After getting information about the site and surrounding area from the old dwarf, the team headed off to the northwest, helping a stranded family on the way, and encountering but avoiding a scout or foraging party of unknown monstrous humanoids in the dense woods not far from the target area.
Upon arriving in the valley their maps directed them to, the spire of the Stone Tooth was clear to see, along with a thin wisp of smoke rising from the area where a chimney could supposedly be found. The group explored some of the area around the base of the hill then proceeded to find and partially plug the mouth of the chimney hole, hoping to smoke the residents of the hold out.
Moving around to the front door, the party saw two blusih-green humanoids, roughly man-sized but wider and bulkier, standing guard. They were of a race unknown and speaking a guttural language only understandable through the use of magic.
Genji attempted to talk with the locals before Sarick decided that violence was probably the most efficient approach. The guards, assisted by archers hidden behind arrow slits, fought hard, and more creatures from within the hold, fought back and beat up on Genji pretty well. The party was able to prevent the defenders from shutting the massive doors, and killed about 12 of the creatures in three separate, but connected areas. Eventually feeling winded and concerned about getting too deep into the hold in such a state, the group barred a secret door they found that led into a barracks room, and retreated from the hold to a hidden camp around the other side of the Stone Tooth, to rest for the remainder of the day, to head back in the next morning.
You establish a well-hidden campsite for the night, and in fact could leave your horses there on the next day when you make your next foray into the hold. You do not know if the scouting/foraging party you encountered a few days ago is still outside or returned before your arrival. Later at night, well after sunset and under a clear, cold early winter night sky, you all hear sounds to the south of grunting and clanking and digging, as if some number of the creatures had come outside and were up to something, but not moving in your direction.
After the break of dawn and cold rations, Korrigan scouts the area around where the sounds came from and finds that the plug you’d created in the chimney has been removed, dug out by a work crew the night before. He approaches the area stealthily, and sees evidence that a rear guard has been left around the hole, consisting of five of the creatures, who not only cleared the plug but also built for themselves something of a breastwork surrounding the hole, behind which they are partially concealed. They are watchful and ready for a fight, eager to keep their home from being filled with smoke again.
It’s a cold, crisp morning, with clouds of white breath hanging around your heads as you breathe and speak. Between rations and foraging during this mission, you have each 4 days of rations left on your horses, along with the same for the animals, as you’ve been trying to forage more than eat your stores (perhaps that’s why you all get gut-sick – maybe it was something you found along the way that wasn’t fresh?). There are enough streams around here to replenish your waterskins, and in fact to your east and down the hill some way you can hear the rushing of water – loud, too, now that you’re around the hill some. Remember that the front door is at about 6 o’clock, the chimney at about 4, and you made your camp at about 2. The rushing sound is downhill, out of sight, at about 3. In the valley below, maybe a half mile away, you can see a stream meandering away from the Stone Tooth, toward the south.
Forgot to Mention This
When Korrigan returns from his morning scouting mission he also reports that he found what looks like a cave, downhill and a little south of your camp, which is mostly covered with brush, but looks to be an active point of access, with some claw-footed tracks around the area. The beasties you fought the day before wore rough leather wraps and some boots.