As soon as the battle was over, Remulus made his way over to Emlia and began to heal her wounds. Meanwhile, the rest of the group headed upstairs to make sure that there were no other enemies lying in wait. As they were securing the second floor, they came across a locked chest in what appeared to be Emlia’s bedroom. Grunt attempted to break the lock, however, he was unsuccessful. Eventually, after a couple of other members of the group tried to break open the chest, Xylia wondered allowed as to whether or not it was right to be breaking into Emlia’s personal affects, especially since she was just downstairs with Remulus. The group decided to head downstairs to inquire with Emlia about what was inside the trunk.
After reaching the bottom landing, they saw Remulus carefully helping Emlia up. They asked her if she knew why the trogs had attacked her—she told them that she didn’t have any clue, and she was uncertain as to how they even got inside her house. Xylial showed Emlia the urn with the mysterious Elvish markings on it, however, she could not decipher the words. The group also asked her if she knew anything about the person named Zelil— Zelil, Emlia told them, was a dark elf sorcerer who was involved in the events that led to the demise of Thog Tahrir—beyond that, she wasn’t able to give them any additional details. Eventually, Grunt (rather impatiently) asked Emlia if he could look inside the locked chest in her bedroom. Surprised by his request, Emlia said of course not—sensing that they may have overstayed their welcome, they said their goodbyes to Emlia and headed out.
Once outside, the group began to debate about what their next steps should be. Remulus told the group that Emlia had shared with him that suspicious and dark activities were happening in the catacombs of Santa Cora, and that she thought they should go and investigate it (Remulus, of course, was loathe to go underground again.) Others thought that they should head to Axis to seek an audience with the Priestess, who had left a few days prior to seek counsel with the Emperor. Still others suggested heading to Forge and then Thog Tahrir. Finally, Ennet spoke up and suggested that they head to a local tavern to get more information from the locals to see if that might help determine their next course of action.
This seemed reasonable to them all, so they set off to a nearby tavern to see what additional information they could discover. Upon entering the tavern, a few of them went over and grabbed a booth while Grunt and Xylia went up to the barkeep and quizzed him about the on goings of the city of Santa Cora, particularly any rumors he had heard regarding the city’s catacombs. The barkeep told them that many adventurers, especially holy men and women, had gone into the catacombs, but that to his knowledge, none of them had returned. The catacombs, he told them, were part of the ancient city of Santa Cora, remnants from the 1st Age.
As they were chatting, Remulus the Wise came over and inquired about how to get to the city of Thog Tahrir—the bartender told him that not only would be it an incredibly far distance to travel, but that it would be impossible to get in since he had recently heard from a dwarven traveler that the entire city of Forge was sealed tight. If anyone was going to make an attempt to enter the abandoned city of Thog Tahrir, they would first have to go through Forge and then they’d have to know the secret ways to find the path to Thog Tahrir.
The three returned to the rest of the group and told them all that they had learned from the barkeep. Grudgingly, they all decided that the best path would be to head to the catacombs in order to figure out if there was any connection between the events at Emlia’s house and the events at the temple where they had all first met.
On their way to the catacombs, Remulus suggested that they stop at Eleanorwynn’s home to seek out any additional information. Eleanorwynn, a priestess and friend to Remulus, warmly greeted them. Although she was not able to read the elvish writing on the urn either, she did recognize the ceremonial dagger that Grunt had found stashed away in the first temple where they had all met. She told them that it was a dagger used in rituals celebrating the god Aphneon, a god of truth and light that is worshiped by many elves throughout the Dragon Empire. Xylia surmised that the answer to how the temple of Aphneon had been overrun by the followers of Zelil may be found down in the catacombs.
After Eleanorwynn had finished speaking to them, the group finally decided to head out. As they made their way to the catacombs they were suddenly beset by a large group of thugs. Naturally, a fight ensued, although the thugs were no real match for them (especially for Grunt, who landed many devastating hits against them.) After their enemies had been destroyed, the group continued on their journey to the catacombs of Santa Cora…