In the calm after the fight with the Kobolds, The Bard finally wakes up. He had been dragged all the way here by the party, in the hope that his hangover would at some point dissipate enough for him to play a part in the attack. As memories of his debauched behaviour the previous night in the orc camp return, he insists he is fighting fit.
The party continues further into the cave fortress. The narrow passage opens into a large chamber, in the centre of which is an open iron cage. The cage is guarded by two tough-looking barbarians… and Cyanwrath!
Yes, the blue dragonborn, missing presumed dead in Wyvern Tor, is back! The only member of the group who recognises him is Kai, who wastes no time in making his displeasure known to his colleagues.
As the party watches, a high-ranking woman arrives, escorted by four silver-masked undead mages. This woman’s name is Ella
(…ella, ella, eh, eh eh). She takes a key from Cyanwrath, and begins a ritual of some kind.
This looks to the adventurers like something they would be better off disrupting. Carreg induces earth tremors with assistance from Kai, but Cyanwrath’s faith in the tectonic stability of the cavern is unshaken. The tremors alarm the barbarians but do not put Ella off her work. Anarië’s fireball proves more attention-grabbing. Ella manages to avoid the full force of the blast, and begins casting a spell, but Anarië prevents it being cast and she retreats down the chamber to behind the cover of a large natural pillar. Cyanwrath takes the fireball straight in the face, but is still standing, as are the barbarians and undead mages.
Gweneth leaps from the corridor and attacks a barbarian, just as Cyanwrath breathes lightning down the corridor onto the rest of the party. He is soon cut down by the combined efforts of the group, with Kai screaming “You should be dead!”
The Bard’s attempt to join the battle is hindered by a pit trap which finally opens at the entrance to the chamber, depositing him on poisoned spikes. He shrugs off the poison like Lemmy shrugs off a bottle of Jack, and the barbarians are notably aggrieved at the mismatch between their leaders’ assurances about the efficacy of the trap and its performance in practice.
The battle is long and messy. Ella’s healing magic manages to revive Cyanwrath and a fallen barbarian, but they are soon cut down again. Kai hesitates over the fallen dragonborn, wrestling with his conscience. Is it right to finish off an incapacitated foe? Would a moment’s dishonour now prevent more suffering in future, and is it even his place to make such judgements? His agonised deliberations are interrupted by Anarië, who steps daintily over the pit and walks past Kai, casually incinerating Cyanwrath as she goes.
By now,both of the barbarians and three of the undead mages have been dispatched. Only Ella remains – and the last undead mage, who is locked in a seemingly unending exchange of ineffectual blows with Carreg. The rest of the party leave the dwarf to it and target Ella.
She has not been idle. A swarm of malevolent spirits wreath her, causing terror and inflicting wounds on any who try to attack. Ser Gweneth powers through the spirits, but finds herself unable to bring her sword to bear on Ella herself due to a protective enchantment. Ella flees, pursued by Gweneth and Kai who are hampered by the swarm of spirits. Anarië uses the last of her strength to dispel Ella’s protective enchantment, allowing the rest of the party to attack her. The Bard’s insidious whispers – “Really, those shoes? With that dress?” – cut her to the quick and break her concentration, causing the enveloping spirits to disperse. Finally unhindered, Kai attacks her with a precision nerve strike, rendering her unconscious.
Meanwhile, Carreg finally manages to strike a decisive hammer blow and destroys her undead foe, to much acclaim.
The party decides it is time to leave. They are wounded and tired, and they have a high value prisoner who would be well worth interrogating. They spend a few minutes searching the bodies – most notably, Ella has a black crystal hung about her neck – and disrupting the enemy’s magical ritual, Kai by partially destroying the magic circle within the cage, Anarië by melting the cage lock with her heat ray.
Retracing their steps is a simple enough matter, apart from all the kobolds. In the first chamber they come to, a swarm of kobolds attacks Anarië. Severely injured, she reveals the terrible aspect of her Eldest ancestry, but though this discomfits the creatures it does not prevent them bringing her down, and she is only saved by Kai’s healing powers. More kobolds inhabit the next chamber, and more still in the next. The adventurers destroy them all, mainly by virtue of Ser Gweneth cutting them down two or three at a time in a great whirlwind of steel. Even so, there is a final close call when one kobold scampers towards a cage holding some fearsome-sounding lizard creature – or creatures – and fumbles with a key in the lock. The Bard uses his powers to heat the key until it glows, not only preventing the kobold from opening the cage but in fact killing him outright with the shock of the extreme burning.
Finally out in the open air, the party keeps going for an hour before stopping, roughly in the direction of Fandolin. Exhausted, but with a prisoner to show for their troubles, they make camp and rest.