Lel, Rex, Istarya, Gwrtheyrn, Carric, Teodora, and McGwyver
Teodora managed to find Gwrtheyrn in town and the two ventured back into the caves, where they eventually founds themselves coming through a stone doorway and into a large cavern. At the other end of the cavern, and down a couple of levels, they see a light coming through another door carried by Istarya, with Lel and Rex behind him. Through the light of their torches across the room, each group noticed two moving forms dangling from the center of the cave, wrapped in spider webs and yelling in familiar, muffled voices. The group descended on the two forms and noticed the forms of McGwyver and Carric trapped in the webs, but also that they were not alone and that several giant spiders had taken up residence within the caverns. Working to free the pair, Teodora and Gwrtheyrn moved in from above while Rex, Lel, and Istarya moved to help from below. After fighting off two juvenile Deathjump Spiders, a pair of Venomspit Spiders, and a pair of Stirges, the party regrouped at the main landing in the cave which they noticed had a pair of large, stone doors inset into the cave wall with magical writing scrawled across them. On the floor in front of the doors, Gwrtheyrn noticed three runes in the ground, each outlined with sigils and drawings around a center sigil – the first a star, the second a featureless sphere, and the third an aged book.
They quickly discovered that Istarya could activate the first symbol merely by touching it, and that it caused him excruciating pain to touch the middle sphere symbol. What they could discern of the writing with help from a Comprehend Languages ritual from Istarya indicated three entities, some sort of 'temple' beyond, and vague references to time. The group also took note that several troughs and overhangs were spilling lots of water into the cavern, and that it was gradually filling up. Arun'del Breakwater managed to restore his companion, Ilsindarel, to consciousness and discussed matters with the party. The pair quickly decided to continue their search for the individual known to the party as Lester Fizzwizzle, and headed off down a cave pathway.
Istarya took a few moments to cast a Magic Mouth spell on the magical doors. Exiting the cavern through a large cave opening opposite the magical doors and following the elves, the group quickly finds a pair of spiders in a torchlit split passageway fighting over what appeared to be a well cut piece of meat. Hesitating for a few moments, they were surprised by a group of four goblins that burst out from around the spiders brandishing sticks, ropes, and nets ensnaring the spiders. The goblins froze in fear at sight of the seven adventurers bearing down on them, offering toothy smiles of peace. Istarya quickly offered the goblins the bodies of the four spiders they'd slain earlier, an offer which the goblins gladly obliged and passed on their way peaceably after pointing the party in the supposed direction of "a way out of here".
The party then found themselves in a well carved stone room containing three torches, and what they quickly discovered as a trap laid across the room on every other tile. Venturing up a flight of stairs they came to a dead end room with a candelabra hanging from the ceiling, and eventually decided to head back down the stairs where they found themselves in a different room than they were in before. After a fight with a rather angry ochre jelly, the party discovered an amnesiac Drow crying in the corner of a room over his dead spider, Izzy. With much suspicion, Istarya threatened the Drow but Teodora's kind words and offerings of a proper burial for the spider managed to calm the Drow, who traveled with the party constantly at the end of Istarya's wand.
As they traveled they noticed that the Drow had one of his ears cut off, and that he was very polite for his kind. After navigating a series of changing rooms, and resting for what felt like 8 hours but seemed to only be 5 minutes, the party discovered that fire was the key to changing and time altering rooms. At one point they discovered a library full of unwritten books, and in a desk there a book titled, "The History of the World: The Recovery of the Chime." Lighting the correct number of torches in each room, all of the stairways lowered into hallways and the rooms could clearly be seen connecting to one another. Wandering through a series of cave corridors they eventually found themselves back in the large cavern, with water slightly higher but not filling up the room yet.
They quickly activated all three symbols using Istarya, the Book, and first attempting with Izzy's body but then succeeding with the Drow himself.
Rewards: 526xp each
Epilogue: Dust fills the air as the large stone doors begin to slide open, the runes and script across them filling the room with a pale glowing light. Behind the doors a large cavern opens up, the side of an epic stone structure looms up towards the ceiling of the cave with a large staircase leading up to a flat stone platform with inscriptions scrawled across its surface. For a moment, a ghostly vision of Istarya trapped in a magical circle appears atop the temple as ethereal images of Gwrthëyrn and Rex Trawkus step into view and free him from his imprisonment. The image fades to reveal a large portal swirling in the air at the top of the temple, a dark landscape visible beyond.
Some of the arcane script around the door opening glows and forms into a readable script: "Seek not those who enter here, for they are lost and often gone. Seek ye those who exit here, for they are not where they belong." The amnesiac Drow looks up at the portal for a moment and then gasps, "That looks like home!"
A second later he is surmounting the stairs, but pauses for a brief moment and flashes a jagged, toothy smile at all of you. His hand raises to his mouth, a shrill whistle sounds, and the body of Izzy the spider twitches. She crawls upright and leaps to the Drow's side, who still smiling shouts down the side of the temple, "Thank you! You've all been ever-so helpful!" A moment later he is leaping through the portal and vanishes from side with a brilliant flash of arcane energy. The portal remains, swirling with an ominous rhythm. Arun'del Breakwater, Ilsindarel, and a third Elf limping with a staff climb up to the rocky platform and stare for a moment at the open door and all of you standing around.
Dragged behind them you see a scraggly looking gaunt man bound by ropes, struggling to stay on his feet. After a moment of staring Arun'del speaks, and gestures towards the stairs opposite the temple, "We have found the one that we sought, and it appears you all have found our means of getting out of here. For that, you have our thanks!" Ilsindarel approaches behind the cleric, "Arun, we should kill this rat before he has a chance to escape and further aid our enemies…" The scraggly man, whom you all know as Lester Fizzwizzle, squirms and groans, looking between all of you for some strand of compassion.
Arun'del turns his attention back to all of you, "We have brought this one back to you, as you mentioned you had dealings with him. Our plan was to take him to the surface, to our masters, and find out what he has done and what he knows. However, my companions here are more interested in stopping any further harm from being done to our world. Since you are acquiantances of his, we shall let you decide his fate, then we will head to the surface and back to our missions, with or without him."
Rex inquires about the symbol found on the Doppleganger's scar. The Elf carrying the staff approaches Rex and introduces himself, "I am Darin, allow me to look at this symbol for a few moments." He examines the crude drawing for a couple of minutes, tracing its intricacies with his fingers in the air above the parchment. "I have seen this symbol a few times before, but I do not yet understand its full meaning. It could represent all of creation, or simply a single portion of creation that we have not discovered yet. No matter the actual depiction, I feel that this jagged spiral presents the destruction of life, and most likely has more than a few ties to the dark place whispered about in nightmares as the Abyss. That is all I know without all of my tomes at hand."
Lel approaches Arun'del and asks, "I would like to know more of your mission, who are you people and what is it you were doing under Portalis? It seems your presence coincides with a number of ill events for the city. Would you have any knowledge of this?" Arun'del and his men take the opportunity to rest their feet, and he contemplates his response carefully for a few seconds, "We call ourselves the Rusva'elen, and our mission is to protect the stability of the world, for much of civilization has forgotten their past and for many reasons this is both a blessing and a curse. We look after the cursed portion of the rest of the world's blindness, and hope that they may go about their lives without hindering our cause. Too often that is not the case." "We are always around this town, for this region is our home and the land which we have tasked ourselves to look after. It happens now that our enemy's minions gather in these lands and we are the ones who must succeed where perhaps our brethren in other lands have failed. Why our enemy's presence is felt more strongly in this region is not a question that we can answer."
Istarya interrupts, "Do you guys really think I'm stuck-up? I mean, you just met me, and we helped each other out on the big gear thing. Seems unfair." Ilsindarel lets out a small laugh, "I apologize for Arun's rude comments, he has had a few not so pleasant dealings with Eladrin in the past. We are ever grateful for your help in these caves, and gratitude is not something an Elf ever leaves behind."
Teodora asks, "Arun'del, I thank you for giving us choice in this matter. Though I would enjoy giving this man what he surely deserves right now, I believe the best course of action is to take him back to the Temple for proper questioning. I still have little clue as to his motivations, and only a slight idea of his associations. Perhaps you can aide us in answering these questions, Arun'del? It is possible that we have a common enemy…"
Arun'del nodes slowly, "Indeed if the one who guides this poor man's actions is now your enemy, it does seem we have some things in common. As for his motiviations, he claims to have nothing on his person but he reeks of lies and deciept. We first spotted him scavenging about on our descent into the lower level of the Old Mill, when he quickly fled we chased him until we became separated, lost, and trapped in those cursed vines. Now two of our men are dead, one from those damn rats and bugs, the other from the arachnids that infest this place. We only hope that their lives were not lost for nothing, and that you can gain some advantage over our common enemy through this man."
Ilsindarel interjects, "We should not dally here any longer, this place has a foul smell about it and I fear we may be inviting further danger." Arun nods in agreement and yanks on Lester's ropes, dragging the man crawling across the ground, and hands the rope off to Gwrtheyrn. "He is your prisoner now, we shall head to the surface and reconvene with our brothers, you may join us or do as you wish in these caves." They pack up their belongings and begin to head through the temple room to the staircase beyond.