You’re here, there’s everything to fear, and I know that my heart will go on.
We start by dipping back in time a bit. As the party is trying to fight falling gnomes and catch fire…wait, that might not be right… Chickens is lying on a cot in the Shaghorn’s temple, his body trying in vain either live or die, but accomplishing neither. During this time, he has visions and a flashback to his time shackled to a fallen tree next to Midway Lake on the Plains of Calenthia. Details of said flashback can be found here.
Since trying the basic forward approach has resulted in our heroes having their collective asses handed to them twice in a row, the group decides to try something a little different, i.e. thinking out a plan ahead of time. The group plans for Russellbob to head south at night to try to scout out the kobolds, and find out what is going on. Tomas casts Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion and the group enters. The mansion is differnent on the inside yet again, with a marvelous white spiral staircase leading upstairs. The shifty-featured, ghostly butlers are present. After some discussion, and some issues with Pod climbing the spiral staircase, the group rests and waits for night to come so that Russellbob can go scouting. When enough time passes for darkness to fall outside the mansion’s extradimensional space, the party exits long enough to see Russellbob off. Tomas casts armor on him to help protect him from those pesky pointy kobold spears. Pod tries to cast mount to help him get closer to his destination a bit faster, but hoses the spell and turns everyone in the area invisible. This takes a few moments to sort out.
Chickens continues to yo-yo between life and death, caught up in the worst game of ping pong ever.
Froderick walks with Russellbob as far as the gnomeflinger towards the center of the village that launches south. A precautionary sign has been put on it to discourage further gnomes from using it. Russellbob, doing his best to keep to the darkest shadows as he works his way through the sopping wet ash and soot, makes it through the burnt woods to the house where the first kobold battle went down. The temperature is dropping, and Russellbob begins to see his breath in the air. His progress is slow, as the moon is only at three-quarters phase and some uncooperative clouds cover it much of the time. The dead bear is still there, starting to stink. The house is dark, and Russellbob is unable to see much more than general shapes in the gloom. Russellbob enters the door, and stands in the main hallway. It reeks of urine and body odors.
The rest of the group reenters the mansion after Froderick and Russellbob leave and retires, except for Cues. Cues follows Pod into his room, and confesses to still having the Alexandrite gem that he got back from Hodge Gajados after the catastrophe at Harbvog. A long conversation takes place, where Cues asks Pod to talk Froderick into letting him join the group permanently as an equal, and for Pod to teach him magic. Pod demands that Cues become his apprentice. Shocked, Cues very unhappily agrees, knowing he is trapped between a rock and a hard place. Pod takes the gem, and assigns Pod the task of getting them new spellbooks. Cues is angered about this, as the gem was his means to acquire the necessary materials. Cues leaves Pod’s room, and after Froderick returns, all seems quiet.