Deciding that the cave mouth is too broad to be defensible, the group retreats into the unexplored depths of the cavern. This turns out to be the huge lair of a gargantuan white dragon. Fortunately, the dragon is long dead, with only its skeleton remaining. The obligatory search for treasure disturbs a giant spider lairing in the skull. Newt’s attempt to Speak With Animals is unproductive, as is Erin‘s attempt to masticate it with the dragon’s jawbone. So Thamior shoots it dead.
Disappointingly, the cavern had been picked clean long ago. Inside the dragon’s chest (its actual ribcage, that is) is but one large white gem and a pair of desiccated kobolds cocooned by the spider. Erin strings up the kobold corpses at the entryway with spider silk, hoping to deter the approaching kobolds.
The group locates a natural chimney wide enough to crawl through at the back of the dragon’s cavern, and use it to escape just as the kobolds arrive and spot them. (Thamior shoots one of them dead as he leaves.) The crawlspace leads out to a 50’ drop off of a sheer cliff face. Newt, second out, manages to fall. Erin, first out and already on the ground, manages to break his fall by bouncing him off her shield. Once everyone else is safely off the cliff, Heskan performs some Eldritch Blast sharpshooting to retrieve 49½’ of the original 50’ rope.
The group circles away from kobold territory along the base of the cliff, eventually coming across a grotto. Hoping to find shelter for the night, they investigate and find a big cat asleep inside. Erin’s first impulse is to capture it in a sack, but “big cat” actually means “leopard” in this context. So she wrestles it to the ground instead while her companions club it unconscious. The leopard has a pair of adorable kittens, one of whom (“the feisty one!”) Erin claims as a pet. As a druid, Newt finds this all rather distressing.
The group puts as much distance between the mother leopard and themselves as possible, but it’s after midnight and they all need to rest. Reaching the end of the cliff face allows them to ascend to a small plateau near the summit of the island and make camp for the night. Watches are posted to prevent kobolds sneaking up or kittens sneaking off.
Next morning the excellent visibility from the plateau reveals a scavenging salvage (“scalvanger”?) ship working the coast near Newt and Erin’s original shipwreck. The group hastens down to seek passage off the island. Unfortunately, the dragonborn beachcombers from the ship and Heskan are old enemies and negotiations go poorly. The final insult is when the beachcombers turn up with Erin and Newt’s now-unburied chest. Erin charges the crossbowmen, shrugging off a bolt and decapitating the nearest of them. The open violence works unusually well; the group slays all their dragonborn opponents while suffering only modest injuries in return. They even manage to pass the leopard kitten among themselves during the battle so that it doesn’t escape. As hostilities are about to conclude, the local kobolds join the fray. Knowing that the kobolds’ primitive weaponry will give them a disadvantage at range, the group commandeers the beachcombers’ rowboat and rain artillery upon the kobolds from safely offshore. Sensing another potential captive, Erin attempts to knock out the final fleeing kobold with one of her throwing axes, but misses. So Thamior shoots it dead.
Uncontested upon the beach at last, the group retrieves their chest and loots the bodies for crossbows and pocket change. Heskan props up one of the dead dragonborn on the prow of the rowboat and the group row out to the ship. The ship’s mate raises the alarm, so Thamior shoots him dead. The only remaining member of the ship’s crew is its captain, a formidable red dragonborn who harpoons the rowboat with a swivel-gun, reels it in with the attached chain, and sets the party and the entire rowboat on fire with his breath. Astonishingly, there are no further deaths following this. Newt puts the fire out using Create Water, the dragonborn captain backs off to the opposite side of the ship (possibly feeling it’s best to be out of firing range of Heskan’s Eldritch Blast and Thamior’s tendency to shoot people dead) and the group climbs the harpoon chain and boards the ship. The captain needs a crew to run his vessel; the group needs someone to captain it. A testy agreement is struck, that the group will follow the captain’s orders. For now.