We thought that the danger had passed, now that the iron golem was scrapped. Oromis and Luna needed a moment of repose while the rest of us continued onward. We found a tunnel further in, its hallway crowded with tripwires, and a small chest at the end resting quietly on the dusty floor. I foolishly tried to set off the wires from a distance with my magic, assuming that a blast of fire or poisoned darts would attack whoever set the traps off. Instead, the tunnel collapsed and buried the chest. My companions were upset with me, and rightly so. Perhaps what the green dragon sought was in there, and now we would need to dig it out. We returned to Oromis and Luna and rested with them, listening to a strange melody Hebo played on his lute.
The cave was perhaps not as large as we initially imagined. Continuing down another path, we discovered an assortment of crates and boxes bearing logos from many different places (one of which I recognized as the Academy Arcanum, an organization from the Emerald Isles). The cave was too dark to read any of the scrolls we discovered in the crates, so I pocketed a collection of them into my pack. Petra found some old, ruined paintings and chose to keep whichever were in the best condition. Oromis, bored of old scrolls and ruined paintings, moved further in and called to us that he found the end of the tunnel.
At the end, he discovered what I thought was the workshop of a magical artificer like myself. A workbench and shelves held a collection of various tools, pouches, cloth, nails, needles, and more. I began collecting any tools that I did not already carry in my bag. Oromis and Ezio pulled a rather long chest from underneath the workbench, but both jumped back quickly as a blast of fire escaped from the lock when Ezio attempted to open it. Using my magic, I guided a lockpicking set into the lock and opened the chest. Inside was a long, double-ended great axe, seemingly glowing faintly with fiery magic. This was Flamebreaker, and Oromis took to it immediately, feeling somehow bonded to it.
Since we were at the end of the cave and there was nothing left to investigate, the group began to return to the entrance. Oromis and I remained behind, tinkering with Flamebreaker. As we began to leave, Oromis caught sight of a burlap sack stuffed into a cubbyhole. The bag contained a small hand drum with intricate carvings on its side depicting a warrior challenging an evil king. We decided that Hebo would appreciate a drum much more than us, so we bagged it and returned to our companions.
We caught up with the Great Ones back where I had caused a cave in. Ezio and Eclipse had begun trying to dig out the other chest, pulling rocks away from the collapsed tunnel. Oromis offered to help them, and I gave him a pickaxe I had found in the workshop. Past here, I found Hebo and Luna standing over the water in a nearby tunnel, leading a rope into the water. Evidently, they had decided to tie a rope to Petra while she (using magic to breathe underwater) would swim to the far end and see what she could find. While they worked, I showed Hebo the drum I found. My magic identified it as Wargroove, and Hebo happily took it from me.
Petra had been gone for almost fifteen minutes before she emerged from the water and told us to back away. We helped her out of the water, and a strange, blurry figure rose out of the water behind her. The figure was not threatening, but Hebo instantly began to panic (remember, reader, Hebo hates caves). I quickly pulled Hebo away and asked Eclipse to escort Hebo outside. When Eclipse returned to me, we heard Luna scream.
Ezio, Eclipse, Oromis, and I rushed forward at the figure. Ezio and I attacked while Eclipse and Oromis combined their strength to dissipate the figure. Luna helped Petra back to her feet, and each of us could see that Petra was severely injured.
Petra told us what had happened. The end of the watery tunnel led outside and overlooked a beautiful sunrise. Petra had become distracted by this momentarily before noticing the blurry figure near her. She was a woman that did not seem to remember her own name, and insisted that she and Petra were seeing a sunset. The woman asked Petra if she was a new addition to Tabarn’s crew, and Petra tried to dodge the question as well as she could. Petra suggested that she and the ghostly woman go back inside the cave and meet with Luna and Hebo.
After I had taken Hebo away, the blurry woman spoke with Luna and Petra. They learned that the woman was a part of the Bloodpack, the naval forces of the Court of Owls, and that this island was a regular place of congregation for them. They likely used the cave as storage for goods (stolen, or otherwise). Tabarn was a dwarf man and was their leader. When the woman learned that Petra and Luna had fought against the iron golem, she attacked them. The golem, she had mentioned, only attacks enemies.
After the ghost was gone, the Great Ones decided to reinvestigate the body of the dead dwarf we had found, and we quickly discovered a set of keys in its ragged pocket. Likely, these keys would have opened the chest that was buried in the collapsed tunnel. And so, we began to dig. For hours, we moved rocks and dirt, shuffling the earth to the side, and exhausting ourselves, only to fall short in the end.
The decision was made to sleep in the storage room where I had found my Masterwork Eye. In the morning, we readied ourselves to continue digging. Instead, we found that the chest we were trying to unearth was sitting neatly outside of the collapsed tunnel. We were immediately confused and alarmed. None of us had dug this out. What had?
I was met with more failure regarding this chest. A trap inside had burned me quite thoroughly before I was able to finally open it. We found a single spell scroll written in Draconic. We had little doubt that this was what the dragon sought.
We left the cave – much to Hebo’s delight – and returned to the Cat’s Tail. We would soon need to prepare to face the green dragon again. This time, I do not suspect we will escape without a fight. And most certainly, the dragon will die.