Most of the Troupe woke the following morning to a clear and pleasant dawn. Felwin, having not slept, was vaguely aware of the sun rising outside the arrow slits of the great hall, while Sauria woke to perform her morning writing. Gabe, meanwhile, woke in the forest covered in blood which he soon discovered belonged to a slaughtered deer laying several feet away. He called for his Elk and began working his way back to Riverguard.
The group determined to let Gabe back into the fortress, but Felwin locked them out of the keep. Some negotiation followed as Felwin feared that Gabe might return to wereboar form, but Sauria assured him that she had removed the curse and could do the same for him “before it becomes a problem.”
Determining to proceed, the Troupe found the latches holding the secret passage to the underground River. They chose to take both boats and began rowing a mile or two through the darkened cavern. During the trip, Aurelio presented Felwin with a black feather, explaining that if used properly it would grant him the ability to fly.
It took some time to row the length of the river as the strongest characters (Gabe and Felwin) were also exhausted from their interrupted rest. Eventually, though, they came to a sort of underground lake. Near the tunnel from which they emerged was a landing that they discovered was guarded by several members of the water cult.
The apparent leader, a lightly-armored woman with a shortsword and no shield, hailed them and asked their intentions. Sauria explained that the were there on the orders of Shaolar to report to Gar Shatterkeel about the attack on Riverguard. As they were getting off the boats and onto the landing Aurelio attempted to create an illusion on the papers he’d taken from the great hall to make them appear to be a report. He failed to do so stealthily, however, and one of the cards shouted “He’s casting a spell” and attempted to shoulder check him into the water. Aurelio dodged, shouting “no I’m not!”
A tense exchange occurred where one of the guards suggested that they should be taken to Thuluuna. The leader immediately shut down this suggestion and said they should instead be held until Gar could determine what should be done with them. In this moment, Sauria used her Channel Divinity to read the leader’s mind, than “suggested” that they be taken to Ushnora. The leader noted that this was a good idea, and prodded them down the hall.
The group was lead past a door with bars in the window, and another with a large steel plate at eye level. They were taken over a bridge and past an alcove filled with discarded refuse. Passing a room with a finely carved by heavily damaged dry fountain depicting mermaids they arrived in an open area with several tables and stacks of crates where a group of cultists seemed to be sorting loot.
They were approached by a hooded woman whom Sauria immediately recognized as Ushnora and it was clear that Ushnora was not pleased with the guard who had brought them to her. Sauria requested that they speak privately and Ushnora suggested they be taken to the jail to speak. The group found this suggestion unacceptable, and as Sauria mentioned “exposing her secret” combat began.
Aurelio created the illusion of a wall of fire blocking off the hallway through which they had come and separating the guards who had brought them here from the rest of the room. Sauria then called her Spirit Guardians while Felwin charged into battle. Gabe, using his flame sword and his tiefling bearing, unintentionally reinforced the illusion of the fire. The guards did not last long and when all but one of them had died Usnora transformed into a serpent made of water and disappeared into the open water behind her.
Sauria wasted no time in Suggesting to the remaining cultist that Ushnora had betrayed the Prophet and that they should be taken to Gar immediately to report this transgression. The cultist agreed. He lead them north, over a high bridge to a large set of doors. 15 feet to either side of the doors were large carvings of dwarven heads with waterfalls coming out of their mouths, fueling the canals that run through the temple area. On the doors was painted the symbol they’d come to associate with the Cult of the Crushing Wave.
Beyond the doors was an open area guarded by several feral-looking lizardfolk with spiked clubs. Beyond that was a short bridge, then another open area. This one held a large black stone altar behind which stood a stern-looking man holding a finely crafted trident. His other arm ended in a large, mechanical looking crab claw and half his face and chest were covered in barnacles. This, it soon became clear, was Gar Shatterkeel, the Prophet of Water.
The cultist immediately abased himself on the bridge, while the Troupe proceeded to the altar. There, they reported Ushnora’s treachery, holding up the encoded letters as proof. Seeming sullen, suspicious and bitter throughout the exchange, Gar made it clear that he expects treachery from everyone and is unsurprised when it appears. He spread the letters out on his altar, shifting them about with his claw, but it was clear that he couldn’t read them.
The Troupe pressed him about his purpose and intent and learned that he intended to “drown this wretched plane” in the name of “The Princess.” When asked for more information he asked the Troupe to prove their loyalty by bringing him the head of one of the other prophets. They seemed ready to leave at this request, but when the approached the altar to gather the letters he halted them stating “those are mine. They’re on my altar.” Aurelio, quick to see a solution to the impasse, cast levitate on the documents, lifting them off of the altar. Combat was thus begun.
Sauria’s Spirit Guardians spell made quick work of the lizardman guards (and the cultist who had lead them in) while Gar conjured a storm at the ceiling of the room and calling down lightning upon the Troupe. Gar then retreated across the surface of the water, which he walked on as if it were solid ground. In response, Sauria cast Water Walking on the group, once again levelling the field. Felwin and Gar traded blows, with Felwin getting caught in Gar’s claw. Gabe provided an armor spell for Felwin, while Aurelio provided inspiration. Sauria struck Gar with Inflict Wounds before falling to a strike from his trident. Aurelio, casting Fly on himself, swooped in to rescue Sauria, braving several attacks as he brought her to Gabe who quickly resurrected her with Lay on Hands. Gabe then brought the full force of his Flametongue Longsword and Divine Smite to bear on Gar, felling the prophet.
Upon his death, Gar dissolved into water, leaving behind his mechanical claw which quickly sank to the bottom of the canal, and his steel and bronze trident, which did not. The Troupe quickly gathered the trident and the letters while Felwin tried the door on the West side of the room. Finding a group of water cultists, he slammed the door and used a javelin to jam it shut. The Troupe retreated.
making use of Aurelio’s flight and the walk on water spell they made their way along the canal to the West. There, the found an open lake area and spotted the head of an ENORMOUS turtle-like creature. Deciding they weren’t interested in that path they checked a door leading west. They found a large, dark set of stairs leading downward. This seemed the opposite of their goal, so they headed East, then back through the room where they’d fought Ushnora. Tracing their path back, they heard the sounds of fighting. Gabe went to check the jail (which turned out to be empty) while the others went to check on the sounds.
Peeking into one door they saw a gore-spattered room where a group of lizardfolk were being torn apart by some sort of aquatic troll. They retreated VERY QUIETLY and retrieved their boats. On the landing near their boats they found two dead guards and one living guard. The living guard threw something to the ground at their feet saying “Thuluna Maah sends her thanks” and retreated down the hall. Gabe picked up the object, finding a small lizard skull wrapped in seaweed and stuffed with some sort of dried organic matter.
The troupe paddled back to the Riverguard Keep landing.
At the top of the stairs, near the secret door, they heard voices discussing the mess at the keep and speculating about what had happened. Opening the door they found three members of the Knights of Samular in the great hall. One of them, Sir Venbjorn, wore a strip of transparent cloth over his eyes.
The Troupe explained to the knights what exists up the underground stream. Sir Venbjorn asked one of the other nights to “call back the paladins” and set a guard on the keep and the river while the Troupe stumbled off to sleep in the servants’ quarters. Before falling asleep Sauria conducted an Identify ritual on the trident and the lizard skull. She learned the name and properties of the trident, Drown, and that the lizard skull bore traces of Divination and Transmutation magic.
The troupe then passed into an exhausted sleep, leaving the Knights of Samular to watch their backs and guard the keep.