The group set off again into the complex in search of the remaining material components. They made their way to the main entranceway of the complex; a spacious room with a large, heavy wooden table dominating the center of the room. Of their several choices, the group chose to explore through a set of large double doors in the west wall of the room. Beyond lay a short, wide corridor, ending in another set of double doors. Suspecting foul play, Linden scouted the hallway; his keen elven eyes easily picking out the trap doors in the floor. Savain was able to disable the first. Alex, Morwain, and Josh tore the table top from its bases to act as a bridge across the second trap door.
They entered through the second set of double doors into an enormous workroom. Large worktables dominated the center of the room, scraps of metal and tools littering their top. The back of the cavernous room lay shrouded in shadow, yet they could hear movement within. Josh tried to parley with whoever lay beyond, but was quickly rebuffed. They group cautiously made their way further into the room. Their sunrod soon shedding its light into the rest of the room.
At the back of the workroom stood their many foes. They were quickly identified as a black pudding, a carnage demon, and several rupture demons. The battle was begun. The rupture demons were easily dispatched, but each demon’s death seemed to heal and empower the carnage demon. Though its blows were tremendous, Alex and Savain were able to dodge and parry most of its attempts to claw them, while dealing out plenty of pain back at the carnage demon; Linden’s arrows eventually felling the foul beast. Meanwhile, the rest of the group was in a pitched and desperate battle with the black pudding. It’s every touch caused caustic acid to sear its prey. Every slice and pummel of their weapons on the pudding separated a chunk of its viscous body onto the floor beside it, each chunk taking up the fight against the Eldritch Blades; their small appendages smearing painful acid everywhere they struck. The large pudding would stretch its body out, engulfing several of the group in a slick appendage, tightening its grip on them and burning them continuously with its acidic ooze, sapping them of their strength to continue the fight.
It was a hard fought battle. Several of the group were dropped by their caustic wounds. But teamwork, skill, and their unwavering resilience won them the battle. Though, they were in very poor condition to continue their search of the complex. They had only been exploring for a handful of hours. To fully recuperate from their ordeal would require them to hole up for the rest of the day. The group decided to risk barricading themselves into the workroom for the duration, hoping to see the next day without interruption.
Their hopes were not to be. A scant hour after barricaded themselves into the room, they could hear attempts being made to break into the room. They quickly mobilized and escaped through a secret door Savain and Linden had discovered. They passed several rooms covered in cobwebs, choosing to leave these rooms unexplored. They came upon a well furnished parlor and bedroom. A quick search of the room revealed a chest with a small treasure and the remaining ritual components. Considering the mission complete, the group decided to make haste for the outside gondola for the return trip to the surface. As they exited the complex, they were set upon by another patrol; this one led by a robed wizard. Linden called forth his spiritual ally, his panther companion, blocking the guards from reaching them, in time for Alex and Morwain to block the door closed so they could make their escape.
The group raced across the beach to the gondola, with Sevain and Alex rushing inside the guardhouse to winch the rest across the lake and up to the ledge by the entrance. As they started their ascent, the wizard and his guards burst out of the complex’s entranceway, peppering those in the gondola with crossbows and arcane attacks. Morwain’s axes and Linden’s bow made short work of the first guard and seriously wounded the wizard. The wizard retreated back into the complex, followed by his remaining guard. Linden called forth his panther companion once again to block their escape. With a mighty roar, the panther savaged the wizard as he tried to escape past into the safety of the complex. The wizard was dead and the remaining guard fled, Alex and Savain were able to send the gondola to the top of the cavern, soon following behind themselves.
The group made their weary way through the lava tube out onto the surface of the mountain. They were met with a torrential rain. They made what haste they could back to Cauldron, delivering the ritual components to Jenya at the Temple of Bahamut. Grateful for their heroism, Jenya wasted no time in gathering her acolytes and priests to perform the ritual, as the torrential rains of the past several days had filled the caldera lake to overflowing, threatening many buildings in the lower city. Morwain assisted in the lengthy ritual, while the others returned to their residence for a much needed rest.