After returning to Berin from their latest trip, the adventurers were each rewarded a bag of holding and 1000 gold pieces. Where Berin acquired this money was unknown, but certainly welcomed by the party, and they have built quite a rapport with the gentleman who let them in on a little secret. As he began to tell his next tale, he pulled out a key and moved to set it on the table.
The key was red-hot and clearly was giving off a lot of heat, but did not cause any burns on Berin’s hand, nor did it damage the table. After some discussion, he revealed that the key was magically enchanted, and through the use of a ritual and a willing participant, it was possible to hand the key to another individual who would be able to carry it without harm. Anyone else who tried to grab the key would be severely burned. As he continued, Berin revealed that there was some history behind the enchanted molten key, and informed the party about its purpose.
“The city of Graydale”, he told them, “is home to the creators of this key and its enchantment. I received the key through a mutual friend who performed it being handing me the key. Imagine my surprise when my hand wasn’t burned at all!” When asked why he wouldn’t try to sell this key, provided that Graydale has so many riches, he responded simply, “If people knew I had this key, I could easily be killed. I wanted to share it with you since you have surprised me at every turn.”
After meeting with Berin, the party decides to entrust the key to Daerand. They depart Estford and head toward Graydale to see what their adventure has in store for them.
As the party approached Graydale, they discovered that there was an abundance of adamantium plating all around them. Adamantium is known to be one of the toughest metals to forge and nobody else has figured out how to shape it before or since the last inhabitants of Graydale vanished.
The scene was littered with debris and damage caused by the eruption from the volcano almost 60 years prior, and there was an oddly shaped structure, almost like the Greek Pantheon. After doing some scouting [name] discovers that there appears to be several individuals who seem to be waiting for something. [name] wasn’t spotted by this group and returned to the party so they could formulate a plan. Among them was an armored man on foot, presumably a captain of some sort, a robed figure who was carrying holy symbols, two brutish looking fellows with large axes, and a young blue dragon.
The Ambush Party
After several minutes of discussion, the party decided that they will prepare themselves for a surprise attack in case the individuals were hostile. [name] transformed into a frog and was carried by [name] to one side of the Pantheon, while [name] snuck over to the other side.
Once the party was in place, Daerand approached equipped with robes and a shovel, attempting to pass himself off as a lost traveler who saw the mountains and thought perhaps some dwarves were living there. The armored man didn’t believe him and instructed his companions to attack at once.
Through swift and precise execution, the party was able to dispatch this group of foes and searched through the corpses. After rummaging through the corpses, they found a note that indicated that this group of individuals was, in fact, an ambush party that was sent after hearing a rumor of a magical, molten key to the city of Graydale. The party also discussed, at length, how they could attempt to preserve the dragon’s corpse and opted to use vinegar to pickle the flesh so that it would not rot.
After storing their new dragon, Pickles, the party advanced toward the Pantheon. As they approached, several members of the party felt their magical abilities leave them, dulled by an anti-magical field that appeared to be linked to this area. As they approached the center, Daerand pulled out the key and a stairwell emerged from within the center of the structure. The stairs spiraled down and the party followed them. Once they had gotten sufficiently deep, the doorway that had opened for them to enter shut, and could not be opened again from the inside.
As the party continued to descend for several more minutes, they finally reached the bottom of the stairs, revealing a circular platform suspended above a lake of molten magma. In the distance, there was a platform that the party discovered and hoped to reach, although the only options appeared to be an unstable bridge, or a quick ceiling climb to reach a walkable area. Daerand went first, wearing rope around his waist and leaving a trail behind him for the party to reel him in, should he fall.
After a successful bout of climbing, Daerand tied the rope to the nearest sturdy surface, and the party slid down the rope to reach the platform. As they continued further into the mountain, they discovered an area with three doors, one of which was open. In the distance, they could hear the sound of movement and guttural voices in a language that nobody recognized…