The party was confronted by Colonel Xander and a bunch of troops just hangin’ out outside the tree with the entrance to the cave. The colonel and company were there to take care of the zombie problem there. After a brief confrontation… The party mostly relented, walking away. D’Arcy turned into a wolf to escape detection, and witnessed the collapsed, upturned earth suddenly rise and pack back into place. The party returned after a few moments and they descended into the cave — one, to investigate, two, to fetch the statue they had to leave behind when the cave began to collapse.
They successfully retrieved the spider statue, but on their way out they ran into the fire elementals they encountered on the inside of the die they were trapped in a few days ago. They seemed to have been tasked with clearing out the zombies, so when a handful of them escaped, a handful of fire elementals followed. They trapped their prey and killed the zombies, but in the process, started a rapidly spreading forest fire that began to consume the Eastern Forest. The party returned to Tarmikos.
In the Tarmikos Tavern, they ran once again into an intoxicated Maple and Sharla, who appeared to be in some sort of fight with each other. Eventually, Sharla stormed out of the tavern. Shard followed.
Eventually, the warforged and shifter made it to the airship, where there were some military personnel. Shard was able to dismiss them, but not before they figured out that the airship they’d been flying on was stolen. After boarding the airship, Sharla revealed that she’d been traveling with Maple under the promise that he would help her find the statue that she’d spent all of her adult life looking for. She said that she was looking for a statue of a scorpion and hadn’t found it yet.
Back at the tavern, Carter had approached Maple, who, upon Sharla’s departure, had begun to chug his mug of ale. Slurring his way through conversation, he revealed that he and Sharla were not just colleagues, but lovers as well. He’d promised to help Sharla in order to get close to her, but said that he was done with her now, that she was too much trouble, and was going to take the first train back home. He also revealed himself to be quite the artificer, the small gadgets used to help the party escape the collapsing cave the halfling’s own handiwork. And, despite saying he wanted nothing to do with Sharla, Shard found him on his way back from the airship, walking towards the airship.