The party set off and are all fully recovered from their skirmish with the Stirges the previous night.
It is mid afternoon when they come across an uninhabited valley which they realize must be the location of the long lost tomb they are looking for from the description Lhaeo gave them.
If a trail once led down into this valley, it has long since vanished. Scrub pines and large deposits of loose, black shale are all that they can see. Still, they determine that traversing the valley should prove to be little trouble. The slope is gentle, the stopping places are many, and the bottom of the valley is only about a hundred feet below.
Its no wonder that no one found the tomb before now, it would never have been discovered had it not been for a landslide that revealed the main entrance. From the looks of the deep mounds of fresh shale and broken trees that litter the escarpment, they determine that the disaster was fairly recent.
As Merthan squints against the sun, he spots a hole which must be the tomb entrance at the top of the pile.
Just as the party prepare to head downward, a band of riders breaks through a stand of trees a few hundred feet away.
A human dressed in Zhentil Keep colors, abruptly reins in his horse as the other five riders behind him nearly run over each other in their haste to stop. Its obvious from their shock and surprise that they didnt expect the party to be here. The riders hold still and stare at the group in bemusement.
Two unarmoured men in robes, riding in the back of what looks like a Zhent patrol, eye the companions suspiciously. Then one of them appears to goad the leader on with some muttered commands. That rouses the patrol, and the other robed figure screams, dont just look at them, kill them! as he smacks his staff across the lead horses rump. As the first four armored riders charge, the robed men disappear from atop their horses.
Merthan unleashes his magic missile which strikes the lead rider in the chest. He grimaces in pain but charges on.
After the initial charge the four Zhentil Keep soldiers dismount and attack on foot.
The battle lasts nearly 20 minutes and it is only half way through the fight when the patrol realize that the Mages have abandoned them. This however, is no concern for them, as they know that death at the hands of the Shadowdale Four is a far better fate than what their Zhentarim masters would have in store.
The party decide to search the dead soldiers and during the search they find a ring, 4 x chain mail, 2 x long sword, 1 light crossbow and 2 daggers. Each soldier carried a sack containing 3 x Iron Rations and 50gp
One set of chain mail looks of very good quality so they take this set, the ring, gold and weapons and then head on into the tomb.
The party head towards the steps which lead to the tomb. They notice the steps are all chipped and broken in spots, no doubt the result of the avalanches that buried and, more recently, uncovered the entrance to the crypt.
Two 20-foot-tall stone statues flank both sides of a large rectangular landing at the top of the stairs. The statue on the left appears to have taken an assault from the valley, as one arm has broken off and now lies half-buried in the shale.
In between the two statues imbedded into the mountain itself, there is a huge metal door. Sunlight reflects off it in bursts and beams, forcing the four to shade their eyes as when they look upon it.
Borloff is the first up the stairs, pointedly looking for any traps or other nasty surprises. Being a dwarf, he knows instinctually that although this tomb has had a rough time of it with avalanches and land slides it is structurally sound. During his search, he discovers the outline of a small door on the back of the left statue.
Not waiting for the others, Borloff attempts to open the door, thinking, that there may be some treasure hidden there. He mutters to himself greedily,
“if I can get me hands on that treasure unnoticed then thats more drink for me belly, tobacco for me pleasure, and whores for me bed! A dwarf always needs some nice young filly to keep him warm at night, har, har, har.”
Once he has just finished muttering he attempts to lift the small latch on the door and it opens surprisingly easy. As soon as the door begins moving, there is audible click. Before Borloff has time to react to this, there is a powerful explosion. Gouts of flame erupt in a fiery ball shaped mass!
He manages to duck and roll out of the way but not before feeling the heat of the explosion burning his right leg and back.
The other party members come rushing up to the statue after hearing the explosion to check on their friend. Upon reaching the statue they see a half burned, cursing dwarf hopping up and down pouring his waterskin over his badly burned leg. Merthan pokes his head around the now open door to see a blank wall with an inlaid brass plaque that reads;
Hope you enjoyed the show!