In this session, the heroes continue and conclude their side quest deep in the cave of the Shadow Rebellion Hideout.
They reached a stone-cut room in the heart of the underwater cavern. Upon first viewing, the small room only contained a bubbling pool at the opposite end. A statue of a young woman with her head turned up, mouth agape, lies in the middle of the pool. While carefully searching the room, the PC’s find that the statue is the same figure they found in the previous rooms, a depiction of Matsu, Serpentess of the Sea, except she seems to be in the prime of adulthood. As hot steaming water bubbles from the pool, Yuriko the party druid discerns that the water itself originates from a hot springs deep in the earth.
It does not take the party long to realize that they need to pour the water down the statue’s mouth and down her throat. Pulling out the silver ewer, Devin carefully gathers the hot bubbling water into the jug and pours the water in the statue’s mouth. Immediately, the PC’s here the sound of scraping iron against stone, presumably a gate in another part of the dungeon opening. Then, suddenly, two flying creatures take form from the steam of the pool on each side of the statue – devilish steam mephits summoned from the disturbance of the pool. A battle quickly ensues, with the steam mephits attacking and then exploding into a ball of scalding steam upon death.
After the fight and while on a short rest, Randuil spots something peculiar along the cut stone wall – an outline of a door appears to him. Searching for a means to open it, he notices that a sconce on the wall is slightly askew. Turning it completely upside down opens the secret door. Heading into the short hallway through the door, they find a door at the other end. Without skipping a beat, Devin gets to work at unlocking the door. He is able to open the door, but unfortunately miscalculates and triggers a small needle trap that pricks his hand and poisons him.
Nursing his wound, he opens the door to a small bedroom. Sparsely decorated, filled with stale air, and clearly undisturbed for quite a long time, the PC’s find a handful of interesting items in the room. A bookshelf along one of the walls hold mostly moldy books and deteriorated parchments of paper. Fox does find a couple of clerical spell scrolls, including a scroll for Create/Destroy Water. The only other pieces of furniture in the room is a table and a chair. On the table, they find a few notable items including some potions, a copper Wand of Secrets, and a blue glowing globule set in a glass jar of water.
Inspecting the globule, the PC’s quickly realize it could possibly fit in the hands of the underwater statue. Sure enough, they place it in the statue Matsu in a previous room and open a gate further south.
Once again exploring the underwater tunnels, the heroes swim into a room diverging from the main path. The room opens into a pool and lair with sunlight breaking through an oculus on the ceiling. The lair was filled with a mass of large spider webs and the heroes immediately find themselves confronted with a handful of giant spiders. The spiders act quickly and attempt to capture the heroes to make a meal of them. However, Yuriko, as half drider herself, intervenes for her friends and implores the spiders to spare the fighting. The spiders allow the PC’s to leave.
Following the main path, the underwater tunnel leads the heroes into a water-logged cavern, with a foot deep of water covering the entirety of the floor and stalactites lining the ceiling. The room contains the last statue of Matsu, this time in the form of a nude elderly woman, in the midst of dancing with a joyous expression on her face. A stone door lies at the other end of the room. As the PC’s approach, they are shocked when suddenly the ceiling itself begins to fall in on them – the stalactites violently crashing down, lodged to the cavern floor. Then, as they realize that the rocks are actually Piercers, misformed creatures of the underdark disguised as stalactites and falling on prey for consuming. The piercers don a large toothy maw and tentacles to drag the victims. The heroes are able to kill the creatures with a few scrapes, but no one impaled.
They turn to the statue and surmise that in order to get through the stone door, which Randuil detects can only be magically opened, they must find the trigger key via the statue of Matsu. Trying all manner of tests upon the statue and issuing every piece of evidence they may have picked up along the way, the heroes nearly run out of options, banging their heads in frustration. Fox prays to his divine god, Pelor, who delivers to him a revelation that he himself holds the answer – the scroll of Create Water and Destroy Water. Making the connection to dancing, he casts the spell and the cave is filled with falling rain, the statue of Matsu once again dancing in the rain. The magical stone door opens.
Through the door was a grand stone-cut square room eerily lit in blue. What first looks like another pool chamber, the PC’s see a 50 foot long and 10 foot wide walkway cutting down the center of the room and leads to the other end. On either side of the walkway, the room empties into pools of still clear blue water of indeterminate depth. At the end of the walkway is a roughly hewn pedestal and a chest located next to it. On top of the pedestal they see something emanating radiant green and as they focus their eyes, they see the light coming from the blade of an ancient sword.
As they approach the pedestal, the heroes are suddenly interrupted by a booming foreign voice. “Who dares desecrate this sacred space?!” the voice demands. “You are not sacred to Matsu, so you shall find your end in her watery depths!”
A large serpentine water weird elemental rises from the pools and attacks the heroes! A difficult battle ensues as the snake-like elemental strikes and attempts to drown the PC’s. Taking several hard hits, the PC’s nevertheless fiercely work together in the fight – Taka letting loose a quick succession of arrows from the back, Helga leading the charge with her mighty axe, Randuil and Yuriko slinging spells, Fox shielding and healing, and Devin finding an opening with his sharp sword as he flanks the engaged creature. Upon the killing blow, the elemental disperses in an explosion of water.
After the battle, the heroes inspect the ancient jade weapon, a slender shuangdao or short sword with a jade blade. Along with its delicate craftsmanship, it has ancient Shenyuen runes along one side of the blade in which it’s name is carved, Sword of the Tempest Elemental. Taka recognizes the weapon immediately, at least based on legends of ancient Jade Weapons in Shenyuen history. Taka states he knows little of what the weapon may represent, as the legendary jade weapons are extremely rare and often only donned by nobles, who may have inherited the weapon, or owned by master swordsmen, legendary heroes, or powerful mystics who collected the weapons in grand stories.
Helga wisely proclaims that they should seek the advice of the village elders of Senxia Gu and her party mates agree. Devin’s eyes glint with mischief as the short sword is his weapon of choice, and because he was the first to wield it, he implores Taka’s aid in convincing the elders to allow him to use the weapon as his own. Taka does not promise anything, stating he will go with whatever the elders decide.
The heroes slog their way out of the hidden cavern of Matsu and back to the entrance of the cave where they immediately make camp to dry off by the bonfire, swearing off any and all water for years to come, and resting to the next early morning light.