Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Episode #18 – And So It Begins

When we last left our heroes, they found themselves trapped in a room located in the upper regions of the castle.  Not knowing what else to do, and very much needing to do so, they wisely chose to take a long rest.  However, before they could finish this rest they heard a knock on the door.  Approaching the door quickly yet cautiously, Dain, Oloril, and Lucien flung open the door, grabbed the man who stood behind, covered his mouth, and yanked him inside.  As quietly as possible, they closed the door and turned their attention to the cultist who now lay in their grasp.

Before and needing to take any further course of action, the group quickly realized that their new prisoner was none other than a disguised Bardu!  The cleric informed them that he had traveled a great distance to ensure the party's safety.  He also communicated that he learned the location of the treasure and, potentially, a wyvern stable.

The group completed their long rest and proceeded downward into the underground tunnels of the floating structure in hopes of finding the cultists' treasure.  The winding subterranean tunnels through which they walked appeared to consist of a strange amber-like substance.  Within the walls they could see all manner of things trapped inside.  They did not have to walk much further before they entered a large room which held the treasure they sought.  However, atop the treasure sat a great red dragon!

Negotiating with the dragon soon proved futile, and the party found themselves engaged with their greatest foe yet.  The battle raged.  Lucien climbed atop the dragon, vicously and repeatedly bashing it on the head.  Dain, Mullyn, and Oloril, in the meantime, attacked it from the ground.  The dragon lashed out with his great claws and spat out his fiery breath.  The situation began to seem hopeless causing even Lucien and to cry out in despair to his god.  Although each of our heroes did their best, each one began to succumb to their battle wounds falling senseless to the ground.

Then, at just the right moment, their old ally Kaelthiros, made a much needed appearance.  Notching a magical red arrow from his quiver, their Elven friend drew back his bow, and left the arrow fly. The arrow sank a deep into the enemy's draconic flesh, causing the crimson beast to flee in terror.

Having a small respite from any immediate danger, Kaelthiros struggled to revive and mend as many of his comrades as he could.  Sadly, there had been some permanent loss.  Bardu was dead -  and Lucien had lost the lower part of his left leg.  As the party revived and regained their bearings, minus Bardu of course, they greeted the elf with surprising eagerness.

Greetings and explanations would have to wait, however.  For now they had perhaps only minutes until the next wave of enemies overtook them.  In the minutes that followed, Dain, Nulara, and Oloril gathered what they thought useful from the horde of treasure.  At the same time, Kaelthiros tended to Lucien as the mourning the paladin tended to the body of the fallen cleric.  Having done that as much as they could in a short amount of time, the party sought the quickest way of escape.  However, escape would not come.

Over time, the room quickly filled with all manner of foes - kobolds, giant ogres, and flying cultists.  Mullyn cast his spells, Dain swung his sword, Nulara parried, and Lucien flung his staff.  At times, the battle seemed utterly hopeless - so much so that even the ever-confident Kaelthiros cried out to Bahamut, offering up his life if he could only take on his true dragon form to spare the lives of his allies.  But it up as though Bahamut did not grant is request, the party did manage to eliminate all their foes - though they themselves barely remained standing.

Oloril, during the chaos, managed off to escape the room and reach the upper levels of the castle in hopes of gaining further information and additional options.  Once above, he saw none other than Rezmir!  After battling ogres and firing ballistae, the dwarf evaded enemy grasp and made his way back to his comrades.

And so there the party stood, in the treasure room, a strange and eerie silence surrounding them . . .

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