Licking our wounds and mourning Krom (even though we only just met him), we reconvened at the Tasty Pig Tavern. Circling around a table with flagons of ale in hand, a decision was reached – we needed to finish investigating the cave, and, if there happened to be any bad folk in residence, well… whatever happened was on them.
The trip through the woods and into the cave was uneventful. However, as we neared the section of the cave where we lost Krom, we encountered a strange creature with four arms and an equal number of weapons (you could say he was more than adequately armed). We battled and, despite taking some licks, survived.
There were a few additional enemies, but none were problematic… until we entered what turned out to be the last room in this cave.
It was a large, cavernous space with a pool along the far wall that emitted a faint glow. There was not much else around except for some empty glass vials, a mine cart, and what looked to be a pulley system to move the cart onto a track.
A glimpse into the pool revealed the source of the light to be something glinting within. We decided to exercise caution and not touch the water. Instead, in an attempt to retrieve the shiny object, we tied a rope to the cart and lowered it into the water with the pulley. Then, something fantastical happened – the rope and cart came alive.
Aside: I've never assigned personalities to inanimate objects – no sense getting attached to your tools and whatnot. However, I now can say with utmost certainty, that ropes and mine carts are particularly vicious things.
So, yes, they came alive. They also came at us. The rope wove in and out, dodging our attacks with aplomb, and lashing out at us with speed that I hadn't seen since Mrs. Verna Ostgood, matriarch of the Ostgoods of Broomsgarden, caught me sneaking a fruit trifle that was cooling on her sill. We stabbed, shot, sliced, struck, and eventually felled these two abominations. It was at this point we realized that we were outmatched by this particular construct, and resolved to return when we were better prepared. Before leaving the cavern, however, we collected a few vials of the pool's water, and took a rubbing of some strange glyphs on the wall (for later research).
Later research revealed the vials of pool water to be potions of cure light wounds, and the rubbing of the inscription translated to "W.I.S.H."
We returned to Aiwan and briefed the town's guard on what fate befell the missing woodsmen. They were pleased to see the evidence of the monsters we slayed. The guards then asked for the whereabouts of our large, green compatriot, Krom. After we assured them that he was very much dead, they revealed that there was a warrant out for his arrest – apparently he assaulted a merchant before we first set out to the woods! Whoops.
We returned to at the Tasty Pig, taking in the bittersweet success of our first adventure. We raised a pint to Krom, and then started planning our next outing.