Part 59: Alpha

3 to Verdant Sun, Inalis

So who goes up the stairs first? Certainly not me, I suggested, but no one was volunteering. I think we’re all a little shaken from what happened to Briar. Briar is quite pale right now and is a little wobbly on her legs. Actaeon and I snuck forward this time, making sure to sneak as best as we could. Everything is so blasted hot here and it all smells of sulfur and lizard and- Ugh!

Up the stairs we went until we came to a sea of lava all around us. Geez, I thought it was hot in the caverns! No, this is something else entirely. I’m afraid that the next time I see my mother, she won’t recognize me because of all my tanned skin. Not tanned because of a warm and inviting sun. Tanned because I’m starting to dry up and turn into a husk! The heat is sweltering. I know that the lizardmen themselves are not immune to fire, nor are they even resistant to fiery magic. But somehow they’ve accustomed themselves to living like this. I cannot fathom how. I think we’re outside in the caldera of the volcano now, but you’d hardly know it. There’s a thick black cloud above us that reflects a hellish red hue onto our surroundings, and I think we’re out of drinking water.

Note to self, when we get back to the Gjallarhorn, I’m going to make some alterations to my wardrobe. Something to keep the heat off a little better.

Where is everyone? I’m surprised to say we haven’t really found any lizardfolk up here. At least, not more than the few we encountered here and there. The first one was an invisible Firewalker shifter who attacked us while Torag and Shadow went to scout about. They found a few Flamescar warriors who had been captured. We offered to release them, but before we could, a group of raptors had come out. The largest of them was apparently the alpha according to Torag. He and Shadow got into an argument over who could slay the alpha, but I don’t think I quite understood the conversation amidst the snarling of dinosaurs. In fact, I only really remember Shadow yelling, “I am the alpha!” while shooting the shifter in the chest. The shifter crawled away, only to be finished off by a giant snake that our poor tired Briar summoned.

Somehow, I got elected to be the one to talk to the Flamescar warriors. Two were greatly injured, but one was more than ready for a fight. His name is Sel-Makor (the dialect is strange but I think this means gathered or summoned fury), and he was furious with Krog-Tor and the Firewalkers. We showed him our Marks and he instantly joined up with us, eager to battle. Sel-Makor informed us of a few obstacles in our way. On one side of this large fortress was a roost for pterodons. On the other side was a weapon stash that we would be wise to loot. I opted to go with Sel-Makor as, though he could speak our common tongue well enough, he seemed comfortable with conversing. Torag and Actaeon came too. For his part, Torag was called by Sel-Makr Pug’Citro, which translates to punch-kick. So I guess that means he calls Torag Punch Kicker. I think I’ll call him that from now on, too.

The others (Rendu, Clio, Shadow, and poor Briar) went to handle the pterodons. They found them at a distance and sniped a few of them before the nasty creatures were mounted by skink Firewalkers and started dropping bombs. Clio pushed a few skinks into the lava, and Shadow and Briar exploded the pterodons by targeting the bombs that had yet to fall on them. Rendu protected the group with some healing, and they came to meet up with us.

Our group, meanwhile, found the weapon stash. It was guarded by some skinks and warriors, but it was nothing a few fireballs and Punch-Kicker attacks couldn’t handle. Actaeon, obviously, was quite impressive, too. But even Actaeon got a little nervous around Sel-Makor. That Flamescar got angry and started…

You know what? My journal doesn’t need that kind of writing in it. I’ve written enough awful things in here, enough to give any reader nightmares about what we’ve done. Suffice it to say that I’m quite pleased Sel-Makor is on our side. With Sel-Makor’s weapons in our possession, we met up with the others once more.

I am certain the next room is where we’ll meet with Krog-Tor. I have a plan. Briar does, too. And I’m sure everyone else has some ideas of how we survive this. Whatever happens, I hope it goes well.