With the Hunter slain, our heroes were free to continue their explorations. The remaining creatures of the Deep Caves proved to be a formidable menagerie of horrors, but one by one each was slain until the caves became at last a safe resting place for the bold adventurers. During the course of their monster slaying tour, they had been fortunate to find the ghost of a former explorer of the mountain, who warned that the next level of the dungeon was an ancient tomb, guarded by formidable undead protectors.
Thus warned, the great bear Utha refused to go further, for all men know that bears have extremely poor Will Saves, and are thus powerless against the sinister magic of the undead. After a brief consultation, the heroes chose to leave Utha in the care of the temple of The Unicorn, a decision which would soon come back to haunt them.
After one last shopping tri to Stonehold, Jethro, Saqqua, and Urzogg finally embarked on the most perilous phase of their adventure, and entered the tomb of the Athan Kings. There they first encountered a mummy, which rose from its coffin to attack them with supernatural terror and ancient curses. Quick thinking and courage soon put down the first threat, however, and with high spirits the "heroes" began to enthusiastically loot the ancient treasures of a lost civilization.
As is often the case in such stories, greed proved to be their undoing. Jethro, in his haste to liberate items of value from the coffin of some long-dead lord, was caught entirely by surprise when the very shadows seemed to come alive and set upon him with a terrible life-draining touch. Saqqua quickly rushed to his aid and slew the shadows, but alas, he was too late. Jethro fell lifeless to the ground.
All was not yet lost, however. The heroes had accumulated considerable wealth in their adventures, perhaps enough to fund a resurrection at the temple. But here they were frustrated by thriver own overly trusting nature, for, freed from their oversight and twisted by the dire magics of the mountain, Utha had gone on a rampage throughout meadowvale. The temple was ruined, the priests slain, and all hope lost. All save one. The mad old Gnoll, Howler, self proclaimed priest of the Dragon God, offered to raise the fallen mage if the party would aid him in destroying a mysterious new foe, the Cult of the Great Pit. In their haste to revive their friend, the remaining heroes swiftly agreed, and the gnoll set about his ritual. Of course, raising the dead is an expensive business, and the necessary material components could only be acquired from Joe the Gem Merchant, who also requested the parties aid in a task yet to be revealed.
Now in debt to both the extra planar gem merchant and an insane hyena man,the party was further rocked when their dead friend reappeared as a gnome. Howler shrugged, intoning that the dragon god works in mysterious ways, but privately the party suspected that he simply wasn't a very good cleric.
In any case, the time for a confrontation with Utha had arrived. In ages to come, legends would tell of this tragic clash between the heroes and their former companion, now awakened to the power of a dragon. Fire blazed, weapons flashed, and magic thundered throughout the night. It is said that an entire orchestras worth of Sad Violins was spontaneously conjured into being to deliver an appropriate soundtrack. At last, Urzogg delivered the final blow, a shot straight to the mighty bears heart, and the heroes most beloved and trusted ally met his end.
There was no time to mourn, however, as Joe had an errand that would not wait…