Dragon!

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When they walk back towards the entrance of the darklight ore mine, they suddenly hear applause. A very well dressed drow in a splendid robe is clapping his hands and says,

I’m impressed! But I would like you to go no further.

And who might you be?

My name is Phazeuroth.

The Xaniqos have never heard of him, which surprises Phaedra, as she knows of almost everyone of note in Erelhei-Cinlu and surroundings.

150531Vasarot

The male drow takes a graceful bow and chats on, asking for their names. The cleric isn’t too keen on giving those, so she keeps distracting him with more questions. He answers willingly.

I was asleep, when I was disturbed by your fireball and electric show, so I came to check you out. I had come to an agreement with the fanatics that you seem to have destroyed. Hmm, well this might be a new opportunity in itself as I was pondering how to make my presence known to your city.

Who are you?

I’m a kind of collector of interesting objects.

And what are you? You don’t seem to be affected by the radiation of the darklight ore at all.

The answer to Lilith’s question is quite surprising.

I am suprised you have not heard of me, I am a dragon!

Phazeuroth’s tone is very proud and arrogant.

The large bones over there actually belonged to my grandfather. I would like to have a good relation with the city, based on trust. This is my place, and I don’t like too many visitors. Recently, a group of albinos came and asked for a stupid scroll, which was already in my possession for over a decade. I must have “collected” it while I acquired more interesting objects. How they knew I had it I did not know, nor ask. They were willing to pay a handsome sum for it and as the scroll was of no particular interest to me, I sold it to them.

The cleric assures him of the interest in a mutual business agreement with her House. Phaedra asks the drow if he knows more about the szarkai.

They told me they came from the city of Maerimydra, which was destroyed a long time ago. There was a female, a fanatical priest. Once in a while she came to collect the carts with darklight ore. And I heard something about ruins.

Phazeuroth falls silent and either he is genuinely bored with the subject or he feigns to have no interest.

Don’t you ever get lonely?

After Lilith’s words, the male drow changes into an elegant rakish, shiny black serpent. Over his head, a circle of steam slowly wheels. Magic is thick upon the air.

Deep dragon

Let me introduce myself again. Well met, my name is Phazeuroth..

The cleric finally introduces herself as Lilith, high priestess of House Xaniqos. In a deep and rumbling voice, the dragon thanks her.

Meanwhile Jharrath leads his blinded sister to the corpses, where she searches for symbols. Apart from sword and armor, she finds nothing, so they return to the party, where Phazeuroth – after changing back to his drow form – says:

What I forgot to tell you, uhm, what was it again? Something to do with the end of the world. Or was it the end of your city? It is hard to remember.

They all realize the dragon is only acting this casual.

Ah yes. You will have to go to the city of Maerimydra quickly. Something to do with a rod, Szith Morcane and a the prophecy: Their time will come, your time will end. Yes, that was it. That is where the albinos were headed. By the way, it would be nice if your friend over there doesn’t do his fireball anymore.

Oh, but if I had known a beautiful dragon was living here, I wouldn’t have done that!

The dragon is pleased to have such a polite interlocutor and he and Jharrath continue their banter for a bit.

I hope to see all, or some of you, again. In the future I might put back the trap again. But call my name, and I will come to you.

After saying goodbye to their new business partner, Alvra and Lilith carry one of Phazeuroth’s grandfather’s bones and use it as a bridge across the gap of the trap. When they try to figure out how to get the bone back, they hear the echoes of the dragon. Don’t worry about it… Jharrath collects a piece of the violet fungi for later investigation and together the four siblings make their way down the slope again; fighter and scout in one piece, the other two with a bit more difficulty.

The Darklight Mine

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Two days after their return from the mind flayer tower, Phaedra is summoned to the Matron Mother’s chambers. With a clipped

What are you still doing here? Didn’t I make myself clear enough? Was there anything you didn’t understand perhaps?

Lady Thandysha expresses her displeasure.

My apologies, Matron Mother, I will leave immediately!

Phaedra rushes off, in search of her siblings. She orders Jharrath and Alvra to meet her at the front door, fully packed, while she waits for Lilith to finish her reverie. Together they walk towards the gate.

The Council, convened by archmage Velifane, is trying to work on the prophecy through scrying. The Matron Mother has a another, very good idea though. On the prophecy scroll were traces of darklight ore, and it must have been a significant amount. There used to be an old darklight ore mine, west of the city. Lady Thandysha wants us to search for clues there. It is an inactive, collapsed and unstable mine. A long while ago, close to a century, a deep dragon named Vaterian tried to expand the mine, which resulted in a cave-in.  a real setback, since we used to be on good terms with Vaterian.

Soon they pass the gates of Erelhei-Cinlu and turn right towards the west. As soon as they are out of sight of the wall, Alvra puts on a mask. The dark green material covers the upper half of his face, and it is adorned with decorations. Phaedra asks her brother what the mask is for.

It should help me against mental attacks. I survived hitting our sister once in confusion, but I don’t think I will make it a second time.

Though the Xaniqos travel through an area they haven’t been to before, the scout really knows how to find her way. After a couple of hours, they pass a big stone in the middle of the path. It has deep gouges on eye level – fresh, by the looks of it. The scratches seem to be made by the claws of animals. Phaedra scans her whereabouts wearily.

Finally they arrive at a cave complex. Most are filled up with sand, but one looks like a mine entrance, sixty feet up. Phaedra eyes the unstable surface, and decides to climb with speed. The stones start to slide, but the nimble drow succeeds without any problems. By the pieces of rotten wood, rusted pickaxes, gravel and stones, she knows she’s in the right spot. At the top of the slope is a small opening, and in the dust she sees tracks of two-footed humanoids.

Cave

After signalling to her brothers and sister to come up, Phaedra cautiously enters the cave. After a few steps, the ground suddenly gives way and only her excellent reflexes prevent her from falling into a fifty feet deep gap.

Catching her bearings, Phaedra walks back towards the entrance. She notices that the others are struggling to reach the top. She takes out her rope, digs herself in and throws the other end towards the cleric. With her sister’s help, Lilith manages to climb up the hill. The males arrive soon after, Alvra’s gnashing armor somewhat dented, while the wizard’s robe is torn.

The drow make their way into the dark entrance. Where Phaedra easily passes the pitfall, the fighter takes his time. Slowly but surely he makes it across the gap. This is not an option for the cleric in her heavy armor. She takes it off, hands the pieces to Jharrath and jumps the ten feet after a run-up. After activating his boots, the wizard and the cleric’s armor appear on the other side as well, and, aided by her sister, Lilith is soon back to her full-plated self.