The found an underwater lake. On the far side, they could just make out (thanks to an illuminating spell cast by Chlamydia) some sort of fortification built on the beach. On their side, there was a pen of goats, a dock, and a rowboat. They slaughtered a goat and tossed its head into the water. They were able to sense some kind of activity under the surface where the head lands, but it was too dark and too deep to determine exactly what. They boarded the rowboat and headed out onto the water. As a precaution, they removed their heavier armor. It turned out to be a good idea.
They hadn’t made it far when a five-headed beastie rose up out of the water all around them and flipped their vessel. As they struggled to remain afloat, it tore into them, disemboweling Brick and crushing Alastair’s ribs. Some quick casting by Chlamydia and some quick rope-work by Junior kept the creature at bay and their companions alive long enough to drag them back to shore.
Unarmored and clinging to life by a thread, they returned to Knucklehead, where Lonus Trumble put them up in a guesthouse and kept them well-stocked with swamproot tea and rock biscuits. For three days, they stayed in town. Each morning, the heard reports of zombie halflings lurking around the village’s borders, but never venturing in. The Knucklehead militia, now aware that their enemy looked like them, knew to fire on anyone approaching the village ramps after dark. The presence of an honest-to-goodness cleric of the Keeper may have helped as well.
Sufficiently healed and dressed in fresh new armor, they headed back out to the cave.
They discovered that the goat they had killed had been replaced with another while they were away, and that the boat had been returned to its place on the dock. They spent much of their day experimenting with goats and boating expeditions, and eventually determined that the monster in the lake preferred live meat to dead. Chlamydia ventured back out into the swamp and captured a pig. The plan was ostensibly to add it to the pool of animals to be sacrificed. Too bad she’s such a softy.
The next time they ventured into the cave, they discovered that the goat supply had been replenished once again, and was now being protected by a pair of kobolds. They killed one and bound and gagged the other. With their boat riding low in the water with a pair of goats and a captive, they set out across the lake.
On the far side, they discovered that a portion of the cavern had been walled off, and that the wall was guarded by a team of kobolds. There was a brief exchange of fire, mostly ineffectual, followed by a parlay. During their negotiations with a kobold called Gingivitis, they learned that the kobolds had been hired by someone they called The Boss to guard this wall, but that they had since come to loathe the task. The Boss had an unhealthy fixation with dead bodies that the kobolds found distasteful. They were happy to abandon their post (and to accept a handful of coins that Alastair offered them). They directed the party to a pen of goats on this side of the lake. They had little in the way of advice to offer, other than a warning that The Boss was an excellent swimmer, and that any attempt at a confrontation with him would probably prove lethal. With that, the kobolds piled into a boat with a few goats and set out across the lake.
The adventurers headed into the compound.
They ran into their first trouble in a room full of orbs flashing like strobe lights. The orbs had a strange effect on Alastair, who suddenly turned on his allies and tried to kill them. He failed in that, but did manage to break his favorite warhammer. Chlamydia drove him off with a spell, which gave her and Junior time to smash the orbs. Alastair returned to normal, and claimed to remember nothing.
As they further explored the underground tunnels, they encountered a few doors which they left alone, and a flooded tunnel. Alastair swam down it. The gods of physics and continuity had had a few beers by this point, and lost track of both light sources and the length of rope that he had affixed to his ankle, so he was able to make it to the end of the tunnel with little trouble. There he found a sliding stone door and a table covered in burning candles.
He returned to his companions. They decided to hold up in the room with the smashed orbs and try to get some sleep.