After being absent from the town of Diamond Lake, some for quite a number of years, four childhood friends find themselves reunited. Each searching for an answer, or perhaps a future, which may very well be all connected. For one of the companions, Thallus, his hope of having assistance in his own personal quest shines bright at the arrival of his old friends. Sending word to each of them he quickly gathers them up and reveals the information he has managed to gather.
With the four companions gathered, Tanrug the gnome sorcerer, Ariadne the orc fighter, Thallis the half-elven wizard, and Thokmay the human monk, it is decided to not spend another minute in the dirty and rather unsafe city of Diamond Lake. Remembering the old abandoned miner’s office in the Cairn Hills where they used to spend their childhood days scampering about, the four set out for there, sure that within the surrounding hills they would find an entrance into one of the cairns. Whether they would find more danger than answers or treasure was yet to be discovered.
Much to the companions dismay however, their fondly remembered hide-out was now a very much rundown and rotting building. Good news in regards to not many people coming through, bad news in regards to supplying them with a place to stay. Shrugging it off for the time being however, the group explores the terrain around the building, eventually finding what appears to be an entrance into the cairns hidden by weeds and other earth debris. Deciding there’s no time like the present the companions decide to enter the tunnel and find themselves stepping into an ancient and unknown world of the dead (well…its presumed there’s most likely dead things in there…it is a cairn after all.).
Thokmay immediately notices what appear to be the tracks of several wolves criss-crossing the dusty floor before them (alright, apparently not everything in here is dead…). Warning her friends about this, the group cautiously continues deeper into the cairn. Before too long, Tanrug notices what seems to be a queer flickering green light coming from the north. Advancing further the companions soon find shards of glass that are cold to the touch next to some carved runes in the stone. After closer inspection Thallis believes that the runes are reminiscent of air, perhaps the signature of a particular person.
Deciding to continue north, the companions soon find themselves in a larger chamber with the mysterious green light stronger and the dank smell of animal spore heavy in the air. The mystery of the animal spore is soon revealed however as the companions are suddenly attacked by three rather angry wolves! During the ensuing battle Thallis is laid out flat by what appears to be the Omega wolf (how embarrassing), and Ariadne manages to cleave two of the assailants clean in two!
Once the dust, err…charred animal hair, has cleared Thokmay discovers a small tunnel where the wolves seemed to have emerged from. Tanrug quickly volunteers to take his small gnome body through the tunnel in order to discover what exactly is on the other side. Lots of dead things it appears. Piles of bones litter the cave like area, searching through some however, Tanrug soon finds a backpack containing what appears to be a lantern with indigo glass panels. Deciding to bring it along Tanrug returns to the others and the group sets to task exploring the rest of the chamber, as well as experimenting with the lantern…which it turns out just seems to light the room with indigo light when a torch is placed within it.
Deciding there’s nothing else for it, but to continue walking toward the source of the green light, the companions turn to walk further north and are stopped by a thick wall of cobwebs. Nearly giggling to himself in glee, Tanrug casts “Spark” and watches as the cobwebs burst into flame, revealing an ancient stone staircase. Shrugging to one another the companions see little else to do besides proceeding up the staircase. The companions now find themselves in a room containing several different hallways leading to different colored lanterns (the red lantern appears to be missing as well as the indigo). In addition to this there is a large white stone sarcophagus in the center of the room with a long shaft protruding from the bottom. Upon the sarcophagus is the image of an androgenous individual with a scarab beetle carved upon the surface as well. Upon closer inspection the carving appears to have had a single finger broken off…curious…
The companions explore all the hallways searching for clues, they also find the source of the green light, a green lantern lit with an everburning torch. Its not until they explore the hallway with the blue lantern however though that they notice something interesting. Above their heads is a chain large enough to climb with what appears to be a hole in the ceiling. Deeming it appropriate to proceed with climbing it all four ascend the chain with Ariadne in the lead. Before them is a dark hallway with a large, ancient stone face at the end. The face is massive, and rather unpleasant. Stepping forward Ariadne is alarmed to hear the faint “click” of a pressure plate most assuredly being pressured upon. Within moments a gust of air is hurtling out of the stone mouth, the eyes blinking a furious pattern of violet and red lights. The companions valiantly attempt to get closer to the face, but the wind is simply too strong, its all Thokmay could do to reach out and grab onto Tanrug as the small gnome body went spinning past her. Deciding it best to fully retreat down the chain, the companions manage to do just that.
Remembering that the lights coming from the face were red and violet the friends decide to light the violet lantern to see what transpires. Within seconds its obvious that the wind has stopped. Thokmay volunteers to climb up the chain again and assess the situation, thinking that she is surely nimble enough to avoid any pressure plates. She manages to make it all the way to in front of the stone face before hearing the dooming click once more, this time however, along with the wind, the eyes remain a burning red color. Retreating once more to her friends Thokmay relays this information. Puzzling over this new information and unsure what next to do, Ariadne decides to go attempt to lift the lid of the sarcophagus. Almost immediately red hot flames shoot up out of the sarcophagus, burning Ariadne and causing her to drop the lid, extinguishing the roaring column of flame. One valuable piece of information was discovered though, with enough effort the whole sarcophagus can be moved by pushing on the shaft!
With that now being their next plan of action the companions put their backs and stubby arms into it and begin to turn the sarcophagus to one of the colored lantern hallways, starting with yellow. A great rumbling can be felt below the floor as a small cylindrical chamber appears below the lantern. Tanrug volunteers to enter the chamber and slowly descends out of sight, the elevator returns, but with no Tanrug. Extremely concerned Ariadne jumps into the cylinder and descends after Tanrug, yelling at him to jump in upon seeing his curious little gnome person inspecting the surrounding walls. It is soon realized that the small button at the bottom level will cause the elevator to descend, so there is no need to worry over being trapped below ground. Realizing that they are rather banged up and tired the group decides to return to their newly refound hide-out and rest. A rest that Thokmay quickly realizes must take place back in Diamond Lake while she and Tanrug set to straightening up the hide-out. Five days later the companions are ready to return to the cairn, with grand plans of fixing up the hide-out even more once they receive some grand treasure from this exploration.
Returning to the yellow hallway and descending the companions find the underground hallway to be carved with figures very similar to the one on the sarcophagus. In addition to this a very large stone appears to be blocking admittance to the rest of the hallway. No matter how hard they push though they cannot move it, nor can they squeeze through. Giving it up for now the companions return to the chamber above once more, this time turning the sarcophagus to the green lit hallway. Once again there is loud rumbling from underground, walking toward the green hallway the companions all stop and back up slightly, feeling that ground is perhaps unstable. Suddenly there is now a large hole below the lantern, as the companions peer over the edge however, the skittering of thousands of beetles can be heard. Backing up quickly the friends are rewarded with a geyser of beetles erupting from the hole followed by a rather grotesque eyeball with legs.
Eventually they manage to lay waste to all the foes and return once more to the pit. It is very clear that the acid from the beetles has pitted and scarred the stone walls and that there is a floor only sixty feet below them. Unsure as to explore the shaft more though the companions continue to move the sarcophagus, first to the blue hallway where nothing happens, and then to the indigo causes another elevator to rise. Tanrug approaches the elevator and notices that there are several crushed bones within it, surely not a very good sign. Ariadne ignores the potential warning however, to rummage through the remains, finding little. Thokmay also ignores the warning and rummages through as well, managing to find a small amount of treasure…as well as the elevator doors closing on her and the ceiling attempting to crush her. After losing consciousness the friends manage to pull her from the elevator, Thallis reviving her with a quick slap to the face. It is smartly decided to rest up once more before further exploring.