The party must climb down the vine covered eighty foot hole in the middle of the goblin chief's room in order to get to Belak's grove. Tol drops the green torch, sees it disappear, and begins to climb down. Capra revs up for an acrobatic dive, begins to plunge into the dark depths, and is caught by Nox. A wordless reprimand later and Nox is climbing down the vines with Erky. Capra attempts a stylish dive again, succeeds, and is able to slide down the vines the way she intended.
Calcryx is satisfied with killing off the goblins, and takes bits of her frozen enemies back to her comfort space.
The large, rough room below is host to more glowing fungus and scrubby looking vegetation. There are two skeletons with shovels pushing a wheelbarrow of soil, tending to the plants. Tol is at the west wall doing his best rock impression (it's amazing) while Capra and Erky approach the skeletons. "Hey, how's it going?" asks a friendly Capra. Unfortunately, Skeletons are not friendly. Before they can lunge at her with their shovels, Erky holds up his amulet of Sune and prays, sending the skeletons running in terror. Cleaning up the skeletons is an easy job for the party, and slew of psychic force and cantrips takes them out. Tol begins to come back to the middle of the room where Nox is standing, but he is stopped by the sound of an aggressive whooshing.
A twig blight emerges from the shrubbery, indistinguishable from the plants around it. Tol breaks its entire body with a swing from his mace arm. A little closer and another blight takes a swing at Tol, chipping a little away. Just as the party takes this blight out, they hear a booming war cry in goblin and the skittering of giant rats. "Balsag hunt you now!"
Balsag's hunting rats immediately take to Tol as the hunter himself turns to face Capra. Nox does her best to help Tol with the rats and is able to split one of them nearly in half with her scythe. Tol disengages with the other rat and turns to face Balsag. Both Capra and Nox are firing spells at Balsag, but he is deftly shrugging them off, adjusting their arcs with his shield as he approaches Capra. He then advances on Erky and hits him with a massive swing from his morningstar. Erky crumbles, cracks, and goes under as Balsag turns to face Capra.
He throws a javelin that catches Capra's side, inducing panic in the poor satyr. Her next spell triggers a reaction and Capra is left resisting the effects of a Polymorph spell, doing her very best to not bleat through the sheep's form she's been given. Balsag misses the half transformed Capra with his morningstar. Finally, he falls to a fully not sheep Capra and Nox's spells, with a bit of sacred flame thrown in. Tol makes sure to mind thrust the escaping rat. Can never be too sure. Nox rushes over to Erky, on his last leg, and revivifies him. "Wow, I thought that was it, thank you." He looks up at Nox with a mixture of gratitude and fear.
Some healing and planning later, the party travels south down a hallway. They reach a sudden drop in the ground, and it looks like the hallway was torn in two and a rift left in the division. The scar is only two feet lower than the hallway but is filled with two foot diameter holes in the ground. It is possible to walk, though Capra does try to see if these holes have a bottom. She is able to shove in most of her leg before she decides there simply isn't a bottom. The party finds the hallway and continues south.
Dragon Skelly Hands
A locked stone door bars the party from continuing forward. Strength checks galore! Tol is able to shove the door off its hinges and it falls inward, revealing a square room with statue of rusted iron depicting an upright dragon holding a metal tray in its mouth. The party investigates the room but finds nothing but the statue, so Capra climbs up on top of it. Upon the plate, written in much newer carving than any other they have found so far, carved in Draconic reads, "Something of wind and rot." The party quickly figures out it may be referring to the Nightcaller whistle, so Capra blows it and places it on the tray.
The room shakes intensely, and skeletal hands sprout from the base of the statue, reaching up all around it. As the shaking stops, the hands rest upon the statue, looking like they are trying to pull the statue into the ground. Nothing else happens. I guess its time to leave the room!
At the scar again, the party decides to go left and see how far it goes. They come upon a room with one of the many holes glowing red. As they approach it, a Fire Snake slithers out and takes a bite at Tol. That bite misses, but the tail follow up connects and leaves a flaming mark on Tol.
Too bad it's only one snake. It's dangerous, but the party takes it out without too much fanfare. There were two sapphires in the snake's hole, so they took 'em.
Murder in the Lab
The party follows the scar northeast and ends up in an empty lookin' room. It opens up into a hallway with more dragon marble statues for pillars, but also covered in vegetation gathered from what the party gathered was nearby and many tools to examine it. Capra is able to put together another healer's and herbalism kit at Nox investigates some snoring she hears from the northwest room.
Inside are two sleeping rolls filled with singular goblins. Capra raises her scythe and executes one of them. She quickly grabs the other in chokehold and asks, "Where is Belak." The goblin, terrified beyond its wildest nightmares, chokes out, "East and north, follow the hallway." Nox runs him through, dumps the body, and leaves the room. Blood pools as she closes the door, and terrified goblin commoners sprint out from the room across the hallway. Tol investigates that room only to find rancid goblin wine. Ew.
The northmost room houses goblin commoners that were repairing some cruddy clothing. Nox runs these through, too. The southmost room has a warrior and two commoners looking over a giant rat with woody fibers growing all over it. Nox and crew take out the warrior, steal a crystal flask of potion which the commoners tell them turns living beings into part blight, and then Nox runs them through. Can't let the goblins run off and inform Belak. That's the way.
Gardens and Shadows
The northeastern room has a collection of beat up weapons, and the way forward. East and north, as the now dead goblin said. The way opens up into a large room with more glowing fungus and vegetation resembling that found in the lab. There are many doors to other sections to the east and south, but the part goes north.
They find a bugbear woman trimming underbrush with a long scythe-like like instrument. They try to talk her down, tell her Belak sent them, but she remains utterly unconvinced. After all, there's only one path to Belak and it's through her. They end up magically putting her to sleep and shove her in an adjacent room before continuing north.
The north door leads to a room with more concentrated growth, a garden of sorts. All pale and sickly looking. They pass through uneventfully to a clean, dark hallway opening into a room with another dragon statue in it. Its eyes glow red and there is a darker stone in front of it in the shape of a circle, with draconic runes on its right. Just as the party approaches to read it a shadow slithers out from behind the dragon statue and attacks Capra.
It's never able to quite connect a hit on the party, though Nox certainly does. He scythe sinks in, but feels like it does not do the cutting damage she is used to doing to other living things. Fire and mind thrusts ensue, and here Erky shines. Literally. His sacred flame causes the shadow immense pain and eventually brings it down in a radiant display. "Sune's will, right?"
Tol stands on the circle and reads the draconic aloud, "Let the sorcerous power illuminate my mind." A puff of harmless flame engulfs Tol, and suddenly he's a chatterbox. He feels social, more than he has ever in his entire life. Nox is already over it, and is checking for treasure. She finds a loose stone behind which are some health potions and scrolls. Good find.
The party continues north to the sound of Tol's prattling.
Maybe Books are the Actual Evil
The party encounters a crumbling library and gets to work. They find a scroll of fireball, Melf's acid arrow, and a book of draconic lore worth 150g-ish according to Erky. Nothing else is worth keeping, so the party continues down the stairs under the northern garden and into a long hallway. They able to bust another door off of it's hinges and end up in what looks like a private study. Papers cover a large desk, and the north and east walls feature large bookcases. The floor is also covered in soil.
The records seem to contain tables of growth and the passage of seasons. Some searching reveals a scroll of entangle, cure poison, and a book of druidic lore worth another nice sum. Nox also finds another book titled Treasures of the Fire Lords. As she opens it, she triggers a glyph and an explosion of cold envelops the room. After the dust settles, only Nox is left standing, barely. She administers as much healing and stabilization as she can and gets Capra and Tol ticking again somehow. Erky is barely stabilized and the party digs in for the long night.
The fleshies sleep and Tol regains consciousness to find Nox copying spells from scrolls into her grimoire. Soon after they hear goblins outside the door to the south, then knocking, then more knocking, then some screaming. Somehow Capra doesn't wake. Probably all the near death. The knocking begins to slow down and is now pathetic as the party gets its full rest.