The day opened in the ruined Capital City of Analeise on a dreary, rainy day. Kira, a local cleric of Kord, busied himself in the library searching for any information that could lead to the reversing of the Rot, though to no avail. His thoughts were interrupted as he noticed a large gathering of people just outside in the main square, where a Cleric of Pelor stood speaking to the crowd.
Among those in the crowd are Valdar, a human bowyer known for his craftsmanship within the city; Lyle, a halfling nomad; and Arula, a mysterious and distant half-elf of the wood who came into town only to have her bow fixed. High Priest Ordello has asked for any able bodied person to venture north, where a small cave is known to lay on the treeline. Word has it that fresh water runs freely in that place, and any person who brings back proof of it’s existence will receive fresh food and water for a week, as well as gold. Unfortunately the fear of the things that lurk in the woods is a powerful one, and so no man from the city will step up and take on the quest. In fact, the only people to speak up and offer their services are Valdar, Kira, Lyle and a grudging Arula. They agree to meet in the morning at the guard-house north of the city, and part ways to take care of their own errands and preparations.
Finding the cave the next day is a matter of simplicity. After receiving a map from one of the Clerics of Pelor, they follow it to the north where the cave is located. Expecting to find a large stony mouth of a cave, they are instead greeted by a large hole in the ground which, upon closer inspection, tunnels beneath the earth, sloping rather deeply and opening up into a wide—if not tall—passage. They follow the passage as it leads them further underground, pausing only to share their uneasiness when they find a mutated skeleton, before continuing on again. After a few long moments of walking, they find themselves in a large cavern, and find that they can hear the distinct sound of precious water. The group immediately sets to finding the source of this water, and soon discover that it comes from a narrow gap in the far wall, precisely at the point where wall and floor would meet. Stepping back to get a closer look, they realize that there is writing on the wall, and that there is a great carving of a rearing horse in the floor. This strange writing could pass for Elven, once upon a time, but… it might also have been something else entirely. Through closer inspection and guesswork, Lyle finds four points in the text where it repeats the same word and presses his hand upon it. Nothing happens. Kira steps forward, placing his hand on one of the points in tandem with Lyle and without warning the wall erupts with warm green light. At this point, Valdar and Arula step forward, awed by what they see and touch the remaining two spots. The wall begins to crumble from the top, and finally simply caves in, spilling rock and debris into the cavern.
When the moment passes and it seems that the threat of danger has passed, the group slowly moves forward to peer inside. They find a largely empty but perfectly round stone room. In the center of the room, on a small dais, is what looks like a sleeping creature, obviously made from stone. The far wall to the left is a long stone sarcophagus, and lining the walls of the room are empty stone shelves. While Valdar and Kira go to examine the sarcophagus, Arula studies the small fountain of clear, pristine water that surrounds the dais, and Lyle looks at the statue. After a long moment of searching, he gets the feeling that it… might… be looking at him, that there is a faint green glow in its eyes. Finding nothing, not even dust in the sarcophagus, Kiro and Valdar both return to the group, stepping forward to examine the water and trying to convince Lyle that the statue is not looking at him. It seems that Lyle is, at first, the only person to hear the soft, faint sound of crackling stone. And then again. And then again.
A hush falls over the party, and for a moment no one dares to even breathe. And then, they hear it too: the soft, faint sound of stone grinding against stone, snapping and then breaking. Looking to the statue, they see several long lines of cracks slowly spidering out and rippling down the statue’s body. Before any of them can remark about it, a great shudder runs though it causing the rest of the stone to shudder and crumble away, leaving behind a massive creature with the face of a lizard and the grace of a cat. It has bright green eyes and it stares at the party with fierce intensity. Lyle loses his nerve and shoots at it, but is shaking so badly that he misses and the bolt from his crossbow ricochets off the ceiling and bounces uselessly onto the ground. The creature snarls and speaks in a low, guttural language that barely sounds like Infernal, demanding to know who these people are and why they’re there. Valdar, speaking in at best broken Infernal, tells the creature of their names and asks for its own. It responds with a very long sort of name. After a moment, his attention is caught by the disruption of the sarcophagus that Kira had opened, and he bounds over to it, despair setting in to find that it is empty. Anger is the second emotion the creature feels as it turns fierce, angry eyes onto Kira.
“What did you do with him?!”