After looting the bodies of their fallen victims in the clearing, the heroes decide to press on and see if they can in fact rescue the merchant’s daughter. They spend a half hour following the drag marks through the forest until the reach a break in the vegetation. Thirty feet across from the edge of the forest is a small hill that ends in a cliff on this side. The cliff is 40 feet high and the face trails downward towards the ground into the distance. Set into the cliff are 3 cave openings. The drag marks continue through the clearing and into the right entrance. The left entrance has two bushes near it and the middle entrance seems unspectacular.
Ozwin and Zimic put an arrow each into the bushes to prove that there is no one hiding in them. The party then settles on crossing the gap where the cliff meets the hill down on the right side. They cross without incident, making their way back to the right entrance and head in (marching order; Dalhar, Druno, Ozwin, Zimic).
Dalhar realizes that the ceiling of the tunnel is lower than his height so he has to crouch as he makes his way forward to a wooden portcullis. He finds he can easily lift it but there is no way to lock it in the up position, nor does the party have anything to wedge under it. He drops it back down and decides instead to pull it out of place. After a few minutes he has managed to rip it out and toss it to the side. He continues ahead and around a corner. As he turns a second quick corner he finds it is now too dark for him to continue. The darkness is not magical and when he lights a torch he is able to see to the extent of its light. As he continues down the passage, he finds that it is getting shorter and tighter; so he must further crouch.
He comes to a junction of several small caves. As he is passing the first, he notices a human woman bound and gagged and sitting on a mat in the middle of the cave. He tells his companions what he has found and Ozwin and Zimic rush into the cave to find a very distressed Clairissa recoiling from their advance. They remove her bonds and gag and she begins screaming. They spend the next few minutes calming her down and explaining that her father has sent them to rescue her. The group spends the next few minutes deciding what they should do next. Should they simply bring the girl to her father and return to clean out the warren at a later time, or should they press on and hope to find another way out.
Just about the time the party has decided to head back to the road, Dalhar sees something dark and furry round the corner ahead of him. It is black and white and it wheels around when it sees him. It sprays something out of its hind end. The entire party is soaked in a thick pungent substance and starts retching.
Due to the cramped quarters in the tunnel, Zimic and Ozwin are unable to leave the cave until such time as Druno starts to move away. Dalhar has only enough room to set his spear against the charge he figures is coming. The skunk charges as predicted. It impales itself on the spear and bites Dalhar. Another skunk rounds the corner.
Ozwin begins to make for the entrance with Clairissa in tow. Druno follows. Dalhar thrusts his spear again and the skunk dies. Zimic is still stuck in the cave. The second skunk wheels and sprays hitting the party again.
Ozwin turns the first corner towards the door still dragging Clairissa, with Druno still following. Zimic is finally able to make his way into the passage. The second skunk charges Dalhar with much the same effect as the first.
As Ozwin rounds the second corner she is met with a hail of arrows. Dalhar again thrusts his spear at the skunk and takes it down, and another beast rounds the corner towards him. Two kobolds wielding two short swords each charge into the cave and towards Ozwin. Zimic pushes his way past Druno and Clairissa. Druno moves past Clairissa.
Zimic pushes his way past Ozwin and prepares for the kobolds attack. Druno and Ozwin switch positions. Dalhar again sets his spear for a charge. The kobolds advance on Zimic and swing wildly. The rust monster advances far enough to eat the tip of Dalhar’s spear.
Zimic and the kobolds begin to trade missing blows, causing little damage to each other. Druno begins to tire of sitting in the second rank and encourages Zimic to press forward against his foes and give room for his advance. Dalhar drops his torch on the corpses of the skunks and sets them aflame. The rust monster flees back the way it came.
For the next few rounds, Zimic continues to trade blows with the kobolds taking more damage than he deals. Dalhar remains standing guard in the back rank leveling his burning spear towards anything that might come round a corner. The cave has been filling with an acrid smoke and the party begins to suffer from inhalation. Clairissa falls from the smoke and Druno rushes to aid her. She awakens and he tells her to stay on the ground until the smoke is gone.
Zimic finally manages to drop one of the kobolds. Druno moves back behind Zimic as Ozwin goes to check on Clairissa. Dalhar is maintaining his position and awaiting a new assault. The kobolds have finally managed to do enough damage to Zimic that he begins to worry. During the next round Zimic uses his healing power on himself and Druno casts a cure light wounds on him. The smoke beings to clear and with his next swing Zimic hits the wall and drops his sword. Druno pushes past him and charges the kobold. He shield bashes him and knocks him to the ground.
Druno looks up and sees the two archers standing at the mouth of the tunnel. Realizing he will be taking fire if he stops to finish off the kobold he is standing on; he hefts his shield and hammer and charges the archers. He yells to Zemic, “Finish that one off.” Zemic pulls his bow and shoots, but misses. Dalhar begins making his way further into the tunnel. Druno finds his way out of the cave suddenly blocked by a rust monster and the fallen kobold gets up from the floor.
Zemic takes two further shots at the remaining kobold in the tunnel but only connects with one. Dalhar sees something shining in one of the further caves. The kobold charges Druno’s back and lands a sound blow. Druno falls to the ground. Ozwin moves into position kneeling in front of Zimic to get a better shot at the kobold. The rust monster sees the metal clad from of Druno fallen before him and begins to feast. His armor falls into dust.
Zemic takes another two shots at the back of the kobold but only hits with one. With Ozwin adding two daggers to the hail the kobold falls as well. Dalhar enters the cave to inspect whatever is shining and notices a metal bar crossing the room buried just below the surface of the floor. On top of the bar sits a glass bottle which appears to be filled with liquid. The rust monster continues to make a feast of Druno’s things and his hammer turns to dust.
Zemic looses two shots at the rust monster and Ozwin adds two daggers but they each miss once. Dalhar reaches to grab the bottle and a trap is sprung. Another metal bar snaps down from the ceiling, catching him between them and shattering the bottle; its contents splash all over him. The rust monster eats Druno’s helm and shield.
Zemic again fires two arrows but the cramped quarters of the tunnel continues to spoil his aim. Ozwin throws another two daggers and manages to hit the rust monster with one. Dalhar gets up from the floor and heads further down the tunnel, finding a further cave. The rust monster begins eating Ozwin’s daggers.
Zemic again fires two arrows and manages to hit with one this time. Ozwin again throws two daggers and also manages a hit, which fells the beast. Beyond it they find that the archers have fled and they call Dalhar up from the rear. They make their way to Druno’s body and find it lifeless. He is beyond their ability to help.
Once they are back together, the remaining members of the party decide to take the better part of valor. They will make their way back to the road with Druno’s body and return Clairissa to her father. Once they are there, they will decide what to do.