By mid-day we’d reached the mite’s lair in the sycamore tree. Mites are pretty small it seems as we could only walk single file into the entrance and tunnels and had to hunch over the whole time lest most of us be scraping our heads on the ceiling. Sadly, we aren’t very good at being quiet, even when not squirming into tunnels that are too small for us and the mites obviously heard us coming pretty quickly. Turns out mites like to fight along giant centipedes (shudder!) and centipedes have venom that makes you clumsy. I’m pretty sure clerics with more training can fix that, but it’s beyond my skill at this time, so we just had to live with it and fight on. After many mites from within the cavern and even some flanking us from behind, we finally cleared out the first “room” and were able to move deeper into the cavern system.
Fortunately, though not for her companion, Khismia had the foresight to send her summoned eidolon in before us, which meant that the mites waiting in ambush in that room all hit the eidolon with their attacks instead of us. Khismia says she can call it back tomorrow and didn’t seem too worried about it, so we just followed it right into the room of mites. Seems we found their leader, or at least a bigger mite riding a giant tick, ewww. Turns out giant ticks are a lot tougher than mites. It kept grabbing Khismia and sucking on her, then swapping to Ilona and sucking on her as directed by its rider. Turns out giant ticks like to suck vitality, who knew? Jiro had been hit by some kind of spell in the first room that shook him up pretty bad as he couldn’t bring himself to hit the mites. Breela waded into the melee and grew claws!
Eventually we wore down the tick and dispatched it as well as its rider, though it was a close thing. Eran and I were nearly depleted from keeping Khismia and Ilona alive through all the tick’s attacks. Having finally cleared the room, we ransacked it for Svetlana’s ring, but couldn’t find it. We searched the bodies and everything. All we found was a piece of paper with some unknown writing on it and a strange statue of some kind of devil or demon which wasn’t familiar from any of our religious or planar studies. We brought it along in case it turned out to be important.
We looked for a way to get across the small chasm separating the room we were in from the next one we could see. There were many, many strong-looking vines with hand- and foot-holds, presumably added by the mites, so we figured that would be our way across. As Jiro headed over to the chasm and looked in, however, he was attacked by a huge centipede! With us running low on healing energy this wasn’t a good time for a new foe to appear. Eran and I had to use Sanctuary and our last healing spells to keep Jiro alive to kill it with the help of a stream of summoned eagles from Khismia. The smart critter stayed out over the chasm so we could barely hit it! Once it was dead, Jiro headed across the vine hand-holds, discovering that the mites had rigged some of them to fall, but his natural agility saved him from the 30-foot drop into the chasm. The rest of us followed behind only using the ones he’d demonstrated were safe.
Once we got into the last room, we found several kobolds tied up. A couple were dead, but one was alive and after being untied and given water exclaimed, “Many thanks, Bigguns, Mikmek serve you forever!” It’s a good thing that Ilona and Breela can speak draconic. Turns out that the mites had stolen a statue from the Sootscale kobolds and they had raided the mite lair (and apparently not done so well) to get it back. They needed the statue because their tribe was supposedly cursed and only following the demands of the statue, as translated by a strange purple-skinned (and newly arrived) kobold shaman, could keep them from dying. This sounded alot like a scam to us, especially as we’d checked the statue for magical auras and found none. Mikmek assured us that it was true, and that the shaman, Tartuk now more or less led the Sootscale kobold tribe due to his power and the statue. He also said the chief wasn’t happy with the shaman’s new power (really?) and when pressed admitted, "Mikmek not like shaman, but keeps tribe safe from curse. He was really, uncomfortable speaking out against him though, even to us. With the return of the statue and perhaps assisting the chief against his little shaman problem, we’re pretty confident we can try and broker a peace treaty with the Sootscale. We’ll have Mikmek lead us to their caverns and try and talk with the chief alone.