While about half the group takes their short rest, the others keep watch and investigate the cavern they are currently in. They discover a skeleton mostly buried in the dirt and, on further investigation, find a golden ring on the figure’s hand. The ring is simple, even plain, but is inscribed on the inside with a saying: “Do not go far from me.” Halbard pockets the ring, and turns to keeping watch.
About twenty minutes after the group begins their rest, those on watch spot a shape approach right to the edge of the light, light reflecting off serpentine eyes. They watch the snake, and it watches them, for fifteen or twenty minutes, then the snake retreats further into the caves. The group finished their rest, then cautiously follows.
As they travel further into the caves, the party discovers the more nests, though the eggs have hatched into live nestlings in only one location. Ryloc is fascinated by these young serpents, and when the group moves ahead to see what lives in the larger cavern, he stays behind and moves back toward the nest.
The larger cavern opens up to reveal a massive serpent queen, hooded like a cobra. Colored in shades of gray and brown and upwards of fifty feet long, the queen's eyes lock on Coratana the moment his eyes begin to glow. Quaesitor steps forward, casts ‘Speak With Animals,’ and enters into negotiations with the remarkably intelligent serpent.
Quaesitor is persuasive and persistent in his attempts to convince the queen that her drones are preparing to rebel against her, but in the midst of negotiations, Ryloc unleashes his cold breath on the nestlings that had so fascinated him. At the sound of the attack, negotiations cease and the party enters combat with the queen.
At this point, the large snake the party had seen earlier enters the cavern from a smaller side tunnel and engages half the party. The queen constricts Coratana, but he shadow steps away to safety. Foiled in her attack and seeing her progeny destroyed and drone slaughtered, the queen serpent disengages from combat and moves out of view around a broad column-like structure. The party follows, but finds no sign of the queen except for a small, deep pool of water. On closer investigation, Coratana finds a small tunnel under the water, and Halbard can feel the Hunter's Mark he put on the queen moving away from their current location.
The party takes a few minutes to collapse the column and block the underwater tunnel entrance and to finish destroying the eggs still in the nests. As they clear the cavern, they find that the nest closest to the cave entrance is abandoned, emptied - the young snakes have escaped somehow.
The party exits the cave, going back though the waterfall and making their way to the side of the pool. They have a brief discussion, then set off upriver in pursuit of the escaping queen. Unfortunately, with her fifteen-minute head start and ability to move quickly, the party is unable to close the distance. Forced to give up, the frustrated party grows concerned that the queen will circle back to threaten the town overnight.
After a brief stop at the Greene property where Coratana has a discussion about Melora with Missus Greene and Audir heals young Rowan, the party returns to Wyldroot. At the Blade and Bow, Bel sees their exhaustion and quickly feeds then and puts them to bed.