It began with a simple recon mission. After a long rest, the party wanted to be sure they were not leaving anything important behind before descending the stairs to the next level. Puck cast a ritual version of Rary’s Telepathic Bond on everyone. Quintus blessed everyone with the power of Tempus by casting a water walk ritual on everyone. Templeton then cast invisibility on himself and began his scouting mission.
Right outside the hidey hole that Quintus had tunneled, Templeton found a group of 4 lizard folk mulling around the dead Hezrou by the top of the stairs. Templeton easily slipped around them and made his way out onto the water. He snuck across a large lake towards an area of doors that had yet to be opened while keeping in contact with the party telepathically as to his progress. The water was deep, murky, and still. But the hairs on the back of Templeton’s neck stood up as a huge dark shape passed under him. An immense Dragon Turtle surfaced and began to sniff around. Templeton telepathically shared his alarm at this development with his comrades. The huge creature spun around and swam towards Templeton too quickly for him to react and brushing against his legs. Templeton made a break towards a water filled passage to the south that was too narrow for the Dragon Turtle to follow. The Dragon Turtle could not see Templeton but could sense something down the tunnel so it drew in a huge gasp of air and unleashed a torrent of scalding hot steam down the tunnel. It engulfed Templeton cooking him like a lobster as he fell over unconscious and bleeding to death.
Templeton’s invisibility was concentration based so it immediately ended. But the water walking was cast by Quintus so it remained in effect keeping Templeton from sinking into the water and drowning. The current of the water moved Templeton’s unconscious and dying body down the passage away from the dragon turtle. Although the beast could now see its prey, Templeton was too far along the narrow passage for it to give chase. It was simply too big to fit down the passage.
With Templeton’s communication having gone silent, the party knew he was in trouble. They knew roughly where he was but did not know exactly. After some quick deliberation, Puck cast improved invisibility on Badding who flew away following Templeton’s path to try and find him. He easily flew around the confused lizard men. They heard him fly by and went on alert but were unable to see past his invisibility. Badding then flew across the large lake noting the huge dragon turtle swimming around the entrance to the water filled south passage and looking down it. Badding took the time to look carefully around the big lake but did not see Templeton. Meanwhile Templeton’s body continued to be carried by the current further south. Eventually Badding flew over to the southern passage and spotted Templeton. He flew over the dragon turtle and landed on the southern side of Templeton to prevent him from floating further away. It had taken a long time for Badding to track down Templeton, but luckily the tough human had stabilized. His body had clotted the bleeding on its own. He was still unconscious but no longer bleeding to death.
Suddenly two pairs of sickly green clawed hands emerged from the water to grab a hold of Templeton’s unconscious body. The water troll tried to pull Templeton under the water but was surprised to find the water walk spell preventing him from doing so. Confused, the troll paused to try and figure out what was going on. It became even more confused when an invisible Badding tried to push the troll away from Templeton to break its grab. Unfortunately the water troll was simply too strong. Puck mentally asked Badding to describe his location so he could dimension door over to help. Unfortunately the aurokokra’s description had too many squawks in it for Puck to suss out exactly where to go. So he held tight not wanting to waste his spell.
Confused by the invisible force pushing against him, the aquatic troll continued to hold onto Templeton’s body and swam with it down the passage. Frustrated, Badding gave chase and unleashed a thuderwave spell to try and separate a still unconscious Templeton from the troll. The huge noise produced by the spell reverberated through the complex. Quintus and Brenn looked at each other with alarm. The troll was still too strong to be physically moved by the spell but the creature was hurt by the blast and startled by the loud noise so he continued to drag Templeton’s body south and emerged down in the large southern lake area with the rotten boats where the party had seen the ghouls.
Badding gave chase and once again tried to describe the area to Puck. This time Puck understood having seen the area before with his own eyes. He used the Cape of the Monteback to dimension door to the area. Badding flew down and touched Templeton using his Lay on Hands ability to FINALLY heal Templeton’s wounds. Regaining consciousness, Templeton twisted away from the troll like a slippery eel, got up and ran away across the water.
Seeing a strange looking gnome appear out of thin air and seeing his now moving prey getting away, the troll screeched and barked calling in a group of 3 more aquatic trolls. Puck greeted them with a fireball. One of the trolls swam towards Puck for a moment but then hesitated and instead went after Templeton. Puck wisely moved away from the area by teleporting with a misty step just before a mass of tentacles surfaced where once the little gnome stood. One of the trolls got to Templeton and attacked. Despite being warded by Badding’s shield of faith, a claw and bite hurt him badly. Templeton turned invisible and moved to dry land. He also used a potion of healing to help heal himself. Badding attacked the trolls as did Puck. Fire and acid hurt them badly but the decision was made to try and rendezvous with the rest of the party leaving the trolls behind as well as whatever new deviltry was behind those tentacles.
Tired of all the waiting, Quintus and Brenn sprung into action. They stormed into the Hezrou room and cut down the lizard men. After making short work of them, the two ran quickly to the main temple door that had been sealed shut by Templeton’s immovable rod. They found the rod still in place and the room secure but there was a pounding on the door. Two reavers were on the other side of the stone double doors trying to force their way in. Puck told them to sit tight until they got closer. Puck, Badding, and Templeton made their way north through the complex to the double door. They left the trolls behind. Although they were badly wounded, the trolls were regenerating. They went to ground in a different room to heal and the party let them go wanting to press on and reunite with Brenn and Quintus.
Templeton got in position seeing the two reavers trying in vain to force the door open and readied a shot with Sky Piercer. He then gave the signal to Brenn telepathically who removed the immovable rod and opened the door. Brenn ran out to get adjacent to one of the reavers. Templeton’s crossbow sunk a bolt deep into the reaver’s shoulder. Badding flew down the tunnel carrying Puck and tossed him past the water fall into the temple room. Puck used his ring of free action to scamper over the current and get up with Quintus and Brenn. Badding charged forward into the fray on the bridge.
The battle was joined with 5 reavers, 1 fathomer, and 1 one-eyed shiver (who turned out to be a type of water cultist and not a unique leader like Templeton had thought). The shiver looked at Brenn with his glowing good eye and filled Brenn with dread. Illusory images of Templeton’s Father, Renton Daltrey, filled Brenn’s mind. Brenn cowered before the tall Waterdhavian Noble who was berating him for not taking better care of his son. Brenn was so overcome that he dropped his flaming sword and the fear forced him to flee back into the temple room. Quintus called out after him that he was going to wrong way and to take Tempus’s blessing and get back into the fight. With that Quintus cast dispel magic and removed the fear effect from Brenn. It looked like the party would indeed be forced to deal with the rest of the cultists on this level. The cultists hit a large gong that reverberated through the complex and all joined the fray. The fight was on.