Our intrepid band of adventurers finished up their business in Mickleheim, recruiting even more hirelings for renewed expeditions. They returned to Silverdelf without incident and discovered that the captured bandits had been sent off to whatever rough justice awaited them in Mickleheim along with the rescued shipment of whiskey. They also caught wind of an armed group buying supplies and setting off in the direction of Fellhold, but for what purpose?
Deciding to deal with Earn and his bandits once and for all, they returned to the bandit lair, leaving Varian and his retinue to guard the baggage train in the ruined outpost. Once again, they managed to surprise a large group of bandits and Blum employed the sleep spell to great effect, downing all ten of Earn's new hires, but leaving Earn himself standing, slightly woozy, but ready to fight. Quickly ganging up on him after a few ineffectual bow and crossbow attacks, our band surrounded Earn and set to with deadly earnest. Yllgrad the dwarf landed a mighty blow, as did Caleb, and the others and their hirelings chipped away at his defenses. At his time to act, Earn proved to be a puissant warrior, delivering blow after blow, but to only limited effect. Once again the party set to him with continuing gradual effect, and one of Earn the Cleric's hirelings hilariously fumbled his morning star, waking an entranced bandit. The remaining hirelings subdued this bandit as the party finished it's exchange with Earn the bandit chief. He landed a vicious and potentially lethal blow on Yllgrad, but Caleb's nurse Alfsigr staunched the bleeding until the newly empowered clerics could see to him with magical healing.
Fittingly enough, Dag, the former bandit sergeant and now loyal retainer of Bryni's, landed the killing blow on Earn, and the party subdued and searched the remaining new bandit recruits. They recovered a magnificent necklace from the vain and luxury loving Earn, as well as a sizable personal stash of gold. After some debate, the party decided that these new recruits hadn't had much time for actual banditry, and settled for disarming them and letting them loose to fend for themselves, after being relieved of their purses, of course. After dealing with these logistics, the adventuring band camped out in the ruined outpost to prepare for further exploration, and besides a shouted alarm at small, shadowy figures observing the camp and darting away, the night passed without incident.
Returning to the dark halls of Fellhold, the party finally had the opportunity to explore deeper into the dungeon. Blum fell into a pit trap and would have been out of action, but for the quick work of Earn, being lowered into the trap with rope, curing his wounds with the power of Dwyn, the Oak Mother, and raising him back out. More carefully advancing, the party found a large room with several openings and two door ways. After carefully checking a small chamber behind one door, they found the second door the trigger to release a portcullis, blocking the way they came! The strongest hirelings in the retinue were unable to lift the portcullis, but Bryni devised a mechanism from a spear, helmet, and several iron spikes, creating a makeshift pulley, allowing almost the entire party to bring their strength to bear and to heroically lift up the gate enough to prop two doors under, so that everyone could crawl through.
Glad to have their path of escape clear, but still desiring to explore, the party proceeded north at the T-intersection where they had previously gone south, and then turned east, discovering a blasphemous and disgusting temple of the Sorcerors who once ruled Fellhold. In addition to the relief sculptures on the walls and pillars of repellent and sensuous revels of humans and demons, there were three large statues of grotesquely fat and vicious frog demons, two with glittery eyes, and the largest on a raised dais with a fist-sized gem in it's obviously hinged jaws.
After some discussion of how best to avoid tripping what appeared obviously to be a trap, they decided it most likely to be a pressure plate, and so tasked a hireling with carefully swapping a waterskin estimated to be the same weight out with the stone. Unfortunately for this poor fellow, the jaws snapped closed, severing his arm immediately! Despite this grisly sight, the group continued to search. Caleb and his helpers removed the eyes from the southern of the two glittery eyed statues and found them to be only glass and to release a cloud of poison gas! After some hacking and coughing, he and his hirelings were severely weakened, but still in fighting shape. Bryni, learning by the examples of his peers, was far more careful with the northern of the two statues, throwing stones until he could dislodge one of the eyes, and found them to be ordinary topaz, and no traps. With the use of crowbars, the party also recovered the unfortunate hireling's arm and the gem. Deciding not to press their luck further, the party left for Silverdelf to have their items appraised and to see to a proper pension for the now one armed former hireling and to see to various other matters of resupply and logistics.