We return to the Stonehill Inn around midday and immediately find Gundren. He asks if we have any new information about his brothers and we admit that we haven’t. We decide that the Wave Echo Cave is the most likely place that we’ll find them and Gundren tells us exactly how to find it. Before leaving Phandalin we pop over to Barthan’s Provisions and buy as much cave-diving gear as we can carry.
Leaving Phandalin, we make our way to the entrance of the cave without incident. There is a slight breeze going into the cave. We decide to approach as cautiously as possible, sending Liarel ahead in rat form to act as our scout. After about thirty feet the entrance tunnel opens up onto a larger cave. Liarel sees a bedroll to the west and a rope descending into a pit to the north. She hears a crashing sound echo through the tunnels. Examining the west, she finds two additional bedrolls, a large quantity of supplies, and a body which smells quite rotten. The rest of the group follows Liarel into the cave and examine the body. It appears to be a dwarf, possibly resembling Gundren, but it has been dead long enough that it is difficult to tell. The bedrolls are all dwarf sized. We determine that the pit is the only way forward.
Never puts Liarel in her pocket and the group climbs down the rope. At the bottom we send Liarel back down the left hand passage, but the air feels still there so she returns and leads the group to the right. We continue to follow the wind, marking the cave wall at each turn, until we come upon a natural cave with reliefs of dwarves carved into the walls. Dozens of skeletons litter the floor. They appear to be mostly dwarves, but we also notice several orcs. Three passageways lead out.
Stepping into the cave, the group is immediately attacked by about half a dozen bat-like creatures with razor-sharp proboscises. Three swoop down onto Mella, one stabbing him in the neck. Three more land on Danak and another bites into Droop. Never rips one of the creatures off of Mella, sending it flying off, while Elada crushes the one which attacked Droop. Liarel returns to elf form and shoots another off of Mella right before Mella turns into a panther, sending the last creature flying off. Danak slams himself into the wall, crushing two of them, as Droop swings wildly at one of the remaining ones in the air, slashing it to pieces. The last one on Danak, fat and happy with blood, flies off. Three more attach to Elada, Liarel, and Mella, with a fourth flying around Droop. Elada quickly crushes the one attached to herself, Danak stomps the creature on Mella, and Never detaches the one on Liarel, holding it in place as Liarel stabs it with an arrow. Panther Mella bites the remaining creature out of the air, and off in the distance we hear a thundering crash.
We follow the wind and the sound of waves, Mella scouting ahead in panther form. He comes upon a large, open space covered with strange fungi and immediately returns to the group to lead us in the opposite direction. We come to a door behind which is a room full of bunks and bones, with three grey figures hunched in the middle gnawing on bones. As they turn to look at us Elada shuts and bars the door. We take the one remaining path forward, heading north and passing a storage room. Eventually we find our way to a large chamber with two long tables in the middle, again littered with skeletal remains, escarpments to either side. Mella smells rotting flesh as Danak’s light shines on a handful of grey creatures running toward us. We make quick work of the creatures and stop to check the rest of the room.
Moving forward we come upon a room with a water wheel and bellows. Inside we see more corpses (these looking somewhat less ancient than the bones we’ve encountered thus far) lying below a floating skull engulfed in green flame. We find that the skull turns to watch us no matter which door we stand in and eventually decide to just try talking to it. Mella begins to assure the skull that we are friends of the Rockseekers, but the skull seems to have no response. We decide to listen at the door down the hall from the room’s entrance. We hear voices but none of us understand what is being said until Droop tells us, “They’re hungry”. We decide to go rest on one of the escarpments before moving forward.
After our rest Droop tells us the voices behind the door are “big” and we decide we want to know more about the skull. We send Mella ahead to talk to the skull, but the moment he steps into the room the corpses beneath the skull animate and all eight of them shamble toward the hallway. Mella manages to block about half of the corpses with a flaming sphere and the group slowly manages to wear them down as the skull looks on, occasionally attacking us itself. During the fight Droop once again proves to be our most useful member, managing to make the killing blow on a few of the corpses. After a good long while the skull calls the corpses back before spitting out an explosion. While most of the group manages to jump out of the way, Liarel, Droop, and Danak fall unconscious.
We quickly realize that this is not the hill we want to die on and retreat, Elada carrying Liarel and Droop off and Mella feeding Danak a goodberry so he can run away on his own. We make our way back to the escarpment and Liarel heals everyone (having been fed a goodberry by Elada). We decide to rest again, this time in the storage room we happened upon a while back. Once we are done with our rest we head back to the skull room just to see if we can approach the room without getting attacked and promptly learn we cannot. After much discussion we decide to try the room at the end of the hall, which we suspect is full of bugbears. Before we progress we hear shuffling from one of the escarpments and see a bugbear peering down at us. We miss him with a series of ranged attacks and he runs off. We proceed to the bugbear room.
Mella listens at the door, hearing nothing. He signals and we all rush forward, but the door doesn’t budge. Elada and Mella manage to force the door open, revealing five bugbears staring back at us. We retreat and they shut the door. Left with no other way forward we decide to just try booking it through the skull room.
Under cover of a fog cloud we hear the shuffling of the reanimated corpses but run through the room anyway. In the next hallway, out of the fog, we keep running but no attack follows us. We quickly find ourselves in a large, natural cavern. There is a building ahead of us and glittering across the ceiling of the huge chamber but otherwise it sits in darkness. The floor is littered with remains. We decide to check out the building, but see a greenish glow coming from inside and realize it’s probably best if we try to proceed elsewhere.
In the room with the glittering lights, everything looks like stars. We hear a loud crashing sound and feel a light spray from a passage way to the left. Through the passageway we come to a path with a ledge to the right. Below the ledge we see a body of water flowing out of the room. We follow the ledge and come to a tunnel which leads to a natural cavern with a rift in it. Looking down we see three bugbears moving rocks. On the other side of the cavern is a drow, watching.