While Stem stayed in the woods and used his fin familiar spell to bind The Imp to his service, the party returned to Rasthaven with Nasty Canasta and his men in chains. Fred and Charley insisted that Nasty would be brought to justice this time. He was chained to the wagon and Miles Hammish set off for the outpost to get paid for the bounty. The rest of the prisoners had no bounty but were horse thieves and worse running in Nasty’s gang. Fred and Charley explained that come dawn they would hung by the neck until dead in retribution for their crimes.
Padraig MacTaggart took a metal strongbox out of his pack and showed it to Fred and Charley. Knowing that the two brothers had the silver key in their possession from Stem’s investigations, Padraig explained that the box was layered with necromantic magic and was tied to a silver key which we were unable to find. Padraig waited as the bait was dangled in front of the two brothers. They asked where the box was found. Padraig explained that it was uncovered in a hidden necromancer lab near the ruined tower outside of town. Charley bit and ran back to his house. He returned shortly after with his journal and the silver key he was using as a bookmark. It was just as Stem had described.
Padraig offered to purchase the Silver Key from the two brothers. They were reluctant to give up the token they had found. And were ready to drive a hard bargain. Delphinian stepped in using his Charismatic wiles to try and broker a good deal. His first tact was to convince the brothers that they should give up the key for free. That did not go over well. In fact the brothers demanded 100 gold coins for the key.
Some tense and bitter negotiations followed. With the Rasthaven Brothers not budging from their hard bargain price and Delphianian complaining to all who would listen about the terrible and unfair deal. Padraig stepped in and offered to exchange the 7 Ogre Tongues that they were told would carry a 10 gp bounty on each for the silver key. The brothers counter offered the 7 tongues plus 10 gold coins. Delphianian continued to berate the brothers for trying to weasel every last copper out of the adventuring company and could not believe how he was being treated. In the end Padraig handed over the 7 ogre tongues and 10 gold coins from his own purse to settle the score before things go any more out of hand. After some grumbling all parties seemed content.
Delphinian examined the silver key and then suddenly used it to open the box. A disembodied mummified hand leaped out of the box to startle the crowd which had gathered around the fire and was watching the strange goings on. Delphinian frowned at the creature and commanded the hand audibly in the common tongue. He told it to approach him and spin around in a circle. The hand obeyed his commands. Delphinian smiled and said, “I shall call you Thing. Return to your box Thing.” The hand complied and Delphian shut and locked the box, putting the Silver Key on a bit of ribbon around his neck, and tucked the box under his arm.
Late at night by the fire, Enoch broke the news to his new found friends that he was not going to join them on their trek to the goblin caves after all. The loss of his Mastiff Comet had hit him hard and he needed some time to train his new animal friend – Piggy – a wild boar. Padraig hugged Enoch and said that it was an honor to have fought by his side. He wished him well in the training of piggy and asked a favor of him to train an eagle, hawk, or falcon of some kind for Padraig to purchase in the future. Enoch agreed. Enoch also spent some time training the group on what to look for as far as mining signs – which kinds of rocks to get samples of and what to look out for.
After a good night’s rest, Padraig MacTaggart, Delphinian, and Brother Eravin left town determined to reach the goblin caves. Stem and his new familiar he was calling “Leaf” much to the chagrin of the foul mouthed Imp, met them at the bridge outside of town.
The group traveled swiftly and after a few days without incident reached the caves of the Skullcrusher Goblin Clan. The evening before the reached the caves a huge bear had sniffed around the edges of their camp site. Padraig saw that the tracks led the same direction the group was traveling. And sure enough after Leaf scouted the area invisibly, it was learned that the bear’s lair was right in the cave where we wished to travel. Not wanting to harm the bear unnecessarily, Padraig caught some fish as the bear slept during the day and left them out in a trail leading them away from its home.
Just as expected the bear hungrily ate the fish and followed them away from the cave, and the party came out of hiding and slipped into the cave entrance. There they found the bear’s lair and a huge stone sealing the cave entrance. Stem and Delphinian examined the rock and found that it was indeed magically sealed just as the legends had described.
Padraig took one of the two knock spell scrolls out of his pack and handed it over to Delphinian thinking that wizard needed to read the scroll in order to unleash its magic. He found that a spell scroll had its magic already tied to the ink and paper and could be read by anyone to unleash its magic. With an audible change in pressure, the rock slid away revealing a passageway covered in cobwebs. Everyone quickly got on the other side of the rock understanding that after a minute or two the magic of the knock would subside and the caves would once more be sealed.
Suddenly a giant spider came out of nowhere and attacked Padraig. A difficult battle ensued with 3 of the arachnids. The spiders shot sticky webs to entangle the group. Both Stem and Padraig were covered in sticky webs. And much to the groups amusement the slender elf Stem was able to rip the webs apart and escape much faster than the huge barbarian, Padraig. After dealing with the poison and the sticky webs and the spiders ability to hide in the webs, the battle was finally won as the stone slid back into place entombing the group until the second scroll could be used to open the way out.