When last we left the Company of the Bloody Boots, they had cleared the undercroft of the ruins and recovered a small fortune in silver coins and silver objects. Being tired and wanting to get their hard earned loot safely away, they returned to town.
On the way they decided to reward the farmer they had been staying with for his kindness. They took the time to show him some of the treasure items and described the "mole men" they had defeated. Just when he was suitably in awe from their story they handed over a small purse containing 150 silver pieces.
As he had business in town he accompanied them to the Inn & Tavern. While they arranged rooms and stabling for their donkeys, the farmer began sharing their tale and buying a round of drinks with his new found bounty of silver. It didn't take long before a crowd was asking to see the goblets, candelabras, and other items, and to hear more about the mole men battle.
While some of the party tended to securing the goods in their room (they had paid to have the upper common room for themselves), a few led by Miera, visited what passed for a town constable to see if there were any reports of thefts that the items might be tied to. Fortune smiled and being honest he informed them that, no, it was unlikely anyone here could afford such niceties and nothing had been reported missing.
The festivities in the tavern continued till a couple hours after nightfall, something that had not been the practice in Troll Pass for many decades out of fear of night creatures.
After a couple days of rest and healing it was decided that they would return to investigate what was up the large spiral staircase. Approaching the ruins they decided that two of the familiars should scout and give impressions of any possible dangers. Sparkle, the crow sized Blue Jay flew above the upper grounds while Darwin was sent slinking in his lizardly way down to the cave entrance. Neither noticed any immediate threats so the party approached the cave.
There was a distinct smell of death eminating from the way into the undercroft and the group realized it was probably a mistake on their part to leave the bodies laying scattered about and not disposing of them somewhere outside. Holding their noses they advanced cautiously back into the gloom. Rotting stirges, decaying snakes, and two dozen Morlock corpses can create one hell of a smell.
Aware of the possibility that scavengers might be present, they pushed their way into the vast undercroft. A buzzing sound like that of an annoying housefly could be heard, much louder than simple houseflys make. Annoyed at their interrupted feast, three carnivorous flies, beasts the size of large house cats with wings, darted toward the intruders, trying to nip at them and drive them out.
The fight was quick. The flys were outmatched and failed to bite anyone before being rapidly dispatched. The party made a quick check for more scavengers before pulling together the morlock bodies into a pile, and returning to their intended search.
Beyond the stairway lay several rooms arranged along a hallway. Two of the rooms were empty, two had floors covered with filthy straw and grass, most likely where the large group of morlocks slept. Another room was piled with detritus to a depth of mid shin or above for most of them.
Finding nothing of immediate value Seamus went up another narrower spiral staircase to discover it led up to the surface. Glancing quickly about he realized where it let out was just beyond the mausoleums with the Devil and Angel statues facing one another. He rejoined the party and they turned to head back down below.
Stealthily ascending the stairs were three gnolls, weapons at the ready, prepared to ambush any of the group they cuold catch off guard. Catch the party off guard they did. Well, most of them. (The surprise rolls went bad for the party.) Charging into the midst of the group from a short 10 feet away the big beast men laid about with weapons. Rowenna was cut down in an instant.
At first response was limited, but a moment later and the Bloody Boots had regrouped and retaliated. Luck was with them and the beast men soon lay slain at their feet. Tending to Rowenna, Pedro prayed for a healing miracle. His diety heard and Rowenna was healed, pulled from the jaws of death by a narrow margin. (Yet a third character makes a death save to survive negative hit points!)
That decided matters. Rowenna would need to be carried back to safety to recover for a number of days. Gathering themselves, they continued down the stairs and on their way out, lit the pile of dead morlocks on fire. (Gee, I wonder why they forgot to pull the big hairy gnolls down and fry them as well?)
Back in town they set things up for Rowenna to be cared for and set about preparing for another trip into the ruins. She would remain behind recuperating from her experience.
During the first couple of days in town they arranged to have a large strongbox manufactured so they could haul around their treasures without them laying loose in the cart. They also rented some pick, maul, and shovel from the locals, who wouldn't sell because it takes time to get new ones brought in.
Gathering the tools, the group, without Rowenna, returned to the undercroft intent on breaking through the bricked up archway where the silver coins and items had been piled. They were undisturbed during their short trip and paid no mind to the smell of burnt morlock and decaying gnoll that greeted them on arrival.
Setting to work on breaking through the blocked passage, they hammered some spikes into points the dwarves felt sure would give them an easier task and then set to work with pick and mall. Stopping periodically to shovel away broken brick shards, it was only an hour before they could access the chamber beyond. Despite all the noise, nothing bothered them as they worked.
On the other side was a large bedroom with old furnishing. Within sat tables, chairs, a rooltop desk, a bookshelf, long ago all emptied of belongings, and a large canopy bed with what in the dim light appeared to be a single figure beneath the covers.
Setting watches, they began a detailed search of the room, first checking the occupant of the bed. The figure was mostly bones and had a good sized wooden stake wedged between two ribs. Their examinations only turned up a single coin, a copper piece wedged into the southern wall of the room. Seamus soon pointed out the outline and mechanism of a secret door.
Before they could set to work opening the door, the dwarves whispered that they heard some voices and noticed torchlight coming from the far end of the main room. Listening quietly the party could hear what was obviously some sight seeing locals checking out the scene of battle and the pile of smouldering morlocks.
Tok decided to have a little fun and worked the sheet loose from the bed without displacing the skeleton by much. As the farmers approached the archway closer he pulled it over his head and lept from behind the silent dwarves screaming "Ooogitty boogitty woogitty!" much to the discomfort of two of the farmers.
One was startled off his feet, planting his buttocks hard on the stone floor. Another vacated his bladder and ran screaming for the exit, while the third, the farmer they had rewarded, laughed hard at the antics of his silly companions. "I told you guys it was them." A short chat latter and the tourists went back to their farms.
Exploring the two rooms hidden by the secret door, the found what were apparently the splintered remains of some crates and barrels and a basin through which a natural spring had been channeled to flow. Nothing else of value was found.
They again returned to town to witness more merriment by the locals, some of it at the expense of "Glen, set to running and didn't stop till he got back to town!" Tok bought the sullen man a large ale by way of an aopology and the party went up to bed and to check on Rowenna.