As the three boats that remained tied together swept into the tunnel with Valdu paddling like crazy to pull his friends to safety, he could see both Orryn and Sully reach the shore safely and begin exiting the boats before they were lost from sight.
The three boats were jostled around numerous times as they careened down the dark tunnels being pushed by the water many time beyond their control. At one point the boats all hit a spear of stone jutting out of the water and Bomir was thrown from his boat into the rapids, he was able to swim back to his boat with the assistance of the rest of the group but not before spending many harrowing seconds in the twisting and churning turmoil of the river.
Finally the tunnel dumped the party out into a cavern that stretched further than the eye could see and which held a massive body of water that was mostly peaceful. As the group began to gather their wits and take stock of their situations they found the three boats were still tied together securely and the ropes had withstood the rapid quite well. As they were surveying their boats and persons one of the boat’s expedition members called out in terror as three strange looking creatures descended from above. They appeared to be large humanoid brains with bird beaks and tentacles hanging from beneath them. Two each lowered themselves onto each boat and began attacking the members separately. Through a vicious fight all three members of the party were able to fight off and kill the creatures, which they came to learn were called, “Grells.” As the last of them was cut down the party saw a shoreline ahead as well as numerous offshoot tunnels that lead to more underground rivers and the entire expedition began paddling vigorously for the shore. Either with the renewed strength found in fear of traveling the tunnels again or from their battle blood lust still pounding the party managed to steer all three boats to the shore and immediately began dismounting the boats and spent the remainder of the day resting on that shore as the water floated by eerily and misleading peaceful. After a long rest the expedition decided they needed to continue on to link up with the other half of their forces and but they decided they would take the tunnels this time rather than go back onto the water. They traveled for many hours and at one point discovered a tunnel that seemed to have recently uncovered by some type of earth shaking disturbance in the area but decided to not investigate without their full force and passed it by. After a few more hours of traveling uneventfully the group emerged into a chamber of monumental size and filled with water from multiple sources. After taking stock of the situation and with the aid of the Zhentarim guides they managed to move around the shoreline until they were able to glimpse Mantol-Derith in it’s hidden glory from the lakeshore.
After some discussion the group decided to setup a camp and send out scouts looking for the remainder of their expedition which they knew would be heading towards this general area as well.
Meanwhile, back on the shore Sully pulled Orryn onto solid dry land with hardly a glance at the cleanly, “snapped” rope that had been tying him to the other three boats. The two boats occupants decided to take a short rest where they make their plans on how to proceed forward and the decision was made to move through the tunnels rather than venture back onto the rivers rapids. The group gathered their belongings and left their boats for anyone foolish enough to use them there on the shore and headed into a nearby tunnel moving in the general direction, according to the Zhentarim guides, of Mantol-Derith.
The tunnels around the raging underdark river seemed devoid of any semblance of intelligent life and the party traveled for days without encountering anything more than the standard fungal overgrowths that had became more and more common in the area. As the became within days of the massive cavern the Zhentarim assured them held Mantol-Derith the party discovered the ruins of a series of buildings that had damaged or destroyed long ago by seismic disturbances in the area. As Sully and Orryn moved throughout the ruins they discovered mostly abandoned rooms and the occasional skeletal remains. The only thing of note was a teleportation circle and runic gate that had been cracked in half by a shifted wall.
After more exploration of the empty chambers the two moved forward with their guardians in trail and began to feel magical energy emanating from ahead and grating noises they could not make out but presumed to be a language. After taking their time to move forward quietly the two peaked around into a large circular room to find a Dao, a earth elemental genie standing nearby at the foot of a large circular dais on the ground, like the one seen previously, setup for many different magical transportation methods. The Dao was in the midst of summoning a powerful earth elemental and it was slowly emerging from the circle as the two peaked into the room. After a short series of non-verbal communication cues the two decided to forgo any effort at communication or diplomacy and leapt forward with both arrows and magic. The first spell to fly was a banishment spell that collapsed the magic holding the earth elemental between planes and sending it cascading back towards it’s home plane. The Dao responded in rage and attacked with it’s own magic. Sully summoned his own Earth Elemental and as Orryn sent spell after spell towards the Dao his shield guardian, hook horror also charged towards the Dao and it was surrounded on all sides. The Dao attempted to use it’s own magic to fight off it’s attacked but their magic resistance held them anchored to this plane and allowed Orryn and Sully were able to wear down the creature and kill it’s mortal form and in a scream of rage the Dao was sent spiraling back to the elemental plane of earth.
Orryn then moved forward and made a small cut through one of the symbols, thereby disabling the magic of the transportation glyphs. After a short rest the group regrouped and pushed forward through the tunnels toward Mantol-Derith. The group traveled for another day and a half before also entering the chamber that held the trading outpost of Mantol-Derith. The group sent out scouts and in short order was able to link with the other half of the expedition and the group began discussions on how best to proceed with Valdu wanting to backtrack to explore the newly uncovered tunnel they passed and Orryn wanting to establish another outpost around the magical transportation circle they had discovered.