With the map now in their possession, the party was able to locate the entrance to Wave Echo Cavern after a few days travel. During that time, Xyromyra befriended a new companion, Mary Jane, a giant wasp to replace Peter Parker who was killed by the owlbear at Cragmaw Castle.
Inside the entrance, a tunnel led them deep into the mountain, until is opened up into an open area. Inside was the body of a dwarf along with supplies one would find for a mining expedition. At one end of the cavern, the floor had at some point in the past collapsed and a pit about 30 feet deep now dominated the space. Examining the body, Theren noticed that the boots of the dwarf had a magical aura, and decided they would be wasted on the corpse, so tossed his old boots aside in exchange for the unidentified dwarf’s magical footwear.
Looking closer at the pit, they noticed a rope was tied to one of the stalagmites and dangling down into the pit. Without hesitation, Loktra descended to the bottom of the pit using the rope. At the bottom, she found no apparent signs of danger and signaled the rest of the party to follow. Asheron quickly grabbed the rope and hopped over the edge, but overestimated his ability to climb and almost immediately after going over the edge lost his grip and fell nearly the entire way down the pit, landing with a thunk behind Loktra. Xyromyra and Osborn took turns riding Mary Jane to the bottom, and Theren gracefully slid down the rope, giving a wink at Asheron as his feet touched the floor.
The tunnel the group found themselves in went to the northwest and to towards the southeast, and after a brief discussion the group headed to the south which led them to another large, open cavern. This area appeared to be the old entrance to the mine, and was decorated with simple reliefs showing dwarves and gnomes working the mines together. Strewn about the room were dozens of skeletons of orcs, some of dwarves. In niches in the walls, about a half dozen brass lanterns sat, unlit. At least until Theren cast prestidigitation and lit all the lanterns so that Osborn (the only member of the party without the ability to see in the dark) could see, which caused the stirges the party hadn’t noticed to awaken and attack them. They suffered only minor wounds before killing the last of the tiny creatures, but Asheron could not let it go without making a few snide remarks towards Theren.
Out of this room, four tunnels exited. The one in which the party came from, and one going each of the directions of the compass. A faint green light emanated from the east, and Xyromyra volunteered to check down the hall. Riding Mary Jane, Xyromyra found the eastern tunnel led to another large chamber, this one filled with some sort of fungus that glowed an eerie green. She returned to the group and recounted what she saw, to which Loktra (drawing on her knowledge of herbalism) stated that the mushrooms in the chamber expelled poison spores to kill creatures and spread.
Not wanted to tangle with poison ’shrooms, the party elected to check the north passage, which lead to a door and more tunnels, these leading east/west. Osborn snuck up to the heavy stone door and was able to peak inside, but because of the darkness he was unable to see anything. He did, however, hear strange crunching and slurping sounds. He waved Asheron over to take a look, since Ash was able to see in the dark. Inside, Asheron noticed three ghouls, gnawing on ancient bones that had been strewn about the room.
The party hatches a plan to put an illusory wall at the door and then take turns stepping through the wall and attacking the ghouls. The plan actually went pretty well and no one took any damage, though the ghouls were killed so quickly that the illusory wall was probably fairly pointless.
After searching the room and finding nothing of note, the party headed down the tunnel to the east, hoping to find an alternate path around the mushroom chamber. The passage east led them to what appeared to be a large banquet hall in another large cavern. In the center, a few large tables were set up in the lower area of the room. To the east and west, the floor rose 10 feet up with stairs set into the walls and led to tunnels out of the room. As soon as the party entered the room carrying a torch, a group of seven ghouls who had been scavenging for flesh to devour charged them.
Loktra immediately charged back at the ghouls, but tripped while trying to leap over one of the tables. She struck the ghoul, but ended up flat on her back, and the starving ghouls took no time in pouncing. She deflected several blows, but there were too many to block them all. When one did finally penetrate Loktra’s defences, he situation became even more dire, as the vile magic of the ghouls took hold and paralyzed her.
The rest of the party moved quickly to slay the ghouls, but they quickly swarmed Loktra. The situation was made even more perilous when Theren blasted several of the ghouls with flames, but inadvertently set the table Loktra had tripped over on fire. Though she was not on the table, she was close enough that if the flames had continued to spread, she would be burned as well.
The party moved quickly, trying to gain the upper hand against the ghouls and save Loktra as the ghouls continued to bite and claw at her paralyzed body. The party eventually succeeded in dispatching the ghouls, but not before they had all but killed Loktra. Moving with haste, Asheron slips a healing potion past her lips, bringing Loktra back from the brink of death.
Though they had survived, the group was starting to feel their many cuts and bruises. They recalled a storage room that was free of signs of patrolling monsters and decided to take a short break to catch their breath.