The path into the cave was not as dark as they expected. Natural holes in the rockface allowed shafts of light to illuminate the narrow corridor. The path was short and ended in a single room. Kitten entered first, sword at the ready.
After a brief inspection, he turned back to his friends and could not hide his disappointment. “There’s nobody here. No half-elf, no dragonborn, and no primal evil.”
Damakos and Galendan exchanged perplexed looks. “Well what is there?” asked Damakos.
“Let’s go find out,” said Galendan with a gleam in his eye as he stepped toward the room.
Damakos grabbed his shoulder, “Just don’t touch anything until we’ve had a look around.”
The rogue flashed a look of pure innocence at the tiefling. “Of course Damakos. I just want to find our friends.”
With that, the three surveyed the room. It was a mess, as though someone left in a hurry. Papers were scattered across the room’s lone table and an old chest against a wall was turned on its side. In the corner on top of a stand was an empty bird cage. In the other corner was a very familiar looking circle of old weathered stones.
“Not another one of these stone circles,” said Kitten with a scowl.
“Very interesting,” remarked Damakos. “This primal evil must be using these stone circles to travel to different points instantly. It may have transported our friends into this very room.”
“It does appear there was a scuffle,” said Galendan gesturing to a few bloodstains on the floor.
“But where are they now,” asked Kitten.
“I think I may know,” said Galendan as he inspected one of the papers on the table.
“What is that?,” asked Damakos.
“Something I’m afraid I’m all to familiar with,” replied Galendan. “It’s a letter offering reward for the capture of a group of thieves. In this case the group of thieves is us.”
“That’s ridiculous,” said Kitten. “We didn’t steal anything, unless you’re hiding something else you sticky-fingered—”
“Now hold on just a moment, my shifter friend,” replied Galendan calmly. “The item that is said to have been stolen was a blue book.”
“Yeah, well, this letter is from the Sinking Sun,” answered Galendan. “So, looks like we’re wanted men.”
“And it looks like this primal evil teleporter snagged Petrin and Eldarion and now it’s going to turn them over to that bandit scum,” grumbled Kitten.
“When they realize Petrin and Eldarion sold the book to Simus, they will be killed,” stated Damakos, matter-of-factly.
Kitten slammed his fist down on the table in frustration. “Well I guess we just have to get to them before that happens.”
“Then I suppose it’s time we return to Four Stones,” said Galendan. “That’s where we’re supposed to be turned over.”
“Can we use this stone circle?” asked Kitten, tapping one of the stones with his boot.
Damakos looked around the room. “Unless there’s some sort of instructions for that, I think it best we not experiment with such sorcery.”
As they discussed next steps, Galendan heard light tapping coming from the corridor. He held a finger to his mouth to alert the others to stay silent, and then pointed at the entrance to the room. The tapping grew louder as something was clearly approaching the room. They waited, muscles tensed. The tapping sounded very close now, and Galendan knew it had to something small. After a few more moments a coal black crow peaked its head around the corner and peered into the room.
“What’s it doing?” asked Kitten.
“It appears to be watching us,” replied Damakos.
“I don’t like being watched,” muttered Kitten unsheathing his sword.
At the sight of the giant shifter paladin unsheathing his weapon, the crow hopped back down the corridor and took flight. Kitten frowned as the bird vanished from view.
The silence was broken by Galendan. “If you’re quite finished birdwatching, I think I know how to operate the stone circle.”
“How could you possibly know that thief?” asked Kitten.
Galendan turned to Damakos, “It looks like someone left some sort of instructions behind.”
The instructions for the stone circle were fairly simple. The circle first needed to be activated and then the right words needed to be spoken. Galendan explained, to activate the circle, one had to place an item imbued with magic upon any one of the stones.
“So who has something magical?” asked Kitten.
“I think primal evil had a stash in this room,” said Damakos. “This chest is full of bones and judging by the shape and size, I would say these are the remains of one of those giant wolves we found.”
“What giant wolves?” asked Galendan.
“A story for another time,” replied Damakos. “I think you would agree, Kitten, that the giant wolf was no natural creature.”
“Indeed,” replied Kitten. “So if the creature is magic-touched, then its bones may activate the teleportation stones.”
“Precisely,” responded Damakos. “Now we just need the right words to say.”
Galendan looked up from a torn piece of paper. “Might be a problem there,” he said. “The paper’s torn and we’ve only got one line to work with.”
“Well, let’s see where it takes us,” said Kitten, taking a position within the circle.
They each entered the circle and Damakos placed a wolf tooth on one of the stones. After a few moments, the stones began to glow a familiar dull green.
“I guess now’s the time Gal,” said Damakos.
Galendan nodded and began to read from the paper, “Kurzat Harrint Telnorrah.”
Everything flashed a bright green and then the light slowly subsided. It took them a few moment to get their bearing and regain their vision. When they could see again the noticed that they had been transported back to the goblin encampment where Petrin and Eldarion initially vanished.
“Great,” muttered Kitten. “I guess we walk to Four Stones.”
“Perhaps we should pay a visit to Simus first,” said Damakos. “Arcannus is on the way. Perhaps he can help us, and we need to report what we’ve seen here.”