A new day saw the party assisting Bill Barleycorn with his booze deliveries to the elvish city of Hala Xel. The first delivery to the Goldleaf Inn brought a mystery, as a nondescript elf woman left Zed a drink and a cryptic message. No trace was to be found of her, though, and the party rested for the night before mounting the lift to Hala Xel proper.
The morning brought with it new acquaintances. Sergeant Gaespa Furlevar greeted the party, warmly welcoming Visok back to his old stomping grounds. She passed on a tip that the elder shamans might be interested in some help. The party proceded on their business, only to run into another new (for most of them) face; that of one of Zed’s old trainers at the monastery, Callio. The elf offered to show the party around the city once their deliveries were finished. Dropping off the rest of the booze, the party bid Bill luck trying to woo the elvish ladies that ran the Wildvine Lodge, and set out exploring.
Their sightseeing ended at the Eldergrove, where a shaman faced a quandary: it appeared some of the local rock apes had stolen their spirit totems, and they needed someone trustworthy and discreet to recover them. The party signed up anyway. With an important consultation with the Xelian Primal Spirits only one day away, the party set out for the caves under the forest floor.
It was unmistakeable that they’d found the right cave. Trudging through filth and detritus, the party was swiftly set upon by the ferocious apes. Though they seemed nonthreatening enough, the apes showed how dangerous they were, tackling Tristan to the ground and gnawing on his face. Callio had accompanied the party, and joined Zed in battering one of the apes until Zed uppercut the beast’s head clean off. The party swiftly finished off their opponents and delved further into the caves.
They came to a small nesting area where an alpha ape and several of his brood lay in wait. The slick rock bridge across a pool was treacherous, and the alpha showed his formidable strength when he bodily hoisted Visok off his feet and tossed him into the water below. Dashiel slipped by two of the apes, only to be struck by a huge rattlesnake that had snuck into one of the nests. The battle in the dark went fiercely, but Tristan’s knives found the throats of several of the apes, and Dashiel decapitated the snake with a well-timed arrow. Visok recovered the totems from the nest where the snake had lain; grimy, but none the worse for wear. Looting what few valuables they could find, the party headed back for the surface…