Mongo the Fighter (4), his henchladies "Bunny" the Thief (1) and Nancy "the Wrathful" the Fighter (1), and his soil-bearers Malazar and Benarto
Gutboy the Cleric (4), his henchman Trezgar the Elf (1) and his dog Rufus II
When last we left, the party had joined up with the Badenovs and were waiting outside the dungeon in ambush for Slezgar's Excellent Elven Edventurers. Razoe and George disappeared mysteriously during the wait - but such comings and goings did not bother Mongo or Gutboy.
Eventually, Slezgar did emerge - with another elf, a painted man, and five humans. Unfortunately for them, the Edventurers were surprised, and Gutboy and Trezgar slept and held the all but Slezgar. His jaw dropped in surprise as his former employers and the Badenovs rushed him, hacking him into pieces.
Mongo and his henchladies quickly dispatched the other Edventurers, to ensure that the Badenovs couldn't question them about the cutting of the rope that had stranged the Badenovs. They then split up the booty - several hundred gold, the silver-and-emerald circlet on Slezgar's head, and a false beard made of aluminum hexagons. One of the Badenovs put the circlet on his head for a laugh, and assumed a sly expression as he began cutting Slezgar's head off. "Oh, just a trophy, you know..." he mumbled when questioned.
They quickly came to an agreement to split all the loot evenly, even the henchmen getting an even share - and Mongo and Gutboy agreed to take the "clearly magical" false beard in exchange for letting the Badenovs take the "clearly cursed" silver crown.
For safety's sake, the two groups decided to venture back to Chelmsfordshire together. The fears of a curse appeared to be justified, when Mongo witnessed the crowned Badenov furtively gnawing on Slezgar's hand during his watch ("Don't you judge me!")
They parted ways at Chelmsfordshire, and Mongo and Gutboy headed back towards Denethix. They decided that they wished to loot the high-velocity stream of gold they had previously seen in the dungeon, and commissioned an engineer to design a contraption to remotely project a steel plate into the stream, diverting the flow of gold into the flooded room. While the spring-loaded machine was constructed, Mongo and Gutboy visited the Grand Temple, and queried the priests about the consequences of two contradictory orders from the gods ("Oh, that's unfortunate when that happens - do your best to obey both gods!"), what the punishment for disobedience was ("Holy trial before the priests! Sometimes the gods interject their judgment, and sometimes they leave punishment up to the council"), and whether they would be safe in the wilderness from the gods ("The gods are everywhere!").
Their questions answered, although not in ways that suggested a happy ending regarding the Kiod/Nisus dispute, they returned to their engineer and picked up the disassembled machine, wrapped in a heavy-duty canvas tarp for transportation purposes. Then, back to the dungeon.
En route, in Chelmsfordshire, they witnessed something unusual - an Exalted Brother on a sedan chair, being carried by eight slaves, was pointing at the henchman-recruiting-tents of the various adventuring parties, and dictating to a clerk. Nervous about being fingered for Slezgar's murder, the duo asked Fitzy the adventuring-gear-merchant what was up - "Ehhh, just another one of the Exalted Brethren looking for a piece of the action, I bet. Wherever there's money, those clowns show up, wanting a cut."
They spent the night on the floor of the Pig's Bride - the tavern's owner explained that soon he'd be building an expansion, with all the money the adventuring was bringing in, and then he'd be able to put them up in a proper room that wasn't covered in sawdust and puke. In the morning, they slunk off towards the dungeon, but were noticed by the Exalted Brother's clerk, who scribbled something in his notebook.
In the dungeon, they quickly made their way to the stream-of-gold room, placed and assembled the spring-loaded machine, ran a string from the trigger to outside the room, closed the door, and yanked the string. There was a cacophony of sound as gold pieces flung themselves about the room, and then nothing. Back into the room they went, feeling about under the water for all the bent and banged-up gold pieces - they netted 750 gp for their efforts. The machine's plate was bent upwards on its tracks, and wouldn't collapse properly, so they abandoned it to rust in the dungeon.
On the way out, they ran into the Badenovs again (one member short this time, although the Badenovs were cagey about revealing what they had encountered or what happened to their missing member), and asked about the Exalted Brother in the village - "Yeah, he was spouting some bull about the dungeons being unsafe, and how we had to think about poor missing Slezgar". They also noted that the crowned Badenov was still keeping up his habit of gnawing on body parts - he had a troglodyte claw in his mouth for most of the trip back.
Concerned about being hit up for taxes, Mongo and Gutboy parted ways with the Badenovs once they reached the road to Chelmsfordshire, and they headed for the next village to the south - a place called Tarryfield. Following the weed-choked road, they passed an abandoned mansion on the way towards town. A horrible stench of ammonia came from the place, and when they peeked through the windows and opened the door, they saw countless cats inside the building. The repulsive stink discouraged further investigation, and they headed into Tarryfield proper.
The village was incredibly poor, with only rude ramshackle huts and a single tavern - the top half of the sign read "The Wretched", and the bottom had long since rotted away. Inside, a man with blue skin served up ale to the party. One of the old men at the bar explained that the bartender had turned blue from his colloidal silver addiction. They asked the old man about the abandoned mansion - "Years ago, when I was a boy, this old fellow Norton Terhou lived there. Disappeared, don't rightly know when, because he didn't come to town too often. Place has been empty ever since. Sometimes you see a light in there at night, don't know who'd go there though, place stinks like cat piss. No, nobody owns it to stop ye from moving in yerselves, but those councilmen from the City'd probably want a piece if you fixed 'er up. Can't stand the greedy bastards myself."
After querying the old man about the possibility of seizing the mansion as a home base for themselves, Gutboy and Mongo turned to find that the blue-skinned bartender was extolling the health virtues of colloidal silver to Nancy, Bunny, and Trezgar. To their disgust, their respective henchpersons readily agreed and were quickly soused on silver.