After deciding that exploring the rest of the caves would be futile, the party camped for the night and then headed Weest, towards where their map said the ‘flooded ruins’ lay. On the map, in small writing, was a note saying that the ‘mail of midnight hue‘ was to be found there.
They headed off through the forest, aiming to avoid the Biting Swamp, and reached the lower stream of the river before nightfall. They spied ruins along the banks, but most were under the water of the large lake, the odd wall poking out of the cool waters. They made camp on a hill overlooking the land, and settled in for a chilly night under the stars.
Towards dawn, Jacob spotted movement in the tall grass and quickly awakened the others. With his night-vision helm Alf saw giant spiders moving in: a flurry of arrows and Magnus‘s magic missiles blasted one before it reached them. The other three scurried up the hill and attacked, one biting Callum before it was skewered by Willow and Magnus. Then Ratkin remembered he had some magic of his own and used his terrifying presence to scare the rest off, and the spiders scurried off into the dawn.
The next morning, they trudged towards the ruins that poked out of the swamp, to see if they could scout out the ruins in the lake easier. As they did, Jacob spotted movement in one of the ruins across the river: a fir darrig watching them, and not doing a good job at hiding. Callum called out to it, but it gave them some story about being alone and just out exploring, and they parted ways, not trusting it one bit.
The swampy ruins turned out to have a submerged chest, which opened to reveal coins, gems, a silver whistle, and a magical rowan wand that Magnus could use to cast an extra spell per day. They also saw a chest in the lake, resting at the bottom, the clear water making it easy to spot. Magnus also spotted a large fish with spines and what looked like stumpy legs swimming around near the chest. He pointed it out to the others, who were discussing how best to fetch the underwater chest, given their lack of boats and only a few coils of rope.
Alf though the whistle might work with the fish, allowing him to control it somehow. He blew it hard, once, twice, and the fish swam their way: faster and faster, and it leapt through the water, onto land, and promptly tried to bite the watchman! He blocked its tail, but its teeth found flesh. Magnus sent a bolt of magic missile into its body, staggering it long enough for Alf and Willow to stab it with their spears. Then Magnus finished it off with another magic missile, blasting it into the swamp.
With the fish dead, they headed north and crossed the river at a narrow point, making their way to the other side of the lake to check out the other ruins; all of which turned out to be empty. As they approached the ruins where they saw the rat-goblin, the little creature popped out, as did another seven from the tall grass and trees. Magnus, quickly thinking, used his rat-of-tails talisman to talk to them in their own language and convinced them that they were working for the Children of the Raven too. It turned out that they were there to fetch the mail, but it was in the chest at the bottom of the lake and they had no idea how to get it. Magnus told them they’d get it, and the rat-men could back them up. He then persuaded them to build a raft, which they did so, spending most of the day cutting down trees and using the party’s ropes to bind logs together. With the raft completed, the fir darrig were sent to sleep, and as they did, the adventurers sneakily took the raft and made their way to the other side of the lake, and camped there instead. They persuaded Ratkin to swim down and get the chest in the morning, and went to sleep.