With water breathing up, most of the party was able to walk along the bottom of the underground river instead of swimming, which meant only Artican (the canary cleric) was forced to ride in Alex's pocket, since he couldn't walk or swim. The water got murkier, though -- there was light, from glowing fungus lining the walls -- but the water was slightly cloudy and some sort of kelp-like thing (only pale white instead of green) made the water very difficult to see very far in.
An hour or so of travel later, Alex was pretty sure she heard something coming, so they formed up and... were ambushed by a pair of sharks. The narrow tunnel made it hard for them to focus their attacks, but the sharks weren't very accurate against Alex or the Dragonne, and once one of the sharks was wounded, the other one turned on it and savaged it instead of the party. Strangely, the dead sharks dissolved into boody goo -- those trained in arcana thought that it was some sort of modified summoning spell, perhaps?
A few hundred feet later, the underground river opened up into a larger underground cavern. Alex, scouting ahead, though she saw an air pocket at the top of the cavern, but when she swam up towards it to try to see what was up there, she again heard something swimming around in the cavern with her. She'd heard it in time to get back to the little tunnel just ahead of the MASSIVE set of shark jaws that tried to engulf her, and since it had to squeeze into the little tunnel it wasn't able to quite get her. So, after being shot and stabbed a couple times (and getting a spiritual weapon cast on it), the giant shark swam off, to be replaced by a swarm to littler sharks -- a dozen of them!
Despite the awkwardness, the party decided to stay in the tunnel, far enough back that the big shark couldn't get to them past the swarm. Eventually they caught on that wounding each shark a little made them all turn on each other -- as long as no one in the party was bleeding, anyway. Artican's AOE heal helped with that, closing all wounds even if it didn't make them quite as good as new. So they took a few bites, but soon the swarm was wiped out, and the caster who'd been summoning them realized the futility and stopped.
With the swarm gone, the giant shark again shoved itself into the tunnel to try to eat someone, and missed again, and this time Alex was invisible and managed to lodge an arrow in a sensitive place, making the shark bleed profusely. It swam back to its master for bandaging, and Alex was convinced to try to swim out invisibly to see who was doing all this.
Unfortunately, sharks fight by sense of smell, and while the invisibility wasn't *useless*, the shark did know where to bite, and managed to get its giant maw around the rogue and swallow her whole, taking her from full health to unconscious and dying in one attack. Fortunately for Alex, she had a pocket cleric. Artican, who was still in her pocket, brought her back to consciousness, and she carved her way out of the giant shark's stomach, disemboweling it in the process.
Without his companion, and with most of his summoning used earlier, the sahaugin sharkmaster was easy prey, and the party slaughtered him appropriately. He had a fancy metamagic rod that he was using to summon extra sharks, and they took that along with the giant shark's ring of deflection and enchanted barding -- the barding was too large and weirdly shaped to automatically resize for anyone or anything in the party, but maybe they could get the enchantment transferred to something else, or otherwise alter it to be usable.
The way to the sahaugin village from there was clearly marked, and the sahaugin on guard spoke Aquan, which Lilia was fluent in. They refused to let the party talk to the tribe unless they proved their strength -- by facing the giant shark that they'd already killed. They tried to show the guards the body, but it was gone, dragged off into a side passage by some scavenger probably, but Lilia was able to talk them into accepting their possession of the shark's barding as proof that they'd killed it.
The tribe was leery about the prospect of mining, and wasn't very interested in 'shiny rocks', but since the party had proved themselves strong (by killing their chief) they were willing to at least go to the mine and take a look. The trip underwater would have stretched even their backup water breathing spell, though, so they told the sahaugin they'd meet them at the lake near the mine, and headed back to the kobold dungeon, retracing their steps to the workshop/vault where they'd rested the night.
The vault door was still closed, but after unlocking it it seemed to be jammed. Suspicious, Alex checked it for traps, and noticed tiny traces of some sort of acid leaking around the edges -- if they had managed to force it open somehow, they'd have been immersed in a flood of acid and probably... well, probably badly wounded, honestly. High level adventurers are pretty hard to kill.
So, instead, they poked around in the other tributaries of the underground river and found an unworked cavern underneath the mushroom farm, where the water there drained into the river. Being unworked, they were able to cast transmute rock to mud and bring the ceiling down -- along with a huge pack of ghouls! That... were stuck in the mud. Lilia's eidolon grabbed her and flew her up through the new opening, while Alex and Ironhoof climbed, leaving the ghouls behind in the mess. There were kobolds in the farm, and elsewhere in the dungeon, but they weren't willing to face the party against without a prepared position and fled before them as they made their way to the stage and back up through the catwalks, hurrying to the exit.
Then it was just a matter of travelling back to Black Run through the mountain pass. Ironhoof's keen eyes spotted the pack of Tengu that they'd had trouble with before shadowing them for some reason, but for hours and hours they didn't attack. Until, finally, as the party exited the mountains, they decided that it was now or never and activated their mirror image spells.
Unfortunately for them, the party knew they were being followed, and since it was obvious an attack was imminent Artican put up an invisibility purge and readied a symbol of slow, while the rest of the party prepared in other ways. The tengu turned invisible and swooped down into position, surrounding Ironhoof with the intention of appearing in a flurry of invisible blades...
Except that they were visible as they came in, and half of them were slowed, and then Ironhoof tossed a dose of Dust of Appearance at his feet, negating both the invisibility (redundantly) and the mirror image spells. The rest of the party charged in to start flanking the would-be ambushers, and the Tengu decided that Plane Shift was the better part of valor, and vanished.
Artican: "We should be safe for a while. That was a plane shift."
Alex: "They can only plane shift once a day?"
Artican: "No, but it's not an *accurate* spell. You can only aim it within a few hundred miles."
After another day or so of uninteresting travel, they reached the lake, where the sahaugin reported that they could *not* mine the Black Run because it was haunted. Their description of the creatures haunting it sounded like Shadows, which was bad news -- their touch attacks would ignore much of the party's armor and it didn't take much strength drain to permanently transform someone into a shadow. There was a defensive spell that would render shadows harmless, which both Artican and Ironhoof could cast, but it only lasted a short while, and the party wouldn't be moving very fast underwater. Still, memorizing a pile of them and then going in the next day sounded like the best plan they'd have.
They also spoke briefly with the dwarves, who told them that the mine *and the lake* were haunted. When they heard about the sahaugin they were a bit... annoyed. But thought that they might be able to work some dwarven magic and make a profit out of the situation anyway, although most of their surviving miners would probably have to find somewhere else to work.
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