With Bjorn's studies complete, the full party gathered (less Booh who was to large to fit in the narrow tunnels) and prepared to depart for Stonehell, aiming to recover Duncal from the mountain trolls. As they headed out of town, they heard rumors that the rival adventuring band who was now working with the March Baron had pledged 2000gp towards paying off the debt to the King. A act of philanthropy that had everyone in town singing their praises. It was enough to make everyone glad to be headed back into the depths and darkness again. And back they went, passing through the upper levels with little trouble, finding themselves back on the 4th level in the many pillared room. Following the map from the last delves, the party formed up (Kern scouting invisibly ahead) and headed towards the elevator down. And were stopped at once by the dropped portcullis, which stymied the attempts of the party brutes to open. Riley on the other hand lifted it with ease, and everyone passed through, heading for the room of mists. But were stopped short when a quartet of ogres emerged from that room. Darnorth tried to talk their way past the brutes, as the party was uninterested in risking a fight at this point. But the ogres were in a foul mood, tired of these surface interlopers passing through their territory. The four raised their clubs and charged, but three were felled quickly by a combination of lighting bolt from Darnorth's ring and swinging swords from everyone else. Seeing how quickly his comrades bit the dust, the fourth ogre surrendered. And the party accepted that surrender. Which was good, because at this point Gurruk heard a snuffling sound , and turned to see a huge cave bear emerge from the passage behind them. Thinking they could distract the bear, the party tried lifting one of the dead ogres and tossing it to the bear. Unfortunately, the brute was too big and Darnorth collapsed under the weight of the corpse. However, the bear wasn't too aggressive, but stood on it's hind legs and started to sniff and growl and swing it's head around. Pulling the dwarf out from under the corpse, and dragging their ogre captive with them, the party slowly retreated through the mist room. To everyones relief, the bear stopped to feast on the dead ogres.
Grateful for the information, the party decided to let the ogre go as long as he didn't tell Clacker about them ("Ugg agrees. Say cave bear ate friends!"). That done, Kern sized up the elevator control panel and set the switches in the right order to de-energize the cage and set it moving. Back on the fifth level, the party sized up their map once again and figured they would look for a connecting route to the troll halls that didn't involve passing through the minotaur guardroom. The first branch led into a large chamber with the ruined remains of wooden furniture and mining implements. The exit to the west was blocked by fallen rubble. When Darnorth examined it, he noted that it looked like the tunnel was deliberately collapsed, not a random accidental cave-in. Erijay began poking around looking for a secret exit, but instead found a round stone plug in the floor, about 2 feet in diameter. She and Darnorth grabbed some old miners picks from the rubble and (after Kern and checked it for traps) pried the plug up. Underneath was a shallow hole, and it it lay a pile of gold nuggets. Which were quickly scooped up (after a paranoid Kern again checked for traps) and distributed to the party. Rylee refused to take any, figuring that if they tried negotiating with the trolls, the creatures might not like the idea of the party pilfering their gold. If Rylee was empty handed, he could offer to be searched to cover the party's collective behinds.
Passing several dead end passages, Kern stopped at the next chamber to listen. Hearing nothing, he once more turned to beckon the party forward. And nearly put his foot down on a red jelly-like thing on the floor. Backing away, Kern retreated to the rest of the party while the jelly followed. Shooting at it with a crossbow bolt, Kern scored a hit. Which broke the thing into 5 smaller pudding which lashed out with pseudpods at the party. Who responded with a cycle of oil and torches until the things were dried husks on the floor. Stepping over them, the party continued on and Kern soon saw ahead a huge cavern. 20' high and stretching beyond the limits of his vision, from it emerged a strange sound; the sound of sheep and goats bleating. The merchant slipped forward invisibility and silently (using the coin still). Further on he found a pen with sheep and goats, a set of double stone doors 15' tall, and a huge rusting rock crusher. And next to the rock crusher, two ogre like creature. Taller than ogres though, they wore crude metal and leather armor over thick, knotted skin. Each sported a pigs tail and carried a two handed sword. Kern now moved back towards the party to confer. Figuring these must be the mountain trolls, the party decided to slip forward and watch further before deciding what to do. Just then, anther odd creature burst out of the double doors. It looked much like the other two, but sported three heads! Two of the heads seemed to be in some sort of crazy argument (based on what Darnorth heard using his helm) while the third called out to the other creatures, telling them to 'go join the feast'. With grunts of 'thanks Onkel Harold', the two left though the double doors. At which point, Onkel Harold went over the the sheep and goats in the pen, picked one up and started eating it alive.
The party let him go, and prepared for the worst. After awhile, heavy footsteps were heard on the other side of the double doors. Erijay quickly moved forward to hold them open so whoever it was didn't take offense at being trapped by her arcane lock. Out of the doors strode a multitude of mountain trolls, led by a huge one in a golden crown. Next to him stood another oddity, an old troll hag, holding her head under here arm rather than on her shoulders! The huge troll announced himself as King Sveg, and asked what the party wanted. Darnorth again spoke up, and offered to re-open the trolls gold mine by killing the evil spirit that inhabited the old workings. In return, the party wished only one particular slave of the trolls. Looking at the troll king's entourage, they spied the weedy Duncal, and pointed him out. Puzzled as to why they would want such a weak specimen, the King none the less (after consulting two Vrilya who were now seen in the mass of trolls) agreed to the bargain. King Sveg warned that it would not be an easy task. First, once in the mines, the party would not be able to leave until the demon spirit had been banished. Second, the spirit was immune to many spell (including those of Gammlemmor Olga, the troll hag with the head under her arm). Third, it also regenerated when hurt, ever faster than the rubbery skinned relatives of the mountain trolls.