The party decided to explore the rest of the gatehouse, rather than just waiting there for the dragon to leave. Since the dragon wasn't *going* to leave, not really.
First, they went up. This took them to a large chamber that looked like a battle had been fought there, and eventually ended in a stalemate with traps being set up on either side to guard against another attempt. On their side, mechanical dart traps, more powerful than the ones below, which Mira was able to set off harmelssly. On the other side, unstable (as in, so old they weren't reliable anymore) magical traps, which Mira was able to see but not disarm, since she couldn't even get close without setting them off.
So Kit enlarged Cho, and he carried a displacer-beast body up the stairs and chucked it at one of the magic traps. FOOSH! A huge fireball... that sort of stayed around afterwards, smouldering. They squeezed past it to the door it was guarding, only to find that it opened onto the exterior, where they didn't want to be. They needed the stairs, which the other trap was guarding. That one was unstable in a different, but no more dangerous way, and they were able to proceed.
The room opposite the bee-sting room was full of tiny magical traps instead, which they were able to basically ignore. This time, instead of going farther onwards to the (presumably) living area, they headed down to the ground floor to see what was there.
And what was there? A giant snake! A giant, metal-plated, fire-breathing snake. Which breathed fire all over them, but most of them dodged and Cho protected the rest with his sword in giant shield mode -- he made it larger than a tower shield to block the whole stairwell. Then Leen and Kit bombarded the snake with elemental spells that didn't accomplish much, Bob cast several 'charm monster' spells in an area effect that included the party (and got a critical success that only Cho, and the snake, managed to save against), and Cho charged in and whomped the snake with stun damage until it fell asleep.
At which point Bob tried to coup-de-grace it, but couldn't find a chink in its armor, so Kit 'suggested' to it while it slept that since they had proven they were stronger, it should serve them instead.
While they waited for it to wake up, to see if Kit's suggested worked, they started looting the crypt. Oh, right, the snake had been guarding a crypt. There were two valuable-looking statues, made of precious metals and gems, but a closer inspection revealed them to be fake, so instead they went down the rows of stacked burial chambers looting the bodies, and finding quite a bit of stuff, although they spent an hour searching. Among their finds were a potion of speak common, a 'lantern of rescue' whatever that is, and 32 stasis bottles with things inside which would be released if the bottles were opened.
After that the snake awoke, and did, in fact, seem to be charmed. Kit had it follow him, and they moved on. They went back up and examined the door onwards, which on the other side had been barred from the other side. This one seemed to be glued shut -- they could pry it open, but it would make a lot of noise, and looking through the murder holes they could see three sleeping kobold-sized salamander guards (the amphibious lizards, not the fire elementals) on the other side. So Kit suggested to the sleeping guards that it would be safer for them if they ignored any noise or intruders and continued to try to sleep, and then Cho broke down the door. Noisily.
Other than the sleeping guards, and what was probably an alarm bell, they found a bookshelf full of thousand-year-old books, from before the city was destroyed -- preserved, however, by the magic that the printing presses of the great empire had put on each book they printed. Most of the books were useless, but one was 'magic for beginners', which had a bunch of simple cantrips -- Kit was overjoyed! Finally, a spellbook to help him replace the spells he hadn't been able to remember after his exile! Ooh, a selection of create item spells... and a simple version of animate dead?
But other than the guards, there didn't seem to be anyone else in the salamander area. There *was* a suspicious-looking pile of blankets, so he asked the snake to go check it out. It turned out that it was a blanket fort made by the salamanders' children, which the snake started to eat. "GAH! No, stop!"
So only one baby was eaten, and the rest ran away. The party did a quick check of the rest of the area, then decided that it was clear enough and that they didn't *really* have to kill everyone, and set the snake to guarding the room with the stairs as a chokepoint while they went back to checking out the rest of the displacer beast half.
Although it looked like they'd have to go past the salamanders to get closer to the big fountain, which was the only remaining landmark in the blasted city. Not that they were sure that was where the dragon lived, anyway.
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