After much debate about whether to go directly after Zenopus or seek out the Eye of Zenopus, a magical crystal that can return the site to Onyx the blind wizard who can then read the recovered spellbook of Zenopus and aid our heroes in their fight against Zenopus, it was decided to seek out the Crystal.
During this time, Gnarly returned to his cave in Harrowood to grow another Mushroom-man companion.
With the arrival of spring the townsfolk's spirits are high though there is a wary caution hovering in the air. There have been mysterious disappearances along the southern road to Brakken and Pirate ships have been spied once again in the distance.
As Arvin's Avengers prepared for another descent, Wolfheir and Adara (who have turned evil after exploring a magical room) were nowhere to be found, while Televon was discovered to be in his Moon-tower entranced with his moon-milk. So Slick Vinny, Tibag, Skwanky, Maudlin and Gnarly along with a few of his Mushroom-men in tow descend beneath the tower.
Making their way deep below the ground they once again enter the furnished room where their other companions had lost a battle with their evil selves. While in the chamber Vinny casts a Locate Object spell to seek out a magical crystal. Casting the spell, however leaves the adventurers in the room to long and the magic takes hold of them once again. Vinny, Gnarly and Tibag fall asleep while (evil) Skwanky and Maudlin engage in combat with their opposite selves.
The dwarf, after a brutal battle, defeats her evil self once again!
The halfling, however, who had earlier battled against his evil self and lost now found his conscious evil self in melee with his unconscious good self. In this case, the good Skwanky over came the evil Skwanky, forcing him back into his sub-conscious.
With the battles of the Sub-conscious over the party awakens and quickly leaves the room to continue their journey, still no closer to finding the Eye of Zenopus.
They worked their way through some twisting passages eventually coming upon a chamber filled with Zombies. After a battle with burning oil and swords (and a halfling atop a Mushroom-man) the zombies lay dead with the party little worse for ware.
Beyond that room they found hall where there were three doors. Beyond each of these doors were swirling colored portals. Before anyone could stop him, Skwanky leaped through one of the portals and disappeared!
Cursing the halfling and debating whether to leave him to his own fate, Tibag and Slick Vinny experiment with the portals by tossing things through them. Not having any luck determining what might happen to someone or something going through the portal, Tibag thought about sacrificing himself by leaping through the portal and trying to bring the troublesome halfling back. Gnarly decided to send his owl Tuk through the portal and, being able to 'see' through the eyes of his familiar determine the fate of their companion.
Meanwhile, Skwanky, having passed through the portal found himself in complete darkness. Lighting a torch he discovered that he was in a cavern with a passage headed south. Before he had a chance to explore more, items being sent through the portal by his companions appeared behind him, however, there was no way to return through the portal from which he came. It was only one way!
Soon, Tuk the owl appeared with Skwanky.
The others, after Gnarly relayed what Tuk had seen, decided to follow the halfling through and share their fate together. Soon they were all on the other side of the one-way portal not knowing where in the earth or universe they may be.
Maudlin the dwarf deduced that they were at least deeper beneath the surface than they were before. A lower level, perhaps?
Together again the party moved through the cave until it opened up into a large cavern. In one corner was a large primitive looking statue, but that wasn't the oddity. What they found scattered randomly throughout the cave were a number of giant eye-balls embedded within the floor blinking and staring, watching the intruders every move.
Further within the large cavern was what appeared to be blue lava flowing from a small opening and passing down a passage in the east.
Tibag explored the statue while Skwanky examined one of the eyes. The halfling looked into the eye and saw only the eye staring back at him but detected a consciousness behind it. He moved onto another eye and at this one became almost hypnotized by it. Within the halfling's mind, he saw the most grotesque images of indescribable and unimaginable horror; empty pantries, wasted food, bare cupboards. That was too much for little Skwanky and he went running madly and screaming in horror down the passageway.
Slick Vinny, having had enough of his tiny impulsive companion, pulled out a wand and paralyzed Skwanky in his tracks!
Gnarly ordered one of the Mushroom-men to hoist the halfling under it's arms and carry him along and along with the party feeling it best to leave the room of the eyeballs behind, walked down the twisting east passage.
The blue lava flowed along the tunnel which were still filled with the embedded eyeballs. Finally the blue lava crossed their path and they had to work their way over it which was a bit of a challenge for the weak (Vinny) and the stubby (Maudlin).
As they proceeded the cave narrowed to just a thin opening. Walking single file they passed a number of opening on either side but continued south. Eventually the passage opened up into a cavern filled with mist as warm air from the east mingled with the chilly air above the blue lava.
Trying to cross the eyeball littered cavern the party heard a deep hooting sound soon followed by a growl. Gnarly, sending Tuk the owl in the direction of the sound, saw the party being approached by a large Owlbear. Quick thinking Vinny ensnared the beast with a web spell trapping it. With the beast trapped, Tibag and Maudlin hacked away at it until it died with the ever watchful eyeballs observing.
Exploring the southern portion of the cavern where the Owlbear had come from, they found a narrow cave opening where the blue lava was flowing into. There was a narrow ledge leading into this cave. Tibag worked his way along the edge but slipped. And to the horror of his companions fell into the icy blue lava, freezing into a fragile crystalline form and was swept away into the darkness never to be heard from again.
Slick Vinny, Maudlin and Gnarly were in shock while the paralyzed halfling shed a tear. They were now trapped and lost beneath the surface of the earth.
To Be Continued…..