While the rest of the PC’s hide, Helga awaits the oncoming soldiers and finds a patrol of Ping soldiers, men of Lord An Ping, the Ailing Lord, holding banners of a tall tree circled by three glowing orbs against a grey field. The soldiers warn the PC’s of the Shadow Rebellion and the Yuan-Ti, along with odd occurrences with the spirits of the forest (details the PC’s are already aware of). They let the PC’s know that they should report anything suspicious at the capitol city of Pyanping.
The party travels on and stumble upon a vast field of wild white ginger on top of a hill. They get to gathering a few white ginger, Jevin and Randuil greedily filling their pockets, with forest sprites watching them. While picking ginger, they notice something peculiar further in the field – tufts of dirt and ginger uprooting itself from the earth! Upon investigating closer, a giant corrupted boar spirit appears. The boar immediately set to charge the PC’s, but Yuriko was able to friend the raging boar by druidic means. With limited conversation skills, the boar states that it is simply protecting Hamaterasu by killing anything and everything in sight. Afterwards, it runs away.
The PC’s finally make their way to the bandit hideout, a small encampment set against a cave. Within the cave, they find a small party of yuan-ti and bullywugs waiting for them. They escape and set out to form a plan. Helga crafts a plan to smoke them out. Before they do so, Yuriko shape changes into a bat to scout the situation. She finds a back room where the bodies of the bandits have been laid out and a possible secret entrance along a rock wall in the corner.
Working together, the party efficiently makes quick work of the enemies. They make their way into the cave to search the area and find a curious note on the table. In the back Jevin searches the bodies only to find that one person is not quite dead. The badly injured bandit states that they were betrayed by the yuan-ti when they made a deal to exchange gold for a totem they stole in the forest. Instead, the yuan-ti surprised them by wiping them out.
Investigating the back wall, they indeed find a secret entrance to an older part of the cave. Undisturbed for countless years, the PC’s make their way deeper into the cave, eventually venturing into a large cavern. As they carefully explore the moss-lined cavern, a rumbling sound emanates from the earthen floor and suddenly a large insectoid creature bursts forth, ready to attack. It’s an Ankheg!
After a challenging fight, they kill the ankheg. The PC’s then find a decomposed skeleton resting against a stalagmite. On the skeleton’s person is a potion of water-breathing and not far off, they hear the sound of rushing water…to be continued in part 2!