Recovering from their wounds, the party pressed on into the dungeon. They passed myriad collections of forgotten artwork, saved from mysterious fates to rest here. The sandstone halls opened into a chamber, littered as the previous ones were, with gold and gems. But no foes were hidden in ambush for the party. Instead the statue holding this gem intoned in a flat voice riddles that the adventurers were not at all troubled by. Having bested the test, the gem in its palm was released, and for the first time, taken. Calder with no visible hesitation pocketed the gem and no argument was made from the rest.
A cautious peek into the next room spied an earthen titan at guard. The group struck quick but its rocky construction proved difficult to penetrate. Calder’s summoning and the collected firearms were slowly wearing it down when a second earthen warrior emerged from the floor in the midst. Reacting as an experienced group they positioned the tougher fighters closer and eventually reduced the sentries to rubble. Holstering his revolver, Maarus approached the statue and collected the gem with visibly more hesitation that Calder.
As they examined the remaining tunnels, they came to the conclusion that they had moved the extent of the interior. Waeslyn and Woomera returned each to separate rooms and collected a gem without comment, however Waeslyn was seen to visibly wince at odd intervals with no outward cause. They gathered in the largest room, surrounded by identical canid sculptures.
Woomera first, saying more to herself than anyone else, declared she sought inner perfection not gaudy baubles placed her gem in the mouth of one statue as it locked the jaws around it. Maarus and Waeslyn quickly followed suit, albeit more eagerly it seemed. Then all eyes turned to Calder, who was noticeably reluctant to relinquish his gem. With the combined efforts of those around him, Calder overcame himself and finally gave up his gem to the sculpture as well. With the fourth gem locked in place, the warded door opened itself to allow entry to a very heavily shielded room.
Within the vault, they found a myriad of powerful items, including the final key crystal they had come in search of. Before they left with it however, one of the other items entreated them. A sword wreathed in flames begged to be set free, but his desperate pleas fell on deaf ears. They chose only the gem, and once the lock was freed by their selection, Malhari placed a lamp sealed with wax upon the alter. He explained that he had come here already beset by temptation and wished to lock it away.
Crawling out of the tunnels back onto the shell, the party was shocked to see a bronze dragon perched upon one of the boulders. He sensed that they had chosen but one item from the vault, and explained that they were in no danger from him having passed the trials. Korvo briefly explained the dangers of the crystal, but became much more engaged when he learned the extent to which the party had collected them. He gave warnings that the party were truly thankful for, and implied he would be following their progress out of draconic curiosity.
The party returned to the nomad camp where they were given a hero’s welcome. Celebration was lively to say the least. The following morning they groggily saddled their mounts and made their way to StormWatch. With all of the pieces in place, they had but to complete the ritual and face the challenge that they’ve been preparing for ll this time. Some of them all their lives.