The battle with Gar Shatterkeel raged on. Badding had taken the brunt of the attacks. Gar had crushed him with his giant claw arm, pierced his body with his trident – Drown, and commanded his giant crocodile to grab him in his jaws and shake him like a rag doll. Badding’s tattered body was bleeding profusely with the brave paladin just barely clinging to life. Just as he was about to lose consciousness, Quintus’ voice rang out through the huge cavern, ‘Tempus I know you never listened to me before and you’d rather me swing my sword than talk, but in your name I call on you to heal this mighty birdman in order for him to kick more ass in your name!’
Suddenly Quintus was wreathed in a holy nimbus. Surprised that his divine intervention had worked, he called out, ‘Holy Crap I think he heard me this time!’ The radiant nimbus drifted away from Quintus and coalesced around Badding. The holy light bathed Badding and washed away all of his wounds. The light buoyed him and he floated up into the air to hover right in front of Gar Shatterkeel who’s smug smile had turned upside down into a dour frown.
Suddenly a flaming blade came slashing through Gar’s guard as Brenn Buckman cut deeply into Gar’s barnacle encrusted chest. Gar grimaced and raised his huge claw above his head to strike Brenn, when the crafty fighter called out to Templeton to fire. Templeton obliged the commander’s strike and let a bolt fly that critically hit Gar shattering his claw into a myriad pieces that rained down onto the wet rocky island. Howling in pain and fury Gar thrusted Drown towards Brenn. But Brenn was faster knocking the trident aside with a riposte spinning around and thrusting the burning blade of Macallan straight through the chest of Gar Shatterkeel. In a moment of brief silence in the din of battle, Gar stared at his chest in disbelief and then up to the grinning Brenn Buckman until the silence was broken with the clattering clang of Drown falling upon the rocky shore of the island. Gar’s body then slowly slid off the blade and fell into a heap on the rocky island.
There were still two water elementals and three giant crocodiles left to deal with but the tide had definitely turned in the party’s favor with the healing of Badding and the death of Gar. But the grin on Bren’s face faded away as he looked over his shoulder and into the writhing mass of the roiling sphere of water floating in the center of the island. There was a shape inside.. A huge shape of something trying to get out. Suddenly a massive pulse of necrotic energy exploded out of the watery sphere. The necrotic energy tore through Brenn Buckman and everyone else including the water elementals and the crocodiles. The only one who was spared was Templeton as he was outside of the 60 foot radius around the sphere. The force of the pulse sent Drown flying through the air to splash into the water below the flying Templeton. Everyone was hurt badly but Brenn took the worst of it. His lifeless body was hurled clear of the island to land hard on the water buoyed only by the persistent water walking enchantment. Two of the crocodiles were ripped apart by the blast leaving only one remaining.
Then there was a loud crack as if a piece of reality had broken free around the water sphere. A black tendril of negative energy emerged from the crack and snaked its way through the air to touch the body of Gar Shatterkeel. Smaller black tendrils wended their way through Gar’s body forming a thin mesh around his skin. The thick black tendril then lifted Gar’s body from the ground like a macabre puppet. This fell marionette was hoisted aloft and moved in front of Quintus. The Gar puppet lashed out with his reformed claw and smashed it into Quintus. The blow staggered the cleric and his concentration on his banishment spell was lost. The water elemental he had previously sent to the elemental plane of water suddenly returned. Now there were three water elementals again to defeat along with one crocodile and the Gar puppet.
Puck unleashed a cone of cold and an ice storm wearing down all of the enemies, Badding attacked, and Templeton put a heavy crossbow bolt straight through the Gar Pupet’s chest but it didn’t slow him. Water pumped through the black tendril filled in the damaged parts of Gar’s body and he fought on. ‘The Tendril!’ yelled Templeton. ‘Sever the tendril!’ Badding flew over and attacked with a holy smite trying to sever the tendril. But the only part of the attack that seemed to anything was the radiant damage from the smite. Quintus grasped the hilt of his sunsword and a beam of pure light shone forth forming the greatsword’s blade. With that he struck at the black tendril. All of his damage was radiant and a huge chunk of the tendril fell away. But the Gar puppet fought on.
Templeton flew down to the body of Brenn Buckman and poured his last potion of healing down the man’s throat. As Brenn came round Templeton whispered, ‘There we go… Everything’s better with some wine in the belly. Now let’s get you back in this fight.’ Bren smiled and used his second wind. ‘Aye!’ He got up and cut the head off the giant crocodile. Puck bathed all the enemies in a toxic acid from his vitriolic sphere spell. Badding cut down a water elemental. But the two remaining water elemental bore down on Brenn and almost took him out again but he fought on bravely taking them out. Quintus then delivered a wicked blow to the black tendril and severed it completely with his sun blade. The black tendril fell away to water and the body of Gar Shatterkeel also melted away to be slain for a second time.
There was a furious keening noise and a huge thick fleshy tentacle burst forth from the elemental node. It seemed Al-Hydra the Evil Elemental Prince of Water had taken a foothold in this world and was trying to come through the portal. The huge tentacle and smashed into Brenn knocking him out and sending Templeton flying as well. A second tentacle then broke free of the sphere, picked up the dead crocodile and hurled it at Quintus hurting him badly as its crushing weight landed directly on top of him.
Badding screamed out, ‘Squaawk!!! We must get the trident Drown from the bottom of the lake and use it to close the portal!’ Templeton and Quintus moved away from the writhing tentacles to rendezvous with the Badding and Puck where Templeton had seen the trident fall into the water. Badding who was flying high above the water with Puck in tow suddenly dropped Puck since he was the only one who did not have a water walk spell going and could swim. But Puck who was badly wounded yelled, ‘wait… what?’ And as his little body fell towards the dark waters below, he managed in a disrespectful manner as possible to raise both middle fingers towards the bird man flying above him. Then he hit the water and promptly refused to try and swim through the mirky blackness in his current state.
Templeton fetched the Ring of Swimming from Brenn’s limp fingers and raced over to the gnome. And Badding used his Light Globe to shed some light on the depths below. With the swim speed and light to guide his way, Puck finally acquiesced as a third tentacle burst forth from the sphere. Two of the tentacles plunged into the water and began sucking up water like an elephant’s trunk. As Puck frantically searched the bottom for the trident, the tentacles blew out the water at a firehouse velocity. The streams of water smashed into Badding and Quintus hurting them badly. Finally Puck found the trident. He grasped it and felt Drown tug on his mind. But the gnome was prepared and had girded himself, he swam quickly up to within 30 feet of Templeton who whisked the trident up and away and into his bag of holding.
With Drown in an extra-dimensional place in the bag of holding, Templeton thought its ability to summon Al-Hydra would be broken. He glanced up at the writhing tentacles, but hope soon drained from his face as they continued to push their way out. Badding yelled, ‘Let me use it. It is my destiny!’ Templeton and Puck looked warily at the paladin who had already let one relic take control of him. Badding had almost run away with Wind Vein. Templeton suggested strongly that Quintus take the trident. Badding agreed and lent his aid to the cleric’s resolve.
Quintus reached into the bag of holding and brought forth Drown. He raised it over his head but before he could do anything else three streams of high pressure water cut into him from the tentacles. He dropped the trident as he fell into unconsciousness into the water below. Badding grasped Drown in his talons as it fell from Quintus’ hands. Badding raised the trident above his head and yelled, ‘At Last! My Destiny will be fulfilled!’
Templeotn and Puck looked at each other with worried looks as Badding pointed the trident at the sphere of tentacles and yelled, ‘Go Back from whence you came. This Portal is Closed!’ But nothing happened, the tentacles continued to push their way through. Templeton through up his hands in frustration but Badding was undeterred by his failure. With a mighty flap of his wings he flew into the air, swerved around a lashing tentacle and thrust the trident directly into the watery sphere. Drown was ripped from Badding’s hands and sucked into the sphere. The tentacles suddenly sucked back through the cracks in the sphere and the entire sphere itself shrunk to half its size and then exploded outwards in a huge blast of magic.
The force of the blast pushed Templeton and Puck away and forced them to look away. When they looked back they saw the watery sphere in the center of the island was gone with no sign of Al-Hydra. But Badding was lying in a puddle of blood on the edge of the island. Puck and Templeton looked at each other and slowly exhaled as a strange quietness fell over the water filled cavern. Templeton ran over and used his healer’s kit to bind the brave paladin’s wounds. Puck brought Brenn and Quintus bodies over to the island. Both had been saved by their Periapt of Wound Closure. Puck performed a ritual casting of Leomund’s Hut and the two began nursing their fallen comrades back to health and studying their spells. For they both agreed Vanifer and the fire cult must be next.