The body of the linnorm lies motionless in the snow as the oni regroup and tend to their wounded. The party watches from the safety of the cavern as the oni throw their fallen comrades into a funeral pyre and begin to harvest the linnorm's scales, teeth, and poison glands. Deciding they'd best hurry before their old friend Akuma comes looking for them, the party make their way across the valley ridge. Sure enough, some of the oni split off into small parties and begin heading towards the caves as well.
Outside the cave, a warning: the word Danger! is scratched into the cliff face with the drawing of a spider... presumably the same spiders Yurk warned the party about. Also, it looks like somebody more recently added to this warning a depiction of a rat...
The party begins to move quickly through the caves, certain the oni are close on their trail. They find a few more signs declaring "No Trespassing!" and "Go Away!"and find these threats backed up by a myriad of devious traps. Yurk suggests that ratfolk must have made these caves their warren.
After a series of twists and turns, they come across one of the oni and his minions that were tailing them! The party wins through, slaying the demon and liberating it's equipment. During the combat, a curious ratfolk with unfortunate timing pokes it's head through a secret hidey hole in the cavern wall but is promptly put down by Yorick and his band of village rifleman.
They hear Akuma's taunting voice shouting after our heroes from somewhere in the cave... they quicken their pace.
They eventually happen upon a the ratfolk warren, who demand to know who's trespassing in their home. The party explains the situation, but the ratfolk turn them away, saying if the oni are after them they don't want the party anywhere near their village. The party insists, and the ratfolk offer to show them safe passage through the caves in exchange for payment. The ratfolk first ask for 10,000 gold pieces, but with a little intimidation they're talked down to 6,500. Not wanting to risk being caught by Akuma, they pay the toll and the ratfolk leader gives them directions out of the caves and instructions to bypass the various traps.
Finally out of the caves, they can see the village in the distance. They tell Yurk and the villagers to go ahead, as they have some unfinished business to deal with in the cave. Deciding the toll was unacceptable, they return to the ratfolk village to recover their money... through any means nessecary. Asmundr and Gregor make quick work of a couple ratfolk slinks, hoping a furious assault would intimidate the ratfolk into giving up. However they defend their home fervently and fight back. Part way through the fight, an unwelcome sight: Akuma has found his way to the ratfolk village. The ratfolk scatter at this new threat, dissapearing into hidey holes and passageways.
Filled with bloodlust, Akuma attacks, and the battle is brutal and deadly. Gregor goes toe to toe with the demon, but is struck down by the oni's shadowy blade. The black flames of the weapon consume Gregor, leaving only a pile of ash. Having felled a worthy foe, Akuma's fervor and bloodlust seems to subside. Severely wounded and his hunger for battle sated, Akuma thanks Asmunder and Yorick for the battle, and with a menacing smile, that he hopes they'll meet once again. His body melts away into smoke, which begins to drift for the exit. Yorick chases after, but his blade passes harmelessly through. Asmunder however is not having any of this and applies the ghost touch salve to his hammer, and with a mighty swing dissapates the spirit of Akuma into nothingness... hopefully for good this time.
Exhausted and battered, they make for the exit, but not before Yorick grabs what's left of the gold they paid, plus some treasures found in a secret stash below one of the ratfolk homes.
In a sudden and uncharacteristic moment of empathy, Yorick collects the ashes of Gregor into a bottle. With a solemn look back on the scene, he mounts Gilbur and rides out of the caves...
Next Session: I Have To Do This Alone!