Having decided to explore the tomb of the Dragon Who Rises, they join the archeologists and head south, off the trail to the Way Stone, through the arid rust desert. After two days travel they reach a small valley, framed by rusted and graffiti'ed ruins, and in the centre is an incredible crystal flower, over 70 meters tall. It is pristine as if it was created that morning. They approach, and a small spherical droid rolls out of a hole, and sprouts two little arms. They see that the valley is full of lots of these little burrows. They debate trying to steal the robot, or trying to get it as a pet, but eventually decide to leave the crystal flower alone, and they head away. As they leave, they see two hooded figures - limelanders who are dressed as monks. Asmodeus steps up and bellows at the, and, intimidated, they hurry away to the East.
Two further days away they come over a crest and behold the valley in which the tomb lies. There are three huge collapsed arms or pylons, which obviously used to frame the valley in an angle, but now are a twisted and ruined husk. In the centre of the valley is a lake, covered in a thick layer of rust and desert dust, but it ripples gently in the breeze and so is obviously sitting on top of liquid. At the far end of the valley is a thin pillar of smoke.
Shgalang sneaks over to the pillar of smoke, and sees a large man, almost a giant, sitting in a well-established campsite, with a hut made of debris, cooking a meal. He introduces himself, and the large man introduces himself as Ottokar. Shgalang hunts a crab-deer and makes Ottokar a lavish meal, and even manages, somewhat impressively, to scavenge enough wild ingredients to make a cake! Ottokar is intrigued by the Kenku bird-man and they soon are talking like old friends.
Meanwhile Stanton casts detect magic, and sees no magic in the valley but detects only the Sina and Xina are magical. He asks them why they are registering as magical and they tell him to mind his own business. Asmodeus sets up a camp, and the archeologists set up their yurt. Asmodeus goes hunting and gets two antler rabbits, and cooks them.
Meanwhile Stanton is determined to try and identify the location of the tomb. He transforms into an alligator and plunges into the lake - and emerges moments later, his snout burning and streaming - the whole lake is made of mercury! He is poisoned but rests to recover.
He ponders what to do - and decides to detect the location of the nearest dragon scale - and gets about 300 feet straight down. He transforms into a badger and digs down - and at about 150 feet he finds a stone, digs around the mortar, and finds himself in a tunnel. He widens the tunnel while he can retain the form of the badger (he wanted a giant badger but had never seen one).
The expedition (leaving Gilded 3-era and Ottokar on the surface to guard the gear) clamber down a rope slung down the tunnel, and find themselves in a corridor stretching out in both directions. They choose one direction and soon come across a huge animated snake skeleton! It blasts lightning at them, and they shoot and hack at it. Sina is charmed by the creature, but Stanton conjures two dire wolves and they fall on the creature and tear it apart. Montague pockets the two large rubies that make the eyes of the creature.
They find themselves in front of a large stone door, inscribed with ruins that Asmodeus identifies as draconic in origin, but he is unable to translate them. They decide to open it, and they cut the first seal and ... an enormous fireball erupts out of nowhere, burning them all horribly. Nobody is killed, but they are badly burned and they retreat tot he surface to camp overnight and take a long rest.
The next morning they clamber down the badger tunnel again. They gingerly cut the remainder of the seals - no more fireballs. They roll the door open - inside is a chamber filled with chains. In the centre is a huge scarlet figure swathed in chains - it growls at them to leave or suffer destruction. Stanton casts Moonbeam, causing it to growl in pain, and it lashes at him with multiple animated chains, ripping deeply into his flesh and binding him in chains. As an Eldaren he teleports 30' away, nearly dead. They attack the creature - Xina zaps it twice with a lightning bolt wand, but the creature slashes her and she falls. Finally they are able to strike the creature down with a couple of crossbow bolts and it disappears under Sina's furious blows. Stanton rushes forward and revives Xina. They review the now empty room still smelling of infernal sulphur and blood...