Nong gets up from his rest and moves toward the door to the dock where Royce found footsteps; the others follow him out the door. Nong gets within a foot of the rowboat when it begins to glow a familiar shade of light and then suddenly, BOOM! The boat explodes as necrotic energy washes over the party. An image of Naismith opening the beholder’s chest under the Bolts and Bows enters Nong’s mind, as he blinks to gather himself after feeling the impact of the blast.
The party somewhat in shock licks their wounds as they determine what to do next. Nong takes the row boat behind the opposite door and paddles his way down the tunnel until he is out of reach for the wand to disrupt a much needed rest for the others. He notices further down the tunnel that it descends as water begins to move with a current; he can also hear the sound of falling water further down the tunnel.
The others manage to rest on the dock except for Naismith who tossed and turned unable to stop the nightmares in his head of the tiger man laughing and taunting him; now awake and cranky Naismith realizes no benefits came from that rest for him. He senses a familiar invisible orb pop into existence ten feet behind him. He grabs his cloak, swings it over the orb, dragging it into the water and under the dock. “That will keep you from spying on me brother!” says Naismith grasping onto the cloak; within minutes the orb disappears.
Nong returns to the party and describes the tunnel; Naismith decides to investigate it further. Naismith flies into the tunnel where five hundred feet in, finds the waterfall Nong described; he flies over the waterfall and follows it down, five hundred feet to the bottom. The waterfall opens to a cavernous pool; Naismith flies around the pool and sees no exit nor remnants of boat debris and decides to return to the party.
The Drow’s Bane take a gamble and proceed down the tunnel where they experienced the boat explosion; they bring with them the rowboat from the other tunnel. Three hundred feet into the tunnel they begin to notice phosphorescent lichen across the tunnel walls and ceiling and notice it opens into a cavern a few hundred feet further. The cavern is large and on the opposite side from where they enter, is a small beach surrounded on both sides by various fungi. Naismith flies toward the beach and catches a glimpse of a rowboat stowed behind a large mushroom and some tracks in the sand moving toward a dark tunnel. As Naismith lands on top of a large mushroom, he hears a loud shrieking noise coming from one of the smaller mushrooms. “A shrieker! So much for approaching stealthily,” gasps Naismith as he throws his dagger and silences it.
Their rowboat makes its way onto the beach where they move in toward the tunnel. One hundred feet into the tunnel the party hears a deep voice in undercommon say “Death comes in the night?” The answer the Drow’s Bane provides seems to cause a silent pause followed by sounds of quick movement. The party continues inward and as the tunnel opens to a large cavern where those with darkvision, see 3 huge formorians carrying clubs and a tiefling mage in between them launch an attack. Royce is banished by the mage while the others slowly whittle down the formorians. However, the formorian evil eye gets the best of Nong and Naismith as they become hunchbacked slowing their abilities under the curse.
With minimal light in the cavern once Royce is banished, Cat runs toward a rope that sections off another tunnel exiting this cavern. As she approaches the rope she witnesses it light up like the rowboat and explode; familiar necrotic energy washes over the party and a fomorian. The battle is long and it takes its toll on both sides eventually ending with a party victory at high cost. Royce and Mordrock spend spells to restore Nong and Naismith from their curse, however they realize Naismith is under two curses, a rakshasa and formorian curse, requiring further magic to heal him fully.
Naismith finds during his search the proper password in response to the fomorian’s question, “Death comes in the night? Not for you comrade.”
Nong returns to the rowboat and rows back out to the cavern to allow the party to take a short rest. The party is interrupted as they hear something deeper into the tunnel sectioned off by the exploding rope. This time it is gnome assassins firing poison arrows at the party; the assassins chip away at them and behind the assassin appears a gnome mage who successfully banishes Royce to a demiplane maze!
This fight lasts for awhile as each side uses guerrilla warfare tactics while Nong on the water, is oblivious to what is taking place inside the cavern. Mordrock, Cat and Naismith finally get the upper hand and take down the assassins as they endure a fireball from the gnome mage. They knock the mage’s concentration off causing him to free Royce from his maze prison. As the party attacks the mage, he casts fly on himself and flees deeper into the tunnel.
The party recalls their instant fortress out in the water to have a short rest and tend to their wounds. Once rested they quickly move back down the tunnel in search of the gnome mage, where they find a large spherical shape at the end of the tunnel. The party wonders if it is a beholder or maybe even the Xanathar. They launch daggers in its direction and watch as the daggers connect with it, causing the spherical shape to explode. Nong runs up to it and recognizes the pieces of the spherical fungus flesh and the poison spores lingering in the air, “Not a beholder but a gas spore,” says Nong. He also sees beyond the dead gas spore, double doors made of gold.
As the poison spores settle, the party crosses through to the golden double doors. Both doors are embossed with a beholder looking victorious in battle. They listen in and hear on the other side, crying among sounds of chains. “These doors look important. We might be at the Xanathar’s lair?” asks Royce.
The party hesitant at first, turns the door handles and carefully opens the doors.