The party, having explored the sinkhole and discovered the zombiefied swarm, had decided to work on clearing the rubble that obstructed the West passage. Several spells and a lot of hard work done by Magilla enabled them to clear the 20-odd feet of passage in but a few hours.
What the party saw of Magilla while he was busy working:
After finally clearing the way, they discovered a room largely full of cloudy water, with dripping water coming from overhead. After some initial recon via light spells, dark vision, low light and a brief flight out over the water by Win-d found all to be quiet, but that there were bits of wood and possibly an intact crate floating near a gravel bar approximately 40 to 50 feet ahead in the channel. Dr. Dakota Ford bravely decided to lead the way, climbing out along the wall and hammering in pitons to make a handrail for others to follow. At this point, the cave fisher that had been lurking near the ceiling over their heads struck! Dr. Ford sensed the ambush just in time, casting vanish and avoiding the cave fisher’s filament.
Our heroes scrambled to save her, with Win-d flying out over the water, trying to get a shot with her bow, Magilla moving his big ass out of the way and Geck drinking his mutagen.
Dr. Ford slipped and slid into the water, the sound allowing the cave fisher to shoot its filament again and missing. Win-d severed it with her nodachi, and Ford used mage hand to collect the valuable piece. The alchemist in Igoris would pay handsomely for it, by all accounts! Geck managed to climb around around the overhang that had hidden the creature, coming face to face with Big Mama – the biggest damn cave fisher they’d ever seen! He bit her savagely (tasted like crayfish that was a bit too old for good eating, if anyone cared to know!). The cave fisher hissed and used its pincers on Geck, retreating slightly up into a rock chimney that was the source of the dripping water and Geck scrambled after, tearing into the creature with claw and fang, ending the threat for good.
The party decided to explore the chimney before going forward, so Geck slithered up and found a small cavern space containing hundreds of harmless bats and a thick layer of guano on the cavern floor. Possibly valuable as spell or alchemical components, but of no immediate concern. He returned to the party and they continued to the small rubble island to examine the debris and crate.
The crate turned out to be marked in older Anngelsh and the markings of the Norean Empire, with an identifying number and various warnings on the crate that the contents were dangerous. It had apparently been covered in some sort of preservative and radiated minor magic. The party decided to open it cautiously. They found it full of an odd spongy substance, and Geck identified it as an alchemical foam, probably just for packaging fragile contents. Peeling this aside, they found a dull gray ceramic sphere with a purple band of color and yellow triangles painted around the band. It was approximately the same size and shape of the broken sphere they had found in the other room near the swarm!
On the island, they also wound a largish spar of wood that looked to possibly be a small catapult arm. Upon closer examination, Magilla realized that it was probably a staff sling for a giant! What might lie ahead?
The party decided to find out. Win-d flew out over the water beyond the island, finding a grand cavern with a small inlet to the right and a hole in the ceiling that revealed a regular room – obviously shaped by some intelligent creature and not by nature. She also discovered 2 more spheres floating in the inlet to the side.
Dr. Ford reduced herself and was flown to the inlet by Win-d. She gathered the spheres without light, roping them into a cloak and brought them back to the island. The party then prepared to move out into the cavern and investigate the opening, Geck traversing the walls, Magilla and Dr. Ford swimming with the aid of improvised floatation devices, and Win-d flying.
Our heroes made it to a ledge about 8 feet above the water to the right side (south) of the cavern. Win-d’s recon flight showed a horse statue near the entrance to the upper room, so the party decided to lasso the horse and use the rope to enter the room. Dr. Ford entered first and began checking for traps. This, unfortunately, triggered the wards that woke the caretaker.
Dr. Ford searched the room for a few rounds, taking in the details. She noted a ladder leading up in the far left corner, some shelves to the right, and a large footlocker or wardrobe straight ahead, standing upright against the wall. Its door was suddenly flung opne, revealing a leathery-skinned, mummified hobgoblin. It yelled something in Anngelsh, and the horse statue suddenly reared to life, revealing that it was a similar, undead creature!
The mummified hobgoblin threw a bomb at Dr. Ford, but she used her Windy Escape spell to turn momentarily gaseous and the bomb exploded harmlessly behind her, leaving a cloud of smoke that obscured the view of the rest of the party. She scampered behind the alchemist, attempting to get in range and use her rapier. She slipped and wound up in the newly-vacated sarcophagus instead, so elected to slam the door shut. This unexpected tactic bought her some time.
Win-d readied her bow, attempting to target the first thing that came out of the cloud. Finding that the horse statue was not a statue, Magilla pulled hard on the rope, dragging the horse through the hole in the floor and thus into the water 20-odd feet below. Win-d shot the horse as it emerged, wounding it slightly. Geck began climbing the wall.
The hobgoblin, cursing, attempted to open the door to its resting place, as Dr. Ford desperately held the door shut. Unable to budge it, he moved to try another tactic. Dr. Ford locked the door from the inside and jammed the mechanism. Win-d drew her nodachi and struck the horse, nearly ending its unlife. Geck climbed, by this time across the cavern ceiling, and Magilla hauled the horse closer.
The hobgoblin slid open the viewing portal/arrow slit to his sarcophagus, but could not respond to Dr. Ford’s wind blast in time. The wind cleared out the remaining smoke as Geck entered the room. A bomb thrown by the alchemist sent Geck staggering over the side, nauseated and nigh-helpless from the gas. He fell to the water below. Win-d followed soon after – flying into the room to attack the alchemist, being targeted with yet another bomb, then, flying out over the water, retching from the toxic gas cloud. The alchemist was blown over the side by Dr. Ford.
Upon surfacing, the alchemist gestured, and a spring-sheath delivered a potion into his hand. He downed its contents and flew 15 feet up and out of the water. Dr. Ford, having run to the ledge, called upon the wind once more and forced him under the water’s surface. All was quiet as the party readied for his resurfacing, but he bided his time, chewing a potion sponge that helped heal some of the damage he’d absorbed. He flew away from the last known positions of the party, then resurfaced, making for the trapdoor exit above to make his escape. Dr. Ford moved to intercept his course, taking a position on the ladder.
With no more bombs to throw, the alchemist drew his scimitar and moved to slaughter the pest that lay between he and the forest above, trading blows and dealing grave wounds to Dr. Ford. Win-d soon joined them as Geck climbed the walls of the cavern, making all haste to help aid his friends. The hobgoblin revealed that he was a magus as well as an alchemist, trying desperately to cast and attack and failing. The killing blow was struck and he uttered a terrible shriek, his body crumbling in on itself. 1000 years of unlife scattered to the floor amidst his falling medals, belongings and other relics to merge with the dust of centuries long past.