The party travels deeper into the labyrinth of tunnels that make up the mine system of Lost Stone. The first chamber they enter off of the large main cavern had a few ghouls that were easily dispatched. There they followed a set of stairs up out of the bloody muck they’d been traveling through thus far.
Down the tight halls atop the stairs, the party stumbles across a fast flowing underground river. Trying to reach an out of the way passage, the party has Luna Diamond-hawk fly over as a bird and then tie a rope around a nearby boulder. Tink anchors the other end of the line. Ever nimble, Tetra and Illnorin get right across. Rurik, however is another story. He fumbles his grip in his plate gauntlets and falls into the river.
Illnorin dives in after him but immediately realizes there’s something more sinister to these waters. As he approaches Rurik, he can see disembodied hands reaching and pulling all about his dwarf friend. Then he begins to feel the tug. Hands from every direction. Hands forming from the rapid flowing waters of the river itself. They grab and pull with the strength of the river itself and Illnorin can feel himself being quickly pulled under.
Tink also springs into action as soon as he sees the dwarf fall in. He takes a moment to pull in his rope. As he prepares to leap in behind Illnorin, he can see that his agile friend, who should have no problem swimming the river, reaching out as he’s being pulled under. Tink launches off the shore like a missile to his Elf friend. He’s caught off guard by the hands now reaching from all directions. He’s unable to fend them off and pull Illnorin to safety but the Elf manages to kick off of his burly friend and grab a hold of a bridge downstream.
Zelda helps Illnorin to shore and as he’s coughing up mouthfuls of water she watches Tink pass under them. She magically gives herself gills and dives in after Tink. The two of them struggle back to shore.
Luna Diamond-hawk and Tetra, unsure of what to do and having been stranded alone on the opposite shore, they begins to head down the passage. That is until they hear the shambling and excited howls of hungry ghouls on to a scent… The two of them clasp together and fall head long into the rushing current. It’s all they can do to stay together as the river pulls them downstream and under the waves.
Illnorin’s keen senses pick out the girls just as they’re about to go under. He quickly ties some rope to an arrow and lacking options- fires it at the girls and hits Tetra. He pulls them to shore and the party tries to recollect itself as Tink continues to focus on finding Rurik.
Rushing around the bend of the river, Tink and Zelda spot Rurik laid out, lifeless on a crumbled section of bridge that used to span the river. Tink manages to lasso Rurik but as he pulls him back through the water the river pulls back. Tink tries with all his might against the river’s strength but ultimately it’s the rope that snaps and leaves the party speechless on shore.
Having all nearly died, the group hesitates into action. They are also now faced with a sheer rock face at the end of the flow. The river, itself, plunging back underground at it’s base. Zelda stills sports her gills and decides to dive in and comb the bottom for Rurik. Again, the river is too much and holds her down. Tink realizes that she’s not coming back up after some time and also realizes he’s the only one with the strength to fight the current and the disembodied hands. He dives back into the deadly flow.
Tink easily finds the trapped wizard and frees her. He pulls her to shore. He tosses her at the feet of his comrades and without saying a word wades back into the river. Shouts of disapproval and pleas to stay coming from behind, stoically the Paladin takes one last gulp of air and dives powerfully to the depths of the river. Not finding the dwarf in the immediate area, Tink knows now what he must do…
The soaked party waits above for what seems like an eternity. Rurik was surely too far gone and Tink’s selfless act was surely suicide. Several moments pass as the group sits around stunned. The odd dwarf is a loss, having saved many of the group from the brink with his healing magics… but to Illnorin and Luna Diamond-hawk, losing their righteous Orc friend is a muc more devastating blow. Luna Diamond-hawk begins to weep. Ghost and Illnorin both move to comfort their adoptive sister. Tetra and Zelda even feel the weight of the blow, having found a true friend and selfless warrior in someone they had been at odds with during much of the events at Nightfall.
Rurik must have been pulled passed the point of no return, deep into the bowels of the earth, deep into the unknown. Tink calls out to Pelor in his mind and asks for strength. Pelor replies in the form of a wave of pure courage. Tink let’s himself go. Gives in to the flow of the current. He’s pulled onward by the clutch of the hands. He feels himself descend over a precipice and his speed increases! It’s now black as pitch. He gives into his other senses. The oxygen from his last breaths begin to wane and his throat begins to tighten but he focuses on feeling his way along. Trusting Pelor. Just as he can feel himself about to enter a jet-like stream, his hand strikes something familiar. It’s hard… smooth… steel… A breastplate! He grabs out frantically! Reaching! As fast as he’s pulled along! Success! He locks on to something! A leg! A dwarf leg!
This stops him cold from being swept further along. Tink uses all his strength to pull himself up the dwarf, back towards the precipice. Once he’s in a better position, he tries to pull Rurik away but he won’t budge. Feeling around in the dark for the answer to the hang up, Tink begins to swoon from lack of air. He can feel his vision going black in another way. He can feel his grip loosen… He can feel his muscles begin to fail… The courage Pelor instilled upon him beginning to fail… With what remains in his lunges Tink physically cries out for his god! With the mightiest of bellows he empties his lunges- PELORRRRR!!!!!! And again his god answers- an explosion of warmth from within, an explosion of great strength!! As the water fills his lunges, Tink drives forward, his hands locked upon the dwarf, his feet planted squarely against the river bed. He rockets passed the precipice, finds more footing and then rockets himself and the dwarf to the shore. Dwarf and Orc alike collapse there.
Tetra and Zelda immediately rush to their aid. They begin to perform a number of techniques used to revive sailors who’ve gone overboard. Tink and Rurik are luckily revived after some time. The group takes some time to reflect on what just happened and thank each other… To Be Continued…