Following their encounter with the yappy kobolds across the lava bridges, the party decided to regroup and rest. Figuring a position upstream would be more easily defensible, or at least harder to sneak up on, a watch was set and the recuperation began. During their new ally Vasily's watch, a loud splashing and grumbling was heard. Awaking his comrades, the fighting man shone his lantern at the source of the noise to find a hungry ogre! After some quick talking, the party were able to convince the ogre that a less dangerous, albeit stringier meal was downstream: kobolds. The rest of the night passed uneventfully except for the disappearance of Bob the cleric.
The following morning, Darwin proposed a new strategy to avoid the kobolds, "Just go left." After a number of branches and intersections, the party found themselves at the bottom of a rock slide. Beginning to climb it, Darwin heard the telltale rattle of a snake. Not one to meddle with poison if avoidable, he doused the area in military oil and lit it up. After a few minutes, the fire died down, and there was no snake to be found.Some number of left turns later, the group found some unusual sleeping lizards between them and a heavy stone door. Very carefully skirting the lizards, the party was able to force the door open. Inside was a small room holding a skeleton clad in plate armor, a sword, and some arrows. Guessing by the apparent lack of wear on the sword and armor that they were magical, Vasily reequipped himself courtesy of this room's long-dead occupant. Finding themselves at a dead end, the group searched for hidden passages, and Ieho found one. Opening it, the group found themselves at the tail end of a slumbering red dragon atop a huge mound of treasure!
After a strategical retreat and lengthy discussion, it was decided that if the red dragon stood between them and freedom, it would have to go. Furthermore, if it had to go, this backdoor should form part of their strategy for defeating it. Before that, however, a search for other exits was to be conducted. Turning around and sticking to their always go left policy, they found the scorched remains of some kobolds. Assuming these to be the dragon's handiwork, and not wanting to reveal themselves to the dragon, the group backtracked. They found a couple of staircases leading down, which they ignored, not wanting to plunge deeper into the earth than the lair of a dragon.
They then found a magically blackened room. Darwain entered silently, and made his way around the left wall, and back out the door. Having heard no noise from within and found no other exits, he invited his party to help him search for secret doors in the dark. All seemed fruitless, and they were about to leave, when Vasily tripped over something. Dragging it out into the light, it was another skeleton, but this one had a backpack. Within were several large potions and a scroll. Recalling his extensive medical training, Darwain attempted to identify the potions by taste. He recognized one as two doses of healing potion, couldn't place the taste of the second, and knew the last one to be two doses of invisibility. The party mused that the dragon didn't seem as daunting with these in tow.
Checking the rest of the corridors they had skipped, they snuck up behind two separate kobold snipers atop cliffs looking down, and quickly dispatched them before they could react. Further exploration yielded no sign of an exit other than the one spotted in the dragon's den, so they backtracked to the secret doorway. After some tactical debate involving the potions and positioning, the group concealed themselves as best they could and took the snoozing dragon by surprise. Two bolts, from the arbalests of hidden Darwain and Ieho, seemed to strike true in the dragon's most vulnerable spots, and with that, the beast was slain before it could act. After a great deal of celebration and treasure counting, the group followed the dragon-sized tunnel and even the dwarves were grateful to find fresh air and sunlight greeting them at the end.
The companions debated a party name as they returned to Solove without incident. Once there, they proceeded to make a great deal of investments and attempted to identify and sell some of their magical loot. Not finding a sage capable of the identification, they did find a wizard who was willing to bargain. He identified their items in exchange for a magical scroll they had found and one (reasonable) favor to be named at a later date.
After some listening for rumors and other carousing, the party heard that the Mad Dogs had headed back to Threshhold after clearing out the goblin den that had claimed Honest Mercy. They also heard that there was adventure to be had in Ishpeming, and there was some witchcraft afoot in Lesnime. Seeing as Ishpeming would give them a chance to pass through Pechen and try selling their merchandise again, they decided to embark in that direction. In Pechen, Ieho purchased a townhouse with a laboratory, and crafted his first mechanical man. With this new automaton in tow, the group headed for Ishpeming and tried to learn more about the adventure opportunity therein.
Rumors of a haunted house on the edge of town were swirling, and the group secured an interview with a member of the village council, Ivan. He gave them the location of the house and some foreboding warnings, which our hearty adventurers promptly disregarded, and they set out to explore the property....