As we look around after the aftermath, we notice some spider webs that seem very… large.
[[NOTE: We have had two encounters, so our next encounter will be the third.]]