It was just over one month ago, while searching the lair of Mormesk the Nerd-Wraith, within the depths of Wave Echo Cave, that we discovered a valuable document detailing the nearby location of some rather mysterious rare spell components. Eager for new adventure, we decided it was time to follow the map’s directions. We set off to the northeast, and by early evening we had arrived at our destination: a yawning sinkhole, in the side of a jagged mountain. Warm, moist air exuded from the stony opening, and a mineral sparkle animated the dim interior of the chasm.
We descended into a large odd shaped cavern, its walls and floor studded with beautiful but brittle crystals. To Jorad’s assessment, a sackful might fetch three hundred gold pieces, so we gathered enough to make our efforts worthwhile. While the rest of us considered heading back to town, Gunx charged down a narrow passage to the north, compelling us to follow after him.
This passage opened up to a large cavern where Gunx soon discovered a handful of what appeared to be flame-haired, brass-skinned, singing dwarves. They were mining away at dimly-luminescent crystals that seemed to have been intentionally ‘farmed’ into growth in this cave. These brazen miners noticed Gunx immediately, and tried to shoo him away with brusque gestures and gravelly grunts.
Our most learned fellows, Jorad and Tegan, joined Gunx, identifying the beings as azers: elementals of some sort. Heat radiated off the hot-headed azers as they grew ever more furious at the growing intrusion into their clandestine petrocultural activities. Hoping to avoid a fight with these infernal laborers, I turned myself invisible, and quietly observed the scene. Just as Tegan was negotiating with the azers for our peaceful passage, Gunx, ever innocent as a child, broke a piece of crystal off the wall out of harmless curiosity. The azers went berserk.
The miffed miners lashed out wildly at our fellowship, hitting Jorad and Tegan. Out of instinct, Jorad struck back with a Hellish Rebuke, but his flames had no effect on these indignant ignans. I stole across the cavern invisibly, and joined Tolarin at the mouth of a narrow passage leading northeast. Gunx put one of the azers down, despite receiving a burn for his troubles. As I watched my fellows get scorched in the melee, I couldn’t help but think they should try to attack from distance. Alas… I scouted up the passage, which continued around a bend, but soon thought it best to return to check on my comrades.
Brick killed his obdurate opponent. Two remaining azers looked scared now, but they fought on. When Jorad and Tolarin together finished off the third foe, the last terrified azer finally dropped his hammer and surrendered. We allowed him to flee with his life, but we kept the azer’s amassed haul: a thousand gold pieces worth of valuable spell-component grade crystal. This was the ‘good shit’ we were looking for.
We were curious to see if even greater riches lay ahead, so we continued as a group through the passage I had scouted, and came to another cavern. Here, a hot geyser raged into a steaming pool. We all leapt into the startlingly hot water. I was enjoying it as a pleasant bath, but soon Jorad, Tolarin, Tegan, Gunx, and Brick were swept down a side channel to the east, so I followed. The current was strong and the channel quite narrow, and lined with razor sharp crystals on the sides and bottom. Beshaba spared me personally from the worst of it, but my comrades and I were chewed to shreds as we sloshed down this winding river of teeth, until finally being deposited into a large, deep pool in another cavernous chamber.
We healed ourselves as best we could while treading water, using whatever potions and spells we had available. Spotting another narrow passage to the northwest, we swam that way, and came to the end of the cave complex. Finally, we climbed out of the water into a large cavern of stunning crystals that resonated with a mystical hum and gently twinkled with a soft, multi-coloured glow: a sublime spectacle of light and sound! Suddenly, the humming dropped octaves down, into a soul-deep thrum, which became a powerful voice in our heads. A sentient crystalline entity was asking us why we were there. We answered with honesty, that we were seeking spell components, and had fought the azers.
Luckily, the crystalline entity was also opposed to the azers, so it was pleased by our response. It offered us great riches, if we would undertake to defeat all the azers and the xorns in the area that have been troubling the entity. We agreed to see this crystallized quest to a successful conclusion, provided we could enjoy the hospitality of this cavern for a long rest to seal the deal. Blessed Beshaba, thank you for guiding us to this accursed crystal demon, whose existential misfortunes provide us with yet more wealth and power, in your malevolent name, klaatu barada nikto amen.