Kalis & Sam (same player, splitting XP and gold as a share)
Considering the small number of player characters, the decision was made to take out a loan from the jeweller Huffnpuff to hire all prospective employees: two torchbearers, two halflings and two men-at-arms, along with a borrowed wardog. Mounting up on nine of Scamdalf’s leased-out horses, the party set off once again for the icy temple.
Arriving without incident, they met up with Old Tree, the guardian, and opted to bury Seree’s daughter under the lake. They wrapped the dead faun at the statue’s feet carefully in a sheet and took it outside.
Carefully descending upon the lake, the adventurers ambushed and dispatched a small group of icy salamanders, then examined the lake; they waded out and paid the best swimmer amongst them, former latrine-worker-turned-man-at-arms Wennic, 20gp to go out and investigate a glint of something shiny. He brought back a circlet from the head of a dead woman amongst the apparent remains of a sunken boat. As soon as the circlet was taken, the body vanished, and the party noticed also that the sheet in which they had brought the dead faun was also empty.
Returning to Old Tree, they found that the cold was starting to ebb away, and learned that the mystery hole that had thwarted them last time was in fact a way through to the bedroom of Seree’s daughter, where a witch who had slain her was imprisoned. Old Tree warned them to keep away, or at least not to believe her lies, then at their request gave them a symbolically-shaped stick to present to any other temple guardians.
Seeking to secure a rope so that they might descend down the hole, the group headed into the fountain room and found several salamanders locked in battle with a flame. As they watched, the flame disappeared into the wall behind the fountain.
Sam snuck in and opened the door across the room, leading to the area where grasping roots had previously dragged things down. The crew then circled round and enticed the salamanders over the soil. The lead creature was caught and consumed. The last three retreated, forcing the adventurers to attack them in the room with a hole. In the ensuing battle, Kalis and one of the halflings were frozen stiff, and Ol’ Roy the wardog was gutted, but otherwise the salamanders were taken care of.
As they waited for Kalis and the hireling to thaw out by a campfire, the party started searching the room, certain that there was a secret door. Eventually they found some magical ruins around the inside of the fountain itself and, fortunate to have a failed apprentice mage amongst them, torchbearing Arig, translated them to discover that they needed to fill the fountain with something generous, something blue and something gem-like. Using gold, a dead salamander and a sapphire taken from the eye of Seree’s statue, they uncovered the secret door. They eliminated the remaining flame and dragged out a large glass chest with a number of sapphires and jewellery inside. Paying Wennic another 10gp to open it without issue, they pocketed the valuables, including an amber amulet, and elected to call it a day.
On the way back, they dug up the glass box they’d buried at the end of their first visit, paying Wennic another 10gp to open it. There was a flash as Wennic did, but fortunately he was a hardy soul and able to ‘bring up’ a shrub which had started growing in him, avoiding the fate of the young explorer which had set the party on this path. The sapphires glinted valuably.
The group made their way back to Helix and assessed their haul, recruiting Scamdalf and then Mazzahs to identify any magical effects. The circlet, claimed by Sam, granted the user the power to possess the body of the nearest deer, and the amulet, taken by Woakeston, granted healing and an early morning boost of speed. The rest of the treasures came to over 4000gp in value.
A profitable expedition indeed.