Starfall

They dug too greedily and too deep... You know what they awoke in the darkness...Shadow and flame.

Everyone is staggering after the battle in front of the Lizard Temple.

That is, those of us who fought on the front lines. Vallo managed but a scratch on the arm, which seems to have vexed him greatly seeing as he did his best to fight from afar. We must find rest, but Jezeel has forged on ahead without us. What would drive a man to desire a piece of treasure so much that he disregards his own health to have at it but a day sooner…? The rest of us are not so foolhardy, and head back down the canyon.

Not knowing where a safe haven would be, I am led down an unknown path by my nose and a lovely breeze to a peaceful, plant filled clearing. We notice there are several trees that resemble the symbol of a thorny branch on the Tiefling map we acquired. This begged a careful look around for more symbols on the map. Surprisingly enough, looking upwards, we are able to see the obvious 2nd symbol on the map – a large T-shaped rock against the backdrop of the sky. It seems we have already been at the end point of this map, as the last symbol is that of stone entrance! Most definitely the Lizard temple I exclaim! After a few moments of rest, I remember a ritual I had learned back in my smuggling days… that of comprehending languages. After fashioning a monocle out of quartz and magic, the foreign letters decipher themselves into a familiar Droconic language. They read “Hammer Stone”, “Spiral Tree”, and “Vekna’s Door”. We decide to head back towards the Lizard temple after a night’s sleep. Volya creepily watches us sleep as he meditates. What sort of man never sleeps? Did I hear that in tales of vampires? That would make enough sense in being the Imperial marionette he is.

Upon entering the Lizard temple the next morning (after some deft searching for the entrance’s secret mechanism), we immediately notice two things. One is Jezeel’s muffled curses from somewhere down a steep slope. Another are sets of rusty old train tracks leading downward. This place is no temple, but a mine. Upon these tracks lies an old, wooden, creaky looking mine cart sitting at the top of the tracks. Just waiting for some fool to jump in it and careen off into the darkness. As fate would have it, that fool is among us. Without hesitation, Vallo jumps into the cart and insists one of us give him a push. We all stare incredulously as Viper happily obliges his request. The thuds and crashes we hear moments later further down the dim causeway only confirm the stupidity of Vallo’s actions…

Following the tracks downwards, we see Vallo sprawled on the ground… alive. Apparently he managed to jump out of the cart moments before it went flying into a vast crevasse. We also notice an entire anti-chamber filled with freshly slain lizard men about a makeshift table. They seem to have been enjoying a card game not too long ago… Finally, Jezeel comes into view where he is rummaging through a pile of black soot from the last of many strewn about carts – all the while cursing that his treasure cannot be far, that he must go on. He does not seem to notice us until we ask him what the hell he is looking for. Seeing no reason to trust us, he dismisses the questions rather casually. This seems to tick off something in Volya, and he begins a rather eloquent speech on the benefits and values of trust, even if for a spare few. I’d guess Volya has done this before… nevertheless, this seems to move Jezeel visibly, and his mood lightens with us noticeably. However, this does not slow down his own pursuit of his treasure, and he leads us to a long wooden bridge that hangs delicately across the vast darkness below and deeper into the mine.

Everyone without dragonborn scales moves across easily, in fact all 4 of my skinny comrades move across in a reckless herd. Only I, who moves across alone for cautions sake, find myself hanging on for dear life after snapping two planks halfway across. I barely hang on before Volya throws his handy rope towards me and has the party pull me to safety. I noticed the face on Vallo had turned white after he had a moment to stare down into the darkness… apparently he has seen something in the crevasse grow restless after narrowly missing a meal.

As we continue down, we find a store room off to the left. It holds many a decayed thing, discarded carcasses, and poisonous liquids. We also decide to disturb a tall pile of crates in the corner which reveals a carved out wormhole. This immediately flares the interest of both me and Volya. Finally agreeing on something, we are both in line to dispatch any unsavory beast in the area.

Jeezel is not in the least bit interested in either following the down the wormhole or persuading us to follow him. He simply leaves under a swinging stone door nearby and tells us to catch up later. Damn this man!

On the other hand, Vallo is completely terrified of going down the worm hole. Not necessarily of him going down there (which he won’t), but of myself and Volya’s intentions to do so. He begs us not to throw away our lives. This bizarre scene is too much for me and Volya – our suspicions have been sufficiently spiked towards this man’s background. We demand to know why he wants us alive so much, or else we will most definitely confront our fates down the wormhole. After a brief tug of war with words, Vallo finally admits the true nature of intentions. He was paid to bring us back alive to Rockslide from his perch near the portal. He doesn’t seem to know any more about this charge. Though his ignorance is somewhat believable, there is no telling how much else he is conveniently keeping from us. We probably need to simply ask the right question. At this, we keep our word and stuff a barrel in the wormhole before leaving it behind.

Further into the mine we hear voices in another room, and thinking Jezeel might have found himself against numbers, we decide to investigate. Upon entering we see several lizard men and what seems to be several rage drake stables – all occupied. No sign of Jezeel. Unfortunately, these stables do not seem to specialize in holding back the creatures as they charge us as we start to lay down the hurt on the two nearby lizard men. Rage drakes and a few flying creatures from a small reservoir in the back give us all we can handle for a considerable time. The tide turns when I decide to electrocute the entire reservoir and everything in it with a spectacular display of lightning arcing from my staff. This combined with Volya’s dancing & prancing about with his spear, Vallo’s shooting & cursing everything that moves is enough to put an end to the onslaught.

Viper, who for whatever reason never walked inside behind us, gives an approving slow clap as he strides through the door to witness the end. It is time to figure out this man’s intentions as well. Nobody is worthy of trust in this wretched mine. Even in my days as outlaw and smuggler it was 10 fold easier to find trustworthy souls. Maybe it is bitterness that has drawn out the obviousness of it all.

I am Therion Khal.

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