The temple chamber fell silent, but the low hum of the stone altar. Jack tentively poked his blade at the large dragon brain, twitching on the cold, stone-tiled floor. It didn’t move. “Put a fork in her. She’s done,” Jack proclaimed and starting tossing the room looking for loot.
Harbek took a swig from his flask. “That altar,” he croaked, “is an abomination unto Moradin.” He hefted his maul above his head and brought it down with a mighty smash. Sparks and a shower of crushed rock erupted from the impact. Choco joined in the assault. In short time, they had cracked the altar in several places. Arcs of blue energy crackled in the air and the humming sound died out.
Mycroft scanned the bookshelves around the room, looking for ritual books and useful research. The majority of the tomes were penned in a draconic-looking script and were unreadable by the mage. The swordmage did locate a black leather book that radiated powerful magic. The script was entirely in the draconic script, but the many diagrams revealed it to be a book of rituals.
The stone floor tiles were pulled up on the southern edge of the dome. Picks and shovels were carelessly scattered around a recently dug hole. Jack cautiously crept into the opening and discovered a chamber filled with crates. He called the others over and they began prying open the boxes. Jack peered into the crate and saw the glint of gold. Jack tipped over the crate and gold coins spilled to the floor. Mycroft plunged his arm into another crate and pulled out a fist full of astral diamonds.
Suddenly, the sound of scuffling boots and shouts came from the chamber above. A familiar voice could be heard above the din. “You, men. Search this chamber.” It was Captain Maclay. Jack and Mycroft began stuffing their pockets with gold and diamonds before the captain appeared at the mouth of the tunnel with Lenore by his side. “By the Queen, I was afraid we’d never see you again.” The captain turned to his men. “I claim this treasure in the name of the Queen.” The captain ordered his men to pack up the treasure and books and deliver them to New Laeeth. He assured the party they would receive an ample reward once the treasure had been properly cataloged.
The group recounted the events of the last day. The captain told his own terrible tale. New Laeeth had been assaulted by an army of lizardmen. They had completely decimated the eastern wall in a surprise attack and looted a portion of the Market District before being driven back. Captain Maclay led the pursuit. The lizardmen had come through this area no more than a few hours earlier. The captain ordered the party to track the lizardmen back to their lair and report back the location while the Royal Guard secured the ruined temple’s treasures.
The reunited party set out on the trail of the lizardmen. Choco was able to easily find the tracks of many clawed feet and the deep ruts of their siege equipment. The tracks broke up as they approached a river delta. The preponderance of tracks followed the river to the north.
Week 4, Day 6
After a day’s travel, the group reached the end of the trail. A dark hole concealed by high reeds on the side of a muddy riverbank. Lenore suggested sending her raven into the entrance, but the druid had a better idea. Choco transformed into a mouse and scurried through the reeds. The passageway branched ahead, but there was a room full of guards in a chamber just off the entrance. She brought her friends in and the group burst into the entry, surprising the guards. The lizardman sentries attempted to signal the others with their alarm rope, but Harbek stymied their attempts. The sound of the battle attracted the attention of the lizardmen in the next room, who threw back the curtain to rush into the battle. However, Mycroft had prepared a spell for this case. The mage set off a burst of arcane energy in the center of the new attackers. The blast crumpled half the attackers before the could move into the room. Choco furious claws brought down the rest. Jack and Lenore decimated the remaining guards. The guards had all been dispatched and the alarm had not been raised.