Since the lighthouse was uninhabitable, the party decided to head for the only other building they'd seen, at the far edge of the island. They passed Witchlight (the former tower the mages had been hiding in) without even, and continued on until they found the road blocked by a crater. Searching the crater turned up traces of starmetal, so they spent the rest of the day excavating it thoroughly to get out every scrap -- it came to about five pounds. They weren't really sure how much that was worth, but it was a start!
They were attacked by zombies in the crater, but fought them off easily. It was too late to continue on, though, so they set up camp down by the shore, planning to retreat into the ocean if they needed to. Luckily, they didn't need to -- maybe the proximity to the ocean was enough to scare off the alien monsters. In the morning, Shirish's god had decided to allow her access to third level spells [since the party was 5th level now] which she used to cure Ishtar's disease.
Since they were nearby, they decided to detour to check out the main crater. There was no sign of starmetal there -- no sign of anything except thousands of hatched alien pods. Eep!
So, on southwards. Several party members spotted a cave in the cliffs below, which the party wanted to check for treasure. There was a path that seemed like it might lead down to the cave, but it actually ended 100 feet short, with a nasty swim to get to the cave proper -- nasty because of the possibility of getting eaten by sharks, mostly. However, searching the cliff wall turned up a secret door. Score!
Then they argued about who was going to open it -- since they didn't have anyone who could actually check for traps. The mechanism for opening it wasn't amenable to being triggered by mage hand or 10-foot-pole, which was itself kind of suspicious.
Kijji: "Well, Ishtar's a princess, Shirish is our healer, Sin is our most flexible mage, and Keit is by far the strongest. Jade -- open the door. You're expendable."
Jade: "No way! You do it!"
Kijji: "Okay. I'm expendable too." *opens door*
It wasn't a very impressive kaboom. It did wake up the two dark elves standing guard, but they didn't last long enough to shout out an alarm or, you know, take any action in the ensuing combat.
Exploring the cavern system, starting with the tunnels leading farthest away from the cave, they came across an unfriendly ghost who demanded they leave and bring back her husband. Ishtar recognized her husband's name, as an ancient knight who'd committed suicide by jumping off the cliffs at the south end of the island. She managed to talk the ghost down to where it was neutral instead of hostile, at least, and they left that room alone.
Exploring the other way, they were attacked by a shadow demon! None of their weapons could hurt it! At least, not before Sin cast magic weapon on a couple of them, at which point the demon cast a deeper darkness spell, putting out all their lights, and fled. The party fled back the way they'd come, and realized that the demon was probably another sentry like the dark elves, and this one *had* escaped to sound the alarm.
So Kijji decided they should enter through the sea cave instead of the secret door. He stealthily flew over to peek inside, and saw a small village of dark elves -- only four walking around, but there were probably more in the huts. Worse, there was a giant orca guarding the water -- swimming in would be as suicidal as they'd assumed.
But he had a cunning plan -- with a silence spell from Sin or Shirish, he could pound pitons into the wall to help the party get into place *above* the cave, at which point they could swing down and land on the planking the dark elves were using, attacking by surprise and completely bypassing the orca! Unless, you know, someone missed their jump.
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