After crossing the river and leaving behind the land of dead, twisted, and burnt trees, our intrepid band of adventurers followed a winding path as it passed through some dense forest, sloping slightly uphill. Continuing on, they found themselves in some low hills where the flora thinned into low scrub and brush, with only a smattering of trees here and there. In the distance, they could see the lake on the map and a large white object, as "big as a house", reflecting the morning sunlight. Surmising it to be the Skull of Evernost, they gave it a wide berth, as indicated on the map they purchased from Rindo. A bit further along, the terrain became more and more barren, until it appeared drought-stricken and parched. Ahead, they could see a large red sloping obelisk coming into view. Cautiously they approached what they guessed to be the Obelisk of Hate, and discovered it is covered in black runes. The runes seemed arcane and were unfamiliar, but amongst the thousands of runes carved into to 40-foot tall obelisk, it did seems as if patters of language were hidden, perhaps telling a story, or allowing the casting of a spell?
The party decided to leave the obelisk alone until such time as they had arcane experts with them and continue on, looking for the red cave. A large grey hill was visible, set against the more brown and dead range of hills, and as the party approached, they observed there was a small cave at the base of this hill, with a dry stream bed flowing out from it. Sha'an dipped his finger in the reddish-orange silt of this stream bed, and observed it tasted like his blood. Bill peered into the cave and observed it only seemed to go in a short ways before becoming too small to pass through. The rest of the party suddenly observed that Waffles was shrinking, his head and hands disappearing into the folds of his cloak.
As Waffles cloak settled onto the ground, a small figure emerged from it and said "Meow!" It was the same grey and white housecat that the party had seen in Leukish! Ayabel used her ability to speak with animals and discovered that it was indeed Waffles, who had been hiding an ability to transform himself into a cat. Waffles (the cat?) walked into the cave and slinked up a narrow winding passage. Coming back after a bit, he reported to Ayabel that it merely seemed to continue a long distance and there was nothing of interest to be found.
The party then decided to investigate the rest of the hill. Coming about the opposite side, the discovered a set of worn stairs carved into the grey stone of the hill. These stairs wound upwards to a flat spot, some thirty feet up, where there was a wide ledge and a larger cave entrance. Beside this entrance there was a small demonic looking statue squatting in niche in the rock. Bill tossed a stone at it and was surprised when it merely skittered off the stone and nothing untoward occurred. The party then climbed the worn and precarious stairs, and standing on they ledge, they peered into the cave. It seemed to go in a ways and open into a cavern, the walls of which looked red. "I think we found the Red Cave" said someone, and they entered cautiously.
Inside, they discovered a cavern, perhaps 30 feet by 50 foot in size, with a single shaft of sunlight shining down from a ceiling some 20 feet above them. In the middle of the cavern, there was a small dry stream and pond, the bottom and sides of both colored red-orange like the stream outside. Sha'an cautiously placed hi hand into the light and nothing happened. At the far end of this cavern there sat a large stone statue, a hulking twin the one besides the entrance. The party approached cautiously and nothing happened. A small hole was spotted in the ground beside the statue and it was surmised that it was sitting atop an empty space. Ayabel and Bill begun pushing on the statue, trying to push it over, when suddenly a screech — like nails on a chalkboard — echoed through the cavern. The wings on the statue unfurled and it came to life!
After a pitched battle, where the party discovered their weapons were somewhat ineffective against the creature, it was dispatched. Wounded from this fray, Ayabel decided to imbibe a healing potion that had been found on the rat-men at the river. Too late, she realised it was not as she thought, as her throat filled with a burning sensation that threatened her life – had Sha'an not quickly laid on his hands and infused her with the power of Corellon Larethian. Moments later, another creature, smaller in size and obviously the former statue outside, appeared, diving down through the shaft of light. It immediately attacked the party, but was eventually defeated. In a hole beneath where the first creature sat, the party found a small wooden coffered, twisted and burnt from where Ayabel had breath her acid breath earlier. It came apart as it was lifted out and a stash of gold coins cascaded to the ground.
Realizing that the Dew Drop was going to depart Salt Harbour in the morning, the party decided to hightail it back. They took off at a dash, heading back the way that they had come. As they passed the smoldering remains of the Ranger's hut, they were greeted by several arrows flying out of the darkness. Spotting the three rat-men hiding in the darkness, they decided to ignore the attack and dashed away, as more arrows flew their way, some finding flesh. Force marching themselves to the point of exhaustion, the party continued, and found themselves at the little fishing village just before dark. They decided to rest there until morning.