We had defeated the the sea elf Kerithlan and retrieved the intelligent magical trident named Wave.
Jhuni Blackfire (she/her) - enthusiastically pyromaniacal Sorcerer/Wizard (absent)
Thelmor Irdro (he/him) - Blood Hunter of the Lycan persuasion
Nil (they/them) - badass Cleric
Snow (she/her) - Swashbuckler and Gloomstalker Ranger
Sunrise (she/her) - Lore Bard - and Honey (she/her) her homunculus familiar
Perfect (he/him) - Battlemaster fighter
Grey (he/him) - Assassin/Illusionist
We settle in to check for treasure.
1000 GP in small sacks
2 big gems worth 2,000 each
7 misc gems worth 3,935 in total.
1 big gem woth 5,000
An odd-looking stone shaped like a cat's head, with one jeweled eye and one non-jewel eye.
There also two more of the Amulets of Turning Resistance.
Nil goes poking around in the sand to see if there's anything else; there are a lot of bones in here that have been picked clean, bits of rusty armor, and other evidence of unfortunate former adventurers. On one bony hand, not quite stripped, is a ring that looks a bit like a shield. It's probably the ring of protection that we discussed back in town.
We detect magic: the goggles, the stone, the trident, and the ring all are magical. The ring is a Ring of Protection, and we turn it over to Sunrise. The goggles are Goggles of Night Vision. The stone is a Stone of Good Luck. The trident, Wave, requires attunement by an elf; +3; on a critical it deals extra necrotic damage; 1d6 piercing, versatile, thrown 30/60. When attuned, you can use it with proficiency. Shape Water and Wall of Water once/day; on command you create a bubble of air around your head so you can breathe underwater. Sentient; Lawful Neutral, with hearing and darkvision, and speaks Aquan; can speak with aquatic animals; when it grows restless it hums tunes, anything from sea shanties to hymns; is not above causing trouble for users who do not stay within its sense of honor.
Thelmor goes to meditate, focusing on the trident, and hears a very somber "My love sailed out to sea..." sort of song. It's not terribly on-key, but at least it does know the tune. As Thelmor tunes in, it stops humming.
Wave: "It has been a long time since someone else has spoken to me. What sort of elf are you?"
Thelmor: "Shadar-Kai. We live in the shadows with the Raven Queen."
Wave: "I do not know your kind. I am not sure that you can work with me, but I look forward to trying."
Thelmor: "So... I'm a blood-hunter, of the Order of the Lycan. Is that going to be a problem?"
Wave: "A blood-hunter?"
Thelmor: "It is a tradition that becomes partly monstrous in order to better battle monsters. And since you are sentient, I wanted to be sure you would not be bothered by that."
Wave: "If you seek to protect, then I do not see a problem."
Thelmor: "I can use lightning."
Wave: "Electric eels dwell within the sea."
Wave: "If you hold to your oaths and protect others, especially elves, I will fight with you for as long as you will have me."
Thelmor: "Your former owner was undead; he called us to fight with him, and give him an honorable death."
Wave: "I know. I felt him fall; I felt his spirit leave. I believe he is at peace."
Thelmor: "The Raven Queen will see him to where he needs to go."
Wave: "Then let us fight together."
As the attunement completes, a vision washes over the party: A battlefield, in a dark cave full of glowing crystals. There is a terrible fight between three heroes on one side, and a powerful wizard on the other. The wizard throws terrible spells, while the heroes dodge and attack. At last the wizard falls, and disspates. They talk, afterwards, and put the weapons together: Blackrazor, Wave, and Whelm. We can see what they look like now, and a great power pulses out from them as they touch. It washes over the mountain, making it safe, protecting it. The heroes leave, but the visions linger. One was Thaddeus Giantbane; the other was sea elf Kerithlan; the third is a dwarf, male, less clear... the wizard in the battle appeared to be human.
Thelmor asks Wave about the battle; it remembers. It was the sealing of a dark wizard, a much-needed deed. Every time Wave stabbed the man, it felt a sense of sorrow in landing the blow -- something coming from the man himself. Thelmor consults Perfect to see what Blackrazor remembers, while filling in the rest of us. Perfect focuses, then replies: "Blackrazor says that the weapons were created in part to destroy that wizard. It was Keraptis himself that they fought against."
Nil: "Frustrating that he didn't *stay* destroyed."
Perfect: "Quite. It seems it was only his body that was destroyed."
Thelmor: "That would explain why Keraptis was so eager to steal the weapons and hide them behind these dangers."
Perfect: "Blackrazor is being tediously demanding about us locating the wizard and destroying him."
Nil: "Sounds very high-maintenance."
Sunrise: "Sir Bluto Sans Pite said that the man who framed him had been serving Keraptis, so perhaps he was doing something to wake him up?"
Nil: "The wizard who framed him received instructive dreams, so if we defeat the wizard again perhaps we should seal the mountain against sendings as well."
We take a long rest, and then head back south; that leads us either to the room with the Kelpies, or we can head across through the spinning tunnel. Nil elects to use Arcane Eye to map out the rest of the dungeon before we proceed. Following the third passage (beyond the sphynx), she continues until she finds a door. She passes it through the keyhole, and finds a 30' x 30' square with nine floating spheres inside. They are suspended from the ceiling by wires; they're each about two feet in diameter, and they appear to be silvered glass. She heads back and takes a side-passage, this time finding a door with no keyhole.
The pool in the Kelpie room is about 14 feet deep, and murky. We discuss various ways to get past them; Thelmor decides to ask Wave to talk to them.
Wave: "I will do my best, but these are very strange creatures."
Thelmor: "You can do it. I believe in you."
He walks to the edge of the room, and two gorgeous women pop out from the water. They start in on seductions in lilting tones, inviting him to stay with them forever.
Wave: "We have other jobs to do, other oaths to keep."
The kelpies draw back, nonplussed. Thelmor helps Wave decide how to negotiate with them; Wave says that these adventurers are not worth their time and far too much risk for the kelpies to attack. The kelpies begin to back down; they seem confused, but they agree. "We will stand aside, so long as you do not destroy our home or try to steal our treasure."
They've settled back. Thelmor tells us the deal.
Grey: "Sounds fine."
Snow: "I suppose."
The sphynx, when we return, is looking a lot better; she's clearly been cleaning herself.
Nil: "We drained the water, I hope that's okay."
Spynx: "A novelty; if I miss the water, I can find it."
We start down the east passage. ("Nil takes the lead, with Jhuni following, then Perfect, then Thelmor, then Sunrise, then Grey, then Snow.") Nil is tapping the floor with their staff, because this whole place is full of traps. Like, "Tap-tap-tap-tap-splut."
There's... something... on the ground just ahead. And there's a bit of acid smoking on the end of the quarterstaff. Nil pulls out their alchemist's kit and pours a neutralizer on it. We pull a quick Light cantrip from Jhuni, who is back with the spynx; the floor where the acid is... is green. Nil has found a patch of Green Slime. It usually ambushes by dropping from above, and attacks by secreting acid until removed. Here, it was probably waiting in the muck under the water for some unsuspecting soul to walk into it.
Jhuni steps in momentarily to drop a fire spell on that section of the passage, searing it clean with a bonfire.
Beyond the slime, we find the north-bound side-passage. After some discussion, we decide to ignore the room with the glass balls and take the passage north. The door is swollen against its frame, but Thelmor and Nil are strong enough to open it. We send the Arcane Eye through and pull it closed again. The room beyond is 20' x 30' and there are five kind of horrible, probably undead figures, with rebuilt hands. They're flesh golems, nasty ones.
We drop an illusion of Jhuni in the room... and trigger a riddle:
Five flesh golems are clustered against the north wall. Each has a number on its chest: 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13. Number 5 says, "One of us does not belong with the others. If you can pick it out, it will serve you, and the others will allow you passage. If you pick the wrong one, we will kill you. You have 120 seconds."
Grey steps into the room: "It's nine!"
Nine turns to look at Grey; the other turn back into the corner, just standing there. We come into the room, unmaimed.
Grey: "Would you be so kind as to open that door for us, Nine?"
The golem turns and opens the door. The arcane eye goes through, finding a set of stairs; the passage turns east at the top, and there's a turnstile filling the corridor beyond. It's distinctly a one-way door. The eye passes through, and beyond that the passage turns south again.
Nil: "Apparently we have to go through a turnstile, and there won't be any way back."
Grey sends the flesh golem on ahead; it goes through the turnstile somewhat reluctantly, and then opens the door after a couple of tries. Then it comes back to the turnstile and finds that it can't get back through. It makes little annoyed moaning noises. Grey: "Thank you! Just wait there, please."
Beyond, the arcane eye lets Nil see a room with a floor of boiling mud; the route to the other side is a series of wooden platforms suspended by chains from ceiling. There are two spots where the mud is exceptionally hot, and after a moment the northern one bursts open and sprays a geyser of boiling water beside the platforms. There's a ledge beyond, with a door. It does look like the geysers present a real danger. The disks, chains, and the ceiling are covered with a wet, slippery algal scum; it gives off a feeble phosphorescent glow. The cave floor is fifty feet below the platforms; the ceiling is fifty feet above them.
The geysers appear to be going off on a fairly regular basis.
We move forward and examine the turnstile.
Grey: "Nine, why were you reluctant to go through the turnstile?"
Nine: "It <em>new</em>."
Nil passes through the turnstile and starts looking at how to take it apart. With her tinker kit she starts taking off coverings, exposing mounts, and eventually removes the bit that keeps you from going back through. It's now a rotating door.
We move on to the mud room.
Snow leaps over to the first disk with no difficulty; it begins swinging slightly. Grey begins pounding in a piton to hang a rope down to the mud. Nil goes ahead and throws Water Walking on us.
Snow leaps to the next disk, and the next, and the next; she barely makes it to the fourth disk, but succeeds. The geysers are bubbling, but have not erupted. The fifth disk is harder, but she makes it. She makes it to six with style, then to seven. She leaps for eight... and starts to slip as she makes the leap... and gathers herself and manages to make it anyway. The southern geyser goes off, but she manages to keep her grip and absorbs a bit of the damage with Absorb Elements. She misses the final leap to the ledge, but sinks her claws into the stone below and scrambles up on onto the ledge. She immediately starts hanging the rope from the far ledge.
Grey starts down the rope, planning to use Water Walking to dart across the mud and climb back up the rope on the far side. Twenty feet above the mud, he stops; the heat is painful on his feet, legs, and butt -- and he's not even standing on the mud yet. The plan is not going to work. The mud's too hot; it will burn us too badly as we cross it.
Snow opens the door and we send the Arcane Eye through. There's a dwarf with a warhammer laying in front of him; it's Whelm.
We start trying to run a rope across - through the links of the chains, so it'll be overhead for people trying to cross. Grey moves in from one side, and Snow from the other. We repeat the thread-and-tie off just as the north geyser goes off, scalding Grey fairly badly. The geysers have settled again, now that they've... let off some steam. We move to the next set of platforms and thread through. Snow moves to the centermost disk, catching the rope that Grey throws in the process. She ties it off, and we now have a working safety line.
Thelmor and Nil follow, Nil with some difficulty and Thelmor fairly easily; Wave is singing inspirational sailing songs to Thelmor. Nil also takes some damage from the steam, though she's been watching the timing and manages to avoid being too badly damaged. Thelmor was trying to move quickly, and gets a bit singed as well. Perfect get across fairly quickly, if not easily, and also gets singed a bit. Nine is... not happy with fire, and there are a couple of times where he would have slipped if the rope hadn't been there. Fortunately, the geysers don't go off; our flesh golem is traumatized enough already.
We congratulate our flesh golem. Jhuni and Sunrise take a bit of damage getting across, but they make it.
Burnt, battered, and deeply annoyed, we made it to the other side. We huddle up in Leomund's Tiny Hut, heal and rest.