Along the shores of Lake Lumin in the dead of the night our party can see the darkened waters and black worm-like oozlings crawling from the edge of the water, tearing at several animal corpses and dragging pieces of blackened flesh back under the water’s surface – it’s assumed by the party to feed the dread ooze Geziel has asked the party to deal with in exchange for help warding the corruption.
Aleryia, the winged-elf ranger, scouts the skies above the lake for a way to deal with the ooze and a way to reach the island in the middle of the lake when she notices a faint glowing light at the south tip of Lake Lumin. Nat, the wild elf druid, summons her toad and wades into the waters of the lake to investigate why this faint light seems to ward off the oozlings. To her surprise before reaching the light, it begins to move slowly in her direction.
Swimming backward at the same speed as the approaching light, Nat returns to the shore to prepare for whatever this new discovery might yield. From the waters of the lake emerges a woman’s form imbued with light, her frame made from the water of the lake itself. Nat can hear in her head the ethereal voice from this Lady of Lake Lumin…
“You have come to these waters, but they are not safe. Who are you and what do you seek here?”
Nat explains they are here to stop the source of this corruption. The Lady explains she is unable to face this foe as she is repelled by an unseen force to move near it – so too are it’s black offspring unable to approach the Lady. The Lady then advises they search for the water-riding device that the smuggler of the island used to get to his hidden retreat by searching the woods to the east of the lake. She also asks for respectful treatment of the brickmaker before she descends back into the waters of the lake.
Advancing around to the eastern woods they spot a distortion among the foliage,an invisible rafts, under which a sack full of grenade-like bottles safely sit. Gnarl disarms a spiked trapped tied to anyone who disturbs the invisible raft and grabs the sack of bottles – which Kraye identifies as an anti-ooze agent in grenade-form – perhaps the makings of an assault by the smuggler on the dread ooze that had invaded his den.
Dragging the invisible raft to the shore the team splits up half the team crosses the waters to the island. Disturbing the waters and using flames to burn back a few black worm-like oozlings, a great rumbling roar can be heard over the water. In response the black oozlings move quickly toward the island as though recalled to the hive. On the beach a dozen oozlings advance on the members of the party that had landed there – Gnarl and Narm making short work of the advancing oozlings that compound into larger entities before the blast them down.
With the oozlings abated (for now) the rest of the party crosses to the island to search the entrance for signs of traps or protections. Quite visible at the entrance, due to the corruption killing off all green vegetation on the island, are dead-head caps – poisonous mushrooms the release choking and paralyzing spores if disturbed. Several members jump across this mass of poisonous shrooms with success – but Narm’s jump falls short and as he stumbles to what will surely be a face full of deadly spores he slips into a portal (using his Eladrin fey-sources powers) to avoid his fate. While slipping across planes of existence Narm is use to suffering the effects of Televertigo, a glitching of his teleporting powers due to Terraden’s bound nature, barring it from other planes. Televertigo sometimes yields painful distortions of his body, sonic booms that deafen his senses and even summoning strange animals/monsters/objects when he teleports. But this time, Narm teleported in a moment of great peril and the Televertigo slipped his mind into a omni-present knowledge of the surrounding area – allowing his mind to wander outside space-time to any point in the smuggler’s den he could now see and materialise. As part of this god-like moment of awareness and power he was also able to teleport his party to the surrounding area near his destination, putting the party deep into the den of the smuggler – the heart of the island – in a room reserved for the smugglers greatest loot and personal possesions.
In this room they found a letter describing that this was the den of Fenster, the pawnshop owner they were meant to meet in Lunnac; and several white raven communications between Agent F (assumed to be Fenster) and C.M. (assumed to be Commander Merrick). Together they describe that Fenster was attacked in Lunnac by forces of Merrick the Betrayer; was taken ill by the corruption; warned his clients and friends of the dangers there; and snuck back in the tunnels leading from his pawnshop to the woods by Lake Lumin. The hasty note to his brother, a member in the College of the Keepers, was left before he escaped the den to his cabin in the woods where he would destroy evidence that might incriminate his clients, friends and brother – all before he ultimately died at the hands of a merciful arrow from Aleryia in his final, painful moments of life.
Narm and Gnarl secured his strong room with chest of valuables – Fensters prized possessions and valuables – divided among the party. A safe above the fireplace (using a code found earlier on an ingenious safe lock located in the chandelier of the ceiling) produced Fensters personal gear and additional survival gear he left for his brother.
Now in the heart of the smuggler’s den and aware of their surroundings the party must now find their way out, find the hiding place of the dread ooze they came to kill, perhaps even use Nat’s Graver’s Key to summon the long-dead in an underground cemetery to find out more information of this odd place – why there’s an entire brick house below the island, who the Lady of the Lake is and why she yearns to protect “The Brickmaker”.