“You must destroy the pool.” – Stumbleduck’s Mouse
Hunger pains encouraged the Motley Crew to rest for a moment, as rations and foodstuffs were consumed. As they ate, the group conversed over how they might accomplish the task of “destroying” a basin that had been carved directly into the rock, as Stumbleduck’s rodent companion had recommended.
Tired of conversation, Brig and Thomas stepped to the door to continue investigating the area, and came across a pair of Koa-Tua guardsmen who were poking at their fallen kinsmen.
A few crossbow bolts ended the threat.
In an adjoining room, the Crew discovered what looked to be a small living quarters, complete with tables, chairs, a pantry, and a large bookshelf.
Gulliver and Isla began looking through the pantry stocks, while Stumbleduck was drawn to the shelves, lined with scrolls and papers, mostly written in Aquan. Thomas helped to translate.
The pirate informed the warlock that most of the papers looked to be personal letters and notes, not of any particular significance, though Thomas did help himself to a fist-sized Onyx sculpture which was carved into the shape of a brain, hoping it may fetch a good price somewhere.
A particular scroll did catch the warlock’s attention, however, describing this cave as a refuge and sanctuary, before the mindflayers attacked and subjugated the Koa-Tua, establishing this place as one to be used to build up a new unity of mindflayers, re-establishing them again on the earth to destroy a being called “The Usurper.”
The scroll spoke of rebellion against the current order, and the building of a new mindflayer kingdom, and how this place was where the keepers of the shrine will guard this sanctuary.
“Not the best guards,” joked Thomas. The pirate was unfortunately not very interested in the papers themselves, and was surprised that Stumbleduck wasn’t more annoyed with his lack of assistance. But, perhaps he was more interested in the clutch of spell scrolls that he discovered elsewhere among the bookshelves.
Gerda, for her part, was less interested in the living quarters, and made her way to the last room, which opened with a rusty metal creak. Though the ground seemed unusually clean, the rest of the room consisted of a dungeon, which looked to be corroded beyond functional use. With torch in hand, Gerda looked through the cells for anything useful, soon joined by Dude, Erial and Thomas.
In the corner of the room, the group came across a spiky, scaled creature with one eye. Dude engaged the creature, inviting him forward, but the creature was hesitant.
He introduced himself as Sherush, and was particularly insistent upon the finding of a magical secret. Dude was quick to promise such a thing, which Gerda and Thomas both balked at – Knowing the dragonborn was unlikely to have anything magical of value to the creature.
As Dude led Sherush from the corroded dungeon, allowing the door to close, the fighter and pirate became aware of the wet splosh of a black shape falling from the ceiling. It was a black pudding.
The corrosive cleanliness of the dungeon became instantly clear.
Thomas fired his crossbow at close range, which caused a splash of acid to burn into his armor as he backed away from the creature. Erial used her spells, whipping the creature with thorns and briars, while Gerda lost a javelin to the creature’s acid.
It took a concentrated effort to damage the creature before it finally dissolved into nothing, leaving naught behind but a thin residue.
Annoyed at the damage to his equipment, Thomas opened his pipeweed stick case, removing one of the self-rolled paper tubes and lighting it with the edge of his torch. Brig was open to idea, and took one of the sticks himself, as the group watched Dude trying desperately to subdue the nothic, Sherush, in one of the most convoluted ways they’d ever seen.
The one-eyed creature was obsessed with magic, which eventually inspired the dragonborn to lead Sherush to the storage of brains. “All of these are magic,” wondered the Nordic.
Gerda, uninterested in Sherush, began to gather the chests of treasure, carrying some out of the room. Brig and Thomas were happy to assist the fighter in removing the treasure from the cave, making their way towards the cavern entrance.
Meanwhile, Stumbleduck created an illusion of a spellcasting wizard, enrapturing the Nordic momentarily, until he suddenly discovered that it was a lie. Sherush became instantly distrusting, exclaiming “It is all a lie!”
The creature ran into the brain storage, throwing jars onto the ground in a crazed madness. The Motley Crew left him behind.
They made their way back to the City of Rigg, where the party split, heading to different shops and tasks as the sun began to dip in the western sky.
Gulliver made her way to the Rigg Monastery, where a woman named Bernadette led her to the kitchen. An elf acolyte, Fersia, put her to work, where the Paladin happily began to prepare food for the less-fortunate.
Thomas, looking to repair his armor, made his way to the far side of town to a leatherworker named Yule. The man looked over the pirate’s armor, and though he believed he could repair the acid damage, he instead offered Thomas another set, made from much rarer shark skin.
The pirate heartily approved.
Back at the tavern, Brig and Thomas engaged in a game of chance with a burly elf, rolling dice. While the game at first seemed rigged, the elf eventually allowed the pirate to earn back his winnings with a dancing display, to which the pirate heartily approved. The rogue, however, was less-than-interested.
Joviality was interrupted, however, as a fire broke out at the waterfront. Many raced to help put out the flames, but it was clear that much of the docks were lost.
Upon the morning, a parchment was discovered, pinned to one of the dock posts, alluding that this damage was in recompense for the actions of those who would prevent the birth of “The Children.”
It seemed that the Motley Crew had a few more frogs to fry.