As they fled from the Fruum, a tendril whipped up and snatched Tuleo, yanking him beneath the murk of the Mire. Unsure of how to even begin to mount a rescue, the others went on without him.
Meanwhile, back in MirePort, Skritt was kicked out of the house by Ashook over a little misunderstanding in taking care of the unconscious patients, involving a few of Kitten’s tasty little toes (that will probably grow back.) As he wandered, he saw Effson’s dirigible, and he climbed the wizard’s tower where it was docked to see what was going on.
He heard that Effson was taking Hector out to the Black Mire, and he asked to come along. For 50 gold, he got in; Hector felt cheated, that the goblin could travel so cheaply and he couldn’t. Skritt also met Either’ohr, a fey warrior, and his fairy Elim. Apparently the fey warrior was looking for more experience dealing with multi-dimensional beings, and heard there were gods trapped in the Black Mire.
They drifted out over the mists, using the boonwings to scout through the fog, until they found the party. Effson tossed a rope line out the window, and the goblin and the fey warrior slid down. They heard something sloshing towards them, and reunited with Tulip, Ell, Wayland, Vayu, and Winnie.
Fleeing the Fruum
They were exhausted but satisfied to find the boardwalk, and Vayu sussed out where they were. Pushing past the limits of endurance, they tried to stay away from the Fruum as it tore the swamp apart searching for them, even tearing up parts of the boardwalk.
They came to the intersection leading to the Frog God, and the relieved shokoro escorted them to the Frog God, past piles of their dead and the rest standing clear of the water.
The Frog God took the basket, put the amber in it, and gripped the rose; satisfied, it allowed Tulip to reach into its belly and pull forth a hammer marked with six master runes; the Key.
At that point the swamp trembled, and the Fruum attacked in force; they fled, as the gods wrestled behind them, heading towards Courvon (even though Tulip was frustrated they could not get his donkey and cannon from MirePort.)
The ferryman wanted to overcharge them to go to Courvon, because they looked weird and dangerous. Vayu terrified him, and they headed over. The ferryman leaped out of the boat into the water, and they noticed it was quiet—too quiet. Then the ghim opened up with the organ gun from a rooftop! As bullets tore into the boat and slammed across the adventurers, they returned fire past the normal range of their weapons, and Either’or sent his fairy to harass the survivors manning the gun as more ghim popped up out of hiding, waiting for them to dock.
They leaped from their listing boat over to another docked boat, cutting it loose and escaping downstream. A couple miles later, they pulled out of the river on the Mire side and contemplated their next move.
Tulip let the wizard examine the hammer, and learned it had 6 ghim master smith runes, and was an interdimensional key on three dimensional axis planes. Vayu animated a rock monster, who towed the boat up the river as the light faded from the sky. They passed Courvon in the breathing darkness, undetected, and continued up the river. They supplemented their meager rations with fresh fish and game, pleased to finally be away from the Mire as they continued up into the mountains, the rock monster dragging the boat up over rapids as needed.
They saw more and more evidence of ancient Elven shaping of this route, to the point where Tulip and Skritt found the remains of a watch tower and looted its armory of centuries-old wargear.
Finally they came to the back gate of the Senchillian Elvenforge, a wide round lake with a vast door on the other side. Wary of traps, they consulted the Key, and found that there was a back door. They closed in on a boulder, set apart from the river a ways back. It had a keyhole in it, and the hammer fit neatly, vanishing the solid rock into air!
Skeletons of elves were mounded against the boulder, unable to escape from inside. They pressed on into the Forge Mountain, finding intricate meter-across brass runes inlaid into the floor with brass tracery connecting them. Careful to avoid the runes and the pale plates set in the walls, they proceeded deeper, past the occasional charred bones.
They found a gorgeous ornate inlaid door welcoming visitors to the Elvenforge, and some fortifications protecting a landing where boats could go deeper in the complex. Getting up into the fortifications, they headed down into the chambers in the rock, unsure of what they’d find…