Having barricaded themselves within the stone shrine-room of the Howling Caves, the party considers their next moves. Working furiously for several hours, Kurginn is able to decipher the Druidic journals, which suggest that the entire Skavenoid tribe is under the tyrannical control of a black dragon, Noak, that recently inhabited the Howling Caves. The journal also mentions that the author planned to travel to a nearby Human mage’s tower, who had been summoning “horned things” to harnass their power. In the final journal entry, the Skavenoid druid laid out his plans to kill the mage and usurp his power.
Meanwhile, back at Barrow’s Edge, the gnome rogue Ella has met another adventurer, Hugr, an Avyan sorcerer. Together, they venture towards the Howling Caves, losing their way in the surrounding forests, only to be captured by Skum patrols and taken to the caves, unconscious and bound.
Hugr wakes in a dark, dank cellar within the caves, where a helpful female Skaar, Urrtarr, aids him in escaping. She tries to implore him to help her, or help her tribe… Unfortunately, a language barrier prevents further communication.
Urrtarr leads the Avyan sorcerer to a safe room inside the cave complex, where she instructs him to wait for her return. Shortly afterwards, the rest of the adventurers remove the barricade on the shrine room door – and encounter Hugr for the first time. Together, the party moves deeper into the caves to rescue Ella, but is ambushed by a Skum & his pet dire weasel in the process. Chaos ensues, as our heroes struggle to decide what to do next, while Hugr meets privately with Urrtarr, Kurginn, and the unnamed warforged. Meanwhile, Ravenclaw sets fire to a wooden door leading deeper into the caves, which draws the ire of Urrtarr. The flames are quickly doused.
Urrtarr explains the situation in detail to Ravenclaw & Ella. She implores the party to help the tribe by defeating Noak. The dragon, she insists, is the cause of the recent increase in raids and hostile activity by the tribe, and that by defeating Noak, the tribe’s attacks on the nearby village would cease. She tells the group that she will return to the rest of the tribe and draw their attention for as long as possible, giving the party time to escape through a dark section of the caves that the Skavenoids don’t enter, for fear of giant spiders that inhabit it. This route, she explains, would lead deeper into the caves, to Noak’s lair.
The adventurers reluctantly agree to this plan, and head into the spider-infested howling caverns. Only moments later, they are ambushed by a monstrous spider, and, nearly losing the warforged fighter, they retreat back to the stone shrine room nearby. There, they are assaulted by waves of Skavenoids, and they succeed only in barricading themselves inside the room, their assailants clabbering and scratching at the great stone doors…