Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Episode #2

"This is it - ground zero. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion?"

"...i... ann... iinn... ff... nnyin..." With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels.

Oh, wait. Wrong story. The situation, of course, may have seemed far less dire had our heroes only been in the above situation. Unfortunatley, such was not the case. They stood, battered and beaten, only yards away from an enemy force that would surely lead to certain death. With weapons drawn, Cyanwrath, Frulam Mondath, and three beserker cultists stood ready in the shrine room to Tiamat. Surely, there was no way of escape.

This is when something quite unexpected occurred. Endelthil, bleeding and nigh unto unconsciousness, righted himself and walked confidently - no, arrogantly - towards the enemy horde and locked eyes with the their Dragonborn leader. With a smirk that seemed quite out of place in such a hopeless predicament, the elven ranger uttered a challenge in the draconic language. Though no one in the party understood precisely what was said by their companion, they knew it was no ordinary challenge - for they saw a glimpse of fear, surprise and possibly excitement in to Cyanwrath's eyes.

The elf turned to his friends and explained that he and Cyanwrath were to duel to the death. According to the conditions of the duel, the winner's allies would go unharmed. Surely this was the end for Endelthil, but at least he could buy his friends time. After preparations were made, the deadly battle commenced.

The battle was indeed ferocious. Neither Cyanwrath nor the ranger had ever fought so passionately or skillfully. As the conflict raged on, both duelists, though battered and weary, summoned the last bit of strength they could muster. It was at this moment that Endelthil offered up a prayer to Bahamut - and the outcome of the battle decided. The rapier in the ranger's hand began to glow brightly as he viciously and repeatedly pierced and gashed his foe. Finally, staring with blood spattered features, the elf beheld his opponent on his knees struggling to keep his organs within the frame of his body. Endelthil looked off to the side as if searching for something and then, with fierce determination, sent the dragonborn's head flying into the air with a mighty slash from his weapon. After what seemed like an eternity the spiraling head descended downward and struck the floor with a sickening thud. The battle was over. The mighty Smaug was dead . . . er, wrong story again.

The victory was only short-lived, however, as the remaining enraged enemies accused Endelthil of using magic or some other trickery to win the duel. Consequently, they charged our heroes in a violent effort to destroy them once and for all. 

Dain, Oloril and Endelthil were engaged by the now-berserk guards, and Nulara assaulted Frulam Mondath in an all out woman vs. woman test of will. Though, difficult and harrowing, the heroes finally defeated their foes. A long silence ensued. All were overcome with both awe and relief. They should all be dead. But they were not. Dain, understanding the significance of what had just occurred, glanced over at Endelthil with a new sense of respect and appreciation. Perhaps there was something more to the elf than met the eye. That conversation would have to wait, for now the party must finish investigating the network of tunnels and caverns.

And investigate they did. And fight flying kobolds (who knew?), more stirges (why not?), and a roper. What is a roper you ask? Well perhaps you should ask Dain. He had, shall we say, a front seat at this particular battle. But if you must know what it is, imagine a stalagmite with a great many tendrils (which regenerate - evidently), a single large eye, and a huge gaping maw. Though all fighting against the creature - dwarves, elf, and human alike - were flung about and gnawed upon, they escaped the encounter victorious - barely.

Now, what was the roper guarding? Nothing other than dragon eggs! At the discretion of the party, all three eggs were smashed and destroyed. This discovery, along with the maps and notes they had recovered from other rooms in the cave (yes, I did fail to mention that earlier) was significant and in much need of reporting . . .

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