From the cellar below the heroes could hear coughing, then grumbling, movement, and a splash of water as the fires were doused. A few more coughs followed, then silence.
Alf decided he was tired of waiting and headed down again, spotting a couple of the ogres lurking in the darkness, squinting to see. He told them he could see them, and that he and his party were looking for something, and they intended to search the place, whether the ogres liked it or not. He told them they could leave, and they’d let them go, but one of the ogres spoke out, telling him that this was their home and he had no right here, so he and his friends should go. Alf was having none of it and politely threatened them. He told them to think about it, and headed back upstairs.
After ten minutes or so, plenty of time for the ogres to move out if they were wise (they didn’t), the heroes all ventured down into the cellar, Magnus summoning his ball of mage light and Jacob lighting a torch that he placed in a suitable spot, allowing them to see the cellar: defaced statue in the middle, a short passage to a door at the rear, a hole in the wall leading to a low cave and numerous small tunnels. A couple of ogres were trying, badly, to hide, there, but there was no sign of any others.
They convinced the ogres to let them search, quizzing them about the item they were looking for, a cloak, and from the ogres’ reaction knew that they knew what they were on about. The ogres tried to fool them with a ragged mask that was stuck on the statue, and managed to convince them to search the tunnels, while they moved back into the cellar… the ogres sneaked away to the door, and passed through to the other side before anyone realised they were gone. Meanwhile, Ratkin discovered that the tunnels simply lead outside and were unsafe, the tunnels collapsing on him twice as he ventured down, rescued by Magnus each time. There was nothing hidden there.
Wasting no more time, they made their way to the door. Alf and Jacob moved to the front and forced open the door to reveal a large cavern, water towards the rear, stalactites and stalagmites forming pillars that obscured the half-a-dozen or more ogres inside. In the water some bird-like shape was moving.
Callum let loose an arrow, which went wide and bounced away into the water without harming anyone. It made the nearest ogres back away, but then Magnus made it worse by sending a screaming bolt into the room, his magic missile slamming into the watery creature. The ogres howled in rage, calling out that they’d injured the Spirit; the ogres moved in to fight, taking damage from a flurry of arrows, a swing from Jacob’s two-handed sword, and a spear jab from Alf. One fell dead, the other decided to back away.
The ogres tried to parley. throwing down a ragged cloak to try and trick the heroes into taking it and leaving them alone, but Magnus could detect no magic from it, so he moved into the room, hoping to sense the magic of the cloak if he saw it. An ogre decided to jab at him instead, but the wizard stepped out of the way, and used the Ring of Many Colours to zap it and its ally behind; Ratkin then moved into sight and used his Terrifying Presence to scare four of the ogres away; they fled into the darkness reaches of the cave. The other ogres attacked, whacking Alf and Magnus, but takin blows and arrows themselves.
Then a raven flew into the fight, transforming into a large ogre wearing a feathered cloak; he swung his axe but failed to land a hit, and instead took a blow from Jacob’s sword. The warrior then side-stepped and cleaved another ogre in two; and the ogres decided to surrender.
Their leader, Lugrash, removed his cloak with a great deal of reluctance, and handed it over. He knew when he was beaten and already several of his brethren lay dead. He demanded that they leave, and the heroes, havin what they came for, simply left.
They headed back into the forest, walked for a while and then set camp, tending to their wounds. They decided they needed to head back to civilisation for a time and Ratkin reminded them of the stone ring at the nearby Blood Sisters, which they could use to teleport to the stone ring near the Dancing Donkey inn. They hiked through the forest for a couple of uneventful, even pleasant days, and came to the clearing around mid-morning.