After defeating the encampment of Wildens, Ashlynne was able to successfully lie to the ignorant Ogre Mother by telling her that Tor was in the mouth of the mountain. When the ogre mother disappeared into the shadows of the mountain, the team began to search the encampment. They found a rough shrine, built out of wisteria vines, ash, and river birch. On the shrine was a black, cast iron cup with a small amount of sea water (Theren’s nature check indicates that there is no body of salt water for at least 75 miles). There is also a note written in Elvish that is sandwiched between two thin boards, secured with thin leather laces. The note indicated communication between two people writing in Elvish about a deal to buy and sell the stone being taken from the statues and erections to the toppled King Humphrey. The Wilden were doing the labor of collecting and transporting stone between the two unknown people.
Also found in the encampment was a Helm of Torchlight, many crude hammers and chisels and poles, carts, and three clay pots filled with a tacky substance. The substance is used to add pliability to dried vines, but also burns slowly and steadily; the team did not take any of this substance. Finally, a tree stump appeared to have a lot of foot traffic back and forth between the shrine hut and the stump. Ashlynne detected a ritual had taken place at the stump, but it was unknown which ritual.
As the team approached the mountain entrance, the ogre mother was turning to walk back out of the shadows. They all successfully hid, and Theren was even able to successfully pickpocket the ogre mother to retrieve a Ratty Blanket. The ogre mother continued on without incident. Once inside the mountain, the shadows began to overtake the team. A rotten, pungent smell of vegetation was present in the trickle of water coming from the mountain. The team noticed two interior caves; one to the left and one to the right. They chose to first take the left side.
The left tunnel descended slightly and grew pitch black within. Theren equipped his Gloaming Shroud, allowing the darkness near him to be dim, instead. Baldwin also equipped his newly acquired Helm of Torchlight, which was very unbecoming on such a noble looking dragonborn. The team was almost immediately brought into an attack by the impulsive actions of Theren rushing into a bone pile and attracting the attention of many crawling things. After attempting retreat but being flanked by phasing spiders, the team was able to defeat their foes and live to tell the tale. The tale which happens to include Theren the Unmanageable hiding inside the dead bodies of some Phase Spiders.
After collecting some phase glands and spinnerettes from the bodies of the fallen phase spiders, the team stumbled upon a mirror, surrounded by a frame of bones, in a hidden corner. The bone frame had four distinctive places where some objects were clearly meant to rest. Upon noticing this, a hazy apparition became evident in the glass. An airy representation of a decayed man with exposed skull and a tri-tipped gold crown upon his skull with four empty spaces across the band (probably where the jewels had been placed). The aspect is robed in ostentatious raiment that has been reduced to tatters. It spoke, “What manner of creatures are you that you cross through my realm and do not beg of my pardon? Are you merchants from the coast? How can you step in my lands and stand in my presence, yet not know whose name it is you should praise?” He was totally unaware of how he appeared to the team, and Telesphorus happened to see a resemblance of this apparition with the toppled statues of the surrounding area. Surely this must somehow be King Humphrey.
Humphrey explains that he “moved the seat of his kingdom nearer to the sea to bring some civility and culture into these lands. Who knew we would encounter such grief from those—those COD LICKERS.” A series of uprisings culminated in a final assault on Humphrey’s forces. “We fell back to Mount Humphrey, here, when those sea dogs from the north arrived and overran my troops. Lucilla told me she must place a spell on me to keep me from being found. Did she send you to retrieve me?” Humphrey has no idea how much time has passed, how he looks, or that he’s trapped in a mirror. He rambled on, “Those cod-licking merchants up on the Torsk Coast came into these lands, also laying claim. House Wavebreaker thought they could organize those sea dogs, with me as a lightning rod. It’s good to see Lucilla’s plan worked and you have returned to save me.” Baldwin explained that they were travelling adventurers and that Lucilla had not sent them, but that they were willing to aid the king. Humphrey promised them wealth and position if only he brought back his crown to free him from his bondage.
The team secured the mirror back in a corner and continued through the body of the mountain. The last cave was just as pitch black as the first cave, but it ascended instead of descended. As the team equipped their Gloaming Shroud and Helm of Torchlight, it became evident that something was in the cave with them. When they stepped into the center of the cave, they were attacked by a large, Mutated Shadowhunter Bat, which was mounted by a small, Goblin Bat Handler. Then two bat swarms surrounded them, along with a final Mutated Shadowhunter Bat mounted by a Goblin Bat Handler. After quite some time, the team was victorious and found a few spider sacs. Theren cut one open and found himself infected with Russet Mold Contagion, but Telesphorus quickly relieved him of his symptoms.
At the end of the cave, a stairway was carved into the body of the mountain with much skill. The markings appeared to be Dwarven, but no one in the party speaks Dwarven. Still, they all were able to remember the markings with enough clarity that, at the top of the steps, they could tell that the markings were similar to some other marked stone. The marked stone at the top of the steps were above an ancient doorway, leading out to the top of the mountain. The top of the mountain was a desolate raking of piles of compost, fetid water, and rotten stumps. The team ripped apart every pile of vegetation to look for missing parts of the stone above the doorway, but they were unable to find anything important. It was clear that the only thing to do was to cross the petrified vine to the other half of the top of the mountain.
On the other side, the team was immediately confronted by a group of four human, female warriors, primed for defense. Behind them stood a wide stone altar and another human female clad in bones, holding a staff and a totem. Theren also noticed a sixth human female, clearly cowering in fear behind the stone altar. After defeating the warriors and the leader, the team approached the cowering female prisoner. Telesphorus and Ashlynne were wary of this prisoner, but even with their high perception, they did not notice anything out of the ordinary. When Ashlynne stepped away and left Telesphorus alone with the prisoner, the prisoner’s skin suddenly ripped apart and exposed a Green Hag. This is Lucilla. She brought to life two large compost piles in the form of Shambling Mounds. A very difficult battle ensued, causing Baldwin to nearly fall dead. Just when he was beginning to heal and the team looked close to defeating Lucilla and her two Shambling Mounds, Lucilla called upon Hezuregan to fulfill his oath. Just then, a large, skeletal bat filled with a dark void assembled into being.
Theren was picked up and carried off by Hezuregan, only to be dropped on top of Telesphorus. Ashlynne’s Shadow was able to create a zone of blocking against the remaining Shambling Mound and Lucilla, so that they could be routed into only one lane of attack. After a near defeat, the team destroyed the Shambling Mounds, exploded Lucilla on top of her altar, and imploded Hezuregan into a receding fog of shadow. Left behind were the atria from Hezuregan’s heart, which were fitted as magical Calcified Heart Bracers of Gliding (wore by Telesphorus). Another black, cast iron cup was found on the altar, also filled with a small amount of sea water. Theren found a smooth sea stone inside of the still standing thatched hut. Theren decided to put the stone in the water to test if it was a communication device, but he first picked up the head of Lucilla and cut her face off to wear on his own face. After rolling a 1 to deceive and making contact with some unknown force, the result was Theren being flung 10 squares away and taking 20 damage; the communication was severed.
Also found was a Scroll of Tree Stride (ritual), which Ashlynne and Telesphorus copied to their ritual books. Two lock boxes were found in the rubble of a destroyed, rotten thatched hut; one box was controlled by a typical key, while the other was controlled by a puzzle. The puzzle box was obviously Dwarven, and the team noticed that they needed to match up three symbols to open the box. There were successful on the first try, thanks to a very high insight check from Ashlynne; they matched up the symbols to what they found on the stairs and above the ancient door at the top of the mountain. However, they still do not know what any of the symbols mean. Inside of that box was a Polyglot Gem (Giant), which allows the holder to speak the language of Giant; 1,000 platinum pieces, and the Crown of King Humphrey. The team could not successfully pick the keyed lock box, so Baldwin cleaved it in half perfectly. Inside was 8,000 gold pieces and 4,000 silver pieces.
To wrap up, the team decided to go back to talk to King Humphrey’s aspect in the mirror. He again promised to give them wealth if they helped him. When the team asked him where he kept his wealth, King Humphrey told them it was safely secured in a dwarven puzzle box that no one could ever figure out. The team knew that they already had the prize, and they all agreed that King Humphrey was likely a very evil person. Theren smashed the mirror and King Humphrey finished his own life, thus finally closing the story of King Humphrey.