Lan shakes himself awake to the sound of goblin voices and heavy footfalls. Quickly he wakes the others and retrieves his weapon before the patrol figures out that something is wrong and the golems which should be here are not. A hobgoblin face spots Lan crouching behind the debris the Keg piled at the door to conceal themselves, and quickly orders an enormous warforged to retrieve the company! An enormous brute of a construct, carrying various bits of other warforged, kicks over the makeshift barricade and attacks. At first the fight is entirely mired in the tight quarters of the entrance, and it’s obvious that the Keg is running on empty. Fleng manages to slip past the warforged and engage the hobgoblin guards, meeting scimitar with fist. In the background, a small goblin uses various arcane instruments to control his servitor and hurls grenades at the party. Finally, after much back and forth, the brute of a warforged is pushed back and the rest of the company springs into action. The two sides trade blows, and Lan manages to stop the artificer goblin from escaping for help, while Krumroc calls upon the Flame to keep what’s left of the Keg functional. Once the warforged becomes enraged, he drops his weapons and grabs Joshua by the throat, then hurls him through the wall with terrifying force. Even that isn’t enough, and once the Keg manages to surround the beast and drop it, the remaining two goblinoids surrender.
Engaging the hobgoblin warrior, a female named Sietch, in conversation, Fleng realizes that she is no Bladebearer. Indeed, she claims to be a mercenary hired for coin, and is uninterested in paying with her life. She only wishes to be on her way, and she will leave the Keg to their business. The artificer, however, bears the hated marks. Krumroc agrees to let Sietch live if she proves herself by executing the other goblin and providing information. With a shrug, the sellsword retrieves her scimitar and ends the life of the wretched artificer. She can tell the Keg some useful information — the number of goblins under Valsath’s command and the location of two traps on the upper level — but she has never had to go below and has no idea what Valsath or Jelia are doing together, only that somehow these strange warforged seem to be under Valsath’s command. Honoring their agreement, the Keg lets Sietch go and she walks back out into the mists. The Keg decides to sleep again — trying to cure the despondency which afflicts half their number. Krumroc manages to shake off the disease, but both Lan and Jack sink deeper and deeper into depression; without proper care things will not go well for them. Krumroc’s realization about his order to Barnaby sinks in, and the old dwarf is overcome with remorse.
Exploring further on, the Keg finds a room from which they can hear voices in goblin trading numbers. Counting, perhaps? Deciding that action is the best plan, they kick the door down to find a room which quarters perhaps a dozen hobgoblins. The room is cramped with gear, and footing is uneven. Unprepared, the Bladebearers do not pose much of a threat; the fight is brutal and short, decisive for the Empty Keg, who take no prisoners this time. The goblins inflict their fair share of wounds, but nothing serious before Fleng snaps the neck of their leader. The Keg claims their wages as their own. Searching the room they discover ample usable supplies and a strange pressurized hatch underneath some food crates which they are unable to pry open. Deciding to leave it, for now, they explore further.
Down the hall, the Keg hears a repetitive sound of metal scraping against metal. Shrugging, Joshua and Krumroc batter down the door simultaneously and find a handful of hobgoblin guards standing in a room dominated by a strange glowing rune carved into the floor. Before the guards have a chance to react, the company charges — most die before they can even draw steel, but one manages to shout a warning to someone named “Dakai” before he falls as well. There is an ominous rumble from the door to the north, and the Keg moves into position to strike. With a roar, the doors are flung open with staggering force, catching several people in the resulting explosion, and two enormous, chain covered hands pull an equally massive metallic body through the resulting opening. The company reacts, battering the chain golem with everything they have, but the creature makes it through the doorway and begins to swing its chains about to force a defensive posture. Lashing out, the golem catches several of the Keg in its chains and pulls them closer. At one point Fleng is grappled in it’s meaty fist and subject to the golem’s terrifying strength.
While the company tries to deal with the golem, another goblin artificer hurls orb after orb of force into their midst, battering them with concussive force and orders another one of his minions to attack — a perfectly polished, ebon black warforged with a strange glowing rune on its chest. Though the warforged’s movements are smooth, it attempts and fails to draw out Krumroc’s life-force, before it is quickly surrounded and dismantled by the combined attacks of the company. It’s destruction does not stop the chain golem from wreaking more havoc, clutching Joshua firmly in hand while it whips chains at everything it can see and knocks people off their feet. A second enormous hand grabs Krumroc and begins to crush the life out of him as well, but the company rallies and directs all their fire into the golem. Finally Joshua topples it with a deft sword strike into what passes for a head, sending the construct crashing to the ground. At this point the artificer, Dakai, surrenders.
The Keg make a pact with Dakai — if he successfully opens the hatch, they will let him life. He protests that he does not have the key, but agrees to try. Upon questioning, he stammers that he is responsible for helping put the finishing touches on some of the constructs, but is not their true master. Valsath has the key to the hatch, and Jelia is probably below — she made some sort of a deal with the hobgoblins, but if the Keg wants her alive they will have to move fast since Dakai overheard Valsath speaking that the eladrin woman had outlived her usefulness. Trembling, the tiny goblin retrieves his tools and accompanies some of the Keg to the hatch. Joshua and Jack remain behind to brew potions and catalog the vast number of arcane powders and ingredients. Amazingly, the artificer manages to open the hatch, which leads down a cramped tunnel lit by a faint reddish glow. Industrial sounds can be heard from below. Looking up, Dakai asks if he’s free to go, and gets his answer at the other end of Krumroc’s hammer. The Keg reunites and ponders what to do next, having a bit of a heated conversation about both the best course of action and their treatment of prisoners.
1100 gp in hobgoblin silver
1000 gm in pure, unadulterated residuum
4 potions of clarity
Rushing Cleats (Lan)
XP (total 1450xp per character)
Rude Interruption — 350xp
With Their Pants Down — 350xp
Chain Golem Smash! — 400xp
Interrogation, RP awards — 350xp