As Artur went to work on the stonework blocking the archway his companions kept a ready eye out for lurking monsters. Artur was making quite a lot of noise and the heroes became increasingly concerned monsters could be drawn to the sound.
They were right.
Their companion, Colzo, had been guarding base camp while the rest of the group explored across the Wailing Span.While he kept his lonely vigil, he heard a kind of whopping roar echoing from the north and east–along the other, hitherto unexplored, branch of the Murkwater. The sound, although faint, reminded him of the cries made by the ape-demons who had carried away Dennon. Perhaps, this was a clue to the barbarian's fate!
Hurriedly, Colzo made his way to his companions to report this development. However, he was not alone. Something that lived in the dark had sensed him–and it pursued the lone adventurer. The thing scrabbled along in the darkness behind the sorcerer, and as Colzo got closer to his companions he gained more definite and disturbing sensations about this thing: it was large, it had claws and it scrabbled.
When he reached the pit trap that had so nearly spelled Artur's doom the day before, without thinking–or assuming his friends had disarmed it–he dashed across...only to discover they had not! With lightning reflexes, he grabbed hold of the side of the pit as it opened beneath him. Dropping down into the interior he dashed up the stairs as the pit boomed shut. Behind him giving his pursuers an easy way of chasing him.
To the north, the heroes heard the distant booming of the pit shutting. It was a sound they knew well! Artur stopped his incessant hammering and the party shifted south to defend against this new threat. By now, Colzo had started calling out for assistance and the party prepared for trouble. As Colzo burst into sight, the heroes caught their first glimpse of the sorcerer's pursuers: huge quadruped lobster things with beards of tentacles. Horsa quickly identified them as chuul, and the battle was joined.
Although the creatures were large and powerful, the heroes yet had resources to deal with this new threat. A barrage of spells weakened the beasts and they were quickly slain–but not before both Artur and Colzo were badly wounded.
After the battle, the party clearly needed to rest. The news of Colzo's potential discovery of a clue to Dennan's (or Dennan's corpse's) whereabouts also needed to be dealt with. After a brief discussion, the heroes returned to their base camp to rest and plot.
The next morning, plans were laid and preparations made. Taking two of the three boats–and leaving one for Luther who remained behind to guard base camp the party set off up the hitherto unexplored tributary of the Murkwater.
In this tributary, the current was sluggish, and clumps of noxious floating seaweed floated on the water. After a few hundred yards, the party came across a sloped beach of stone. Investigating the cavern beyond they discovered a scene of devastation. Scattered about the cave lay the remains of a myconid village. The peaceful creatures had clearly been slain–if the scattered body parts were any indication–by large, exceptionally power enemies. This was obviously evidence of the escaped ape-demons. Of Dennan there was no sign, however.
Continuing northward(ish) the Murkwater's flow further slowed and the clumps of seaweed slowly grew in profusion. To the west, then, an opening in the cavern wall led into a small cove of sorts. The party almost passed the opening by until Horsa spotted a rickety wooden jetty running along one wall. This was enough to pique the heroes interest and they turned into the cove. Cautiously advancing, they discovered the narrow passageway opened into a wider space. The rickety wooden jetty continued south to end in a stone platform standing upon wide stone pylons. Several walkways and cave entrances hinted at a large complex in the immediate surrounds. Disquietingly, Horsa–glancing over the side of his rowboat–spotted the splintered and broken remains of several boats lying amid waving fronds of seaweed and the silt of the cove's bottom...