Shutting themselves between the door and the portcullis, the party began to rest. As they were disturbed by the sound of someone on the stairs, the dwarves awake and see a native human creeping up the stairs in the dark listening. As he reached the top, he turned and retreated down the stairs but as he did, Talwyn punctured his lungs with a crossbow bolt and he collapsed on the stairs. The dwarves opened the portcullis and search the body before tossing it into the well-like hole in the adjacent passageway.
Returning to sleep, they were interrupted again when a torch was tossed from the stairs lighting up their resting place. Gannic, being the only one on guard, was momentarily blinded by the bright light and was unable to see who had thrown the torch.
As more time passed, the dwarves became restless and ventured down the stairs. Rolf walked out along the edge of the first of the boiling pools. Seeing nothing but more pools, he returned to the group and they climbed the stairs where they encountered a strange looking elf. After much discussion, they determined that the elf was seeking a powerful healing source and they had similar goals.
Finally, with the entire day and night passed and the party well rested, they moved down the stairs to investigate further. As they moved deeper into the dark, steaming cavern between boiling pools of water and mud, a strange smooth-skinned humanoid with huge eyes and four small tentacles in place of a mouth rose out of the water. As it did, Theoren stabbed it once and Talwyn’s crossbow bolt cut it deeply. In response, it hissed “Kill the dwarf” and attacked Theoren with its tentacled beak and large clawed, tentacle-like legs wounding him twice. Theoren moved away from the creature and regathered himself while Talwyn missed the creature with her second crossbow bolt. In response, Rolf suddenly turned towards Talwyn and slashed her with his ax.
As the party scrambled to respond, another similar creature moved into the pool on the other side of them and hissed “Fireball them all except the dwarf.” Amaray muttered, bringing a beam of light down on the new creature and damaging its smooth skin and flesh. Gilven responded unleashing a ball of fire over the entire group damaging everyone except Rolf.
The group, now shocked and seriously wounded, sprung into action. Theoren tackled Gilven with his net. Talwyn launched a hail of thorns into the newest creature and Nemi fired another crossbow bolt at the strange creatures. Gannic healed as Rolf tried to free Gilven from Theoren’s net. Then Talwyn moved behind Rolf, striking him with her sword which seemed to awaken him from the hold on his mind. While Nemi tried to gag Gilven, Theoren struck him in the back and he, too, seemed to awaken, freed from the mind control.
With Rolf and Gilven freed from the creature’s influence and Gannic’s bless protecting the group from further manipulation, the party moved past the pools and towards more pools and a raised terrace. Nemi watched over the pools, hitting the creatures with her crossbow when they rose from the water. Amaray did the same with her moonbean and Gannic stopped and turned arming his sling and waited. As he did, one of the creatures surfaced in the pool and Gannic’s sling bullet ripped into its face. Nemi’s bolt followed and the creature slumped into the pool.
As one creature fell into the pool defeated, another surfaced and took control of Rolf’s mind, who then attacked Talwyn, hitting her with two mighty blows from his ax, and sending her to the smooth cavern floor unconscious. The new threat attacked from the edge of the pool but was unsuccessful as Theoren was able to strike Rolf with his blade, awakening him from the spell. Rolf turned on the amphibious creature, cutting it with his ax twice and bringing it near death. As it turned to retreat into the pool, the moonbeam moved over it, melting its flesh and bringing its life to an end.
The last creature sunk back into the pool badly injured. Gannic brought Talwyn back to consciousness with a small chant and then healed her with a cure wounds. The rest of the party watched the pools, ready to attack; but with no further signs of the creature, they scrambled past the last steaming pool to the terraced mineral-covered rocks. Ahead, two huge roots wrapped around a small pool. In front of the pool lay a mineral-encrusted skeleton of human size.