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The heat was intense. Standing in the hallway and looking out at the Fiery Sanctum, the heat hit me in waves. The bubbling pools of lava and the islands of flame were intimidating.
After the Farastu attack we rested. As we sat around, breaking our fast the next morning we discussed next moves. Down one hallway was a bright glowing light. The opposite way there were several doors we could try.
“There might be treasure behind those doors.” Theresa smiled sheepishly.
“Aye, or monsters. We might want to secure our retreat.” Durilin nodded in a satisfied way as if that settled it.
“I feel like I’ve missed some important moments, what with the possession and all…. There’s a timelock, right? The soultree is being erected and we only have a little time to stop it. Am I right?” I looked at Myntilly. She smiled at me. “Yes. We are short on time. I don’t think we have time for treasure or monsters. We need to walk up that hallway and towards the light.”
Durilin stood and hefted her axe. “Are we ready?” She motioned to Theresa. “After you.”
We moved cautiously down the hallway. Up ahead to the right was a open doorway. It looked like a inky rectangle. Theresa held up her hand, motioning us to stop.
The darkness looked too dark, but maybe I was just nervous. Theresa inched closer and came back quickly. “Crap. I think it’s vrocks. A couple of them. We can’t leave them. They’ll just attack from behind.”
Durilin came forward. “I have an idea.” She clasped her hands together and closed her eyes. “There.”
Ian looked at her questioningly. “Where? What?”
She laughed. “Oh! Earth elemental. I just conjured one in there. With the vrocks.”
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Theresa tossed a light stick into the room. There was a large, bulky creature pummeling a surprised vrock. It was a nice sight.
The second vrock (because they never travel alone) danced out from behind the elemental and into the hall.
I remembered these creatures. Spore attack. They open their craws and spew all over their victims.
And now here was one in front of me. It opened its mouth….. And I was drenched in warm thick goo. Theresa, who was standing beside me was equally covered. “Gross!”
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“Watch out!” Ian pointed his hands and bright sunlight streamed from his fingers. An searing heat hit me and I stumbled out of the rays. I heard Theresa cursing beside me and turned to see her sucking her fingers. And then the vrock made an odd croak and keeled over.
Acgar turned to Ian with a smile. “What is that called?”
“Sunbeam. You like it?”
Theresa stomped over to him. “Watch where you point that, OK Shorty? I need some salve. Anyone got any burn ointment? I have burned fingers. Oh, and I’m covered in spores.” She threw up her hands.
I walked over to her. “I got caught in the beam as well. It’s OK. Just a little thing and look, where the sunbeam hit, no spores.” I turned to Myntilly. “I didn’t prepare remove disease today. Could you…..?”
“Oh sure. But I only have one. I could –”
“No that’s fine. We can take care of mine tomorrow. Help Theresa.”
Sadi walked over. “Did you guys forget? I do have some magic of my own.” And she laid her hand on my shoulder and closed her eyes. “There. All better.”
We walked up the long hallway, talking quietly. And when we turned that last corner and saw the field of lava pits in front of us, my heart sank. We needed to cross it and continue on. In the far distance you could see a black area that could only be our destination.
As we stood talking about how to cross the area, Acgar got quiet. “Shhhh. Stop for a moment. I want to listen.”
After a long minute she said, “There’s something there. It’s on the edge of my consciousness. I…..” Her voice trailed off but I could see her nose twitch. “You smell something? I mean something besides sulfur?”
“Yeah.” She nodded firmly. “Yeah that’s what it is. It smells…. Come over here.” She took my arm and brought me closer to the lava pools. We stood for a moment and she leaned closer to me. “It smells a little like my grandpa’s house. Um, a little like cooped up dragon. You know?”
“No. But I know what you mean. So, you think there’s a dragon in here? And you don’t want anyone else to know.”
“It sounds crazy. And I can’t explain it but I do not want to go in there.” At that moment, one of the islands erupted and lava shot up and rained down, just missing us.
We turned to the group. “It’s crazy. No way can we survive that. We would have to be so lucky. And even then…. There has to be another way.”
“But you said we had to hurry.” Theresa cocked her head at me. “That whole timelock thing you were going on about.”
I set my mouth. “I’ve changed my mind. Let’s go.” And as we walked back down the corridor, we missed seeing this:
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