Andros was visited in the night by his goddess, Iomedae, and it shook him. When the rest of the party awoke the next morning, he had been up for several hours, polishing his sword and saying his devotions. Oleg and Svetlana were quite cheerful, and they prepared bacon from the local wild boars and plenty of ham to cure for travelers. Before leaving, Svetlana asked if they should happen across some of the white, spherical radishes that grew in the Kamelands, she would pay them quite handsomely for a basketful. These Moon Radishes grew only during Pharast, and were quite the delicacy.
As they prepared to leave, a soldier arrived with two missives for Andros and company. He was Kesten Garess, he said, and he had come to secure the Trading Post and maintain vigil over it while the party continued their mission. Along the way, he had a personal score to settle with a Falgrim Sneeg, a former soldier of his who had fled and was believed to be hiding in the Narlmarches.
The missives contained directives to eliminate the bandit leaders and to pacify by treaty or force a local tribe of kobolds, the Sootscales. The party showed to Kesten the collection of Stag Lord Pins and the bodies they had recovered from the Thorn River Bandits. Kesten sent one of the three soldiers under his command back to Restov immediately, to claim the reward and return it.
Business settled, the group headed to where the captured bandit had told them the Old Sycamore grew. They remembered their original mission, however, and were careful to map and explore the lands along the way. Feng wandered by himself, hunting and keeping an eye out for wild beasts. This would become their usual pattern.
When they broke camp, Feng found his saddle greased, and was not pleased, although nobody in the party saw or heard anything. Char helped him clean it off, and they continued on, following the same pattern as before. This day, they found a patch of Moon Radishes, as Svetlana had indicated. The radishes were being guarded by a pack of kobolds with black scales, the Sootscales, it was surmised. As the kobolds readied to defend their prize, Andros offered instead to bargain, a helping of the radishes, and the party, which obviously outnumbered the 3 bellyfull kobolds, would not attack. It would help also, Andros maintained, if the kobolds could give information. The tack worked.
The kobold directed that their treasures which they had rightfully stolen from the bandits had in turn been stolen by the thieving Mites that had taken to live in the Sycamore, along with their god. The kobolds had taken to the worship of a strange carved idol known as Old Sharptooth, which had been stolen by the same mites. If the group could restore the god to the kobold leader, chief Sootscale, they were sure that there could be arrangements reached to settle things.
Satisfied, they went on their way, and made camp a few miles south.
Overnight, the howling of strange animals could be heard, although none approached the camp. Feng recognized them as the sounds of the Tien Blood Cougar, known locally as the Thylacine. They vowed to keep an eye out, but found none. Before long, they found a new curiosity. in an outcropping of rock, they spotted a small cave and a glint of gold. Determining the gold to be mine-able, they spent the remainder of the day hiding all traces of it, and made camp a few miles away.
The Old Sycamore was in sight now, but the only evidence of kobolds or mites was a few fresh corpses near the tree itself. For an hour, they searched, and were unable to find a way in, so they concluded that the mites and kobolds must live among the branches. Feng climbed up, and from his vantage point, spotted a hole in the roots, nearly invisible. Char went forward to check it out, and found a long tunnel. Feng climbed down, and everyone followed behind Char.
Inside, they found an female mite, spooning something onto what appeared to be eggs. Feng sneaked up behind her, and reached as if to strangle her, but in the process grabbed instead one of the long centipedes she had been feeding and snapped its neck. Two other centipedes reared up, having been climbing on the piles of muck and eggs. It was a short fight, and the company of heroes suffered no wounds.
Further in the tunnels they encountered 6 mites having a sing-a-long of sorts. Two mites were singing, and they were being pelted with rocks by two other mites. In a few brief seconds, two more mites were slain, and the rest ran off. The party followed hurriedly, and found a mite riding on the back of a tick nearly as large as a man.
They took out the rider in no time, and several of the mites in the room. Gregor once again made excellent use of his sleep spell, and Johanna threw in daggers as Char and Andros sliced mites in two repeatedly. Feng punched right through them, usually killing each mite in a single blow.
Almost before it began, the mites and giant tick were slain. They found in here some coin and a statue they believed to be Old Sharptooth, but no evidence of Svetlana’s Wedding Ring.
In the next room, they found a great chasm with a huge centipede, nearly 20 feet long, at the bottom. They opted to sneak past, crossing the chasm on ropes while it feasted on the bodies of dead mites tossed in to its’ pit. Beyond, they found a group of mites stabbing a small Sootscale kobold with pointy sticks, and immediately cut them down and freed him.
In gratitude, the young kobold, Mikmek, gave the party the ring he had been carrying, which was Svetlana’s. He asked the party to take him back to the chief, and lift the curse that Sharptooth had placed upon them.
Before leaving, the party spent some time stopping up the hole in the Sycamore, hoping to slow down the mites that remained and give the Sootscales an edge. They headed straight for the mines where the Sootscales lived, and were met enthusiastically by their guard, Nakpik. He took them straight to chief Sootscale, and after brief negotiations, the Chief recovered his idol, and destroyed it, proclaiming to the rest of the tribe that they were free now, and should destroy the vile shaman, Tartuk.
They agreed to let the party deal with Tartuk, and would come to aid only if needed. Inside, Tartuk was dismayed that the party would not help him, and he revealed all. He had once been a gnome and was reincarnated. Devastated at being turned into a former enemy, he vowed to use his abilities as a sorcerer to enter kobold tribes and destroy them from within – the Sharptooth Gambit. He had destroyed two tribes already, and was a few days away form this one being destroyed.
Andros would have none of it, but they agreed to exile Tartuk to Mendev, there to fight demons at the worldwound, rather than slay him. Should he return, he would be destroyed.
Tartuk left under cover of invisibility, and the Sootscales promptly signed a peace accord. This secured, camped for another night.
The players completed their exploration of the lands near the Old Sycamore, and then returned to Oleg’s Trading Post, there to resupply and rest.
They collected their rewards from Oleg for the ring, Svetlana for the radishes, and Restov for the peace accords and the bandits. Before retiring, they met another traveler, a priest that had been abandoned by Erastil, who told them of his dream to restore Erastil’s temple in the Narlmarches. The party agreed to help him, and with that, retired.