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Another Day, Another Tale...

Valon’s Journal

Today started out well enough. The morning was beautiful, the sun was shining, and nothing was currently eating the party. When we got back to town after leaving the Dim Forest it was apparent that the carnival was packing up and preparing to leave town. There are those who are convinced that the creature that lurked beneath the quiet little town of Smallville is linked to the carnival. It is possible that the creature was just another minion of Durll, the same as the drider Kalanaar. I suppose only time will tell. Pockets suggested that word should be sent to the next town on the carnival’s itinerary.

While restocking supplies for the next leg of our epic quest I sought out the advice of the old woman Zorlla, seeress of the carnival. She was quite helpful and even provided a means to expedite our journey to the Hellfurnaces mountain range in the form of a silver egg. Her only instructions were to crack the egg and its mystical energy would sweep us to the place where we were most needed to be upon the winds of the ether. After rejoining the group an eerily strange fog bank rolled into and through Smallville, disappearing as quickly as it appeared, taking the carnival along with it without leaving a trace that they were ever even here.

During one of the party’s typical spirited discussions in which nothing was being resolved I strangely found myself compelled to crack the silver egg. In a brief moment we found ourselves standing on the brink of a volcano overlooking the hot and desolate mountainous landscape of the Hellfurnaces, the plumes of dark smoke rising from a least a dozen massive volcanoes. The lip that we were standing on looked down into the open maw of an active volcano and the churning pool of magma could be seen far below. The only ways away from the volcanic crater was by means of either a rocky path leading down the outside of the mountain that quickly turned out of sight, or by entering the crater directly. A small cave entrance could be seen in the side of the crater approximately thirty feet down from the edge that we were standing on. Of all the places that we needed to be the most! It didn’t take long to decide which way to go, what with the huge red dragon that seemed to be descending upon us at a rather nasty pace. I looked to Fafnir to try and determine if perhaps he was playing one of his little tricks on the party once again. The look on the gnome’s face was enough to convince me that the dragon was a real enough threat. Pockets quickly drove a piton, from his apparently never ending stock, into the rock. With a rope securely tied in place the screaming, suicidal mass of undercooked flesh that was the party leapt into the volcano. With the aid of feather fall, a little skill, and a wagon full of luck we escaped into the opening of the rock face below. We fled down a narrow passage before the dragon could reach us. The heat within this place is oppressive and it’s hard to breathe.

It didn’t take us long to find our way down a vertical shaft that appears to be a lava flow tube. Hopefully the volcano won’t decide to occupy these tunnels at the same time as us. It was at this point that the party found itself in a cavern with two exits in either direction and pools of hot magma scattered about. In typical party solidarity we chose to split up. With Drusilia, Ghelt and myself going the correct direction and the stubborn, possibly insane members going the other we moved off.

I’m not sure what really happened after that moment. I vaguely recall that somewhere down the passage that we were following we encountered something that my mind refuses to even contemplate... something dark, ancient and evil ... something familiar... something calling to me.

Posted by Hugh on August 24, 2003, 12:25 | Valon’s Journal