Session 36: Out Of The Lava And Into The Well

The Kuo-Toa Hatchery Lava Rooms
Three salamanders rose from the closest pool of lava, followed by three more from the far pool. They moved to intercept the group.

Lee engaged the closest salamander, digging deep into it with Talon, and absorbing the pain from the elemental's heat. Moula kicked it, hurting herself far more than it. Hanging back, Broward hit it with his magic missiles. Pippin stabbed it deep with Yig and Yag, getting scorched by its proximity. Atilius missed with a ray of frost. Albrecht hit it twice with eldritch blasts. Lee blocked the attacks of a salamander only for a second one to stab Lee with its copper spear and slap him with its fiery tail. Moula evaded one salamander but another struck her with its tail, and Turenim used his divine retaliation to turn its attack back on it with burning radiance. Pippin also dodged a salamander's attacks, but was caught by another salamander's tail and fell. Moriarty, burning from its heat, dropped the first salamander with a blow from Fiendburn. Turenim cast preserve life on Lee, Moula, and Pippin, reviving the rogue.

Lee struck talon deep into the second salamander, reeling from its heat, but avoiding its counters. Moula, again kicked at it, hurting more than she could dish out. She avoided its spear, but its fiery tail dropped her. Broward hit it with his magic missiles. Pippin stabbed it with Yig in the head, killing it, but burning for his efforts, and was hit with the spear of another. Atilius missed with another ray of frost. Albrecht hit the third salamander with an eldritch blast. Pippin was struck with a copper spear. Moriarty avoided a salamander's attacks and hit it with Fiendburn, and was burned even worse. Turenim cast preserve life again on Lee, Pippin, and Moula, reviving the monk.

Lee struck the third salamander again with Talon, burning in return. He avoided its spear, but was dropped with its tail. Moula burned again when she kicked it, and she used her wholeness of body to heal herself. Broward hit it with his magic missiles. Pippin withdrew and hit it with an arrow, but was struck by two others, one with a spear and by both tails. Turenim used his divine retaliation against one, burning it with divine radiance. Atilius hit the third salamander with a ray of frost. Albrecht hit it with two eldritch blasts. Moriarty avoided the strikes from another salamander, but still burned when he hit it with Fiendburn. Turenim cast healing word on Lee, stabilizing the ranger, and cast life transference to revive Pippin with his own life force.

Lee regained consciousness and scrambled to disengage from the salamanders. Moula kicked the third salamander twice, hard, crushing it, but scorching herself badly in the process. Broward hit the fourth salamander with his magic missiles. Pippin hit it with an arrow. Atilius hit it with a ray of frost. Albrecht attempted to cast eldritch blast, but slipped and fell prone. Moriarty struck it with Fiendburn, but was burned worse than he damaged it, and was struck with its fiery tail, though he avoided the attacks of another. Another salamander caught Moula with its tail and dropped the monk. Turenim cast mass healing word on Pippin, Atilius, Lee, Moriarty, Moula, and himself, reviving the monk again.

The three remaining salamanders began to back up toward the lava pool. Lee and Pippin shot at them with their bows, but their arrows had little effect. Moula asked Atilius for his wand, but he was busy, so she moved up and engaged one of the two remaining salamanders, kicking it, but falling to its overwhelming heat. Albrecht revived Moula with healing word, and hit two of them with Eldritch Blasts, dropping the one closest to Moula, who just managed to avoid it falling on her. Atilius gave his wand of magic missiles to Broward. Moriarty charged forward, swinging Fiendburn, and flopped in between the two remaining salamanders, which promptly grabbed him in their tails and dragged him into the lava, disappearing. Atilius shouted after them in Ignan, "You are almost done. We have killed many of your comrades, but if you do not kill ours then we will leave and not destroy the lava that you call home." But they were all gone.

After briefly mourning Moriarty's heroic passing, the group retired to the adjacent room and rested for an hour while Turenim bandaged everyone's wounds and Albrecht sang a song of rest.

While resting Moula found 8 goblets and 3 decanters behind the stone furniture.

They contemplated the heavy, ornate copper door with strange scripts and carvings. Atilius tried to open it, and discovered that it was even hotter than the room they were in, but the heavy door didn't budge. Pippin examined the door, but found no lock. Atilius could only recognize the carved script as being a dialect of Ignan too old for him to understand. Turenim cast guidance on Lee who tried to push the door open, but it still didn't budge. Atilius pulled out his spell book and began casting detect magic. Pippin managed to squeeze his crowbar into the slight crack under the door, but even with Lee helping, they couldn't budge the door. Atilius detected abjuration magic coming from the door.

Atilius and Broward agreed that they should leave the door alone. Broward argued that they had accomplished what they came here for and they still had freed slaves to bring back. Lee added that the salamanders did not appear to be a threat to Wave Echo Cavern. After considering trying to heat and cool it, and using dimension door or comprehend languages, they all agreed to leave.

They recovered Tobin and the mute slave. Then, arguing the whole way about what they'll do when they get there, they crossed the landing and returned to the kuo-toa lair where they had left the kuo-toa trapped and the freed slaves protected by Leomund's tiny hut. But when they got there the hut was long expired, and everyone was gone. They noted that their rafts were no longer on the landing.

They returned to the hatchery entrance and proceeded into the southern tunnel. Passing numerous intersections that sloped down, they stuck to what seemed to be the main corridor, which sloped gradually up. After traveling for over four hours they felt a breeze of fresh air saw a light ahead, and continuing on, came to an exit in the side of the mountain. It was a crack just wide enough for them to all fit through with their armor. Squeezing though they found a ledge on the side of the mountain just large enough for two of them to stand. Atilius determined that it was midday and they were still on the north side of the mountains, west of Wave Echo Cavern.

Using ropes and pitons and numerous guidance and spider climb spells, they carefully made their way down the side of the mountain, helping each all along the way.

Then they made their way back to the trail and to the entrance to Wave Echo Cavern, where Lee found Mordenkainen waiting. The dwarven guards were surprised to see them, and escorted them back to Gundren.

Gundren was surprised to hear that they entered from the entrance, and not the lake, where they had left. They told Gundren about the kuo-toa in the old dwarven caves and the fire elementals in the lower levels. Gundren told them that operations at the mine were slowly starting to pickup, now that the flaming skull was banished for good, they had discovered a vein of mithral in the mine and were hoping to begin production soon, and that more dwarven and human workers were arriving every day. Tobin decided to stay at the cavern, taking up work for Gundren in the mines.

Gundren showed them a suit of full plate armor they had completed using the remains of the animated armor they had given him. Turenim donned the suit.

It was late in the day, and Gundren invited them to dine with him and stay at the mine before leaving. They agreed and the dinner was made into a celebration of their success.

In the morning they said their goodbyes and headed back toward Phandalin, with Broward and the mute following along. It was a much more pleasant experience than the last time they made the trip. The trip was largely uneventful.

With Phandalin ahead in the distance, Lee heard movement up ahead. Scouting ahead he saw three identical robed figures.

"Who might you be?" Lee shouted.

The figures all turned simultaneously, and they saw three identical Carla's. They touched their chest and two of them disappeared.

"Ah, the Lost Minds," she replied in recognition. "I was hoping I would find you."

"Yeah, it's good to see you too," Lee replied.

"Was there any reason in particular?" Turenim asked.

"As a matter of fact there is something," she replied. I have a message for you. I spotted a small group of goblins hiding outside of town and when I confronted them they told me that they were looking for you, Turenim."

"Did they say why?" Turenim asked.

"No," Carla replied. "They said they were from Snowg's Cragmaw Clan. They said that they needed your help and that they would return in a few days."

"We should go there now." Turenim announced.

"It didn't seem urgent," Carla added. "I asked them if they wanted to give a more specific message, but they just said they would come back in a few days, which is why I didn't think it sounded like there was any emergency."

"Thank you, Carla," Turenim replied and they exchanged news of their travels as they all headed back to Phandalin together. They told her about helping Gundren and she explained that she found an amulet in the woods on the dead body of a winter wolf.

Sildar Hallwinter
Eventually they arrived at the ruined gates, and various stages of repair and the Redbrand guards hailed them as they entered. They quickly made their way to the Townmaster's Hall, where Sildar was busy working.

"Oh, you're back!" he exclaimed, obviously pleased to see them. "How did it go? Were you able to help Gundren with whatever he needed?"

"Yes, we were successful," they replied, elaborating on their experiences.

"There's something I need to talk to you about," Sildar eventually broke in. "Julious isn't here anymore. The druid, Reidoth, came and took him. He seemed to know exactly where Julious was."

Sildar was slightly apprehensive about having let Reidoth take him, but they assured Sildar that he did the right thing. Sildar asked to speak with Turenim alone, when he had time.

The rest of the group headed to The Stonehill Inn, while Turenim hung back with Sildar and agreed to meet up with them when he was done.

"What's going on?" Turenim asked. "I can make an additional payment..."

"That's what I wanted to speak with you about." Sildar explained. "After you left, Halia approached me about the manor. I hate to tell you this, but she pointed out that there's a provision in The Lords' Alliance regulations that requires parties to be given a fair opportunity to bid on property. I didn't actually remember this, but I'm sure she's right, and basically she out-bid you on the land. So I'm not sure if this is going to work out. I was really hoping it would. The only thing I can say is that she seemed to want you to go and speak with her directly. You could increase your bid, but I don't know if you want to get into a bidding war with Halia. She seemed to be interested in discussing it with you."

"Well...thanks for letting me know," Turenim replied, dejected. "I think I'm going to go discuss the matter with her now, if you don't mind."

"Absolutely," Sildar replied, sympathetically. "Good luck. I sincerely hope this works out for you."

Turenim returned to The Stonehill Inn, and relayed the story to his companions. "Halia outbid me for the manor. I'm going to go over there and talk with her. I'd like one of you to come with me."

Moula insisted on coming with Turenim, and together they made their way to the Miner's Exchange. As they approached, the workers outside said she was expecting them, and ushered them inside.

Halia Thornton
Halia was sitting at her desk when they entered and greeted them. "Turenim."

"Halia," Turenim returned.

"Moula," Halia said, slightly surprised. "Have a seat," Halia waved both of them to sit, and they did.

"I assume you're here about the manor," Halia guessed.

"I am," Turenim admitted.

"So listen," Halia began. "I understand that you want to make a temple."

"Yes," Turenim nodded.

"That would be a great thing for Phandalin. And I really don't want to get in your way. But, I don't feel the same way about the entirety of the Lost Minds. I would not want all of you setting up an establishment here in Phandalin. I'm going to so far as to say I don't want Lee setting up residence here."

"I'm sorry you feel that way." Turenim offered.

"I will relinquish my bid," Halia began, "if Lee does not come back to Phandalin."

"I wasn't under the impression that we were going to live here," Moula added, "or at least the rest of us weren't. Can he come here, and just not live here? Can he walk around here?"

"No," Halia answered. "I want him to not be here at all. I want to make sure you understand where I'm coming from. He threatened me for no reason. You saw what he did, for no good reason. I'm going to do what I can to not make things comfortable for him, because of what he did. I feel that he's a threat to the people of Phandalin, including myself.

"But if you could make some assurances that he will not returndiscuss this among yourselvesI will relinquish my bid, because I would love to see you build a temple of Lathander here. I think it would really do a lot of good for all the people here. You know since Sister Garaele left, no priests have set up an establishment here. There's no temple. No one doing any healing. It's ripe for someone like you to come in here. You would be doing a lot of good."

"So I also saw, at least in part, some of what Lee did," Turenim explained, "and I should also tell you that my temple would be a temple of Lathander. I temple of second chances, and I'm willing to negotiate, and I'm probably going to need some time to think about this, but that is what I'd be looking to do."

"I understand," Halia replied. "A temple of Lathander, there's definitely something poetic about a temple of Lathander here in Phandalin, a place that used to be ruins, and now is rebuilding itself. This whole town is getting a second chance. I can't think of better temple to have here. And I can't think of someone better to run it."

"Thank you," Turenim responded.

"You would really be doing a lot of good for a lot of people, for a long time," Halia emphasized.

"Thank you," Turenim repeated.

"I understand that what I'm asking might be difficult," Halia explained, "but that's why I'm asking."

"We're definitely going to need some time to think this over," Moula suggested.

"Of course," Halia acknowledge.

"I have a question," Turenim started. "We build our temple, which is sort of on the edge of town. If I keep Lee in my sight, in the temple, occasionally, would that be acceptable?"

"Keep him out of town for at least a year." Halia responded. "And after that we can talk about it."

"I'm going to have to think it over." Turenim repeated.

"Understood." Halia replied. "I realize this is a difficult position. I hope you understand where I'm coming from. And I really hope that this works out. Like I said, you would be doing a lot of good for a lot of people.

"And I would even be willing to help you in your efforts. I think we have the same interest at heart."

They both thanked Halia and returned to The Stonehill Inn. When they got there they asked Lee and Pippin to come with them.

When they were outside, Turenim explained the situation to Lee and Pippin. Pippin was interested in trying to outbid her, but they eventually agreed that they could not afford a bidding war with her.

Lee expressed concerns that they might wind up in Halia's debt, but eventually agreed to do whatever he could to service the party, repeating that he didn't think submitting to her was a good idea and that she would wind up using it against them.

Moula urged that Halia was a good woman, but Lee and Pippin disagreed, with Lee saying she was a business woman, and Pippin saying she was just a selfish woman. Turenim expressed reservations about succumbing to ultimatums, but Moula insisted it would be folly to give up on building the temple for the greater good. After discussing their options and the merits of building a temple in Phandalin, they agreed to Halia's terms.

Lee wrote a note and handed it to Turenim to privately give to Halia. Turenim promptly read the note:
Halia, I'll leave the town. I hope that leaves you with peace of mind. Things have changed, but I don't expect you to believe me. Can't wait to see the temple once it's done. If I never see you again, just know that I'm moving on with a different set of ideals and principals. Have a nice life. Lee
Lee and Pippin returned to the inn, while Turenim and Moula went back to the Miner' Exchange.

Turenim gave Halia the note from Lee. "Very nice," she said after glancing at it.

"I think we're willing to go ahead with your offer," Turenim began, "but I'd like to put it in writing just to make sure we're all on the same page, if that's alright with you."

"Okay," Halia replied, "I can work on that with Sildar. We'll have something drawn up."

They thanked her again and returned to the inn once more.

While the rest of the group was waiting at the inn, a kid came up to Pippin holding a piece of paper in his hand. "What's this?" he asked, holding out the paper.

"A piece of paper." Pippin replied.

"How many?" the child asked.

"One," Pippin replied.

"Wrong!" the kids replied, ripping the paper in two and handing one half to Pippin before darting out of the inn.

Pippin took the paper and saw the ornate letter "H" inscribed on it.
The Stonehill Inn
Looking up after the boy, they saw Turenim and Moula return.

"I got a note from Halia," Pippin whispered to Turenim.

Atilius interrupted, frantic to know what happened at the Miner's Exchange. But before they had a chance to explain, Daran Edermath walked in.

"Greetings!" exclaimed the elf. "How goes the adventuring life? Looks like you got some new armor," he added, gesturing at Turenim. "Anyway, I'm glad that I found you. Do you remember those undead I told you about? Well I've heard that their numbers are growing."

"That is high on our list," Turenim assured him. I was actually hoping to speak with you about something, but I have to attend to something first."

With brief farewells, the group headed to the cellar under the manor. Once settled, Turenim told them about Halia outbidding him for the manor and her terms for withdrawing her bid.

"So you can't come back to town?" Albrecht asked Lee.

"To be honest, I don't think I'll ever come back to town. It seems like I'm not wanted here and it's not worth the stupid parameters."

Atilius' eyes started to water at the thought.

"It's not sad," Lee assured him. "I'll be off in the woods. It's my happy place."

"How happy were you for the last thirty years?" Pippin challenged.

"Not at all." Lee admitted.

"Are you happy now?" Atilius asked.

"No." Lee retorted, "but I'm taking a deal, because you guys are getting something out of it you need, or it seems like you need."

"My opinion is my own," Albrecht muttered, "not that of the party, so if this is what you want to do, then go for it."

"Please don't attack her." Turenim implored. "That would really mess things up."

"Watch your step!" Albrecht warned Turenim, referring to Halia.

Pippin said he had stuff to take care of, and headed to The Miner's Exchange.

• • •

"Pippin!" Halia exclaimed.

"Halia!" Pippin returned.

"How was everything in Wave Echo Cavern?" she asked.

"Eh, it was a little tough." Pippin began. "We lost some people."

"Really?" Halia asked, astonished.

"Yeah, we lost this guy, Moriarty, who we tried to rescue." Pippin explained. "He was adventuring with The Wolves, who we were originally trying to rescue. And we cleared out this massive kuo-toa lair."

"Well, I hope there was some silver lining." Halia offered. "I hope it was profitable.

"Did you find anything out about Gundren?"

"It seems like his operation there is running smoothly." Pippin responded. "It's expanding. It doesn't seem like he's treating anyone poorly."

"Okay." Halia acknowledged.
• • •

"Thank you." Pippin said.

"I look forward to our professional relationship growing." Halia said partingly.

Pippin left and returned to the manor cellar and joined his companions.

"What happened Pippin?" Everyone called to him.

"I was just following up on something she asked me to do before we went to Wave Echo Cavern." Pippin explained.

"What was it?" Everyone asked, suspiciously.

"I told you about this." Pippin assured them. "It was to check up on the operations at Wave Echo Cavern. She was concerned that Gundren was treating his workers poorly, and I confirmed that he was not. And then we discussed Lee, and she said that it was a bad situation and she was sorry for everything that was occurring, but that was what had to be done."

"That's it?" they all pried.

"And she's working on getting my armor." Pippin followed up. "Do you want to detect my thoughts or something?"

"Just pretend like you like her so you can get free stuff." Lee advised.

"That's my plan," Pippin admitted, and then he added, "she seems less evil and conniving as I once thought, but she seems like she's not to be trusted at the same time."

Broward asked about the manor they kept talking about and was interested in what they were planning on building. After Turenim explained his plan to build the temple to Lathander, Broward offered to assist with arranging any construction, professing expertise in physics and architecture.

Atilius also offered to help, having spent six months with an architect's firm when they were constructing Waukeen's promenade, but no one seemed to hear his repeated offer.

Daran Edermath
Turenim went to go speak with Daran Edermath and explained the situation with Halia, asking his thoughts. Daran sympathized with the weight of Turemin's plight and agreed that it would be good for everyone. He suggested that she seemed like a reasonable person and the after a while she might be willing to renegotiate. "You're all doing such good deeds. Everyone in town appreciates what The Lost Minds have done. You're the heroes of Phandalin."

"And so is she." Turenim added. "And you too."

"While the orc invasion was the single biggest event to happen in Phandalin, there were other things as well. Remember that the Redbrands were terrorizing the town before you got here, and now that Wave Echo Cavern is operational more and more people have been coming her and the town is only going to get more and more prosperous."

"And we saved your future Town Master." Pippin added.

Daran reminded them about the growing numbers of undead rumored to be gathering around Old Owl Well, and Turenim said they would check that out after they visited Snowg to make sure everything was alright.

Then they paid a visit to Sildar to explain the situation with Halia and Lee, and their agreement. He expressed his sympathy with Halia, and suggested that she might be willing to renegotiate over time.

Then he asked Turenim to do some rounds around town, visiting with those in need of his services. Turenim eagerly agreed, and they went off.

The two of them walked around town visiting various homes where Sildar would unnecessarily introduce Turenim, who would assist them with any physical or spiritual healing they required. Sildar would wait outside to give them privacy.

At one house, the hostess was so pleased with Turenim's aid that she wanted to give him a gift, which was not unheard of. "I have something for you. Wait right here please." She said, and went off to a back room.

• • •

Just then the hostess returned and gave Turenim a scarf she had knitted for him. It had a band of blue on one side and green on the other, with a yellow half circle in the center.

"That's really nice!" Turenim said. "I really appreciate this."

• • •

The next day they left Broward with the mute in the manor cellar and departed early towards Cragmaw Hideout. The trip was relatively uneventful, and they arrived late in the day.

As they approached Lee could feel eyes upon them in the darkness of the woods.

Cragmaw King Snowg (Droop)
A goblin dropped out of the trees. "Halt! Who goes there? Name yourselves."

"I am Turenim."

"We saved Snowg." Pippin added.

"Ah, you're friends with King Snowg." the goblin announced. "Follow me."

As the goblin led them to the cave, and Lee could sense other goblins watching them from the trees.

Eventually they arrived at the cave, and after being made to wait outside for a while, were led to Klarg's old quarters. Sitting on a makeshift thrown was Snowg.

Snowg's eyes gleamed when he saw Turenim. "Turi! Everyone. It's so good to see you. Come. Sit."

"It's so good to see you too." Turenim returned.

"Leave us!" Snowg barked, dismissing all the other goblins in the chamber.

As soon as they were gone Snowg jumped out of his chair and charged at Turenim, with his hands outstretched. At the last moment he leaped on Turenim and grabbed him, giving him a big hug with his goblin arms.

"I'm so glad you're here." Snowg started. "Did you get my message?"

"I heard about it from Carla." Turenim answered. "What happened?"

"Well you can see that we've grown." Snowg pointed out. "More goblins have come."

"How many do you have now?" Turenim asked.

"Oh, there's a few dozen." Snowg answered proudly. "It's been tough though. You know, we're used to raiding. And I'm trying to stop them from raiding travelers on the road, but it's really tough. It's hard to get what we need to survive."

"What about farming?" Lee asked.

"Farming?" Snowg repeated. "That's not something we're very good at. And I don't really know how long I can keep everybody settled this way. And I was hoping you could help somehow."

They considered getting the goblins to help build the temple, but didn't think their presence would be very welcome in Phandalin.

"Let's think." Albrecht chimed in. "If they're goblins and they're used to raiding, wouldn't they be excellent at preventing raiding? They could patrol the trade routes. They would know all the good ambush sites."

"But how would they get paid?" Lee asked.

"They would be employed by..."

"Phandalin!" everyone chimed in at once.

"I'll ask Sildar." Turenim offered. Turning to Snowg, he asked, "What do you think of that?"

"We could try that." Snowg said, relieved.

"Do you want to come back with us?" Turenim asked.

"I can't really be away from my throne." Snowg explained. "I need to be here to keep the peace."

"Okay, we'll ask Sildar." Turenim said. "And we'll let you know as soon as we can."

With that, they left, and headed back towards Phandalin.

• • •

While they were on the road they saw a figure camped off the to the side.

"Well met traveler." They called out.

As the traveler turned around, they saw it was Julious. Everyone was very happy to see the druid. Julious explained that he was revived by Reidoth. They brought Julious up to speed on the way back to Phandalin.

• • •

As they approached Phandalin, Lee setup camp outside town. Entering town, the rest of the group approached Sildar and briefed him on the situation with Snowg and the Cragmaw goblins. "They're beginning to thrive, but it's difficult for them to sustaining themselves and they are looking for some kind of employment. And I was wondering if you would be interested in having them help protect the city."

"Protect the city?" Sildar questioned. "We already have guards."

"They could protect the trade routes." Moula suggested. "Because they know where all the good ambush sites are. And they could stay undercover the whole time."

"Oh, the routes!" Sildar wondered. "That's an interesting proposition. Can I think about that? Let me talk to Linene about it."

"Let us know." Turenim said. "And they left."

They met with Lee and headed west towards Old Owl Well.

• • •

The trip took a few days, but was relatively uneventful.

Old Owl Well
As they crested a low ridge, they spied the crumbling ruins of an old watchtower standing amid the rugged hills. The place was so old that the walls were only mounds of rubble enclosing a courtyard of sorts, adjacent to the broken stump of an old tower. A colorful tent had been set up in the middle of the courtyard, but no one was in sight.

As soon as they entered the crumbling walls they were accosted by a dozen orc zombies.

Turenim immediately held up Lightbringer, and called out, "In the name of Lathander, trouble this earth no more!"

Eight of the undead immediately crumbled into dust and blew away on the breeze, leaving only the four in the rear. Albrecht shot the closest with two Eldritch blasts, destroying it. The three remaining zombies lunged at Albrecht, but one was way off, Albrecht sidestepped another, and shrugged off the last. Lee drew Talon and dropped one. Moula dropped another with a flurry of kicks and staff strikes. Julious drew his scimitar, but swung wide, and the last zombie dug its claws into him. Pippin dropped the last zombie with ease.

Turenim smashed the four zombie corpses with Lightbringer, and as he did so, a human figure appeared from the tent.

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