The hand crossbow bolt lodged in Jaron who promptly fell over.
“Ha Ha! I have returned to complete our duel” shouted Poltur from the other side of the makeshift barricade.
Bart sprung into action making an opening he could pass through. He crossed over and saw Poltur waiting for him further back in the passage where it turns sharply to the right. The fighter strode up to the smirking duelist and thrust Capt Vintresk’s magical trident into his belly.
Then the surprised man’s pained face was hidden by Balinda’s illusion cloud. He escaped down the passage and the rest of the group joined Bart including Jaron who had been partially healed by Gwaiyu. They returned together to their room and talked about what to do.
They decided Poltur was not going to let them recover all day and night. They would explore further. Balinda created an illusory Bartholomew and marched him down the passage while she followed invisibly. The rest followed her bringing light.
Capt Vintresk’s room was empty but there was an empty vial floating in the water. Poltur probably had healed himself. There was also light coming from the passage Lemmywinks had previously darted down during that earlier fight. They continued in that direction behind the illusion.
Illusionary Bart entered the 30 foot square room shouting for Poltur.
Radiance poured out of a giant water droplet suspended from the roof fills the chamber with more light than a noon sun. The fat droplet was fifteen feet in diameter and just as long, and quivered slightly in the still air. Within it, something serpentine and translucent undulated slowly. Poltur called out them calling them scoundrels. He was there but not fooled by the illusion.
Now that Balinda was closer she could see inside better. It was blinding in comparison to the rest of the caverns. The floor of the chamber is divided into five separate pools of clear water. Ten feet below the giant droplet was a square pool 10 feet across bounded by a stone walkway 1 foot wide. Small openings enter the chamber from each of the four corners of the room, and a narrow stone path leads to the central pool, with four trapezoidal pools formed by the intersecting pathways. The walls and ceiling are smooth, worked stone, glistening with moisture.
Jaron and Cromag were in the first rank. They had not entered the room but stayed in the hallway. Poltur took a shot at Jaron again but his bolt missed. He moved along the narrow ledge to them. Behind him two big snake heads poked out of the giant water drop.
Balinda conjured up a roomful of black tentacles that whipped around. Only the snake was grappled though. The giant water droplet is the prison of Shirqual, a water elemental and his pet amphisbaena, a snake with a head on each end. Poltur spoke to the elemental in it’s native tongue and it stepped out of the drop and took a badly aimed swing at Cromag.
At this the ghost of Pelastour materialized, calling out to his grandson that he hadn’t just released the water elemental from the drop only to fight but from also from it’s binding. The elemental gurgled angrily as it’s pet was being crushed. The ghost again started up it’s singing and raised the morale of the group. It seemed the fight was inevitable.
Jaron and Cromag fought back but the duelist was almost impossible to hit. Lemmywinks fired a scorching ray which he sidestepped but the second blasted the elemental. Balinda burst a glitterdust into the room and blinded Poltur but the duelist was undeterred. He lunged and ran Jaron through with his rapier. The man fell to the ground for the second time that morning. The elemental slammed Cromag with his watery fists then it was hit with a snowball spell from Lemmywinks. The tentacles continued to flap around but only successfully grappled the two headed snake.
Pelastour floated over and began healing. Jaron was awake again. Gwaiyu confused the amphisbeana but it continued to act normally. Lemmywinks drew on her magus powers and recalled her ray attack. She sent another two burning rays into the elemental critically wounding it. Cromag slashed and it retreated into the waterdrop.
By now the concentrated attacks on Poltur were taking their toll and he backflipped into the pool. He was underwater and temporarily safe but the dwarf hustled along the narrow ledge dodging tentacles. He was waiting for Poltur to surface. Then the elemental leaned down to stroke his pet, the confused amphisbaena lashed out and bit him. The elemental splashed apart. Gwaiyu using freedom of movement jumped in the pool after Poltur. He came up behind the man and struck him with his morningstar. The swing was true and Poltur stopped moving. Bubbles drifted up from his mouth.
The magic tentacles disappeared.
Two stones from a sling staff finished the giant magic snake. Poltur died as he was brought up to the ledge and his ghostly grandfather wailed. Pelestour began to fade. He told them that magic was no longer containing the water. He urged them to avoid fighting the Terraken directly but try to capture the amulet that controls it which was at the bottom of the oubliette. Then he was gone.
There was a rumble in the distance and they could feel tremors. Jaron was near death and ran out of the room. Cromag crawled into one of the water tubes leading out, or into, the room. Balinda crawled into another but she needed light so Lemmy went with her. Bartholomew crawled into another. Gwaiyu followed Jaron out. Nobody knew where the oubliette was.
Cromag found the correct way and the fatigued dwarfed called out. Balinda and Lemmywinks tube had ended in collapsed rock so they were on the way back and the only ones to hear him. His tunnel passed into the other side of the dry channel past the collapsed section. There was a breeze and the smell of salt water. They ran and left the fatigued dwarf behind telling him to get out.
The two of them took the old canal to it’s end. The channel opened into a huge pit at least one hundred feet across. A horizontal geyser of water shot from a fissure in the far wall thirty feet below the channel and blasted into the opposite stone wall and fell into a swirling froth eighty feet below. The water level was rapidly rising. At the bottom of the pit drifts the partially decomposed corpse of an enormous beast.
Balinda suggested Lemmywinks go down there and fish out the controlling amulet while she distracted the Terraken. The halfling was horrified and refused. The second plan was better.
As the shaft filled up Balinda created a fake wall to hide them from the beast. They stayed quiet and when the water lever reached the top, the Terraken roared in victory and scuttled down the old channel. The water kept rising and followed the undead dragon turtle.
Balinda and Lemmywinks took deep breaths and spider climbed down the wall into the churning water. They reached the bottom quickly. Balinda had a little trouble casting her detect magic but Lemmy’s worked right away. There was magic present. They stayed close and moved along the bottom of the pit.
Unfortunately the magic item turned out to be a sword and not the amulet. They continued on and this time Balinda sensed the next aura. This one required some probing but the wizard found it quickly – a ring still on a finger bone. She slipped it on and discovered it helped her swim.
Lemmy was becoming out out of breath when they found the Cloak of the Manta Ray. Now Balinda could breath and she took the halfling to the top before continuing. The water was flowing into the old canal now.
Balinda dove deep and zeroed in on the remaining magical aura. She found the Terraken amulet!
With the amulet she was able to see through the creature’s eyes and command it. It had been digging through the collapsed portion of the canal.
Balinda and Lemmywinks returned to the rest of the party in the inner port. All the rooms and passages were flooding and the water level in the inner port was rising but there would always be at least a dome of trapped air. They spent the rest of the night there in relative safety arguing about what to do.
Gwaiyu, using the cloak made a heroic effort to kill the creature with magic but all that did was make him realize that it both healed and struggled against the amulet’s control when commanded to ignore something attacking it.
Ultimately they decided to leave Balinda behind and seek out a church that could handle the destruction of the creature. Most of them left for Augustana the next day. That turned out to be the best decision.