By midday on the 24th of Bluesky the Party has made the short trek to the Spine and discovered a large excavation underway.
After brief scouting by Pek, the Party approaches, encountering minor hostility. Upon meeting the expedition leaders, Jheri (an impressive specimen of Dragonborne, unarmored but wearing a metal face mask) Thomas (robed humn, presumed mage), the response is warranted with various dangers of orc raiders and cultists known to be in the region. The sought after Sentarim is reported to be off at another site currently but is faring well. It is suggested that the matter be further discussed over a meal.
The Party remains suspicious and partakes only guardedly and proven rightfully so as the soup had been laced with a sedative. The ambush foiled, a battle is engaged with what is revealed to be cultists of Tiamat. The Party is victorious and quickly learns the truth of the matter. The diggers consist of captured people from the area including Beryl, the archaeologist’s companions, and the Gauntlet scouting party. Unfortunately many were slain by accident as the had been part of the attack, urged on while in their addled state of suggestibility by the cultists.
Valkethys Rhaksanna, one of the survivors and apprentice to Sentarim, manages to relate the truth behind what has happened so far. There is in fact a secondary site that the archaeologist Sentarim has been brought to by one of the cult leaders in an effort to unlock the secrets of the Dragon Spire and something called the Dark Rift.
The Party decides that this must be their next destination …