Though the room they had landed in was usually pitch black, moonlight shone down through the hole in the ceiling to allow the PCs to make out their general surroundings. Humanoid skeletons lay scattered about the edges of the walls, and a message in blood on the wall read, “Flee Now.” Two staircases led the way out of the room, one leading upwards to a lit hallway and the other leading downwards to the source of the screams. The PCs first decided to check out the second staircase.
With his darkvision goggles, Harlequin could see a severely wounded orc sitting on the ground with his wrists tied to the wall. As he continued wailing in agony, he managed to tell them they had better save themselves and go elsewhere. Heeding his advice, the PCs investigated the hallway upstairs.
Large paintings of Lornus lined the walls, and a fancy rug lay on the ground. Able to perceive that which is unusual, Harlequin noticed that the rug lay wrinkled and did not seem to fit the room. Pulling it back, the opposite side immediately fell into a twenty-foot pit filled with snakes. Harlequin and Loki jumped across the pit first, but as they did, they heard things falling into the lair through the hole they had used. Dragonborn warriors like the ones they had fought in Astrovin and a sword-wielding skeleton were led by a human death knight. All were carrying the limp bodies of Astrovin citizens but dropped them immediately when they noticed the PCs.
Harlequin tried to jump back across the pit but did not make it. He fell into the snake pit and was soon surrounded by them. The death knight led the way into battle and came after Balkar, who stood in front of the snake pit. Balkar’s armor, though, proved a formidable challenge for the undead humanoid, as he was unable to pierce it. Balkar retaliated and knocked the death knight to the ground.
Seeing this opportunity, Loki, safely on the other side of the pit, created a wall of fire that engulfed the death knight and his allies as they rushed towards him. The death knight tried to escape it by standing, but Balkar crushed him on the head with his mordenkrad and knocked him back down.
Fighting the snakes alone, Harlequin was overwhelmed and suffered from poisonous bites. He kept his cool, though, and cut them to pieces one by one. In critical condition when he had finished, he did not like seeing the death knight roll off the ledge and into the pit, sword raised behind him. Harlequin jumped to avoid the blow, though, and caught the death knight in a compromising position, killing him. The death knight’s allies met a similar fate, continuing forward but unable to get out of the fire that Loki had created. Silence returned to the lair.
Still where their captors had dropped them, attractive members of each species of Astrovin lay unconscious. One dwarf, though, was hobbling to his feet. Balkar recognized him as one of the most friendly regulars at the bar. The dwarf explained to Balkar that the raid group the PCs had just killed had taken him from his bed in the middle of the night and knocked him out. Without a way out, Loki summoned horses and sat the captives on top of them. He ordered the horses to head towards Al Qahara, since Astrovin probably did not have anyone to work at the medical facility any longer.
The PCs figured that since the apparent danger had been neutralized, it might be safer now to check out the room where the orc was chained. Harlequin snuck down into the darkness and noticed other creatures chained to the walls, most mauled and apparently dead. The orc was the only one conscious. He could not utter complete sentences due to the blood in his throat that choked him, but he managed to mouth the word “snake” as if in warning. Sure enough, behind a gnome with most of his body eaten, Harlequin spotted a black snake hiding. Pretending not to notice, he casually walked in its direction and then lunged out with his short sword.
Hearing the cling the weapon made, the other PCs ran into the room behind him. Balkar saw another snake preparing an attack and ran to meet him. Loki remained behind, casting when he saw fit. Finding the PCs as too much of a match, the snakes retreated to the back of the room where the emblem of Tiamat was painted on the ground. The PCs did not enter the mind-controlling trap, though, and instead fought and decimated the snakes from outside of it. Without any imminent danger, Balkar took the time to crush the orc’s chains and free him, sending him on a horse like the other captives.
Near the back of the room, the PCs saw a wooden door. Trying it, they found it unlocked. It led to a small, roughly crafted stone hallway with another wooden door at its end before it turned left. Harlequin quietly turned that door’s knob, too, and found that it opened easily. The light from the torches in the hallway shone on a sleeping dragonborn guard. Raising his sword high above him, Harlequin plunged the sword down and deep into the guard’s chest. His eyes opened wide as he awoke, but he could not even let out a scream as life quickly left him.
Returning to the hallway, Harlequin explained his success, and the PCs continued down the passage. They found a steep staircase that led straight up and into a larger, more ornate hallway. As they crept down it, they saw that it opened up into a huge chamber with a sandy floor. Gold, fancy clothes, and more artwork lay all around its perimeter. A pedestal stood at the front, too, where a ring was showcased. Loki used Mage Hand to move it towards him, but as soon it left its resting place, it exploded and sent shockwaves at the PCs. Luckily they were just outside of its burst radius.
Sure that they had found Lornus’ main lair, the PCs began to enter the vast room but saw not trace of the dragon. All of a sudden, the ground shook. Causing sand to fly everywhere as he emerged from the ground, Lornus rose to meet his intruders.