Two days ago: On the trail of Duellon the Proud, Mawgojzeta heads north into minotaur country. She finds the remains of a camp with two minotaur corpses, their heads having evidently exploded. Duellon’s trail is joined by a much larger group, which continues north. Seeing a minotaur observing her from afar, she waves a greeting. There is no response.
As night falls, the grassy plains offer no shelter. She makes camp on top of a small rise and, after a cold meal, falls asleep.
She is awoken by a minotaur swinging his axe down towards her. Rolling out of the way and standing, she commands the minotaur to stop, but it pays no heed and swings at her again. In her most reasonable voice, she explains that she is not hostile and has drawn no weapon, and that the best thing would be for the minotaur to return to his commander and say that all the problems have been dealt with. The minotaur lowers his axe, turns, and walks back the way he came.
The minotaurs in Wave Echo Cave do not look like stopping for anything. Mortimer, at work on the spellforge, turns himself invisible as soon as they enter. The rest of the party prepare for battle.
No Name manages to place a flaming sphere in the doorway through which the minotaurs are entering, but not before a dozen or so are already in the cave. They attack.
The battle is desperate. Rima, near the back of the cave, sings a song to strengthen her comrades. Jack’s eldritch blasts and Carreg’s firebolts do little to slow the minotaurs’ advance. Soon they are in melee range. Jack sprints down a side corridor, trying to draw the minotaurs away from the rest of the group. A handful follow him, racing through the twists and turns of the passageway until it opens suddenly onto a deep chasm. Jack makes the jump to the other side. The minotaurs stop at the edge, save for one poor soul who plummets into the dark.
Mawgojzeta picks up the trail again the next morning, following it north into hill country. In the evening, cautiously cresting a hill, she comes across a group of opaque domes arrayed in front of a cave mouth. Each is large enough to hold ten people, and she deduces that this must be the enemy encampment. It is evidently a large force. She can hear the sound of a river not too far away, which may provide an alternate route into the cave, but trying to trace its route at night in hostile territory would be folly. Instead, she seeks out shelter for the night.
Before long, she finds a small cave that shows no signs of recent habitation. Within is a resting place of comparative luxury – it even has a hot spring and a pool. Glad of the opportunity, Mawgojzeta peels off her tight, supple leather and slips her lithe, smooth body into the steaming pool. Yes, it’s sweeps week.
Back in the cave, things are not going so well for our heroes. Despite fighting fiercely, Carreg, Rima, No Name and the Bard fall under the minotaurs’ overpowering assault. Surveying the fallen, the minotaur leader gives her followers a stern command: “Kill them all.”
Recovering enough strength in the nick of time, the Bard manages to sit up and speak to the minotaur leader, gaining a stay of execution. It transpires that the minotaurs had only ever been planning to watch the party closely, until the party killed their scouts inside the cave entrance. “An eye for an eye until the world goes blind?” asks the Bard. They make peace.
Water begins surging into the cave.
Early in the morning, Mawgojzeta wakes feeling most refreshed. She returns to the hill where she spotted the enemy encampment the previous night. The domes are gone, and the large force of glass-staffs is forming up for battle. Their leader, the battle-mage Clausis, addresses her troops – “Kill everything in the complex”.
Mawgojzeta decides it’s time to try the river. She finds it easily enough, and discovers the wide pipe that leads into the cave. Hoping there isn’t a grille at the other end, she takes a deep breath and plunges in.
Water plunges into the cave, and plunging with it comes Mawgojzeta, landing in a hero stance amidst the party, water dripping from her glistening tight leather. As previously established, it’s sweeps week.
The water powers the spellforge, and Mortimer uses it to heal the party before scampering back up to the higher level to rejoin his companions. Jack also returns, after word was sent down the corridor of an end to hostilities.
Mawgojzeta asks if the party got what they came for. “Why should we trust you?” asks No Name. But the debate is cut short when Clausis and her glass-staffs sweep into the cavern. The minotaurs try to hold them off in close combat, while the party tries to attack them with spells, but it is of little use. Fire bolts bounce off magical shields, counterspells diffuse Mawgojzeta’s hypnotic illusions, and Clausis’ Globe of Invulnerability proves, well, invulnerable.
The party retreats through the water channel, back the way Mawgojzeta came. The Bard is the first to go, swimming up through the pipe and breaking surface in the river, his long hair arcing behind him, sparkling in the sun, his tight wet body arched as he takes a deep breath of free air. Again, sweeps week.
The others follow. Mortimer delays as long as he can, wrapping his precious maps up with a waterproof covering. Carreg lets loose a firebolt as she dives into the water, incinerating one hapless glass-staff who had been the focus of much of their fire.
Finally, Mortimer is ready and, not a moment too soon, he plunges into the water, bringing himself and his precious, hard-won maps to safety.
Well, relatively speaking.