Shadow came down the steps with news for her fellow mercenaries. Skree had entrusted her as his Second, a rank that came with moderate prestige and a lot more responsibilities. The group was to spend a few days resting up then talk to Skree to get their new orders.
After a few days recuperating, the party sought to reassemble itself. Gathering what members they could, they moved forward with Skree's order. They were to return to the mountain and begin travelling along its base, investing it for any sign of evil tidings. They reached the former entrance to the dragon's lair and found it to have a box. They remember from helping back up camp that there was not a box left behind near the cave or anywhere close to the cave.
Upon opening the box they found an old nemesis. The elegant silver mirror erupted in a storm of psychic attacks. Most of the party became incapacitated by the onslaught and were even driven away by fear. Those who resisted tried to cover the mirror once more but were unable. During these attempts, Tristan was grabbed by a snow white hand which reached from within the mirror. As he felt his strength begin to leave him he quickly recoiled from the mirror and retreated. The party regrouped a fair distance from the mirror and decided it best not to trifle with it any further and move on.
Their second day of travel Jorn's observant eye spied a cave far up the mountain side. The rogues did their best to sneakily scale the peak but Lerissa soon found herself outmatched by the angle of ascend and slide back down the mountain. Continuing alone, Shadow climbed the mountain to the cave. Upon reaching the ledge she looked over and saw a ladder built into the opposite side of the ledge going down towards the base of the mountain.
"Silly humans, needing ladders" Shadow thought, although this did seem a little racist to just call out humans as many races utilize climbing aides akin to ladders.
After amusing herself she climbed atop the ledge. However, much like an unfortunate contestant on a strange game show, a large creature popped out of the cave and knocked her down the mountain side. Shadow managed to catch herself on a convenient handhold…also known as the ladder she was previously mocking.
She quickly scurried down the mountain and told her friends that the creature she saw was a manticore, the strange cross of human, dragon, and lion. The vanguard of the group, Jorn and Tristan, having never seen a manticore quickly began scaling the ladder. Shortly after their ascent, they began descending…quickly. Lucky saved by H.P.'s feather fall. It was so fun the first time Tristan decided he wanted to go again and found similar results.
After wasting two of his spells and what appeared to be a rather strange and unpleasant carnival ride, the group moved on and into another night.
The next day they found a cave. Unlike the previous entrance into the mountain, this cave was unworked. Stalagmites and stalactites were numerous and it was obvious that time and erosion had fabricated its existence. The rogues once again moved ahead of the party and after about twenty feet they disappeared. Not into the darkness did they disappear, but somewhere else entirely.
Lerissa and Shadow found themselves in a shop. The room and its furniture all made with beautifully polished, stained, and engraved wood. The shop was full of all sorts of different items, from armor and weapons, to scrolls and books. Behind the counter stood a small figure, a gnome to be precise.
Before they could get a better look at things, their companions initiated an entertaining series of events before they were able to calm them down and gather in the store.
The gnome appears to be early into his middle years and has been wearing a large grin while watching the party's dysfunctions. His hair light brown and unkempt yet his beard has been styled so that it curls back up toward his face.
Conversing with the shop keep, Venzor they found his name to be, they discovered that he wound, upon the completion of a couple odd jobs, bestow them with some magic artifacts. Venzor though, appears to be a large fan of mysteries as he would not directly answer questions pertaining to the power(s) held within these items.
The group agreed to do these tasks. Task the first, serve an…"eviction notice" to a "rather nasty somebody" so that Venzor may acquire another shop location. Task the second, return to the manticore's cave and lay a coin as far into the cave as possible.
Seeking to first serve the eviction notice, Venzor opened a door allowing the party to use the cave passage through the mountain. During their travel they found what appears to be a petrified man, who Tristan promptly fondled…for strategic purposes? The party knows not whether to expect a gorgon, a basilisk, or any other terror from the Underdark.