Loki, Reynald, and Balkar all regained consciousness to find themselves in individual coffins just beneath the surface of the ground. They each have the same memory: waking up in the middle of the night to find undead minions around their bed with blunt weapons. When they forced their way out of their tombs, they found their town looted and destroyed. The moon still hung high in the sky.
Considering that the coffins were buried just beneath the surface of the ground and that the tops were hastily nailed shut, the undead slaves to Tiamat and some dragonspawn from the cave of Lornus, the local brown dragon, apparently thought that they had successfully killed every citizen unfit to be part of Lornus’s exotic diet by sneaking from house to house in the dead of night. Most of the raid party had already left for Lornus’ lair with the most attractive member of each race of Astrovin and everything else they deemed valuable when the adventurers emerged. Seeking retribution or at least an explanation, they surveyed their surroundings and made plans to travel to the lair, a place no one had returned from in years but everyone knew the location of because of the dragon’s frequent raids on the area, a dragonborn exemplar of Tiamat and two accompanying dragonspawn spotted them and charged.
Though the newly dug graves around them made fighting a little tougher than usual, the adventurers were able to quickly join forces and defend themselves. After their enemies had fallen, a man emerged out of the darkness, clapping slowly.
“Good show,” he said. “Name’s Darvin. I was at the bar and went unnoticed when the raid group first arrived. I ran a safe distance away to save myself. I know it’s not honorable, but I didn’t know what else to do.”
After a bit of inquiry, the adventurers learned that Darvin, a man they had often seen at the bar by himself, was a complete introvert who rarely associated with his peers, even in their constant presence at work. Balkar tossed him the greatsword previously wielded by the dragonborn.
“I can’t use this,” Darvin said. “I’ve never been trained.”
This was true, but Darvin was prepared to give any excuse to avoid combat and risking his life. When he discovered that he might become richer by embarking on the journey to Lornus’ lair, though, he joined the cause. Loki’s ability to summon horses at will allowed them to chase after the raid group that had left. Planning an ambush, they raced ahead through the desert towards Lornus’ lair, being careful to stay far enough away from the group to avoid detection. When they noticed iron stakes oddly jutting out of a sand mound, they knew they had found the dragon’s home. As they dismounted and planned a way to surprise the captors, harmless-looking boulders came to life and began hurling stones at them. By surfacing to join the fight, a bulette created a hole in the buried structure of the lair, allowing the adventurers to see in to the rarely used entrance twenty feet below. With little help from Darvin, they neutralized the natural threats outside and hopped down using the moonlight as a guide. They immediately heard screams coming from a nearby staircase.