Having discovered the likely cause of the disappearance of the miners and the shutdown of the mine, the party defeated a mysterious foe attempting to open a portal to the Elemental Plane of Earth. Unfortunately, as the battle ended, they discover they’ve attracted a hungry Xorn.
Still fresh or, rather, not yet recovered from their battle with Mortimer and the crysmals, the party are running down the passage back to the chamber where they descended pursued by a hungering creature.
Margarigon and Dhohlos recognize the creature as a Xorn. Thinking quickly, Dhohlos has Margarigon throw the gems found after defeating the crysmals farther down the passage away from them and then casts Gust of Wind to send the stones just behind the creature in the hopes of tempting it away from the group. The the Xorn pauses for a moment but senses more valuable ‘food’ on the the party continuing after them.
Zora trips falling behind the others just in range to be bit by the Xorn. It knocks her unconscious. Tortuga stops, turns, and rushes back picking her up and continuing to run away. As they do so, Margarigon casts Healing Word on Zora bringing her back to consciousness. As she awakens with a throbbing headache and scowl, Tort can see her hands begin to glow with dark Eldritch energy. The tortle holds Zora tighter preventing her from shooting back saying, “Not jus yet, lass, let’s gets some spans ‘tween us first off.”
Still trying to get away, Dhohlos casts Thunderwave as Margarigon uses Thaumaturgy to increase the sound of the blast hoping to deafen the creature. As the blast rolls down the corridor it severely compromises the integrity of the ceiling. As the Xorn moves in on the party, Margarigon stands between it and the rest. However, the creature strikes out at the minotaur several times soon dropping him to the ground unconscious.
With Zora able to move on her own, Tort sets her down and rushes to grab Margarigon. As he reaches the minotaur, Maio casts Vicious Mockery hoping to distract and hobble the creature. Seeing the situation getting worse, Zora shoots an Eldritch Blast towards the Xorn but it’s deflected hitting the ceiling causing it to collapse. With only one direction left for the party, they run. As Tort pulls Margarigon closer to the rest, Dhohlos uncorks a Healing Potion pouring it into Margarigon’s mouth. The minotaur awakens. He and Tort cover the retreat of the others as a furious Margarigon repeatedly uses Toll the Dead until the unrelenting Xorn is killed.
Seeing the creature go limp as it seems to hang between having phased between the open air and the stone wall of the passage, the tortle and minotaur tear at one of its limbs. They pull away a good sized piece of its skin or hide as a trophy. With the others telling them to hurry up, they continue on out of the passage. The embedded gems and metallic veins seem to undulate as the light they emit increases and rumbles grow in the earth around them. As the last one out of the perfectly circular pit they had initially descended into, Tortuga sees a huge blast of light and a sudden quake as though something has collapsed or caved in.
The party burst out of the mine at a good clip. Exhausted and beaten up, they all realize they need a long rest. While they consider staying in the lodge used by the still missing but presumed dead miners, they ultimately decide to find a hidden spot in the woods hoping it will be safer. The day and night go by without incident. The group awaken glad to be in one piece and satisfied they have enough intel to fulfill their contract with the Bards’ College.
Traveling back to the city is also uneventful. The party stop briefly to inspect the area where they had encountered the burnt wagon. They can surmise it eventually made its way on to wherever it was going. Once in the city, the group head straight to the college to check in. There they meet with Isaac, who had tasked them with the mission, and relate their findings. Isaac gives the party a Sending Stone (which Dhohlos takes responsibility of) through which he will be able to give them further instructions or offer contracts. The party are each given the remaining half of their warrant (250 gp). Upon leaving the group looks over the magic items they’ve found. Maio takes on the poncho recovered from Mortimer discovering it is a Mantle of Stone’s Strength, and Zora figures out the stone tuning fork can be used to create a portal to the Elemental Plane of Earth. The group breaks up to conduct business in the college and bazaar.
Tortuga realizes his longsword isn’t going to be suitable against mystical beasts. They gives their longsword to Maio (along with all their gold minus half the reward and its share of the bandit loot) asking if they can find a way to make it do some kind of magical damage. Tort explains he only needs the bone hilt to remain as it’s the carved thigh bone of a great ancestor and that anything else may be done to the weapon. The tortle then accompanies Margarigon as the minotaur inquires around the college for someone with the skills to make the Xorn hide they have into something interesting–perhaps some armored flourish.
The minotaur meets with the haughty artificer Alyce Giggone who quotes him an exorbitant price while belittling his understanding and value of what they have salvaged from the Xorn. However, Margarigon is given the name of a gnomish artificer, Pippabelle, who may be willing to make something to his liking. As Tortuga departs to ask around the bazaar for the location of Private Branston (the husband of the woman whose wagon was robbed), Margarigon goes to meet with Pippabelle. After a series of fireworks, (Margarion accidentally setting off a room of explosives, the two being doused in flame retardant by a mechanical great cat, and Pippabelle’s halfling partner flipping open his desk like a magical rolodex) some interesting upgrades are agreed upon.
Maio and Zora wander the bazaar looking to get the best value for their items. Zora searches for someone to purchase the Elemental Tuning Fork while Maio looks for someone able to use the pounce of crysmal sapphire dust they have to enchant her and maybe Tort’s weapons. Both eventually find what they need. Maio makes contact with an elven woman who it turns out owns the bazaar named Lois. Impressed with her presence and knowledge, Maio inquiries about whether Lois takes on students or mentors individuals. While not quite keen on the idea, Lois is polite and seems to be intrigued by Maio.
After poking around the bazaar and college, Tortuga discovers no one really knows of a Branston currently with the city guard. However, they are able to find out about a retired city guard by the name living on a farm outside the city. Figuring it’s close enough, Tort finds directions there. Wandering around, the tortle finds Dhohlos and asks for the wooden chest they group took from the bandits. Dhohlos produces it from the Bag of Holding. Tort opens the broken lockbox placing his share of the gold the party had divided up into it as well as half of his reward from the college. Closing the box and holding it in their hands in front of their chest, they proceed towards where they were told the farm was. Dhohlos decides to accompany the tortle. As they walk, the triton slips his how share of the gold taken from the chest into it; the tortle nods in approval.
Arriving at the farm, Tortuga calls out to the farmhouse. A man steps into the frame of the front door eying the pair suspicious. Tort explains who they are and Branston confirms it was his wife and wagon the party encountered. Holding out the chest to Branston, Tort explains as best they can how the bandits were found, defeated, and that the chest was recovered. Seeing the lock broken, Branston is slightly concerned. Tort tells him the bandits must’ve just gotten it open suggesting. The farmer buys the tortle’s excuse gladly accepting the return of their property and coin. He attempts to invite them in, but Tortuga waves him off. Dhohlos and Tort make their way back to the city.
As they do, they see a thin line of black smoke rising from within the college as Tortuga asks “Wonder ‘ow the res of ’em are doing?”
The party level up! And are now 4th level players.