The Golden Cage


Trouble In Tillgrove

—Owtikk awoke on the hard stone floor of the dungeons below Thornholm manor. The first person she saw was Zephar, who nodded his head toward Cyrus. Cyrus lay in his holding cell, back in his human form, naked, facing the wall.
—Fixing her with a stern look, Zephar told Owtikk that he had seen monsters with the affliction Cyrus had lurking within him, and said that Cyrus was a dangerous threat to people should he get loose in his lycanthropic form.
—Owtikk protested that though Cyrus had transformed, she and the other party members were more than capable to handle him once he had done so. While Zephar agreed that this was true, he still seemed to mistrust the ranger.
—Owtikk asked timidly if there was something that could be done to cover Cyrus’s naked form, and Zephar called a guard to his side.
—Cyrus awoke as one of Zephar’s guards unlocked his cell, and placed a cloak over him. Cyrus was more than a little ashamed of what had transpired the previous evening, and bashfully explained to Owtikk that his ailment was a curse.
—Owtikk told Zephar that they could take care of him, and make sure that no harm would come to others should Cyrus be released into the care of the party. After some careful discussion and consideration, Zephar agreed to this, and allowed Cyrus to go free.
—Cyrus was given back his armor, and he dressed before joining Owtikk as she walked toward the stairs.
—Cyrus and Zephar exchanged cold looks before Cyrus left the dungeons.
—The party convened in the dining hall for breakfast with the Duke and Duchess, and their two children.
—Conversation was friendly and light for the most part, and the meal was wonderfully prepared.
—As they completed their meals, Olivia asked them where they were traveling. Corta told her that they were on their way to Thorek to investigate matters there. She also took this opportunity to tell Olivia that the Retriever had been summoned by cultists – cultists who bore Wargoth’s sigil.
—Nathanial and Olivia exchanged dark looks at this, having had personal dealings with Wargoth before. They took the news very seriously, and after some discussion with the group, decided to send a letter to the King of Weldor to warn that such evil cultists were at large.
—The party deemed this an adequate response, and urged the Duke and Duchess to remain vigilant for any more insurgents.
—Just then, a butler appeared with a perplexed expression, mentioning that there were two visitors who wished to speak to “The Heroes of Algordale”.
—Olivia and Nathanial looked to the others, and asked if they were expecting anyone, to which the party members all shook their heads.
—The butler was about to return to the door to gather more information from these guests, but turned to see the two visitors standing there, smiling up at him.
—The butler turned slowly around, and haltingly introduced a pair of Halflings to them all. The Halflings were named Tumble and Topple Dawnburr, and appeared to be identical twins. They were red and white clothing with kerchiefs, and smiled happily up at everyone in the hall.
—Olivia and Nathanial exchanged exasperated looks, but allowed the Halflings to approach the table and state their business.
—The twins were only too happy to oblige, and strode forward, one taking an apple from the table, and the other explaining why they had come.
—Tumble revealed that the two of them were from the Halfling village of Tillgrove, a farming community to the southwest of Golaria, right near Thorek’s borders. They were both farmers, and told them all that Tillgrove relied heavily in the winter months on the crops that the villagers would be harvesting in the fall.
—However, the root vegetable crops that they would be eating during the winter months had been mysteriously vanishing from their fields for the past several weeks, causing great distress for the village inhabitants. The potato, turnip and radish crops were not yet ready for harvest, but the unripe tubers were being stolen from the fields all the same.
—What was worse, no one in town could discover the culprits, despite many attempts. In the end, Tumble explained that he and his brother had left the village to try and seek help from adventurers – and when they arrived at Algordale and saw what the Heroes of Algordale were able to do, that solving the mystery of missing vegetables would surely be child’s play in comparison.
—Tumble finished, and helped himself to an apple as well, just as Topple had finished his.
—The party thought about all this, perplexed at the conundrum before them. Tumble was quite right of course – such a simple issue seemed nearly meaningless to such accomplished adventurers.
—However, after some discussion, the party members decided that since they were on their way through Tillgrove as they moved toward Thorek anyway, they might as well lend a hand as they passed through.
–The Halflings were overjoyed when the party agreed to help, and they set out shortly thereafter, piling into the carriage, and heading off down the road.
—On the journey, the Halflings sat politely together in the back of the carriage, smiling at the party members, and looking out the windows as they went.
—Corta, Foren and Owtikk took it in turns to find out more about Tumble and Topple’s predicament. They quickly determined that the twins were very inquisitive and brightly astute to the point of nearly uncovering important secrets. Whenever either of the Halflings got close to such information, Owtikk and Corta would point out the window as a distraction, fully derailing their line of questioning, and effectively so.
—Outside the carriage, Lizer and Cyrus rode on their mounts. Lizer questioned Cyrus about his transformation the night before, and Cyrus explained a little more about the curse, and how it had come about.
—Cyrus revealed to Lizer (who vigorously scribbled away in a journal as he spoke) that this curse had befallen the entire Montessori family after the Aligheris had attacked their home city of Fallforge. Since the wolverine was the sigil of house Montessori, the Aligheris transformed them into werewolverines as a bit of irony.
—Lizer knew that under most circumstances, lycanthropy could be cured with the proper applied alchemy. However, when bestowed as a curse, curing such an ailment was far more difficult, particularly when such a curse is applied to an entire family.
—They party journeyed onward toward the southwest of Golaria. They passed a stone-walled monastery by the river, noting that it was a structure dedicated to the deity Herde, and the Ramhorn Monks.
—The Halflings mentioned that they had been there once or twice, but that they were never well-received. The monks seemed to always think they were stealing bread. Cyrus keenly asked if the two of them were usually visiting the monastery in order to steal bread, and Tumble and Topple replied in the affirmative. Cyrus and Lizer rolled their eyes, and continued forward.
—Foren took particular interest when viewing the monastery, but did not express any desire to venture into such a place.
—As the group got nearer to Tillgrove, they noted that the grass began to grow greener, and more trees and shrubs sprang up on either side of the pathway. As they went, the Halflings delightedly pointed out landmarks, evidently excited to be near home once again.
—The carriage followed the path, and seamlessly entered the village of Tillgrove as the tall oaks grew thicker overhead. On either side of the path were modest, green hillsides with small houses set into them. Here and there, cottages sat atop these hills, sitting next to long lawns and rolling fields. Nearly every dwelling had a crop growing nearby, demonstrating that these folk were primarily farmers.
—As the carriage trundled further down the dirt path into the village, the party took note of a gathering of Halflings out front of what appeared to be the town hall.
—Standing on the slope leading up to the doors of this hall was a Halfling woman, who appeared to be attempting to quell the ire of the townsfolk gathered around.
—The party left the carriage, and strode closer. Tumble and Topple rushed forward to press their way through the crowd.
—The townsfolk appeared to be casting blame upon each other for the disappearing vegetables, claiming that the fault was clearly due to rival families in the village attempting to compete with one another.
—The Halfling woman, who appeared to be the mayor, shouted over the rabble as they squabbled and placed blame on one another, telling them in an exasperated tone that blaming each other was preposterous.
—When the crowd began to cast aspersions upon the mayor herself, she grew angry, attempting to explain that she could only do so much to assist the town while they bickered amongst themselves, and used this problem as a crutch for their age-old rivalries.
—Just then, Tumble and Topple emerged to the front of the mob, smiling up at where the mayor stood.
—The mayor seemed quite surprised to see them, and said aloud that she had not expected them to return with assistance.
—She spotted the party members over the heads of the townsfolk ask they moved forward, and Tumble and Topple exclaimed that they had brought The Heroes of Algordale with them to assist in solving the problem.
—The party members sheepishly approached, rather unsure of how to proceed. Lizer pushed forward ahead of the others, and announced himself as Lizer of Weldor. The woman said her name was Heliodora Thistledown, mayor of Tillgrove, and told him that she was happy to have help in solving their problem.
—Lizer asked her what was being done to resolve the issue, and Mayor Thistledown explained that she would take them to one of the men of the village who was furthest ahead at setting out traps for whatever was stealing the vegetables.
—She then said at large to the group of Halflings that their help had come to them, and that the problem would be solved before they knew it. She urged them to return to their homes, and the mob gradually dispersed, seemingly mollified by this turn of events.
—Mayor Thistledown wiped her brow, and approached the party, each of them introducing themselves in turn. She told them that she was at her wit’s end for how to proceed with uncovering the mystery of the stolen crops, saying that every attempt that had been made to uncover the culprits had turned up nothing.
—When Lizer asked just what was happening, the mayor continued to explain, telling them that each night it was a different crop of unripe root vegetables being grown for the winter that was taken. It seemed to everyone that the vegetables were being pulled under the ground from beneath, root, stem and leaf.
—Though many had tried to wait up and catch these thieves at work, none were able to stop this from happening, nor catch any glimpse of those at work – this is why, the mayor said, that many of the townsfolk were blaming each other, sure that it was some kind of insidious witchcraft at play.
—This seemed both to annoy and perplex both Lizer and Cyrus, who appeared to have little time for folk who could not solve their own problems, as simple as they were. Lizer began by asking them if they were quite sure that it was not simply animals that were attacking the crops.
—Mayor Thistledown explained that they had first thought that they were dealing with particularly fastidious badgers, burrowing underneath the soil and pulling down the vegetables from below. However, they laid out traps as they had done in the past for such creatures, and the results told them that they were dealing with larger, more intelligent creatures, and ones that left no trail in the soil behind them.
—They had also tried digging down to uncover burrows, but after digging several feet down encountered solid stone lying beneath almost every crop.
—At this juncture, the group reached the house of Coltan, the Halfling who had apparently been inventing traps to try to uncover the beasts responsible for the disappearances.
—Coltan emerged from his home, wearing a blue tunic and kerchief, a sombre expression on his surly face. Coltan was a fairly simple man, but seemed practical. For instance, though the yard outside his home was strewn with planks of wood and broken contraptions of all sorts, his fields were surrounded by fences topped with barbed wire.
—When bidden to do so, Coltan led the party into one of the crops that were sill active in his field, where he planned to wait to capture the creatures. An elaborate trap had been erected, almost like a cage dug halfway into the soil around one of the plants.
—Tumble and Topple (who had been following along) pointed out that this trap looked more effective than the last they had seen, seemingly impressed at the amount of screws and nails he had put in.
—The party seemed very unsure if they should trust such a device to capture anything at all, and asked how it would work.
—Coltan did his best to explain that through trial and error, he had narrowed down how he believed the creatures attacked the fields. He told them that using a spring-loaded winch, he would capture anything that would try to touch the plant that it protected.
—Cyrus and Lizer took particular bemusement at Coltan’s invention, and seemed to be keen on finding a better way of discovering the culprits.
—However, the party decided that with no other options readily in mind, they would wait until nightfall to assist Coltan should he capture anything with his contraption.
—Each party member decided to find a different spot to get some rest, tired after their journey, and hoping to sleep a little before the night. Owtikk, Corta and Foren each settled down for a nap, but Cyrus and Lizer decided after only an hour or so that they would like to find another way to discover the thieves.
—The two of them decided to see Mayor Thistledown again at the town hall, and asked her at the door if there was a well in town they could inspect. Mayor Thistledown told them there surely was, which was near the edge of town next to Annora’s place.
—Lizer and Cyrus thanked her for her directions, and told her that they intended to inspect the well in case they could find any clues deeper underground. The mayor nodded to them, but asked that they do their best to keep the water supply clean in the process.
—Before they left, Mayor Thistledown mentioned that they should see about speaking to Annora while they were down that way. She said that Annora was very eccentric, and rarely advised the townsfolk well, but that she had a better interest in travelers, and often provided sage advice to adventurers who passed through.
—Cyrus and Lizer seemed unsure about visiting someone the Halflings deemed to be “eccentric”, but decided to stop by on the way to the well just for good measure.
—They made it to the other side of town in just a few minutes, and saw a stone well sitting atop a nearby hill. They spotted Annora’s dwelling sitting facing the exit of the village, a house set against a stony cliff face sporting a sign that read “The Shop of Nine Tails”
—Cyrus and Lizer decided to investigate, and knocked on the door to the shop. In a moment or two, a beautiful Halfling woman come to the door, with pale skin, platinum hair, and blind, white eyes. She wore an ivory dress patterned with geometric shapes, and stood staring past the two of them.
—She began by greeting the two of them by name, and invited them to come inside, mentioning that they were quite early, and that she had not been expecting them until the next day. Cyrus seemed quite confused at this, but Lizer recognized her as some sort of seer, and was interested to speak with her.
—Annora had laid out five cups of tea on a nearby table, and poured one for herself. The shop looked more like a healing house, octagonal in shape, and filled with clean, white furniture, tables, and the occasional urn of white flowers.
—There were instruments on the walls for conducting surgeries, and also shelf upon shelf of mystical bottles and tinctures, likely used to heal the wounded, cursed, or sick. The entire house seemed pristine, and though she was blind, Annora seemed to move through her space with ease.
—Before entering this place, Cyrus used his communicator to rouse the others, and to tell them to come to this strange place where a seer was waiting for them to arrive. The others indeed got up, and made their way toward Annora’s house as the others moved forward.
—As Lizer and Cyrus stepped inside, they found themselves reducing in size. When they came through the threshold, they were the same height as Halflings, magically shrunk to fit better indoors. The two of them thanked Annora for the tea, and took seats at the table.
—Annora sat as well, facing them, and they began to ask questions of this strange seer. They attempted at once to discern the breadth of her powers, asking how she had known they would be arriving, and if she had seen anything of their own futures.
—However, Annora indeed proved her eccentricity by explaining that though she foresaw many outcomes to events, she was never able to discern the clearest path of action, least of all when she was asked about future events. She told the two of them that things she saw in the future rarely came to pass if she warned travelers of such events, which in turn would send ripples through time.
—Annora appeared to prefer to leave the future untold for this reason, instead offering the different sides and outcomes to those who questioned her at length.
—Cyrus nonetheless asked her about Thorek, and about what would happen should he attempt to free it. Annora merely smiled at him, and said that his future was vague, and dark. She said that if she told him anything, whatever she said would no longer apply to his future, and thus her words would mean nothing to him.
—This caused Cyrus and Lizer to both become annoyed and impatient, deciding to waste no more time with this woman who claimed to know so much, and yet told so little. Lizer attempted to discern if their trip to the well would yield any positive results, but he too received a cryptic answer from Annora.
—She told Lizer that even this future was seen from many facets. She said he would not find a thing if he decided never to look. Lizer had heard enough at this point, and stormed out in a huff, followed closely by Cyrus.
—The two of them bumped into Foren just as they were leaving, and Lizer strode up the hill toward the well. Cyrus gave Foren a brief word of warning, told him where they were heading, and walked off toward Lizer.
—Foren stepped inside the shop while Cyrus paused and saw Owtikk and Corta approaching. Cyrus stopped Owtikk on her way to Annora’s door, and asked that she assist he and Lizer in going down the well. Owtikk was only to happy to oblige, and joined them at the top of the hill.
—Meanwhile, Foren sat down with Annora, who seemed quite pleased to see him, mentioning him by name, and offering him some tea, which he gladly accepted.
—Annora told Foren straight away that he was very close to something he had been wanting for quite some time. When Foren asked exactly which thing she was referencing, Annora smiled and told him that he knew of what she spoke.
—Foren sat and pondered a moment, and then asked if she meant he was physically near, or just close in terms of timing. Annora stood a moment, and told him that it was up to him. She explained that time was often too difficult to measure in visions, and that proximity didn’t necessarily mean he was ‘close’.
—However, she told him that he was on the right track to gaining what he was seeking, though it was hard to say what the outcome of it all would be. She urged Foren to take the right path, and assist the village. She assured him that it would lead him to what he wanted.
—Foren thanked Annora for the tea, and left the house, pondering what she had told him.
—Corta was waiting outside, and passed by Foren as he left to see what was going on at the well. Corta took her turn moving inside the house, and began conversation with Annora.
—Annora, once again, knew Corta before she even arrived, and mentioned to her that Corta lacked control of her powers of divination. Annora told her that she could teach her more of how to better understand these powers, but that she had not expected any of them to come to her so early. She suggested returning “tomorrow’ in order to learn more from her.
—Corta finished her tea, and thanked her rather confusedly for her words and suggestion, and then left to rejoin the others.
—Meanwhile, Lizer, Cyrus and Owtikk stood over the well at the top of the hill. It was a standard-sized well, with a roof and a bucket, winch, and rope on a pole. Cyrus suggested that Owtikk transform into an animal to climb down, and inspect the water below.
—Owtikk promptly transformed into a purple otter, and shimmied her way down the rope to the pool of water beneath.
—The water sat in a sort of low cave, with no lights and no exit visible around the stone. Owtikk rolled over on her back, and used her communication gem to tell the others that it was too dark to see anything.
—Foren arrived at the side of the well at this moment, and cast Dancing Lights down to where Owtikk swam. Owtikk scurried in the water around the sides of the cave, and at first saw nothing. Then, she heard a splashing sound coming from one of the walls.
—She turned and was startled to see a pair of ruddy brown, three-fingered hands washing what looked like an under-ripe potato in the water of the well. The hands were extending straight out of the rock.
—Before she could so much as make a peep, the hands jutted backward into the solid stone, vanishing potato and all.
—Owtikk quickly rolled on her back again, and told the others what she had seen, and that she was going after it.
—With that, Owtikk transformed into a large-sized, violet-coloured stone creature. She dove into the solid rock after the creature, gliding through the earth like a fish swimming through water.
—She soon came into contact with the three-fingered creature, and grabbed ahold of one of its arms with lightning speed.
—At once, Owtikk shot toward the surface, and burst out of the earth and onto the path near the bottom of the hill. The others ran down in the fading afternoon light to see Owtikk’s violet, stony form holding the most bizarre creature by one of its three limbs, squirming and writhing in protest, gurgling something in a strange tongue.
—The creature was the colour of mossy brown earth, and was vaguely frog-like in appearance. However, it was oddly symmetrical, with three, three-fingered arms, three feet, and three eyes. Atop its neck-less body was a wide, groaning mouth.
—As the strange thing shouted on in its odd, gravelly language, Lizer inspected it, thinking of what do do. He knew communication would have to be reached, and so he began trying to speak to the thing in as many languages as he knew.
—Suddenly, the creature responded, just as Lizer spoke some words in Draconic. In kind of a broken speech (suggesting that this was not the beast’s first language), the thing spoke in Draconic.
—It pleaded with Lizer not to kill it, saying that it had done nothing wrong.
—Lizer countered back in Draconic, telling the creature that it and its kind had been stealing from the Halfling villagers, and that it would have to answer to its crimes.
—The only one of the party members who understood what was being said was Corta, who manifested some of her magic to Comprehend Languages.
—The creature yelled in fright, and said that it and the other Xorns had meant no harm, and that they only wished to be left alone. When Lizer said that the Xorns had been eating what little food the Halflings would need for the winter, the Xorn faltered.
—It told Lizer that they did not eat the vegetables, and that they did not each such things. It said that it was not stealing for them, but for their mistress.
—This made Lizer worried. He Xorn still dangled from Owtikk’s stony fist, as Lizer transferred to common in order to confer with the others, and discuss what he had found out.
—The all agreed that they were wary of meeting the ‘mistress’ of this strange Xorn, but that they would certainly like to have words with whoever was responsible for the blight on the village.
—Corta used her language ability to ask the creature in Terran where its mistress lived. The Xorn replied that his mistress lived deep under the village, and had been there for months.
—They decided to ask to be taken to see this mistress of the Xorn, and the Xorn seemed only too happy to oblige. It led them off into the woods a ways, telling the party that it was leading them to a more direct path down into the ground.
—Then, the Xorn dove into the ground, followed closely by the earth-elemental Owtikk, who made a burrow for the others to follow down into the earth.
—They traveled down this tunnel, over five hundred feet under ground, and then emerged into a wide, dark cavern.
—Foren cautiously cast Dancing Lights once again, and had them hover near the party members. The Xorn stood patiently, and led the party members down a sort of hall of rough stone.
—There were more Xorns here, many of them sorting unripe root vegetables, others seemingly gorging on precious gemstones. All stared as the party members passed by.
—As the party members kept moving forward, they heard a low rumble from the end of the chamber. The stiffened, and readied themselves for a fight.
—Then, the Xorn led them into a wide cavern. At once, the party members were amazed at the sight before them. Hundreds of ancient gold and silver artifacts, antiques, baubles, coins and gemstones sat in an orderly fashion, lining the walls of the massive space. Everything seemed to have its place, and was all laid out in a manner pleasing to the eye. The wealth of the assembled objects was hard to fathom at a single glance, but the treasure there was substantial to say the least.
—However, the treasures were not the most impressive thing contained within the chamber. Laying elegantly on several sets of ornate antique rugs was a crystal dragon the size of an elephant, with glass wings which expanded to fill the room.
—The dragon exhaled with a bored sort of noise, and demanded to know why they had come. After saying this, she cast a disparaging eye at her Xorn minion, which backed off frightened down the corridor.
—Lizer strode forward, and in his best Draconic extended a pious greeting, and pledge of service, as was standard courtesy when approaching a dragon. The greeting put the crystal dragon slight at ease, and she asked again what they wanted with her.
—Lizer began to explain the situation in the town above, telling the dragon that she was harming the residents of the village. The dragon seemed not to care about this, but rather found the information slightly amusing. She had not known where the Xorns had acquired the vegetables they had been bringing as tribute for her, and did not seem to intend to tell them to stop.
—Lizer further explained that the village would soon run out of the vegetables that she was having stolen, and that if she continued to take from the Halflings, the village would surely fail, leaving her with nothing in any case.
—The dragon pondered this, and agreed that this was a mild inconvenience. She told Lizer that she enjoyed the morsels being brought to her, and would prefer that they did not run out.
—However, the dragon went on to say that the vegetables that the Xorns were bringing her were only a treat. She had no real need to continue feasting upon such things, and merely came upon the vegetables by chance. She told Lizer that should she deplete the foodstuffs of the village she now knew to be above, she would have a treat of another kind – and devour the village of Halflings instead.
—She said their sweet meat would be a fine change from the vegetables in any case.
—Lizer thought quickly, and formulated an alternate proposal to the dragon. He drew himself up, and in a clear, authoritative voice suggested that instead of wiping out the village that she attempt to strike a mutually-beneficial relationship with the village.
—At first the dragon balked at this, but Lizer went on. He suggested that the dragon leave the villagers their last few vegetables in their crops, and give them the chance to replenish their goods the next year. If the Halflings lived, they could renew their crops, and bring her a portion of these vegetables yearly.
—Lizer mentioned that the dragon herself had said that she would have to find food elsewhere anyway, so why not create a reliable source of this delicious treat on a yearly basis?
—The dragon seemed to ponder this awhile, mulling it over. As she did so, Cyrus clutched at his spear, twisting it in his hands, prepared to strike should he be given the signal.
—Meanwhile, Foren began inspecting the room, looking at the treasures around them all. At once, Foren spotted something rather out of place. A very fine golden chest sat open on a plinth, and inside was a violet velvet pillow with gilded trim. Nothing sat upon the pillow, but the display seemed to signify some sort of importance to Foren – almost like whatever was supposed to be there was missing.
—The dragon exhaled, and readdressed Lizer, who stood hoping his words had made an impact. However, the dragon’s following words were far less encouraging than he had hoped.
—The dragon said that perhaps Lizer had a point. For she had come to this particular place not simply to steal vegetables, but because the location held other significance for her. In not wanting to move on, she told Lizer that perhaps it would be time to arise from the earth, and demand tribute from these lowly farming creatures. That forcing these people into servitude could indeed yield results for her and her decadent lifestyle.
—Lizer began to protest, about to tell her that this was not precisely what he had in mind, when Foren spoke up, bowing to the dragon and asking her what had once sat upon the chest in the corner.
—The dragon’s head whipped to this item of her collection, and then turned slowly back to face Foren. The dragon commended Foren for his keen eyes, and said that it had once held her dearest possession, which had been stolen from her many years ago.
—When Foren inquired as to what this item had been, the dragon admitted rather shamefully that it had been a music box.
—Owtikk asked what had taken the box, and Corta piped up asking if it had been Gremlins. The dragon shifted slightly, and said she did not know what the things that had taken her treasure were called, but that they were small, and crawled cackling down through holes in the rock near this very spot, when she had settled in this area long ago.
—The dragon said that she had sent her Xorns searching for it many times, but that they had never been able to find it. She said that the surface world was difficult for her to traverse, and that finding such a small item was challenging for such a large creature.
—She went on to say that the music box had been the only thing that had been able to grant her sound sleep at night. Now that it was gone, she said that she would give anything to get it back. She said she would trade anything in that chamber to hold it once again.
—At this, Foren’s ears perked up. Foren suggested to the creature that they try to find it for her, and bring it back. He said that should they do this, he would ask that she promise to leave the Halfling village alone.
—The dragon pondered this, staring into Foren’s eyes. Lizer shook his head, and asked aloud how he thought that they could trust the dragon with the lives of the village above. He did not believe that the dragon’s promises would be kept.
—However, Foren turned to Lizer, and told him that the choice before them was simple, and that granting the wish of this creature would foster enough trust between them for an agreement to be reached. He told Lizer that he felt the honor of dragons was sound enough to put stock into what she said, and that he awaited the answer of such a pristine creature.
—The dragon finished mulling this offer over, and concluded that she saw no trace of lies in Foren. She agreed to allow them the chance to find it, however, she also told them that she was impatient. If she was to hold off on stealing any more vegetables from the Halflings while the party searched for this item, she said she would certainly be in a foul temper if the party returned with nothing – or did not return at all.
—Hence, the dragon thought for a moment, and told them that she could possibly wait three days for them to come back with her treasure. However, she said that if they did not return with what she sought after the three days had expired that she would take her wrath out upon the town above, and simply seek any future fortune elsewhere.
—The dragon said that all joy was gone without her music box, and that her soul was devoid of happiness without it anyway. She cared nothing for the village, nothing even for the morsels that the Xorns brought her – they only served to fill the gaping void left behind by that which she loved and missed so dearly.
—The party agreed grudgingly to the terms of the dragon, and turned to leave. Lizer, Foren and the others bowed, and made their way out of the dragon’s chambers.
—While Foren believed that they would soon achieve this goal, Lizer began to worry that this dragon was not trustworthy, and feared what should happen if they should come back – with or without the music box.



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