To the shadows and back again…

Session 6 August & 13 August 2023

Walking back from Itchygluck’s chamber, we notice that Mohan is still absent. Farryn and I examine the map, engaging in a brief discussion before settling on investigating the ooze to the southeast.

During our deliberation, a mud mephit flies past us, catching our attention. Farryn raises a valid point, asking, “Shouldn’t we go find Jaruk?”

“Perhaps. We could follow the mephit,” I suggest.

Just as we contemplate our next move, a fish emerges from the water and then transforms into Mohan. It appears he’s rejoined us. With his return, we decide to proceed to the ooze location we’ve chosen.

After a relatively short walk, we arrive at our destination. In the center of the area, we find the mud mephit, Urm. Something peculiar catches our eye—an enormous ooze sphere hangs suspended in midair, dripping its viscous contents into the surrounding ooze lake.

Seeking a closer look, Farryn and I leap (or fly) over the ooze, managing to land near the mephit. Urm exudes an air of melancholy, and we soon learn that he serves as a messenger between Itchygluck and Jaruk. He has an affinity for mud and proposes an offer: he’ll assist us in reaching Jaruk if we aid him. Urm explains that Hallaster placed him here, and he’s unable to die permanently. Any time he meets his end, he respawns within 24 hours.

Upon offering his assistance, Urm extends his muddy hand to both Farryn and me. His hand is quite messy, and it clings to my fur. I nonchalantly wipe it onto Grond, who witnesses the action. I then proceed to lick the remaining mud from my paw.

Mohan, in his own unique way, attempts to dispel the ooze leak . To our surprise, it actually works. We engage in a conversation with Urm, during which the ooze leak momentarily disappears before reappearing.

Our focus shifts back to our original goal: reaching Jaruk. With Urm’s information and assistance, we continue our journey, eager to uncover what awaits us next.

Urm reveals his desire for both Itchygluck and Jaruk to vanish, which would result in his freedom. He shares a dark history of previous adventurers who perished because he instructed them to attack, ultimately leading to their demise. Therefore, he advises us that if we approach Jaruk, we should refrain from aggression.

To assist Urm, I decide to create some mud. Retrieving my waterskin, I begin to smash rocks on the ground, reducing them to dust. Collecting the fine particles, I deposit them into a bag and hand it over to Urm. However, the echoing sound of rock smashing persists, and it becomes evident that the noise is not solely from me. Urm identifies the source, “Ohhhh, that’s Jaruk.”

We enter the room and are greeted with music.

We approach Jaruk, who appears to be in need of assistance, also seeking the phylactery of Ezat. In return for our help, he offers an alliance. However, we question why he can’t retrieve the phylactery himself, and he explains that he is imprisoned by Hallaster. When the idea of attacking Hallaster comes up, Jaruk responds with a disbelieving laugh, suggesting that it’s not as simple as it sounds.

We inquire about his intentions upon being freed, wondering if he will accompany us. Jaruk clarifies that he intends to return to the Elemental Plane of Earth. When we ask about the rewards for assisting him, he mentions riches, gold, or even a gem of brightness. Farryn presents a similar gem that he crafted himself, and Jaruk acknowledges it dismissively: “Yeah… I reckoned indeed.”

Our focus shifts to obtaining Ezat’s phylactery. Jaruk suggests that killing Ezat should be relatively easy, and damaging the phylactery in the process is acceptable, as long as it’s not brought to Itchygluck. I express my desire to also find my family, seeking information or assistance from Jaruk. However, his response is unclear.


He outlines a plan: descend to a lower level and retrieve the phylactery. Although he doesn’t know the exact appearance of the phylactery, he mentions that it might resemble a flying skeleton.

As we find ourselves outside Jaruk’s chamber, his cryptic words about “musical support” linger in the air. Curiosity sparks within me, and I can’t help but wonder if my lyre could play a role in whatever task lies ahead. With cautious enthusiasm, I suggest the idea of playing my lyre to aid our cause.

However, Jaruk’s response is far from what I expect. His rejection and insults catch me off guard, leaving a hint of offense in the air. Determined to clarify his stance, I press him for clarity, only to be met with more cryptic statements and a growing sense of irritation. I decide to nudge him further, hoping to prompt a more direct explanation. Mentioning “another one who plays music” triggers an unexpected reaction, and his emphatic declaration that “THAT ISN’T MUSIC!” makes it clear that he holds strong opinions on the matter.

Recognizing that further conversation might be unproductive, we retreat from Jaruk’s presence. As we do, Urm’s presence brings a welcome lightness to the moment. His description of Jaruk as “down to earth” draws a chuckle from us, a brief respite from the tension that lingered moments before.

Our attention shifts to the task at hand: deciding who we should help. The question of the better reward weighs heavily on our minds. Urm’s uncertainty about the rewards each entity can provide mirrors our own internal conflicts. 

We decide to summon Patience, because we haven’t seen him in a while. We get him up to speed, and ask him what he thinks. “Maybe pick the better song?” he says.

“That won’t do. We need something more powerful.” says Farryn. 

He walks back to Jaruk – with me on his heels – and asks for a wish spell as a reward. 

“I can help you get rid of the chains you all bare. I see chains of depression, golden, and back ones on you, gnome…” he responds. 

“I don’t recognize the depression-one you mention.” Farryn says surprised.

“I just want to free Patience,” I say aloud. 

Jaruk explains once again to go to Ezat on the next level, and then bring the phylactery.

We say goodbye and return to the White Mage, Mohan and Patience. We hear a scream from up ahead. 

Oh, that sounds quite concerning… Farryn deftly traverses the ooze-covered terrain. Following suit, I ascend the wall, making use of the spots still visible. Our movements are swift, driven by an anxious urgency to find our missing companions.

Then, a sudden call from Patience halts us in our tracks. “They’re here!” His words carry a mixture of relief and alarm. Mohan emerges, and Patience tends to him, stabilizing his condition.

Without hesitation, I rush to their side, noticing Mohan’s inability to stand. A plan forms quickly. I arrange a circle of gold coins around his prone body, my fingers brushing against his chest as I prepare to cast the spell of revivify.

The air feels heavy with an eerie stillness, and as the magic takes effect, an unsettling sensation washes over me. A chilling void, an absence where life should be, surrounds me. It’s as if a cold hand reaches out, trying to draw me into that frigid emptiness whenever I attempt to let go.

In a coordinated effort, the white mage employs shocking grasp to jolt Mohan back to life. The connection to Shar, the goddess of darkness, looms ominously in my thoughts. Desperation drives me to grasp Farryn’s arm, pleading for his assistance once more.

As the gold is laid out on the ground once more, Farryn invokes the revivify spell again. Mohan’s body bears the marks of his ordeal – battered wings, shattered feathers – resembling the image reflected in the fountain’s mirror. It’s as if each action we took unknowingly hastened him toward this fragile state, a stark reminder of the delicate balance between life and the encroaching shadows.

These occurrences serve as undeniable reminders that we should avoid splitting up any further. The white mage shares his perspective, revealing his intention to witness the event firsthand, hoping he could intervene in time. Regret and sorrow hang in his words as he discloses that it was the insidious threat of black sludge or black pudding that claimed Mohan’s life.

With heavy hearts, we decide to transport Mohan’s body back to our base, where we can bid him a respectful farewell. The white mage plans to compose the pamphlet he and Mohan had discussed, a final tribute to his fallen comrade.

Guided by a mix of flight and telekinesis, we carry Mohan’s body back. As we part ways with Urm, he leaves us with a request: “Remember me: #saveUrm.”

Upon our return, the white mage invokes his magic to preserve Mohan’s body for a span of ten days. During this time, we will ensure that he is accorded a proper and dignified send-off, honoring his memory and the impact he had on our journey.

We acknowledge the need to address our own wills and decisions, though we opt to defer this matter for a later time. The idea emerges to inquire about Mohan’s wishes, yet Farryn seems to be already walking away, perhaps grappling with his own emotions.

Taking a deep breath, I ask Farryn to return the Bag of Holding, although his response is far from understanding. He mentions a central storage for common belongings, a statement that stirs frustration within me. Despite my impulse to react strongly, I manage to restrain myself.

In search of guidance, we turn to Scarecrow, who displays reluctance but eventually agrees to assist us. His counsel resonates – unity is our strength in this challenging environment, emphasizing the importance of treating one another with kindness. I express my inner struggle to Scarecrow, admitting my impulse to confront Farryn physically but ultimately refraining. I appreciate his advice, and the white mage voices his alignment with my sentiment, affirming that Farryn’s decision to depart with all the items wasn’t ideal.

With that, we collectively decide to investigate Mohan’s room, seeking to gain insight into the life he lived, the things he valued, and the essence of his presence that we lost too soon.

Among the belongings in Mohan’s room, we come across a book, its pages holding a heartfelt note. Addressed to the disruptors, the note outlines Mohan’s wishes in case he doesn’t survive our joint quest. The message is clear: should he not make it, he hopes the books will return to Candlekeep, his possessions will be shared, and his body will be returned to nature through cremation. The sentiment is signed with his name and a kind farewell.

In response to this, the white mage volunteers to safeguard the books until the time comes for them to fulfill Mohan’s wishes. With a solemn nod, we all agree. The white mage then commits to completing a pamphlet Mohan had already begun, a collaborative effort that they intended to finalize together. The title of the book, “To the Shadows and Back Again,” resonates deeply.

With our roles defined, Patience takes on the responsibility of communicating these details to Farryn. As the day unfolds, I devote my time to prayer, beseeching for good fortune to grace our party and a peaceful afterlife for Mohan’s departing soul.

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