July 28th

With the entrance to the ankheg nest cleared of any threats, the party carefully advances into the goo-lined tunnel. Soon, the tunnel opens into a large cave, where Shoktar spots an unusually large clump of sticky angkheg refuse. Further examination reveals that the clump is actually an unconscious half-elf covered in scrapes and burns that only an ankheg could inflict. The only part of his body that seems to have held up against the ankheg mauling is his curious wooden leg and his eye patch. The party takes pity on the poor soul, prying him loose with a combined effort and taking him out of the cave so that Auriah could use her healing magic in peace. Ever cautious, the party decides to tie up the half-elf in the off chance that he is actually an evil necromancer in peasant’s clothing.

It doesn’t take long before the half-elf regains consciousness, surrounded by a motley crew of strange faces. After he gets his bearings and realizes he is bound, he quickly explains that his name is Davy and that he was frolicking in the plains as well as his peg-leg allowed when suddenly a wild ankheg appeared. Utterly stunned by the foul beast, Davy could muster no defense and was quickly knocked out by its fierce onslaught. While Emorak and Varanon saw no harm in untying Davy, Auriah remained cautious. Her worries are eased when Davy agrees to help the party eliminate the ankheg infestation, motivated partially by vengeance and partially for lack of a better course of action to take.

The party decides to set up camp so that they can finish their extermination mission in the light of day. Shoktar chivalrously offers to take Auriah’s watch and the party does not ask Davy to exhaust himself given his beat-up state, so only Shoktar, Emorak, and Varanon are tasked with protecting the camp during the night. While Shoktar’s watch comes and goes uneventfully, Emorak hears the skittering sounds during his watch and wakes the party. Even though they are groggy and taken by surprise, the party easily dispatches three ankhegs, lessening the amount of work they will have to do in the morning. The party drifts back to sleep.

Emorak’s watch comes to an end soon thereafter. While most adventurers would see this as an opportunity to rest and prepare for the coming day’s journey, Emorak sees the opportunity to find the answer to a question that has haunted him since he first laid eyes on Auriah. Emorak hurriedly walks around the camp to make sure that the rest of his party is fast asleep, and once the coast is clear, he deftly unties the ropes holding Auriah’s tent closed and slips in. Sweat drips from his brow and his hands shake with giddy anticipation as he… CENSORED FOR DECENCY

Varanon wakes up for his watch, and it does not take long for him to notice that Emorak is missing and that Auriah’s tent is wide open. Fearing the worst, he peeks in and sees Emorak passed out next to Auriah. Varanon angrily shakes Emorak awake and begins to cast a spell, and with no way of knowing what horrible spell Varanon is casting, Emorak tackles him to the ground and pins his arms. The noise quickly wakes the rest of the party to the unusual sight of the quiet wizard wrestled to the ground by his erstwhile friend. Varanon and Emorak call out to the rest of the party in at least three different languages, trying to solicit help, but the dim-witted Shoktar does not know what to believe and Davy does not feel comfortable getting in the middle of two strangers’ conflict.

Auriah, however, realizes that something out of the ordinary has happened, and demands to know what is actually up. Her eyes glow with wrath and her hands glow with dark magic; upon seeing this horrifying display, Emorak and Varanon agree to play off the situation as one of no consequence. Despite Auriah’s intense suspicion, Varanon manages to allay her anger, and the party retires once again to get the last bit of rest before morning.

Within a few hours, the party is ready to delve deeper into the ankheg tunnels. Shoktar excitedly shows Auriah an obscured tunnel that he noticed the night before, and the party carefully creeps in that direction. They come upon a steep slope of dirt that leads into an even gooier set of tunnels, so they descend the slope and quickly become confused by the labyrinth-like maze ahead of them. Davy, eager to show his new friends that he can be of use, casts a spell that imitates the sound of five ankhegs hissing in unison. Unfortunately, the sound Davy conjures proves to be intensely irresistible and alluring for the ankhegs: the party hears skittering coming from each of the tunnels and prepares for combat.

The ankhegs fight ferociously, spitting acid and delivering painful bites, but the party prevails. No sooner than the last ankheg is killed, a cute little dog runs into the midst of the party. The party recognizes the dog as none other than Toto and scoops him up along with the sundry items that they discover scattered on the ground. With Toto in tow and the ankheg nest cleared, the party rides back to Wausau, seeing no sign of the little girl’s house on the way. In Wausau, Scruff McGruff thanks the party for their work by offering them another task.



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