More from the pen of Klangor, as the party heads off to kill the dragon…
So today, we finally set off to become Dragon Slayers.
Can’t say I blame the boys for taking their time with preparations since we retrieved the dragon slaying arrow. The last time I saw a dragon fight, I very nearly soiled myself, and that time the dragon was fighting on our side!
Here was the situation, in straight talk, just like old Ober-dun Harkan Rockcrusher (The Silver Lord rest him) would have liked it, and none of the customary Valanorn flowery farting around (Silver Lord preserve us, it took them half a day to relate this information to us).
-Tower three stories high.
-Trapped Dragon corrupted by the Inexorable kings at the top.
-Gargoyles made from stone and corrupted dragon blood at the bottom. (Immune to non-magical weapons)
Thats what we would have to be killing today, in our favor we had:
-Dragon Killing arrow
-Two deadshot archers (Dar and Kanros)
-Enough magic to fry a regiment. (Both arcane and divine casters and magic items)
So here was the plan, split the party into two, a loud noisy group made up of all of our strongest fighters, and a quiet sneaky group made up of our best archers. Break the wards sealing the front doors and have the fighters engage the gargoyles, while the sneaky group made their way up to the dragon and shoot it while it thought it still had time. Simple, right?
Well, couple of problems, firstly, if the archer party wanted to get within shooting distance of the dragon and not end up as charred shapes on the wall, they would have to be undetectable. Secondly, the Arrow of Dragon Slaying was a one shot deal, if it didn’t hit, well, there was now the mother of all angry dragons to deal with.
Here’s how we solved the problems: A wizard did it. (Well, three wizards, a cleric, two bladedancers and a witch for good measure)
Undetectable: Invisibility, silence and fly on both the archers and our backup assassin, quite appropriately, the assassin (Jayna, finally acting in a role that suits her, who knows, maybe the dragon will eat her. Wouldn’t that be a tragedy?)
Killing the Dragon in the Face: Dar was acknowledged as the marginally superior archer and was given the Arrow of Dragon slaying. Kanros was given ten arrows tipped with the nastiest poison the Valnorn could provide us with. All arrows had so many spells cast on them that I lost count. If I could have seen magical auras, I would probably have been blinded.
The lad blessed us before we broke the wards on the front door, the archers and Jayna already standing invisible in our midst (Crumbling Sandstone! There’s a thought that sends a shiver down my spine).
We entered the first floor rank by rank, spreading out as we moved in to provide a larger front line to fight from. We were expecting to get ambushed immediately, but instead were treated to a symphony of shifting stone from atop four almost organic looking stone pillars.
Cracking and undulating above these pillars loomed four ominous shapes, part locust, part ape, part squid (quickly becoming my least favorite animal, ranking below carrion crawlers and tunnel-sharks), all corruption. A frenetic buzzing filled the air.
The lad started his prayer as the abominations flew towards us, crashing into the front rank. I hit the first of the gargoyles with a blow that would have cleaved three men in twain, to no great effect, and I noticed my fellow warriors having the same difficulties.
Long Tom shouted out Their wounds are shared between the four of them! To kill one, we’ll have to kill them all!
I heard howls of agony from the back row as two of the four creatures dove into the squishy centre of our formation, dealing grevious injuries to Lairn and Hanna. The lad’s comforting voice came from the door, starting a chant of Talia’s mercy. I suddenly felt like I could have taken on the dragon all by myself.
As if to test my resolve, a massive golden dragon suddenly appeared and let out a gout of flame… at the gargoyles! Surely my eyes must have been deceiving me! As it turned out, they were. The dragon shimmered and disappeared almost as suddenly as it appeared. I heard Lairn let out a Tryshallan expletive behind me, one of his schoolboy tricks gone awry, no doubt.
All of a sudden, we heard a thud and a muttered curse as one of the Gargoyles, wrapped in Xhynon’s tentacles crashed to the floor. Grasping the implications of this, we all started stabbing this incapacitated gargoyle for all we were worth. As we did so, the three in the air shuddered and writhed and eventually fell to the floor in pieces when Neansha cut the head off the entrapped one.
The silence that fell across the battlefield was broken by the ear shattering roar that came from above us. Our dragon friend was aware of our presence and not very happy.
We rushed up the circular stairwell, passing by the second storey of the tower (a floor strewn with bones and weapons, as if a great battle had been fought here). If our archers failed, we would have scant seconds to reach and aid them before the dragon reduced them to fine red mist.
As we raced up to the third storey, we heard a massive crashing, as if some giant creature was shifting atop it’s horde. As we reached the third floor, we saw Dar in the embrace of a hideous creature with its talons wrapped around his back.
Ignoring my nausea at the sight of Jayna kissing Dar, I turned to the side and saw, bleeding a river of corrupted black blood, the remains of what was once a noble creature. The former gold dragon had grown obese in his durance, and spikes of black eldritch material were growing out of it’s defiled flesh. Sticking out of one eye was a single black arrow, small by comparison, fletched in black dragon spawn scale.
Dar Dragonslayer, it has a nice ring to it I think.
As it’s corrupted blood hit the mountain of platinum, gold, gems and treasure that it was laying atop of, it hissed and bubbled, turning the valuables to a corrosive green ichor. We knew we had to act quickly.
Retrieving as much as we could of the gold and platinum, we left the silver and copper (and there was enough of that in there to fill a lake) to boil and burn. Of magical treasures of note, there was another talking sword that burned Thorcigar twice when Hanna ordered him to pick it up (why did she order him to pick it up the second time, I wonder?) but seemed to sit well enough in Long Tom’s hands for the time being.
We loaded up our fey horses and started back for the Valnorn city. Though our first dragon kill might seem anti-climactic to you, dear reader, I consider it a triumph of planning and foresight over brute strength and savagery.
Just the way The Silver Lord would have wanted it.
The Valanorn were happy, but subdued upon our return. No joyous parties or cheering crowds like when we had destroyed the N’ulthrac. This dragon was someone important to them apparently, a friend, though now fallen to madness.
We were ushered once again into Princess Isethial’s chambers and solemnly thanked for our act of mercy. We were then offered the choice of two rewards. We could either bear the instantly recognizable Sword of Sylere deep into the territory of the Inexorable Kings or we could leave it in the safekeeping of the Valanorn, who would aid us in opening the way to Stephen’s tomb when the time came. Not surprisingly we chose the latter.
To properly reward us then, the Valanorn gave us instead three enchanted swords, all copies of the Sword of Sylere itself and potent magical items in their own rights. Right now, as I write this, our party is deciding who to bear them, for my own part, I prefer the heft of Deathsinger to those light looking blades.
The Silver Lord has granted us yet another victory, it does seem to be a miracle that we are still alive and halfway to our goal. Home, it seems, isn’t an inattainable dream after all. It just lies beyond The City of Whispers and the imprisoned Angel that languishes in it’s bowels.
By the Silver One,