They had reached their destination, and it was an imposing place
indeed. The forest, which they had been trudging through for many
hours, gave way now, a small clearing opening before the explorers.
The cover of the treetops, so high above their heads, remained
unbroken; the forlorn structure ahead could not be seen from the
Ged: Well, that certainly explains why no one knew exactly where it was.
Ged: That's what I just said.
Alindyar: (nods) Exactly.
Mongo: (shaking his head, he jerks a thumb in Songa's direction) If not for Songa here, we'd never have found this place.
Ged: We might have, with the magic of Boccob on our side.
Songa: (smirks) You're welcome.
Ged: Bah. (to Arnold) Let's scout this place out.
The place in question was little more than a pyramid of black
metal, jutting twenty feet out of the surrounding ground, but it
radiated...something. An aura of power, perhaps, or of sorcery.
They couldn't be sure, but they could be cautious, and that was
exactly how they proceeded. Arnold and Ged moved around one side
of the pyramid, while Mongo and Gorin took the other side.
Mongo: Weird...it looks like obsidian, but it's not even stone. (he taps the metal with his hammer, causing an odd, echo-less sound)
Gorin: Not like anything I've ever seen.
Mongo: (spots Ged and Arnold as they round the structure from the other side) Here's the door.
Arnold: (pointing at a slightly discolored slab of metal, on this far side of the pyramid) Yah.
Ged: That - if it's in fact a door - may take some getting through.
Gorin: Not to fear. You'll just use your magic, right?
Ged: I will. (he strides boldly back to the main group) We've found the entryway.
Songa: It's about time.
Rillen: (puts his longbow away and readies his staff) Are we sure that we've found the right place? There seems to be no sign of the other party.
Songa: Their tracks lead here, and unless they left...(she dashes to the forest's edge, and begins checking)
Bosco: (shaking his head) This place gives me the creeps.
Tanya: You and me both. (to Peldor) This quest stinks.
Peldor: It's a tiresome game, but we've got to play. Besides, this is a good way to win allies in Greyhawk's upper echelons.
Arnold: What's an edshelon?
Peldor: Never mind that. Let's see what Songa has to say.
Songa: (returns) No tracks lead away from this place. The other group came here, but did not leave.
Ged: At least not on foot. They could have flown away, or teleported away, or gone ethereal, or-
Alindyar: Then why did they not report back to Rary and the others?
Belphanior: Just a guess here, but I'd say because they never came out of the pyramid.
Lyra: This is pointless - we really don't know what happened to them.
Ged: But the evidence seems to indicate that they never left the pyramid.
Otto: Well, that's what we were told to expect. I'm not surprised.
Peldor: (eyes the black pyramid warily) So they're still in that place...dead or alive.
Bosco: I still say this place gives me the creeps.
This mission, sanctioned by Rary himself, hadn't sounded so bad
when first presented to Alindyar and then the others. According to
the old archmage, the Circle of Eight had desperate need of a certain
evil artifact. The exact resting place of this fell item was unknown
to the finest sages, but the best guess was a tomb in the middle of
a vast forest in a distant land. Maps and supplies had been provided,
transportation arranged...and now, long weeks later, the adventurers
stood outside this lost place.
The thing that made this quest different from any other - besides
the utter secrecy in which it had been mounted - was the first party.
Those who now stood outside the tomb were not the first to come here.
Rary and others had sponsored a previous expedition, with the same
information and the same goal.
That had been a month ago. The party, consisting of some of the
finest adventurers in the land, had vanished without a trace. Now,
it fell to the current party to enter the tomb, discover the fate of
the first group, and recover the evil artifact.