(Out of game: Happy Birthday to Karen!)
You decide to travel overland to the edge of the island to find the grindylow lair, and, you hope, to find your crewmates alive. When you get near you find a sinkhole cove about 50 feet from the cliff’s edge. You can see that there are two tunnel openings below. You dive down into the cove after ascertaining that it would be safe to do so. You did not notice a stirge nest near the top of the cove, but you avoid the stirges as they try to attack you by darting into one of the tunnels.
You eventually discover that Riptide Cove is a series of low natural tunnels and caverns around a deep central chamber (known as the Cauldron). Save for tiny air pockets above some of the larger caverns, the complex is completely submerged at high tide. At low tide, the tunnels are mostly free of water, but many of the caverns remain half-flooded. The tunnels are littered with partially eaten bones sucked clean of flesh. The grindylows decorate these bones with strange scrimshaw, and tie them together with sinew to create revolting “sculptures” resembling lurking horrors and twisted sea creatures from the depths, the product of sadistic and almost alien minds.
You have entered the grindylow lair at high tide, which is most disadvantageous to you. You successfully defeat a couple groups of grindylows, but all turns to disaster as you encounter the formidable Devilfish, the ultimate guardian before the Brinebrood Queen’s lair (and your captive crewmates). The fight quickly turns against you as the Devilfish clouds the waters with its magical unholy blood ink. Ragnar’s eidolon is killed in one round of vicious tentacle attacks, and Barnaby is heavily wounded. Barnaby calls for you all to flee, and is nabbed by a tentacle from out of the dark waters as you begin your retreat. Barnaby exhorts you to save yourselves and leave him behind, then is squeezed into motionlessness. You retreat as Barnaby’s body disappears, dragged back into the inky waters.
Retreating to the shore, you find that F’leeta, who stayed behind to guard the cutter, water and food, has made a surprising discovery. There was one more survivor on the island! Hektor is a slightly crazed, bushy bearded slaver who is eager to get off the island. You all rest and recuperate, and to hell with Mr. Plugg’s deadline: You are determined to rescue anyone who might be captive in the grindylow lair!
After a rest, and now at low tide, you unload the food and water from the cutter and row around the south tip of the island to the water entrance of the grindylow lair. You are surprised to see the entire tribe exiting the lair. (Bored with waiting for food to come to them, with their specially prepared crewmember lures, the grindylows have massed to attack the ship.) Now that you are on a more level playing field, you handily massacre the grindylows.
During the battle, Hektor distinguishes himself by grappling with the Brinebrood queen to disrupt her spellcasting. But Hektor’s behavior is slightly worrisome, as well. At one point in the battle, a companion falls and Hektor exclaims, “Mine!” while gesturing to the body’s loot. He also frequently refers to all the treasure as “his”.
You pull up the cutter to the entrance to the lair.