"Well...this looks to be the place."
The man by his side, a mage of sorts by the name of 'Ember', shared a sidelong glance with him as they stood before the mouth of the cave. The towering entrance was a good forty feet wide and almost as high, halfway up a mountain.
Braum, Ember, and two others had been tasked about a day ago with not only finding the cave, but to retrieve some sort of magical object within. Roughly a week prior, Trudd, Braum's God, had appeared before him personally in a dream, telling him that a great calamity was to befall the world should he not help intervene.
The words still echoed in his skull as though he'd heard them seconds before.
Destruction looms on the horizon, carried swiftly on the wings
of a multi-hued beast. The First of Her children awaken, stirred by
those that seek the greatest of Her treasures. Treasures that might
allow a mere mortal power over Her children. Should all of these
treasures be brought together and the ritual be completed, Her reign
shall begin and the world shall know peace no longer. You must
travel to the Northern Kingdom, to the city of Emberfall. There you
will set forth to save the World. You will have companions and
you will know them when you see them.
He woke in a cold sweat, a strange amulet he'd never seen before tied to his travel pack. A golden bauble with the image of silver dragon emblazoned across the front.
The message irked Braum fiercely. His god had always been nothing, if not direct and to the point. But if Torag's son was passing on this strangely cryptic message, he knew that other gods had to be involved.
It was only when other deities with their cryptic bullshit worked within the pantheon that he wasn't given a straight answer.
And so, a short week later, Braum stumbled across a mysterious man in a dingy little tavern in Emberfall; a Chosen of Bahumet, the dragon god. The three others, all called by similar matters but apparently not so by their own personal deity, were tasked with retrieving a strange object: the 'dragon's orb' from a nearby cave by this "Chosen".
Supposedly, the cave was an old dragon's den that had since been abandoned and even looted repeatedly by several adventuring parties, but that didn't make him feel any better.
Braum had no love for the beasts. Anywhere that once held a dragon might still and gods know he had no desire to dance with one.
He also felt no particular love for the band of fools he had been tasked to work with. While arguably, he truly felt no ill will towards Ember, the mage-like individual that called himself a 'Summoner', or even the man with the bow and arrows whose name escaped him, there was a certain, instant dislike towards the man in black who seemed to crackle with negative energy.
Bardoon was all he'd called himself but the name stuck in the back of his throat like phlegm that slid down his throat yet refused to quite leave. It made him want to spit, to vomit like he'd swallowed a poison. Everything about the man was unpleasant even if he held no initial respite for the man's position to begin with.
He'd worked with necromancers in the past through one adventure or another over the decade he'd served Trudd. Hell, he'd even liked a few of them. Each time, he had a quiet moment of review and consideration as to why his god would place him in lieu with someone of that nature and, over time, he'd realized that necromancy was little more than any other magic. While it technically was bending the unnatural to its will, there was nothing inherently more evil to animating a skeleton than there was to summoning fire or acid out of thin air.
It was an abomination against the laws of the universe, but technically, so was all magic.
And so, by his God's decree, he would just deal with it.
Much to his relief, Bardoon was left behind on the trail after only a half day's travel. They had been accosted by goblin's along the path; a feral, wretched little group of green skinned monsters that flung spears, shot arrows, and were generally more of a nuisance than an overt threat. It was when the fight was finished, however, that Bardoon decided to stay behind and use the mangled corpses of the foul little creatures that had attacked them to raise them as his own personal body guards.
Braum shuddered at the thought.
Luckily, the spells took time, and so Ember and Braum continued on up the path while Bardoon and the one with the bow stayed behind to perform whatever unholy ritual needed doing.
They would surely meet up once they were done. Hopefully not for a while though.
Now, standing before the cave's entrance, he had to wonder if that was the brightest idea. While he had Ember with him and the beast that was bound to the Summoner, it seemed like they were walking directly into a dragon's maw.
Braum glanced over his shoulder at the beast Ember had called an Eidolon.
The massive, powerful looking creature seemed almost ethereal in nature; like a specter that was stuck in the world of the living. It towered over him and seemed to hover slightly above the ground. More to the point, each hand was tipped by vicious looking claws that seem to spark and arc with electrical energy. Everything about the monster screamed power.
Braum found his eyes wandering the interior of the cave's maw. The ragged edges of the rock gave it the appearance that something very large had dug the rock out by hand. He could still see the raked out grooves of massive claws through solid stone.
The sight made him feel very small despite his heavy armor.
"Shall we?" he said with more steel in his voice than his nerves truly offered.
The trio stepped past the precipice of the cave's mouth and down into its waiting gullet as the path curved downward, deeper into the mountain. Deeper towards their mandated prize. And somewhere within, something massive shifted as it sensed trespassers in its territory.