Hasan smiled in triumph. “It is Nature’s nature for an animal to coexist beside another. And we and this wonder shall too. I will never forget this day.” The elf’s eyes shined as he returned the forgotten-empty potion to his pack. “I hear the birds more clearly than ever. This canyon is blessed with life. Tell me, little one,” the elf whispered to what Stefan saw clearly as a rock, “how long have you lived here? What have you seen of the rim above?” The rock shifted and a much smaller cousin of the great Tuatara uncoiled and stared, apparently meaningfully, at the elf. The elf listened, rapt with attention.
Two steps later, the elf noticed a hare. As the party crossed the small, slow moving stream in the center of the canyon, the elf noticed three brown trout. As they approached the canyon’s opposite side, Hasan became preoccupied with a sparrow. Each visit occupied the elf completely.
Maruc clapped the elf on the back. “Quick thinking there old chap, well done, maybe you could ask it to bring out its treasure?” Maruc wondered what a lizard might consider treasure, “Hmm on second thoughts perhaps not. Come, your conversation, riveting as it may seem, must end we are still pressed by time. Who knows what devilry the Sons of Night have in store for us?” Maruc turned to the rogue, ” Ludo, can you climb up and fasten a rope to aid our ascent?”
Miklos eye’d the cave. “Much of the history we have gleaned of the Haakuta has been within such caves. Feldard our reptilian friend is cowed for the moment, I think it would be worth our while to investigate the cave for clues as to what lies ahead. Would you aid me in a swift search?”
The mage fumbled for his light-stone and waited at the cave mouth for the sturdy warrior.
Stephan relaxed but did not sheath his sword.
“Da. There’s that!” He turned to look up at Feldard. The dwarf, as yet, seemed disinclined to lower his crossbow.
Stephan took a good look at the lizard’s tracks to learn the pattern. He noted the tell-tale drag mark of the tail and dewclaw marks. Following the tracks, he sidled over to the cave entrance and got out his light stone. He waited for the others to be ready to enter the cave. It seemed to be the logical next step.
Feldard watched the giant lizard head back to its cave. He didn’t know what the elf had done but whatever it was it seemed to work.
With the others down below waiting on him, Feldard wasted no time in starting down. He clambered down the wall, the safety rope running through a strap loop leaving his hands free to scale down the cliff face. No easy task. Reaches that were at hand for the others in the party were near impossible stretches for the short limbed dwarf. In fact, twice, the reach was impossible and the dwarf had to trust the rope entirely and swing over to a better vantage along the cliff. Only his skill in caving made the journey at all possible. Delving into deep underground caves was not all that different than scaling down vertical cliffs.
At the bottom, Feldard freed himself from the ropes and frowned at the necessity of leaving them behind. He was quick to redress in his armour. Who knew what dangers might lay ahead.
He regarded Miklos at his suggestion of checking out the cave that the lizard made its lair from. “Are ye soft in the head? That’s where it lives. We go poking about there and we will be sure to rile it. So unless you are planning to put it under an enchantment, I think it best to leave the beast and its lair alone.”