The party found a small crew working alchemical water purifacation. One of the workers misjudged God’s love for him and fell to his horrible painful death. Another was peppered with arrows and justice and slain. The third was captured, later to be turned over to the dwarfs. In addition to the alchemical booty, the party found another map, bloodied but together with the previous fragment, lead clearly to the mine squatters’ base of operations.
After a quick but tense fight on an old underground bridge (the enemy landed exactly one blow, but it was a doozy), the party barged into the main headquarters. They interrupted a celebration, with several workers watching their mage leader prance about imitating a dwarf. The party was invited to partake, and used the confusion to great advantage. The mage never even got to fire off a spell; he was pinned to the wall by arrow fire. His handful of minions quickly fell—most in bunches. The party recovered papers describing the operation, and returned to the dwarfs above.
The dwarfs were very pleased, two in particular. Ronk, one of the oldest dwarfs, who’s been in a slump since his prosthetic beard was taken by the squatters, had his dignity and face fuzz restored and set about reminding the whipper snappers to respect their elders. The widower Egald Rockmallow had his wedding ring returned, and was so grateful and admiring that he made the party honorary cousins of the Rockmallow Clan and invited them to the clanhold for a visit.
After a night’s rest, the party reflected on recent events and their own experiences, and realized they’ve learned a great deal. Levels upped all round.
They returned to Kingdom’s End and were rewarded by Fussbottom with a magic staff suitable for cooking undead. Fussbottom notes that some of the agents of the mine squatters might be ripping him off too, and he might have use of the party’s help in squelching them. He’s also heard that the Freighters’ Guild is getting ready to push back against some pirates to the south, and he could sign them on to that effort. Then again, they might all benefit by introducing the party to high society at the Duke’s upcoming Autumn Costume Ball.
They also consulted Sage Batson about the crown; he told them how to destroy it (mix the putty with bug juice, say a little ditty, and slay the representative demon) but warned that his research suggests the crown should not have been in this world to begin with. The crown is marked by its maker (a trident in a circle) but the methods of its constructions were lost generations ago and all known artifacts were sealed away in inaccessible vaults. Batson is very worried about what this portends, but can’t put his finger on it yet.