Alvra carries the strongbox back down to the corridor, and does the same with his dead mount’s saddle and bridle. Phaedra points out it would be suspicious if a dead riding lizard was found in this cave. Combined with the missing Cloak of the Consort, it might lead straight to House Xaniqos. They decide to burn it all: the crates, bedding, araneas and the riding lizard. An incendiary slime spell in combination with a fire ball does the trick. An enormous explosion rocks the stone, and when the Wizard climbs back up to check out the area, all is scorched black. A mass of organic and inorganic stuff remains, reasonably unrecognizable. Satisfied, the Drow follow the corridor, the younger sister scouting ahead. She finds herself in a cave with ladders and ropes, leading up to a platform with a small pool of pure drink water. This might come in handy for future travels. They fill up their water bottles. Since it is a dead end, they retrace their steps and take the long and arduous route back. A lot of climbing and hoisting needs to be done and it takes them at least two hours to reach the spider carcasses again.
At the bottom of the slope that leads down from the cave entrance, the scene is unaltered. Or is it? When Lilith takes a closer look, she sees that one of the hobgoblin bodies has been turned over: someone has been here. Fresh bear tracks lead back the way they came from, but all seems quiet for now. After about an hour the siblings come upon a crossroads. The bear imprints lead to the right, but their city is straight on. The Cleric sees no point in following the tracks any further and takes the road towards Erelhei-Cinlu. To their right and left are paths filled with stalagmites, while high cliffs frame the way forward. Then the Scout spots a male Drow standing on a small rock at the side of the road. He’s seems to be nonchalantly waiting for them, his hands at a safe distance from his expensive looking rapier and dagger. The male is wearing a costly outfit and his whole demeanor radiates supreme confidence.
Greetings, I want you to lay down your weapons and hand over the cloak that you stole.
The adventurers immediately stand still, assessing the situation.
Please lay down your weapons, I will not ask again.
When Lilith asks for his name, he responds with
My name is Jhael’min Shi’quos.
Of course that does ring a bell. House Shi’quos, the Fourth house of Erelhei-Cinlu. And member of the House of the captive Drow whose throat Phaedra slit. The Scout, in a high state of alertness, hears a soft snort to the right. They might have caught up with the owners of the bear tracks. The male Drow, seeing the family crest on Lilith piwafwi, exclaims:
You are of House Xaniqos? That cloak belongs to our family!
Such a devious Matron Mother, the Cleric muses, she indeed never said anything about our House owning it or being entitled to it! Lilith keeps on talking, since the Drow seems genuine in wanting to let them pass, and throws her diplomacy skills in the game.
We know we took something that most likely doesn’t belong to us, but you must understand that we can not go back to our Matron Mother without it.
I’m sorry you feel that way,
Jhael’min says, whereupon both the Wizard and the Cleric feel the impact of a crossbow bolt. Slowly the world fades…