Just after the party finished stashing the body of the ranger by the cliffside and headed back in, June teleported in with the priest from the village, to give them a very important message that the priest had received from his god. Unfortunately, before they could do that, Elsie got bored and drank her potion of Enlarge Person, which ruined her stealth as she was now completely filling the passageway she'd been hiding in.
Kaito and Altei rushed in to help her take down the giant guarding the staircase to the rest of the cave, and once he was dead the three of them moved up to take on the other ogres guarding the intersection at the top of the stairs. There were two obvious passageways -- one which led to yet another intersection, and the other led to an entire village of apparently civilian ogres.
"Um, guys?" June said, flying into the cave invisibly and not finding them right away since they'd moved further in and were fighting. The priest was on his tail, jogging slowly in his plate armor.
June finally caught up with Phoof, who was hanging back supporting with bardic music. "Phoof! You need to tell everyone that the ogres aren't their enemies! They're slaves -- they're being controlled, and if they attack the village instead of breaking their control everyone is going to die!"
Phoof sent this on as, "Don't attack the village or we'll all die! They're really friends!"
The people being beaten up by ogres found that a little hard to believe.
Meanwhile, Noggin had found a third, smaller passage at the intersection and followed it to a trio of hags working on some sort of necromantic brew. They spotted him, and all three of them immediately coveted the jeweled skull. They tried to entice him to come closer, while he flew way up overhead and tried to convince them to stop trying to grab him. It had just gotten to the point where they'd caught him in a fishing net when Phoof followed him into the cave and cast entangle.
Noggin: "See what happens? Now you set off my curse. You trap me in the net, you get trapped in a net yourself. If you let me go, I'll see if I can remove the curse... eventually..."
Outside that little side cave, Elsie and Altei and Kaito had no idea what was going on. Altei huddled by a wall and hid, but Elsie got bored and wandered in the opposite direction from the village, while Kaito watched the villagers and decided that if they were friends, he should free them from the evil overseer who must have been enslaving them. He fired an arrow to pull the overseer, and backed around the corner.
This worked fine -- June and Shalalu helped pelt the fighter with ranged attacks when he emerged from the village to try to track down whoever'd shot him -- until he called for help. "We're under attack! Everyone, to arms!"
Phoof: "Why did you do that? Are you stupid? That's the opposite of what I told you to do!"
Kaito: "I though they were slaves and we had to free them?"
Phoof: "I didn't say that! Now we're all going to die!"
Kaito: "Nah, I'm hiding near the exit. If the whole village comes I'll just run away. I'm pretty sure I can outrun an ogre. So just all of you will die."
June decided to make sure that the rest of the village wouldn't come, by casting a Black Tentacles spell blocking off the corridor to the village. Kaito and Shalalu shouted threats at the villagers through it to make sure they knew not to try. In common, because neither of them spoke giant. Still, maybe the tone of voice would get the message across?
Anyway, at some point Phoof actually mentioned over her Message spell that she was in a room full of hags and needed help. Ash was already there, and cast a Spiked Pit to trap one of the hags, and Kaito ran in behind her, leapt over the pit, and stabbed another hag... and then got trapped in a force cage as the hags used one of their coven spells. It was the 'barred cage' version, at least, so he was able to throw daggers through the bars, and between that and Ash's lightning bolt one of the hags went down.
...which was pretty much the end of their effective resistance, since they couldn't use coven spells anymore. The hag in the pit went down next, and the third... escaped somehow? No one was sure how -- it was like she dissolved into mist but without the lingering and still-stabbable floating cloud a gaseous form would have left behind.
Meanwhile, Elsie wandered deeper into the cavern, got a boulder thrown at her, got threatened by some unseen monsters in the darkness, and ran away. The priest healed her when she got back to the rest of the party, and she hid waiting for the enemy who'd said that she'd take care of the intrusion to arrive -- it was the red-headed mage they'd fought at the fort, the one serving (or leading?) the cult.
But when she finally did arrive, she was invisible, and while blindfighting let Elsie notice as she ran past it didn't actually give her an attack of opportunity. Elsie tried punching random squares, to no effect, and Shalalu and Ash were able to find traces of her passage pointing out the direction she'd gone.
"Do we need to fight her, though? We disrupted the necromantic ritual the hags were doing and Ash was able to identify it as the weather control spell causing all the storms. If it was what was binding the ranger's soul, maybe we're done here?"
Kaito ran off to check the ranger's body to see if it still had the miasma of darkness, but before he could get back, a ranger-like frost-wight ascended the stairs...
So yeah. We basically ran off in all directions at once and aggro'd everything in sight, just like old times when we had nine people in the party.
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