It took a great deal of debate among the adventurers before they could decide on how they were going to approach the slopes of the volcano. The Western approach would skirt around the north cliff face. The Southern gate seemed to be a more direct route, following the river that ran from the lake in the volcano’s crater. They decided to opt for the river route, and make the final decision along their way. If nothing else, they weren’t sure which entrance would be more heavily guarded.
They also knew, from talking to the villagers, that the complex had started out as dwarven mines, founded to excavate diamonds. It was only when darker forces had arrived and driven off the miners that the Temple had been founded, taking over the tunnels and chambers. With that in mind, they resolved to see if they could also find any abandoned mine workings and see if they could sneak in that way.
For the most part, they encountered little out of the ordinary during the first couple of days. The path along the river was eventually replaced by a poorly maintained road that seemed to be of dwarven manufacture. As they got closer to the volcano, they began to see less and less wildlife, especially birds. A quick aerial scout by one of the druids revealed that the rim of the volcano was dotted with silver towers, from which lightning struck anything flying into the crater. The birds on the island had obviously quickly learned to avoid the area.
That wasn’t all that was unnatural in the area – someone had been experimenting with necromantic energies. Not content with reanimating wildlife, someone had dug up and reanimated the fossilised remains of prehistoric megaraptors before sending them to maraud around the area. The group found the torn remains of a lost merchant caravan just before they were ambushed. The stone-hard bones of the predators made them formidable creatures, but the group was able to fend them off with minimum casualties.
Reasoning that they had been attached because they were not dressed as cultists, the group fashioned disguises based on the robes they had seen and heard described in the village. This proved to be a provident decision. Not long after, the group encountered a raiding party from the Temple, but were able to talk their way past. In turn they were able to gather some more intelligence about what awaited them.
They pressed on towards the source of the river.
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