After a brief rest following the battle with Balgron the Fat and his lackeys, Jace and his companions returned down the secret passage that Splug revealed to them and descended down a rocky staircase heading off from the main hallway. At the bottom, they found a natural stone cave with a large pool of fresh water. On a small island in the middle of the pool, they could see a hobgoblin skeleton and a few items of note.
(Myles hasn't played enough D&D yet to know that you never, ever go in the water without fully investigating it first… but I cut him no slack, and the party was surprised as a big blue slime emerged from the water and attacked.)
Seeing loot, Jace's tattooed arm began tingling and he eagerly waded into the water, heading for the island twenty feet away. Suddenly, some of the water coalesced into an amorphous troll-sized blob next to him and lashed out in hunger.
The party spread out around the blue slime and began hammering on it relentlessly. In a ridiculously short period of time, the slime was dead, and the heroes hadn't taken a single wound.
(Okay, this encounter was a modified ochre jelly with a sizable chunk of hp. It SHOULD have been a reasonable challenge for the party of second level characters. Unfortunately for me, none of the characters were using slashing weapons and the mage used only fire damage, so the blue slime never split. Add to that my ridiculously bad attack rolls and this decent challenge became a ROFLstomp.)
After dealing with the slime, Jace made his way across the pool to the island where he found a number of small gems, three Potions of Greater Healing, a sizable amount of gold, and a Ring of Protection. Near the hobgoblin skeleton, Jace also found a wooden tube containing three sheets of parchment.
The first contained a rough map of the area around Honor Rock, with the location of Shadowfell Keep clearly marked.
The second contained instructions, presumably for the dead hobgoblin, not to get a certain blue nodule wet unless Kalarel is not receptive to some offer. The instructions warned that wetting the nodule would bring "the creature," apparently the blue slime, out of its dormancy, and to only do so from a safe distance followed by a hasty retreat. Seems the hobgoblin missed that part.
They really should put the warnings before this stuff.
The third note was addressed to Kalarel and was apparently the offer the second note referred to. Signed by Chief Krand of the Bloodreavers, it was an offer to buy any captured humanoids as slaves for Krand's duergar allies in a place called Thunderspire.
Packing away their loot, the party returned up the stairs and continued down the hall. As they neared the end, Jace scouted ahead and found a broken room where a number of goblins were busy with some kind of excavation project. Aside from a couple blocks in the middle of the room and a handful of ledges along the sides, most of the floor had been dug away. Wooden planks connected some of the remaining original floor sections, and a nearby ramp descended to the dug out floor. Besides the goblins, a pair of guard drakes roamed the mazelike excavated areas alongside the goblins.
The party raced in, getting the jump on the goblins, most of whom fell before they got a chance to attack. The remained few, however, proved to be a bit of a nuisance, as they fired their shortbows at the players and then retreated to full cover behind walls and around corners. Still, the party made easy work of them, but found a reasonable challenge in the guard drakes. Concentrating their attacks on one of them allowed the party to take it down, but the other managed to munch away a sizable chunk of the low-level party's hit points.
At the end of the day, though, the heroes succeeded. A thorough search of the room and the goblins' bodies yielded three gems, a few handfuls of coins, and magical Necklace of Fireballs nearly buried by a pile of debris in the corner of the room.
(Myles chose to take a short rest at this point, and as the party had successfully hit the threshold of XP to hit level 3, I allowed him to level up and reset to full hp and refresh all abilities, MMO-style. I might have been a little less lenient for an adult game, but he's 10. I leveled up his companions and Myles was happy to finally get the Assassinate ability…)