The following morning, with everyone absolutely sick of chasing the thrice-damned Quazit in the dungeons bellow town, Kaitlinn persuades Rogar, Shana, Haji and the mysterious Traveler to join her in stomping back out into Brinestump Marsh to investigate the skull-marked cave on their map.
The trip itself proving uneventful, they take the Old Magus’ river boat to the cave, where Traveler & Rogar push through a curtain of nettles that makes them decidedly ill. Within the twisting tunnels they note brackish algae-slick pools, so they decide on taking a smaller side-tunnel, beyond which they encounter a giant spider snacking on a large gecko. The spider, seeing a chance to trade up his meal, charges. After half a minute of confusion, they manage to surround the arachnid and put the beast down. Continuing on they eventually find their way back to the larger tunnel that soon opens up into a larger cavern, around which lie four skeletons, each dressed in the same peculiar Tsienese armor they’d seen the skeletons around the Kijitsu Star wreck had been wearing.
Suspecting undead, Kaitlinn chucks a starknife at one, smashing it’s head to bits. Their concern is confirmed when the other three (plus two more hidden in the brackish water) rise up to attack. The skeletons prove far more dangerous then they expected however, nearly killing both Rogar and Kaitlinn (who nearly drowns in the nearby pool), and ripping all of Haji’s summoned creatures (ponies, dog and worse – his eidolon Owlhound) to pieces before the group manages to shatter them to bits. With two of their number down, they decide to retreat back to Sandpoint for some much-needed healing from Moma Koya.
Recovered, they head back out that afternoon, pausing only to switch Shana out for the ever peculiar Meuhenlau and his axebeak companion Krindle. This time, as they are crossing the bridge to get to the Old Magus’ hut, they are ambushed by another of the weird creatures they’d encountered in the dungeons bellow Sandpoint. Though it succeeds in biting Kaitlinn and sickening her with rage, they dispatch it easily enough and continue back to the caves uneventfully.
This time Traveler takes the time to cut down the nettles and they get inside safely. Heading back to the large cavern first so Kaitlinn can retrieve some daggers she’d lost in the previous fight, they begin exploring lesser tunnels branching off, soon finding a small cave filled with muckish water and an island covered in rock crystals. When Rogar drops a rock tied to a string to measure the water’s depth, he attracts the hungry affections of a giant amoeba, who rises to attempt to absorb his leg, only to be promptly dispatched.
After harvesting the crystals, they travel back again to the main cave, then check out the last tunnel. This one leads to the final cavern, in which they find another skeleton, this one sitting on an ornate Jade & Cherrywood chest, a wakazashi clutched loosely in one hand. As soon as they enter the room it rises, raising its’ blade and seemingly challenging Rogar, but it quickly turns it’s attentions to the Traveler as soon as he proves to be the only one worth fighting. The battle proves anticlimactic however, as Traveler quickly trips the skeleton with his glave and the gang dog-piles on the bone warrior before he can properly get up to fight again.
While the rest of the gang focuses on the chest (and are stymied by the complex lock), Meuhenlau takes trophies from their skeletal adversary, not the least of which being his sword. The gang caries their loot back to town and Kaitlinn drunkenly tries to sing of their adventures to Ameiko (who in turn pityingly appreciates the effort). When the gang proves unable to get the chest open, Meuhenlau suggests a golden key he’d recovered from the skeletal warrior, which does the trick. Within they find an assortment of valuables, arms & armor, fireworks, potions and a few other odd magical items, all of which Ameiko agrees to identify if she gets a cut. That out of the way, she takes the ornate chest for her share, and Meuhenlau in turn takes the wakazashi he’d picked up later, which Ameiko identifies as the Whispering Shrike, a blade once carried by a vassal bodyguard of her grandfathers’. Finding the handle loose reveals a hidden compartment in the pommel containing a note from the self-same grandfather, Rokuro Kaijitsu. Meant for her now-deceased father, Ameiko reads it aloud and all are equally intrigued with hints of a lost legacy of the Kaijitsu family hidden in the vaults of the long ruined Brinewall Castle, far off on Varisia’s norther frontier.
Ameiko is thrilled, immediately asking if anyone else is interested in a road trip! The gang needs no persuading – they had started discussing the same as soon as she’d finished reading the letter. Sandru offers the services of his Caravan, and Moma Koya proves equally eager to get back on the road and wander the countryside. Shalelu and Meuhenlau also are quite willing to come along. As soon as the Caravan is ready and any affairs anyone has to put in order are completed, they will set out north, for Brinewall!