The Whisperer in Darkness
Shortly after leaving the forest behind, a glowing light appears in the distance, bright enough to be visible through the thick mist. Lumen, much to the surprise of the group, is charmed by the light and steps from a small wooden bridge into the swamp water. Coming to his senses in the bog, he assumes that the bobbing brightness must be an enemy’s lantern. Keyleth is also compelled to step off the bridge, and as she splashes into the water, Lumen asks Wistark to extinguish his Light spell in preparation for a more stealthy approach.
The wizard obliges but, as the elf scrambles back onto land, the murky water suddenly explodes with movement as humanoid figures burst from beneath the surface, using the cover of the darkened mist to hide their locations.
Several rotten ghouls launch themselves at Keyleth, and one daring specimen leaps up to grapple with Grimlock as he attempts to cross the islands in the mud. A damaging, fiery blast from Wistark momentarily burns away a layer of the mist and illuminates the swamp, revealing a mass of floating humanoid figures making their way towards the group. Grimlock and Keyleth quickly become surrounded, but then Poobeyr leaps valiantly into the water brandishing his axe… he doesn’t leap in their direction, but it is a brave move all the same. Lumen and Wistark remain on dry land, using their ranged skills to aid the others.
In a clever move from Wistark, a normally unimpressive thunder spell becomes deadly when utilising the electrical conductivity of the water. Several of the fiends are eliminated, clearing most of the area around the overwhelmed, now unconscious Keyleth, whom the wizard then pulls back to shore with a mage hand. As the remaining foes are whittled down by the group, the mysterious light appears to loom larger, floating towards them through the mist. The ghostly light unleashes a powerful and blinding attack on Grimlock, then completely vanishes.
Wistark recognises the devilish orb – it is a Will o’ the Wisp. The swamp becomes suddenly, tensely silent. Keyleth is revived and those who fought in the swamp pull themselves back onto dry land to ready themselves for further assault. Seeing the filthy state of his group, Wistark boasts of his dry robes. Moments later, he is charmed by the wisp and leaps into the swamp.
The Wisp reappears in a new positon and drains some of Grimlock’s energy. In this boggy terrain it has the advantage, for the group can do little more than wade after it. Wistark summons the Flaming Sphere, for it too can move unhindered. As the Sphere blazes against the Wisp, Lumen and Poobeyr assist it with ranged attacks. Eventually the Wisp vanishes into hiding once again.
Pushing on through the swamp, led by the swift-footed Lumen, the adventurers finally discover an exit. As Grimlock and Keyleth struggle to catch up, the Wisp makes another unwelcome return, firing yet more dazzling light attacks at the party. The Flaming Sphere rushes immediately to the group’s defence and, assaulted by the frenzied inferno once more, the light of the Wisp soon begins to dim.
The foggy mist above the swamp parts, revealing the waning moon. Agonising pain shoots through Lumen’s body, his muscles straining as if they were warping and stretching under his skin, the nerve endings in his gums screaming, seemingly unable to bear housing his teeth any longer.
Through some miracle, he endures this punishment and manages to get back to his feet, feeling oddly invigorated as he notches his next arrow and draws back the bowstring for another shot at the Wisp. Its doom now certain, the Wisp makes one last attack on Grimlock before winking out for good, scoring a devastating hit. As he keels over in pain the Wisp bursts and is destroyed. At long last the adventurers walk unopposed out of the misty swamp.