After a brief pause to rest up, you went through the vault door
Jacek remained behind to guard it
Stepping through the shimmering energy curtain behind the door, Koldar, Lital and Vallessa each felt a strange sensation of rapid movement, and a pain (slowing to a dull ache) in the tattoos on their back
Daechir had a sudden and alarming return to life, and didn’t have a shadow in this place – it was stuck outside
Through the door was an outdoor scene, on some kind of plain, with a marble colonnade leading to a huge stepped marble temple with a statue of a three-headed dragon (and two stumps, for two severed heads) over the pitch-black entrance
Daechir claimed this was a “demiplane”, another realm of existence with potentially different rules
As you approached the temple, the eyes of the statue’s three heads lit up – one set red, one set blue, and one set black
Vallessa sent Kibi ahead to scout inside the temple, and he came running out, having been spotted by a “small” (i.e. juvenile/young-adult, about 3m by 2m by 2m, not counting wings or tail) red dragon that chased him. Koldar and Lital engaged the red dragon (supported by Daechir’s magic) while Vallessa snuck past it and into the temple itself
Daechir calls on Nogroth, Knight of the Cold to help with a spell
Inside, Vallessa discovered a blue dragon (slightly smaller than the red one outside) and a larger black dragon. Outside, the others finished off the red dragon in time to helped her fight off the other two.
The Diadem Of Lava And Splendour itself was a huge granite crown on a plinth in the middle of the dark temple interior, lit from above by a swirling forcefield that turned red when the red dragon was killed.
During the battle, Koldar called on the True Darkness, and a pattern formed in the sky matching the tattoos on the cultists’ backs
After a tough fight (at one point everyone bar Koldar is down) the other two dragons are finally killed.
Lital takes three trophies – the red dragon’s toe, the black dragon’s eye, and the blue dragon’s head
Vallessa takes the Diadem (an Epic-tier Crown)
The temple started to shake and fall apart at this point
Outside, a big clawed hand came down from the hole in the sky (of the scale of the image below, from Cabin in the Woods) and dragged the magical dragon statue back up with it, plus the dragon corpses (minus Lital’s trophies)
Coming back to the marble archway as the hole in the sky got worse, you headed back through and the gate closed behind, leaving just a blank stone wall behind it
Vallessa used her experience in the Elf King’s court to start finding another way out and dodge some patrols. Eventually, you came to the dungeons, where you found about eighteen imprisoned half-orcs. You rescued their orc leader from being tortured.
They had been arrested for their role in attempting to steal the Diadem (of which they were innocent) and were pretty annoyed at you all for presumably being the ones to get them into trouble. Nevertheless, once they had recovered their clothes and gear, they were ready to help you fight your way out…