The interior was massive and strangely clean. The walls were rough and unfinished yellow and white limestone. The floors were polished and smooth their boots echoing as they stepped further and further inside. Large quartz firestones embedded in the walls lit the massive cavern with their flickering mystic light. They noticed the signs of battle all around them, slash marks and sword-scores on the walls, the pitting of acid on the floors and walls and the crimson stains which marred the white floors. As they surveyed the cavern they could that it bent suddenly as it continued north and sharply probably turning to the south. The passage that gaped in the north wall before the sharp turn slanted up but turned and snaked to the north-west concealing the interior from their point of view. In a diagonal wall to their south as they continued, still in the main cavern, was a man-sized passage from which a sharp smelling and warm, moist draft was blowing. Upon inspection Dead-Eye could see that it was choked with cobwebs and the floors and walls were very rough and dirty. Further along the same wall where it turned straight north there was a small window-sized hole about 10 ft from the floor. Dead-Eye decided to inspect this route as I guess he felt it the sneakiest.
The small passage opened into a wide circular vertical shaft open to the sky and well lit by the sun. He could smell brackish water wafting up from far below in the darkness. He immediately began to back out and saw that a swarm of gold beetles was rushing into the passage. He and Bers backed back out into the main cavern attempted to face off with the swarm. Dead-Eye attempted to light a torch as their weapons were useless against a swarm of biting insects and shouted to Bers, “the mallet! THE MALLET!”
Bers: “Oh yeah!”
She pulled out the mallet (taken from the Winter Dragon’s hoard; they had it identified during their rest period at Fertum Dreyhawk after arriving back from Veringer’s Field; it had 10 charges left at this point) which was a Mallet of Harm. When struck on the ground it could deal 120 hit points worth of damage to enemy targets within a fairly wide radius. She pulled it out of her gear as she kept it tucked in her belt after finding out what it was “just in case” and struck it on the ground. The swarm was instantly reduced to dust.
After the dust settled they decided to go into the man-sized passage which Dead-Eye wanted to avoid as the webs were indicative of giant spiders (tee-hee). As his torch was already lit he tossed it into the passage causing it to burst into flames hopefully incinerating any giant arachnids. They began to travel down the rough passage and realized that the floor was at an increasingly steep angle as they continued. Clumps of bone and spider webs continued to smolder and burn dimly lighting the passage. Bers slipped as the passage continued to angle downwards and slid along the detritus and gravel of the floor taking Dead-Eye with her until he was able to stop them both. They stopped a step short of a depression in the floor at the center of the passage which was a bubbling acid pit. The passage was acid-widened here and the ceiling was higher allowing the giant spiders to shelter from the flames and drop down on silk ropes to attack. The fight didn’t last long ending on Bers’ third attack on the first round. The three man-sized spiders attacked from both the front and behind and above, the one above being the last to be taken out by a strike at the silk cable which suspended it falling into the acid pit. Dead-Eye told Bers to lead the way as he had fell behind on a dodge to avoid the hanging spider as it attempted to drop onto him. As soon as she stepped past the acid pit she slipped again and rocketed all the way to the end falling out the other end into darkness.
Dead-Eye hurried up to the end where the passage apparently dropped off into darkness so he lit another torch finding the passage terminated in a large chamber which was masked in a cloud of luminescent mist. It was stifling and the walls of the passage was sweating and dripping with moisture. He resisted the temptation to call down to Bers. She found herself on her back having fallen 20 feet to the sandy bottom and began to stand when she heard growling circling her position. She called up to Dead-Eye and the creatures attacked unseen in the darkness and steam. Dead-Eye tossed down a torch and leapt down using acrobatically to avoid taking damage from the height. When the creatures attacked they could see that they resembled wolves but lacked and were instead covered in bright green scales. The green wolves were quickly dealt with all three being slain by the second turn in the first round. The chamber was again huge and had a wide walkway like a stone ramp spiraling up and turning north, directly north of them lay a wide gaping cavern mouth which apparently went deeper underground. The floor of the chamber was of loose hot sand and through which the moist steam exuded. Dead-Eye immediately identified the place as the egg-chamber of the lair and proceeded to look for eggs and finding two angrily stomped them into mush. Bers had wanted to take one and maybe raise a dragon.
Dead-Eye: “We ain’t raisin’ no stinkin’ dragon! All dragons must die!”
Dead-Eye had been the sole survivor of a dragon attack when he was still a child.
They quickly investigated where the walkway led confirming what Dead-Eye had guessed that it led back into the main cavern on the opposite side of the sharp bend. They decided to take the cavern further underground. They came to an enormous water chamber steam raising in columns from various spots in the underground lake the walls running with slime. Sunlight streamed down from a large central shaft in the ceiling directly above the center of the lake. Bers wanted to scout ahead using her Cape of Bat-Flight but the chamber was too bright the cape only worked in the dark or at night. After spending a while checking to see if they could find a way across and even resorted to baiting the dragon but their taunts went unanswered. They then decided to go up.
They made their way back into the main cavern and went into the passage that slanted upward and snaked north. They found a chamber where the passage spiraled in on itself rising as a narrowing spiral walkway that wound up, way up. The spiral rise left the lower levels vulnerable to any possible enemies on the upper ones as on the outside edge of the spiral was a gradually rising cliff. The chamber was well-lit by more fire quartz in the walls and they could see sunlight coming in from the opening to which the spiral walkway rose. They began to ascend and about halfway up when four crossbow bolts flew at them forcing Bers to dodge. Dead-Eye spotted a group of ratlings above armed with small crossbows and similarly sized swords. Dead-Eye returned fire forcing one of them to dodge twice but pegging him with the third shot. The other three continued to fire their quarrels at the dragon-slayers while Bers tried to use her crossbow against them but she’s a terrible shot and missed and was forced to dodge again noticing the bolts that they were firing were tipped with poison. Dead-Eye killed another with his arrows and at the beginning of the second round the remaining two made leap attacks as they jumped from their ambush positions to the tier below. Our heroes were impressed with their magic silver bucklers each baring a large finely cut emerald at the center. The fight lasted for 3 turns until Dead-Eye finally cut down the second to the last ratling and stepped back to let Bers finish off the little bugger she was engaged with. It was able to parry her strike and locked its tiny weapon with her massive axe and chittered in anger at her as she failed to break on the first try. On the second she whipped her axe free and cut the creature’s tiny body in two both of which flew over the edge to the floor below.
Cris: “Haha, I was kinda rooting for the brave little ratling!”
Dead-Eye gave a salute dedicated to the “brave little ratling” and they both moved into the light after collecting all of the bucklers (+5 magic bucklers also gaining the +1 to parry a buckler normally gets on top of that). They found themselves in another gigantic cavern with a domed ceiling open at the west end to the outside with a ledge where a large patch of earth in floor was occupied by a hedge cut into the shape of a winged dragon. Even from their vantage point they could see they were now in the side of a low mountain probably one of the nearest of the Arns. The floor in the rest of the gallery was polished and a carved stone archway opened to the north into another sunlit gallery this one with a large patch of very high grass obscuring its center growing in another large patch of earth. In the East lay a set of steps leading to a golden double-door of human proportions baring the ugly relief of a troll’s sneering face with lit sconces on either side. They began checking the golden door for a way to open it and for any possible booby-traps. While they were doing this they were attacked by the dragon-hedge both getting scratched by its wooden claws and finding quickly that the thing was poisonous delivering an irritant which caused incessant itching. Bers got in the last blow chopping the thing down in a heap at the very end of the first round. The door’s troll-face laughed at them.
Troll-Door: “A couple of fools who let bushes sneak up on them. Well, you’re not getting in here!”
Bers: “The hell we aren’t” She readied her axe.
Troll-Door: “Unless you answer this riddle first.” She held back.
They answered correctly pretty quickly and the doors opened splitting the troll-face down the middle. They walked into a large brick-walled chamber with a pillar in each of the four corners and a large golden brazier burning at the center of the room. There were two doorways in the north wall, another double-door of rusty iron to the east with a lit sconce to each side and yet another to the south of which they were apparently on the inside. The doors to the east were closed and those to the south were slightly ajar. There was a weapons rack next to the southern doors on which a quiver of bronzewood shaft arrows, a silver rapier and a blue-steel dagger with carved redwood grip and a chalcedony pommel stone could be easily seen. A blast of lighting shot from one of the doorways from the north fortunately both adventurers dodged the bolt in time. The green archer appeared armed with her green-wood bow which had a large emerald on its front. She was wearing a silver helm with a dragon crest with green scale mail armor and a green cloak with a golden clasp with a black sword and a silver dagger on her side. A second enemy charged through the other north doorway, a seemingly human male wielding a silver scimitar and a silver buckler identical to those of the ratlings. He was wearing silver chainmail with a green cloak with a silver and emerald clasp, a silver dagger at his side.
Dead-Eye: “The dragons! KILL ‘em!”
They started to fight the dragons in human form and Jen (Bers’ player) was shocked when she suffered quite a bit of damage when was hit the first time by the green archer. Dead-Eye scrapped with the green fighter whom traded blows both using paired weapons Dead-Eye using his longsword and bowie knife and the dragon using his scimitar and buckler. The fight lasted for two rounds until the dragons led by the female whom suffering a fairly hard whack from Bers’ axe pulled her cowl over her head turning invisible and perceptibly running through the troll-door to the west with the green fighter following immediately behind. Dead and Bers decided to imbibe the potions they were carrying to boost strength, combat bonuses and most of all healing. They checked the rooms from whence the dragons had charged and found a pile of gear being split into shares which they recognized as the Blackwings’ especially the gold amulet and great sword. They decided not to take any of it since it was probably all guild-marked though they thought twice about the pair of arbalests with cable & reels. They did take, however, the money which consisted of 70 gold pieces, 60 silver pieces, 6 platinum pieces, 190 copper pieces, 1 large citrine, 3 diamonds, 2 emeralds and 2 sapphires. Dead-Eye also snatched the quiver on the rack on the way out. In the north room beyond the doorways there was a pair of superior quality lion-skin boots and 10 green cloaks with silver & emerald clasps hung on a row of 12 wood pegs. They left those alone as well.
After this they rushed into the sunlit gallery Dead-Eye tracking the diminishing drops of blood through the east archway into the tall grasses. They both knew the dragons were probably healed up completely by now.
Dead-Eye: “Careful, let’s put some space between us.”
They both rushed blindly into the grass. As they approached the center of the grass the blades began to twist about their bodies impeding their movement and ability to move. They both made their reflex saves in order to not be completely entangled but their movement was impeded and the dragons attacked. Dead-Eye tried to move as far north as he could to try to break out of the high grass but found he had to hack at the grass with his sword and knife in order to move. The male charged in at Dead-Eye in full dragon form revealing his self to be a young green dragon but still giant sized. The female lunged through the grass at Bers revealing her to be an adult green and colossal in size. Jen was again stunned when Bers was hit by a claw attack suffering a great deal of damage in a single strike wounding her badly and reducing her armor from a full suit to a half suit and forcing her to make a recovery check to survive the blow. When she got the chance Bers power-smashed her ax into the dragon injuring it and it backed off out of her sight. Dead-Eye had no choice but stand face to face with the male and was caught in its jaws before winning the grapple and leaping out before it could swallow him but was still fairly injured and his armor fell apart reducing it from a half suit to a partial. Then the female unleashed her breath weapon catching both Bers and Dead-Eye in the cone of chlorine gas which both successfully dodged out of but the grass was cleared by the acid damage. Now completely free the adventurers tried to back off as the dragons surged forward hoping to get time enough to guzzle a potion. In the second round Bers got in a power attack which felled the big female and Dead-Eye desperately tried to put distance between him and the dragon hoping to get a shot with a dragon-bone arrow but was forced to fight sword-v-claw. Seeing his mate dead sent the male into a dragon-rage and he flailed wildly forcing Bers to dodge twice but she got to drink a healing potion. Come the third and final round the dragon took a blow from Dead-Eye and then forced him to dodge a blow and Bers swooped in with a power attack dropping the creature hacking through its long neck with ease suffering fire damage from the dragon’s blood causing her armor to finally just fall completely off. Dead-Eye tossed off the shredded remnants of his armor (it had about 2 hit points left!) and they limped to the massive golden doors at the rear of the sunlit chamber. They found a major horde but were reluctant to mess with the large piles of treasure as they feared another swarm of gold beetles but decided to anyway as Bers simply used the Mallet of Harm eliminating the giant swarm which emerged from the treasure. To list the treasure horde would be ridiculous so I won’t.
Needless to say they carried out what they could after resting for a day and sucking down a few potions. Bers snatched up a diamond studded mace with a silver grip and a suit of adamantine chainmail which she donned for the trip back. Dead-Eye snatched up a back pack of holding which could hold 40 cubic feet of stuff which he promptly filled with potions, coinage of all denominations including Bronze Thorns from Poisonwood and gems of all kinds (most were of a greenish hue and color). It took about 5 days to make it back to the Fertum and there they sold treasures and items for a pittance (though still for thousands in gold coin). There after several days rest and lots of drinking and bathing Dead-Eye revealed his plans to Bers to try to gain membership into the Blackwings guild and start a chapter of their own in the Cleft-Rills and so they became determined to travel to the coastal Ivoran city of Chago.
To Be Continued…