As the Motley Crew made their way up, above the Koa-Tua cave, they passed through a small section of woods, ignoring a farmhouse in the distance. Pressing deeper into the trees, they believed themselves to be nearing closer to where the Mindflayer’s Mind Bath was situated underneath.
Finally, the group discovered a clearing, where a large, empty pool made of earth and grass sat in the center, with an intricately carved statue of a brain on a tall pedastal sitting directly in the middle. The pool was dry, and on the other side of it, away from the adventurers, was a single bear.
Tuna, emboldened by their situation, believed that he could wrestle said bear (according to the officially recognized Karnakata Wrestling Federation rules, of course). Thomas was only too pleased to bet the dragonborn five gold in the bear’s favor, and to encourage this endeavor, to the chagrin of Isla the Cleric.
Gulliver, not wishing to anger the bear, spoke with it in its own language. The bear, at first, was reluctant, but inevitably relented, stating that it would pin the dragonborn to the ground, in the protection of either its children, or its sisters.
The paladin, attempting to relate this information to the ambitious fighter, was interrupted by a certain pirate, who exclaimed, “That bear says that she can take you!”
Tuna rushed the bear, knocking it prone.
Upon standing, the bear reached out and grasped the fighter’s shoulders, and with naught but a stare, the dragonborn stood frozen in place.
The bear spoke again, this time to someone other than the party, but Gulliver could only translate that she was inviting her “sisters” to come out and play, as two more bears emerged from a nearby cave.
Isla took this as her queue to run towards a nearby ravine, completely away from inevitable battle.
As the bears suddenly began to mutter in languages and throw spells from their hands, their true nature was finally revealed, as the adventurers realized that these were powerful hags in a remarkable illusion.
Thomas was instantly locked in a magical paralysis.
The first hag cast a mighty spell of Polymorph – as Gulliver rushed to defend Tuna, she was changed into a mouse, her armor falling into a metallic pile on the ground. Desperate, she rushed towards Stumbleduck, attempting to communicate.
In response, Stumble remarked in shock, “Oh no! A talking mouse!”
Gulliver, not one to be deterred, rushed back towards another hag, and leaped onto her foot, scratching at her, then climbing her body to scratch the odorous witch’s eyes out.
Another hag was shouting undeniable, mocking filth at the adventurers, causing psychic damage to several, even as Isla gathered her nerve and approached.
She reached out her hands to cast Bless upon several of her companions, while at the same time blocking the hag’s Vicious Mockery with the casual use of a specific one-fingered salute in the other hand.
As Gulliver attempted to attack the hag’s face yet again, a bolt of searing lightning grazed her white fur, causing the Polymorph to reverse. Suddenly, a fully human and fully naked Gulliver appeared before Gerda’s face, dropping the hag to the ground before pummelling her with a Divine Fist.
The paladin quipped that it was a good thing that she was immune to all diseases.
Despite every best effort of the hags, eventually the adventurer’s triumphed, able to vanquish their foes, and make their way into the cave.
Thomas remarked that Tuna still owed him 5gp.
Inside, after climbing down a narrow stairway, they noticed what Thomas referred to as “brain dogs” on the ground, tiny brain creatures with furry paws, who seemed harmless enough.
Only too late did the adventurers realize their danger, as the first creature sapped the Intelligence from Gulliver, and then from Tuna. Thomas leaped into the fray, and was able to wound one, but soon after had much of his Intelligence drained himself, though he was able to continue firing, as if by Reflex.
The others quickly scrambled to end the threat, able to finally remove the three Intellect Devourers, which lead to the discovery of some significant maps, scrolls, treasure, and booze, the last of which Gerda and Thomas were more than willing to help themselves to.
So, with two and half rather slobbering idiots in tow, the party made their way carefully, back to Rigg.