The head cook died first, an arrow from Gildrid between her eyes. She dropped silently, falling forward into her great cauldron. The other kobolds didn't seem to notice right away. The party, now down to four crept into the immense kitchen. There was a crash. Frightened, a kobold carrying a tall stack of plates had spotted the party and dropped the stack in a panic. Alarm spread through the steaming kitchen. Barks and hisses of alarm mixed with dying screams as the party began hacking their way through a flood of tiny attackers. None were spared, even the kobold youths. Laramine booted one across the room when it came at him with a huge cleaver in it's tiny hands.
One kobold, however, managed to escape the carnage and ran through a doorway in the back of the kitchen. It's howling alarm echoed down the hallway. The party, covered in black Kobold blood, collected themselves, and followed.
A short hallway led to a large hall. The ceiling was high for the diminutive koblods, but normal height for a Man. From all the tables scattered around, it seemed to be a mess hall. They just caught a glimpse of the creature they were pursuing, as it disappeared down a hallway on the other side. Close to them, another hallway with low ceiling.
"That way!" Laramine said. Crouching, the Northman entered the corridor. It split into two rounded hallways, much like a tuning fork. He headed down the right. His torch illuminated a small room. It stank. The walls on three sides had low benches built into them, with holes in the seats. "Uh, a latrine."
Sure enough, at the far end, sitting alone and trying very hard not to be noticed, a male kobold sat, with his crude trousers around his ankles. It squealed as Laramine charged forward. He spitted it at the end of his great sword.
The others found a similar latrine down the other corridor, this one without an inhabitant.
The party then decided to head for the other hallway at the far end of the mess hall. It was paved with flagstones, as much of the other corridors were, with packed earthen walls. The hallway split into a "T". Yelling, and the sounds of many kobolds echoed down from the right hall. The adventurers moved the other way.
They found a small door. This one was reinforced and locked. Nemon and Laramine tried their best to bash it down, but the space was tight, and they couldn't get leverage.
"Outta my way," Miss Adventure said, shouldering her way past the men. She began fidgeting with the lock. A few moments later, a "click" came from the lock, and the door opened.
"Miss Adventure," said Nemon," why don't you put on those boots of yours and wait at the crossroads back there. If anything comes, let us know."
With that, the halfling was gone. The others took stock of the room. It was high roofed and cylindrical. Shelves packed the curved walls. The shelves were full of boxes, jars, containers and urns. "Must be some kind of kobold pantry," Laramine said to Gildrid. It was then he noticed the elf was pale. Paler than usual. The wound the spider had given Gildrid was purple again, and spreading.
"Hey Nemon, he doesn't look so good."
Some of the containers lining the shelves looked man made. Some were of kobold manufacture. There were dried herbs and food, and some things that were unidentifiable and smelled awful. Laramine and Nemon began rifling through all of them, looking for a hidden door, or a cure for their friend. Gildrid just crumbled up into a ball and drooled on himself. One of the jars crashed to the floor. It was the near comatose Gildrid that noticed the green liquid that had spilt was draining through the floor somewhere. Nemon started prying them up with his dagger. He found a small, square hole. In it was two jars. One contained a whitish paste. The other had dried mushrooms. They gave off the faint blueish light the party recognized as the fungus, that once refined, could be used as a healing potion. Nemon and Laramine contemplated given the raw mushrooms to Gildrid, but they could be poisonous in their non-refined state.
There was a rush of air.
"Here they come!" said a breathless Miss Adventure. Down the corridor they could see a bright light. Strange, for a race that lived in the dark. The light grew brighter, until they could distinguish a large shape filling most of the hallway. It was the source of the light. And the heat.
A giant beetle trudged through the tight corridor, fire squirting from it's open maw.
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