16th Day of the Third Month – 5th Day of the Fourth Month
Valdimir rests up in Machida for a week and recruits an adventurous elf, Dashna, and another dwarf, Barrloff. Returning to the village, they trick Luta’s grumpy husband into getting them an audience with her. She willingly helps to sneak them to the well.
Vladimir cleverly avoids a hidden, underwater sinkhole and then follows a set of tracks to the toad-god’s lair. The huge, bloated, man-toad thing greets them, unafraid, and offers them treasure in return for “the girl”, who apparently has the boy they seek. The adventurers ask for the boy instead, and the toad-god agrees.
After the tense encounter, they follow the toad-god’s directions to where “the girl” is supposed to be. They examine the strange, childlike illustrations scratched into the glowing moss on the walls and don’t notice the web-footed, mutant children that are attacking them. A couple of the strange child-things are slain, but the rest flee.
Soon, the party encounters another pool of water that they have to cross. They do so, and are attacked by more mutant children beneath the muddy water. The party does their best to scramble out of the muck before turning around and slaying their attackers.
In the next cavern, they find a crazy pre-teen girl and the little boy that they were sent to find. The boy is happy to be rescued, but the girl insists that everyone else is just a figment of her imagination. Still, she offers to lead them back to the well, which she does. She refuses to be “rescued”, though, so Dashna clubs her over the head so that the girl won’t resist. There’s some discussion and plotting of how to get out of the well with the unconscious girl when the frog-god erupts from the water!
The party tries to lie to the frog-god. “Well, of course we weren’t lying. Here’s the girl right here for you. Let us just get out and we’ll give her to you.” Unfortunately, they let Barrloff do the talking, and he manages to enrage the bloated monster, who immediately attacks!
Luckily, the frog-god is just out of their reach, and Dashna is able to get off an acorn-themed magic missile, which has a solid impact on the monster. Unfortunately, it’s not enough, and the the thing rampages over the party, nearly slaying Dashna before being brought down by the dwarves. There’s a metaphysical shift, like a bubble popping, as the frog-god dies. Also, its vile blood poisons the well.
The dwarves check on Dashna, and it looks like she’ll live if they can get her somewhere to rest. They don’t yet realize that the injury has lasting consequences.
The party waits tensely for nightfall, when Luta returns to drop down their rope. She does, and with some effort and planning, they manage to get the severely injured and the unconscious out of the well safely.
They leave the girl with Luta, who recognizes her as Fei-Lan, a sacrifice from nearly three years ago. They take the boy to his merchant father, and are rewarded with two valuable gems and his eternal gratitude.
A couple of weeks later, the party returns to have a few words with the child-sacrificing jerks of the small village, but find that bandits have beaten them to it. There is nothing and no one left. Climbing back down the (now tainted) well, they return to the frog-god’s lair to loot it of several hundred coins, some gems, and a bamboo scroll.
While the ruins of the village hold several dead bodies, there’s no sign of Luta or Fei-Lan. Evidence suggests that the bandits came from the north, so the party plans to pay them a visit.
NEXT: Moonhaunt Part 1