The captured party is one by one, taken before the serpent god and attempted to be charmed. Samira, Artemis, and Arella succumb to the charm, while Janus, Krull, and Yoriek resist and are imprisoned within the dungeon. The charmed party members are taken to get get rest and further healing. They are then escorted back to Orlane and told to await instructions from Bertram. Four days have passed.
In the intervening time, Chiad, who is at the Slumbering Serpent, awakes to find the Mayor, the elves, and Ollwin listening to Cirilli’s tale and the names of folks she knows are cult members. Unsure how to save his town without killing the cult members, the Mayor asks Chiad what she can add to the story, especially now that her friends are undoubtedly in the hands of the cult. She suggests that Ramne may be of some help as he was able to give them some information that his weasel had acquired. Skeptical, but with few other options, the Mayor sends Ollwin for Ramne. When he arrives, he listens to the Mayor’s dilemma and Cirilli’s story. He is convinced that the so-called serpent god is a spirit naga and the cult members are victims of its charm power. He says he has a possible solution but it really only has a 50-50 chance or less of actually working, but if successful, would minimize cult member casualties. Since it would involve gathering all the cult in one room though, failure would most likely be fatal. He leaves the mayor to decide. The Mayor agrees to proceed. He announced a town meeting for the next day to be held at the Golden Grain Inn to discuss the outrageous attack by the party on the temple and plans to retaliate. The trap baited, the townsfolk, including the cult members, show up for the meeting. Once all are in the room, Ramne casts a spell to dispel the charm and it works. With the charm broken, the cult has its membership quite depleted. However, none of the leadership was taken in and it is believe that many of the farmers south of town are still charmed as well.
Chiad and Ramne look for assistance to go after the missing party, but between the feeling that the trouble is past and lingering discontent about the party’s involvement in the killings at the temple despite exposing the cult, no assistance was forthcoming. Given the cult’s slow nature of action, they decided to wait and see.
This proved to be wise. Not only did it allow Chiad to recover to full health, it allowed the cult to make its first blunder. When Samira, Artemis, and Arella arrived at the Golden Grain, it was no longer a cult meeting place. Bertram sent Snigrot to get Chiad and Ramne. They were able to come with the constable and dispel the charm from them as well.
Now, with a larger party, an assault on the dungeon could begin. The next day, guided by Whiskers, Chiad, Samira, Artemis, and Arella, along with Ramne, travelled to the dungeon. After a brief discussion on whether to flood the dungeon, they decided to enter instead. They entered, loudly, as Samira slipped on the muddy stairs, knocking all of them down and sending them tumbling into the guards at the bottom of the stair. Pretending to still be cult members, Artemis convinced them that they had prisoners for Primo Garath, the cleric who sent them back to town. They were able to pass allowing them to explore.
They found their way to the room with “the comfortable chairs” where their initial command by Primo had been given. There they defeated two humans in combat. Chiad acquired a glowing sword from one of these. This section seemed to be a nicer area of barracks. They found one other human with whom they fought. Killing him, Samira acquired his shield. In an empty bedroom, Samira smashed open a chest which was found to contain a scroll with two cure light wounds spells. They also took a tiny statuette of the Serpent God.
Exploring further to the west, they discovered a cave that contained a pool. There they were attacked by a pair of killer frogs. They were able to kill the frogs, but Arella was incapacitated in the fight. They bound her wounds and hid her in the mud. After a bit they went back to use healing spells on her, making ambulatory but still unable to fight.
They wound their way around back to the east where they discovered many unstable walls & ceilings. Leaving a door alone for fear of collapse and actually seeing where a sinkhole had collapsed moved them north again. Here they discovered the food storage and minor armory for the complex. Nothing of extreme value, but wisely they picked up ten torches. This brought them around to another hallway that contained barracks (of a lower class for certain). In this area, they were attacked by the guards as they entered each room and also drew attention from the guards they had previously duped. They managed to slay all 16 guards, but in doing so, took enough damage that they (wisely) retreated for the day.
Impatient as ever, Krull and Janus pick and break their way, along with four other prisoners, out of their cells. Unable to free, Yoriek, they move on leaving him behind. Unfortunately, they don’t have a light source, break into a room where they are confronted by a creature that smells like death itself. Despite appearing to have killed it once and delivering an apparent tremendous amount of punishment on it, the foul creature strangled both of them.