Across the ridge once more the party trekked until they reached the stone quarry where Dimetrios was staying with his tracker Minodon. Dimetrios was coming out of one of the mines when the party caught up with him and filled him in on all that had happened. He was excited about meeting a Soldeki priest (they failed to mention they killed him) and agreed to help them.
Gemma and Kostos agreed to go to the wildcat miners and warn them of the priest’s wrath. Together they convinced the miners of the danger and the immediate need to leave the mountain. They also spoke to Herinus, one of the few men that survived leaving Ron’s mining camp. He told them about the abandoned mine and gave them insight into the various tunnels they dug and the dangers they faced. It was not simply the endless cave vipers they fought, but several rooms filled with noxious gas at odd intervals. He also told them that they large chimney they found must exit the mountain because clean air and rainwater came through it. With that knowledge in hand they returned to the quary to await their friends.
The rest of the party traveled along the ridge-top until they discovered a small campsite. This campsite had six large standing stones and a small tent covering a fissure in the earth. Each of the stones glowed with earth and mystic energies and while nobody could figure our their true nature what they did discover was that the stones drew two nearby ley lines to this exact spot. Dimetrios explained that it was impossible to change the locations of ley lines, but he could not argue with what was clearly in front of him. Stathos returned to the quarry to wait for the others while Briz and Dimetrios studied the stones.
Eventually curiosity got the better of Briz and the descended a bit into the fissure. While there Dimetrios levitated down and knocked him out with a spell. When the rest of the group arrived, bringing more rope, the camp was abandoned. They searched everywhere for the others, but could only find Minodon who did not know where either of the others had gone. With the fissure as their only lead they lowered Gemma into the dark with only a flicking torch for light. She discovered Briz under a pile of rocks with no memory beyond him descended into the fissure.
With Briz’s lights leading the way the group continued their descent. It was a very difficult journey as only Kostos new the basics of such climbing. There were several minor injures and Stathos nearly fell to his death, but in the end they reached a large platform that had a tunnel entrance. This tunnel was clearly unnatural as it was a smooth as the finest stonework of the dwarves. With everybody safely here they entered the cave.
How long they walked along the passage was difficult to tell as they only had the passing of Briz’s lights to track time. They know they traveled for over 30 minutes before Gemma found a large cylindrical room with stone stairs descending to a lower level. Inside this room where fiery bats clinging to the ceiling and a large cookpot in the center of the floor below. Gemma had no difficultly working her way along the stairs, but the others ran into difficultly. Stathos’ foot slipped on a wet stair and for the second time nearly fell to his death. Kostos caught him, but his cry for help awoke the bats. With the fiery creatures swarming all around they ran down the rest of the stairs to the tunnel at the bottom where Gemma awaited. Most everybody was a but singed, but still alive.
Proceeding Gemma nearly ran into the large lava snake curled up sleeping in the next room, while she retreated to discuss their options someone was approaching from the snake’s den. Their fears were realized when it was the Soldeki priest with his fire bats approaching. Gemma went up to talk to him since the priest had not seen her before. She attempted to pass herself and her group, who where still backlit and shadowed so they were difficult to see, as ruin hunters. This angered the priest and he told them strongly several times to leave before he would destroy them.
While Gemma was stalling the priest suddenly grabbed his chest his pain and surprise. He attempted to return the way he came but collapsed. When Stathos turned him over he had a fist-sized hole in his chest and was bleeding profusely. As the party attempted to save him, Briz discovered he was not a man but a golem. Rather than blood, Briz pushed pure arcane energy into the golem to re-animate it. Following the golem they safely passed through the lavasnake’s den and reached a hallway similar to the one Stathos found earlier. Although the golem finally fell apart they knew this where the answers would be found.
They warily walked down the hallway, always hearing a voice beckoning them to give up their will and prostrate themselves before the one true god. They eventually reached a large stone door that refused to move or open in any way they could discover. It was then that Gemma finally fell victim to the calling voices and with a shout of slavish devotion she leapt through the stone door. The others tried to grab her but the door was still solid to them. With no way to pass through the door and Gemma on the other side things were looking grim.
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