Lel, Istarya, Rex, Carric, and introducing McGwyver Cogwheel
After thanking Lel for his assitance with rescuing the hunting party and finding a cure for the poisoned priestess, Maxentius says that he will have a message sent to the wizard Paelias whose tower is just outside of Portalis, he should be able to help with Lel's arcane concerns. An assistant comes in to take the message, but informs the mayor that all messages into Portalis have not been coming through and the lack of incoming messages is causing some concern amongst residents. Fromo Freefinger taps Lel on the shoulder, acting quite typically jovial but also a little nervous, he hands Lel a rolled up scroll claiming that he does not need it right now, but he may be back for it sometime in the future. As Fromo runs off, Lel returns his attention to the mayor and assistant at the end of a conversation about water shortages and a request that the temple begin providing fresh water in case of a serious emergency.
Lel and Istarya leave the mayor's office and head for the Sleazy Dog Tavern. While studying in the town library/school, Rex became acquainted with an odd dwarven fellow next to him also researching named McGwyver Cogwheel. Rex decided to leave, and after being followed and talked at by his new friend, ventured to the Sleazy Dog in an attempt to gain some peace and quiet. There the pair met up with Lel, Istarya, and Carric who were all relaxing and catching up over a couple of drinks. The night continued on as drinks were shared, until the group headed back to their comfortable beds once the bar finally kicked them out so they could close for the night.
Eleven days after last full moon. The party awoke in the morning to an apparent crisis, as towns people were swarming about town in a panic, and a line had formed at the temple. After questioning a few people, they learned that the town's well had gone dry and that there was no longer a source of fresh water for Portalis. Most alarmed by this was Teodora, who awoke from her rest after being cured of the goblin's poison, went to the bar for an early morning drink only to find it closed due to the water shortage. For the glory of Pelor, she ventured to the well pump house right away. The rest of the party gathers around Istarya as he rambles and screams crazily about "...the well at Portalis". Eventually they decide to go and investigate the well, so they went to the eastern portion of town near the river. The well pump house stands on its own with no access to a cellar, nearby they noticed the boarded up old well which ran dry before anyone can really remember, and across from that the old mill which runs off a waterwheel powered by the adjacent river. Istarya and Carric head into the old mill and find that it has a cellar, while Rex and Lel pulled off one of the boards on the well to investigate how deep it is and see if they could spot anything within, but all they saw was a bit of strange liquid roughly 60 feet down. Eventually everyone went into the cellar of the old mill, where they found half of the room opening downward into a dark cave with a ladder down, and running water trickling over the edge.
After a short bit of time Teodora popped up from the ladder, having heard her friends come in behind her. Into the dark caverns, the path split, along the right path they found the stone column of the old well penetrating through the cave and further into the depths, as they made their way to the lower level of the well pump house, with wooden stairs going down around the pump shaft. Rex decided to take a torch and investigate the other path, finding a larger area with some tunnels carved into the far wall and a body lying on the floor. Teodora and Rex moved closer to investigate and spotted rats swarming all over the body, at which point Rex took careful aim and fired a bolt right into the swarm. Alerted by the small commotion, four giant rats crawled up from the chasm that split the two paths and began biting at the party's feet, while the swarm charged in, and out from the tunnels crawled a pair of red-shelled beetles which spewed fire onto half of the adventurers. During the fight, McGwyver was surprised by a red, leathery creature that attached itself to his neck and began painfully sucking out his blood.
After a short fight the rats and beetles were dispatched, and Carric carefully shot the Stirge off of McGwyver's very pale throat. The group rests as they investigate the body, finding it very torn up but not completely lost. Teodora performed the ritual Gentle Repose on the body, and Carric decided to take his fellow elf out of the cavern and to the temple as fast as possible. The elf had on his body an ornately decorated sword and armor of very fine craftsmanship, and a necklace with a very small fragment of etherium dangling from it, which Istarya decided to take for safe keeping or because he's a greedy bastard. The remaining members decided to press onward and head down the stairs around the well pump shaft. Further down into the cellar, they found themselves confronted with a cave off to the left covered over with massive spider webs too thick to see through, and a path to the right along a cliff edge into a huge cavern with obviously brushed aside spider webs.
The group cautiously moved along the right path, where they noticed a series of troughs supported on thin wood posts descending into the cavern below carrying running water. After a short, but tense, walk along the path they came into a larger area where they saw the other side of the thick spider webs, with some items dangling in them. After some deliberation, Istarya decided to cast Mage Hand and pull the items out of the webbing, to their surprise nothing happened, and they were pleased to see that the pair of boots hanging in the webbing were Acrobat Boots. At this point Teodora begins feeling faint again, fearing a recurrence of the poison she took a rest against the rocks and urged the rest of the party to continue on, fully confident that she could handle herself and catch up once she felt better. Opposite the spider webs the party descended down a rocky slope along the edge of the cliff and deeper into the cavern with the troughs carrying water down the same direction. At the bottom they found a corridor of carved stone that led to a clearly man-made stone room with a circular opening emitting a faint light above, and a suspicious ooze on the floor below. Carefully sneaking through the room, which looked "perfect for an ooze to call home", they deduced that they were indeed at the bottom of the old well.
From there the corridor looked as if it was once well carved stone but had been shaken and torn up as if by many earthquakes. Down the twisting corridor they eventually came to large cave with two torches spiked into the ground, and a circular hole in the floor with a rope tied off into it. Down the short rope they came to a trough with running water in it, but unfortunately McGwyver was very impatient and knocked everyone loose of the rope, breaking the trough in the process. They found themselves lying face down in a pool of rising water as the broken trough rained down upon them. Panic ensued as Lel feared drowning within his heavy armor, the water levels rose and each one of them strained to find some way out of the room.
Eventually McGwyver discovered a seeming drain in the middle of the floor, unplugged it, and soon Lel, Istarya, and Rex found themselves flushed out onto a damp, mossy floor in a very large cavern. Straining to see in the faint light, they discovered themselves in the bottom room of the well pump, the shaft descending to a very large gear covered and completley entangled in vines. Off to the side the scoop belt still running and carrying dark, swampy water up to the surface, clanking as it skipped grooves with the immovable gears. Lel took to using his glaive to cut free some of the gear and discern the nature of the disruption, but all of them quickly found the ground erupting with constricting and clawing vines. As they were overcome by the vines, they could see a vaguely humanoid form made up of vines and slush form on the large gear and begin shambling towards them with claws outstretched. Istarya quickly jumped through the feywild and free of the vines, only to be attacked by the vine creature and discover two zombies clawing free of the vines and coming for the group.
Also, off on a ledge to the side, they could hear screams in elven and the distinctive sounds of people struggling. Istarya thought quickly, and using his Mage Hand spell again he thrust the small etherium necklace into the core of the vine creature. The creature erupted with bright light, for a split second a shard of dark etherium could be seen glowing from within it, and then it retreated back into the vines emitting a piercing shriek. Moments later the vine creature reformed, but the elves had finally cut themselves free and jumped to the aid of Istarya, Rex, and Lel. After a bloody struggle, Istarya found himself on the ground with Lel and Rex unconscious, and Lel still being torn and strangled by the vines. With his last ounce of strength he uttered an incantation to cast a sleep spell upon the remaining zombie and the vine creature, causing both of them to collapse into the vines.
The trio was dragged clear of the gear and vines by the shield bearing elf, along with his unconscious friend who fell while fighting off one of the zombies. After administering some healing, Lel and Rex regained consciousness to see the slumped form of the vine creature erupt in brilliant energy and burn to a crisp, followed shortly by all of the vines covering the room wilting, rotting, and collapsing to dust. With a earth shaking lurch, the well shaft ground into motion once more as all the gears clicked together, and water once more was carried up to the surface.
Carric, Teodora, and McGwyver – 87xp each
Lel, Istarya, and Rex – 237xp each + 100xp quest completion
Loot: Acrobat Boots (Lel)