Badly mauled, the party reached the Horned Man tavern in Lost Fornim to rest, knowing it would be several days before Perudo and Jimmy would be well enough to continue adventuring. Thus, the party paid for a week of room and board and settled into a long, easy rest. The first day passed easy, though that night, as the party ate their rather tasteless dinner of fish and gruel, the flame of the torches and lamps began to glow with strange hues, changing and flickering most weirdly. The handful of locals present seemed to associate this with the party, as many departed and the few that remained kept their distance as much as they could.
On the second day, during the afternoon the party was confronted by a small mob of locals that rushed into the tavern. They claimed that the local graveyard had been desecrated, the graves dug up and a great deal of damage done. Of course, the party knew nothing of this and proclaimed their innocence, supported by the innkeeper who confirmed that the party had not left at all since they arrived. This was enough for some of the locals, but not all, and things seemed to be getting ugly, when the local priest of Magnus arrived (as an Imperial province, the national deity was technically Magnus). He was named Prester, he said, and seemed quite friendly to the party. He spent several minutes talking down the remaining hot-headed locals. once that was accomplished, and they had departed, he spent some time with the adventurers, asking them of their purposes in town and otherwise making small talk. The party told him little enough, and he did not seem inclined to pry harder, and soon departed. The innkeeper did mention, when asked, that Prester was probably the town’s most noted person, which said little enough in this isolated village, of course.
The third night saw a pair of soldiers come through, apparently escort for a petty bureaucrat. Ash used ESP to check on them and they were no more than they seemed, with only passing interest in the party and no indication they were suspected as being wanted by the Sea Empire. The next night, the inn was visited by a dirty, bearded man that rolled in and demanded water imperiously. He soon noted the party and began to yell at them, calling them devils and bringers of evil and doom. He became highly agitated and began to prophecy that the p[arty brought destruction with them, and all other sorts of terrors. Fortunately, he eventually departed and left the party in peace. Of course, the handful of locals present remained unfriendly. There were no other encounters of note during the party’s stay, except a very attractive woman that passed through briefly to get some ale from the innkeeper, and who smiled friendly at the party (the only local aside from Prester to show any positive attitude to the party; the party found out from the innkeeper that the woman was Prester’s wife).
Finally, all int he party felt rested and recovered enough to return to the strange, black, nine-sided temple in the Wastes, and arrived there after a few hours walk. Nothing looked different, except that the stones they’d put inside it were gone, and all seemed undisturbed otherwise. In total darkness, Lune now went below, ahead of the others, to scout. Seeing nothing, the others followed, moving carefully in the utter darkness to the great hall where they’d found the great iron spear stuck in the giant bone. Lune now scouted ahead further, crossing over the first pit trap but springing dart traps. The others soon followed, lighting lights to see by when Lune reported no Kobolds. Jimmy now levitated once more to across the line of pits across the great hall they’d fought in before, and made it to the narrowing corridor and down to the first door without incident. Picking the lock (and being jabbed by a poison needle for his trouble), he encountered the first Kobolds and the battle ensued (NOTE: as usual, the battle was too complicated to take comprehensive notes; that, and it was over a week ago!).
The Kobolds used similar but modified tactics in this engagement. They seemed to attack in smaller numbers and more sporadically, and were more willing to fall back, possibly fearing the fireball they’d suffered from Ash previously. But, they did use the same large steel-clad shields as before, with crossbows fried from ports in them, and with Kobold Grenadiers behind, lobbing oil. This time, too, they blocked the passage with an abbatis of bundled sticks, which they ignited when Jimmy tried to cross it (doing nothing,a s he was protected by a ring of fire resistance, of course). This proved a boon, when a Kobold Grenadier hit him with a pot of Green Slime — Jimmy simply leapt into the fire to burn it off. Meanwhile, in the back, Perudo began to use his wand of wonder with abandon, and resulting in a number of weird events (loud music as if a band were playing and the like). Lune pushed forward to support Jimmy, and Ash supported with spells, following behind (at one point, he summoned monsters behind the loop holes, eliminating whatever Kobolds were there firing at the party).
The party broke this first line of defense and continued forward, now contending with loop holes, murder holes, dart traps, and the like as they went. They soon came to a turn south that led through a series of chokepoints, blocked with Kobolds and their great shields, supported by a long wall of loop holes. This the party pushed against as Lune invoked the power of the Finger to go Ethereal and enter the firing area and slaughtering the Kobolds there. Inside there, he found a trap door leading down perhaps 20 feet to a very narrow and low corridor – apparently the Kobolds had a sub-level for their use in shifting forces about the level. The party at last succeeded in breaking through the defensive lines, aided by Jimmy going over the top and Lune arriving from behind after finishing his destruction of the Kobold crossbowmen. But, the Kobolds were clearly bringing up reserves to continue resistance, and by this time the party was sore wounded once more. Not wishing to get too become themselves trapped, they now opted to fall back once more. This turned into a fighting retreat, though the Kobold attackers were not overly numerous and easily brushed aside.
As the party recovered in the hall of the spear, they drew back and Ash threw another fireball back the way they’d come. At least one Kobold was obliterated, though they could not say if more were affected. This done, they withdrew altogether from the dungeon and returned to the camp site they’d begun the week before, where they continued to pile rocks into a rudimentary defensive position and shelter.
– Experience: carried over