Loop Ten continued
… as we last left our party, the Lich’s orc army was quickly closing the distance as the Phandalin Force 5 stood outside the Mine of Phandelver making ranged attacks at the massive swarm of enemies. Clearly outnumbered and wanting to find a more defensible position, the group decided to head back inside the mine, by way of the side-cave’s supply elevator shaft. Roden covered them with his bow as the group retreated inside, although Torinn required a good deal of persuasion from Boirin before he was convinced to leave his post.
Entering the cave ahead of the chasing orcs, the party makes their way to the supply elevator and Boirin tosses Shava’s magical ship-in-a-bottle at the cave entrance. The bottle shatters against the face of the first orc to reach the cave, and as soon as the ship makes contact with the snowy ground the ship expands immediately to full size, completely sealing off the cave from the outside forces. Gnerx somehow convinces Tellrah to cast Reduce upon Gary the Goat so that the beloved beast might come down the shaft with the rest of the party. Tellrah uses Feather Fall to allow everyone a quick & safe passage down the shaft as they all slowly jump down into the mines.
Inside, Gary is returned to full size and Tellrah decides to experiment with a large piece of mystralite, using it as a focusing crystal. His intended spell morphs into something else entirely, and as a result Torinn is magically influenced to believe with certainty that Tellrah is a devil, which truth be told, wasn’t a big departure from what Torinn already believed about him. The mystralite, however, catches fire and Tellrah quickly uses Mage Hand to carry it back down the hall towards the bottom of the elevator shaft, throwing it inside and attempting to dive out of the way. But a fireball explodes out from where the mystralite landed, effectively destroying & sealing off the elevator but also catching Tellrah in its blast radius. Boirin stabilizes him, and Gnerx uses his healing fork to force feed some life back into him as well.
Tellrah goes to lie down to rest & recover while the group joins up with the dwarven guards at the main mine entrance, who are desperately working to reinforce the door. Suddenly the wizards who the party had earlier summoned from their enclave arrive at the mine, magically passing through the door and setting up additional magical barriers against the outside forces. Not long after, the club of one of the ogres crashes through the front door, revealing a line of sight at the battle outside. As epic a scene as you could imagine was unfolding outside, as the Neverwinter reinforcements, Waterdeep Griffin Calvary, and the summoned celestial Planetar all battled against the orcs & ogres in a giant maelstrom of blades & blood.
And there in the middle of it all leisurely walked the Lich, slowly approaching the mine’s entrance as the chaotic battle around him parted way. Boirin takes out his enchanted spyglass, and inquires of Geoffrey, the spirit who resides within, what it is that the Lich is after. Geoffrey explains the the Lich is looking for a specific object inside the Forge of Spells and that if the group can stop him from acquiring it or if the group can acquire it first, they’ll have achieved their purpose in this time. Thus the party rushes off to find Bruenor in hopes that he’ll help them enter the Forge.
All but Torinn rush off to find Bruenor, but he remained steadfast in his desire to slow the progress of the Lich in order to help buy his friends more time. Soon the party finds Bruenor in the smelting cavern. The dwarf is with Shava as well as a large group of civilians who Bruenor is desperately attempting to find safety for. The party convinces him to send the civilians into the dark mine shafts to hide, and suddenly the party all sense the 2nd lock to the Forge is broken, as their efforts to slow the outside the army and protect the innocents in the mine fulfills the “hate evil” portion of the door’s requirements. Tellrah informs Shava that she too is needed at the Forge, and she mistakenly gets the idea that Tellrah has romantic feelings towards her. Bruenor leads them all to the Forge (although Roden stays behind for a moment to snatch up a few valuable ingots). Rhogar sends Argent off to scout the mine and see what has befallen Torinn.
Bruenor and the party arrive at the Forge and Bruenor begins working the mechanism to open the door, but while all this has been happening with the main party, back at the entrance the Lich has arrived and is assaulting the wizard’s magical barrier with his own powerful magic. The wizards do their best, but the Lich eventually breaks down their defenses and enters the mine, quickly killing off the majority of the wizards and guards with his dark magic. However Torinn survives the Lich’s first blow before being overcome with a sense of dread & fear by the Lich’s imposing presence. In a last ditch effort at survival, Torinn blows the Planetar’s horn again, and just as the Lich was about to strike down the dragonborn, the celestial arrives and strikes a mighty blow against the Lich. A battle between the two powerful titans ensues, and Torinn retreats from the area to try to compose himself again. The Lich stuns the Planetar, incapacitating him, and heads once more in the direction of the Forge.
Back at the Forge, Bruenor has worked the intricate locking system to open the Forge but he is bewildered as an unexplained white blinding light spills out from inside. Just then, Argent returns to Rhogar and sends visions of the Lich’s attacks at the front of the mine. Without hesitation, Gnerx rides off on Gary to go lend aid to Torinn and bring him back to the Forge. They arrive quickly and Torinn readily agrees to hop on Gary and return to the party. Tellrah is the first to enter the white space, and after Boirin calls inside after him and hears Tellrah’s reply, he too enters inside after sending a prayer to Marthammor Duin for the missing party members’ safety. Moments later, Gnerx, Gary, and Torinn arrive, and they enter the white space as well, along with Rhogar & Roden.
Looking back, the party sees the Lich arrive at the door as well and as his hand reaches out towards them, time outside the portal slows to the crawl until it is stopped completely, and the party is left to figure out what to do next. They realize now that they are inside of the Ethereal Plane, but see no sign of what to do here. Eventually, Tellrah thinks to activate Lightbringer, a mace that the party “borrowed” from Shava’s workshop, and a bright light begins to radiate out from it. As the light from the mace grows, the fog of the plane draww back and the party finds themselves in a long, marble-white hallway. They travel through it, finding a domed sanctuary that branches off in several directions and there stands a lone figure, garbed in cleric’s robes. As he turns to the party, Boirin and Torinn both recognize a much younger Marius, who greets them before explaining what all this is about.
Marius explains that here inside the Forge, a powerful artifact had been created called the Whim. It is the most powerful artifact ever created, as it grants the user the ability to cast the spell Wish as many times as they desire. In the wrong hands it could potentially mean the end of the world, and of course the Lich wanted it. In order to ensure that it wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, Marius had set up the magical locks upon the portal to this plane which would show that the person/people who entered would desire peace and hate evil. Our party was sent back in time for this very purpose and the only thing left to do was the destroy the Whim by the only means it could be: by wishing it to never exist.
To everyone’s surprise, Tellrah agrees to be the one to take the Whim and he holds true to his word, even though the temptations of the Whim pulled strongly at him as he held it in his hand. And suddenly the Whim vanishes, and the Ethereal Plane falls away, leaving the adventures back in their own time, in the forgotten ruins of the mine. There in the corner lay the riches of the mine, which competes for the adventurers’ attention nearly as strongly as the desire for rest: their long, time-traveling journey finally at an end…