Our journey continued at a steady pace after defeating half a dozen or so of those fire wisps (taken care of by our lovely Aoife). Nothing of significance in a room with a stone in the center, canopied by a seemingly historical painting on the ceiling of a handsome man possibly named Draxis with a key necklace. Probably nothing important.
A hallway with a cave-in, a door marked with an X, and an apparently difficult to open door were our only paths. After curiosity struck my dear friend Nohl, he convinced the metal-clad brothers and the large woman (I’ve been hearing the others call her “Raggy”, still not certain if that’s an insult or just her name) to open the x-marked door. Inside were some treasure boxes obviously trapped with fire, but the bunch of them decided to open them willy nilly. I, myself, however, after searching a nearby charred corpse and finding a convenient pair of lock picks, made an attempt to save the contents of a treasure box by unarming it without a burst of fire hitting anyone or setting the contents aflame. A failed attempt, I walked away with just one eyebrow less… Most of the boxes contained a fair amount of money, though and that was very graciously handed out by the humble Novha (though he did keep one of the bags of gold to himself, I noticed).
We continued onward from there. Upon further inspection, the difficult door seemed to be supporting something, so the idea of opening it called for a second cave-in in the hallway which we all stood. Without a second thought, Novha and Raggy pushed the door open and the group of us ran through before the ceiling of the hallway collapsed behind us, preventing us from turning back around (to my distaste). At the time, no one realized that Hovan was buried beneath the rubble. Ah well.
Eager to see what became of the handsome man in the ceiling frescos, I charged inside to inspect the walls, only to be pulled back before being singed alive by a bubbling fire demon that emerged from the stone rubble in the center of the room. A difficult battle ensued, blades and flames exchanged, people set aflame, people thrown about, water-skins thrown at faces. I amazingly knocked the hulking Raggy over with a waterskin to her face, which was later poured onto her via a dust-covered Hovan who freed himself from a near rocky grave. After some softening up from the others, the angry blood fire demon was slain by yours truly with a single crossbow bolt to the heart (if it possessed one). A truly spectacular end to an epic battle, if I do say so myself.
Needing a moment to recuperate, we stopped in the now safe room for rest. The stone rubble from which the demon spawned moments ago hid a shield of sorts (that Novha quickly took and showed to his brother). Good for them. Something about it being the shield of a fallen paladin named Derondar.
Inspecting the walls again, the ceiling depicted the handsome Draxis knelt down before some unknown entity, offering his key necklace as the world around them seemed to fall into darkness. A dreary and somewhat foreboding image to see, considering one of the next doors in our path read that beyond it lay the resting place of Draxis. Despite others’ uncertainties to disturb a crypt, my curiosity (and need to know if within lie gold) gives way to my other senses…