We were fortunate enough to gather, once again, at nerd central. Our second time at the new table and our first time with the new projector mount assembly. Not only is it now higher and better, but we also now have a remote. We move on to level two.
Tan Meng favored us with giant steaks, gargantuan potatoes and long ears of corn – all cooked to perfection on the grill. I felt like a hobbit before my giant plate. We ate like hobbits and then some before clearing the deck and setting to work.
We picked up where we left off. We were all inside the cavern lair of Chuuth and Neronvain. Well, we were missing Himo and Garr, but other than that, we were all inside the great cavern behind the water falls. Our team set into discussions about whether or not and how they might pursue Neronvain before they were interrupted by a great she-ettin bellowing for her lost boys. Soon, the fight was on between our heroes and Grunda Gurga. Even beaten and wounded, our heroes handily bested the aged creature, cutting and burning her flabby bits to the floor. Donuts all around (with a special provision of four butter gutters). The two-headed hag bore a great sash of tremendous finery which turned out to be a magic belt, a girdle of giant strength!
After the fall of Grunda Gurga, discussion returned to Neronvain and how to pursue or not pursue. After a short rest, Terredon took to the skies and discovered from his contacts among the fey that Neronvain changed form and flew south by southeast. Returning to the cavern, all joined in the work of skinning and processing the dragon, Chuuth. When completed, all entered the mirror (excepting the elven prisoners who stayed behind) and Terredon made for Waterdeep.
On arrival at the wyvern warehouse, all disgorged from the mirror and set wet flappy scraps and rolls of hardening dragon hide into carts for transport. The group met with Lady Haventree and King Melandrach to share the tale of their victory over Chuuth and their failure to apprehend Neronvain. King Melandrach was disappointed, but also relieved that his son yet lives.
Afterwards, at the council, arrangements were made with King Brawnanvil to contact some dwarven smith acquaintances of his; Vytelli Khordoom and Ingun Garan, of “The Most Careful Order of Skilled Smiths’ & Metalforgers'” to begin turning Chuuth’s hide into something useful. The smiths agreed to set to work with some tanners and leatherworkers of their choice – specific arrangements are to be made at a later date but several options exist from such a great creature as Chuuth. Possibilities of dragon plate, dragon leather, and/or dragon scale are available and I’m sure eagerly awaited by our dragon slaying champions.
Meanwhile, Lady Remalia Haventree re-introduced Terredon and the rest of our heroes to the elf-like, silver haired, Lady Elia. As it turns out, Elia is in fact the ancient silver dragon Otaaryliakkarnos on a mission seeking representatives from the Council of Waterdeep to attend the Council of Metallic Dragons! After some discussion, all agreed that our heroes were suitable emissaries for the long dangerous journey and council.
All finalized preparations and made ready for departure. The wyverns were added to vacant chambers within the mirror for future use. Valeriya purchased herself a lance. Soon, all climbed aboard the back of the great beast and Otaaryliakkarnos blasted out of Waterdeep.
Wearing their cold weather gear, our heroes passed over miles of countryside. From this height the devastation of the dragon cult was clearly visible. Groups of refugees clogged roads and rivers, villages and farms lay in smoldering ruins for mile after mile. Over 600 miles and 18 hours later, in the high snowy peaks of the Nether Mountains, our heroes and Otaaryliakkarnos arrived at a great mountain-top temple.
Within, a great stone hall with a soaring ceiling and polished floors echoed at their arrival. Before them, four tall human-like figures rose to greet the travelers. Each was magisterial in bearing and great in presence. A bearded figure dressed in gold raiment, aged and yet also full of vitality, introduced himself as Protanther, Leader of the Council and former King of justice. A much older looking man wearing deep cloaks and a great collar of brass, yet hunched with years and burdens of wisdom introduced himself as Ileuthra. A youngish looking woman, painfully comely in a revealing copper-mesh dress, introduced herself as Tazmikella with a bouncy laugh of amusement. The last figure, a hard looking man with bronze colored skin and eyes dressed in soft brown robes introduced himself as Nymmurh. As he greeted one and all, he finished with a deep bow to Valeriya, “Welcome, child of Bahumat.”
Discussions continued for some hours. The great round table held a heroes feast and the vaulted chamber and oversized chairs were comfortable but the subject, at times, was difficult.
Protanther was unfriendly at first, particularly in his view towards humans and elves. “Why should we help those who have so often betrayed us?” He pointed out that humans make up the majority of evil archmages and liches—including Sammaster, who founded the Cult of the Dragon, and Szass Tam’s Red Wizards. Even the current leader of the Cult of the Dragon, Severin, and a majority of the cult’s members are human. He remained deeply bitter over an event from centuries past called the Dracorage Mythal, at the hand of the elves, many good dragons were driven mad and died in senseless tragedy.
Ileuthra “The Wise” saw good and bad in equal measure among the lesser races, recognizing that helping the humanoids is less a case of deciding whether they are worthy of aid, and more about deciding whether these adventurer ambassadors can be trusted to properly lead the factions. Ileuthra believed the dragon masks too dangerous to remain in the world if the humanoid races are aware of where they’re hidden. He asked our heroes to agree that all dragon masks be handed over as soon as they are found—including any masks captured in the future.
Nymmurh disagreed most strongly with Protanther. He relayed that the metallic dragons are made in the image of Bahamut, and have no choice in the matter of being good or evil. Thus, how much greater and more precious is good when it is freely chosen by the humanoids, who must consciously turn away from villainy?
Tazmikella said she is generally amused by humans and has spent a great deal of time living among them, but she had reservations about supporting the factions. Her lair arid hoard have been the target of cunning thieves and fast-talking swindlers more than once. In fact, the very fine axe borne by Brokk was of her horde! Its presence was offensive and she seemed to burn with memory from a loss from long ago.
Otaaryliakkarnos, the representative of the silver dragons believed that among the lesser races, neither good nor bad is ever absolute. The humanoids, in fact, are in need of protection and guidance, and should be shown Bahamut’s righteous way of living rather than ignored and treated as children. She was the strongest advocate for an alliance. However, there was one small unfortunate matter that would greatly help her kind and ease an ancient pain. Years ago, the mountain dwarves embarked on dragon hunts called a dragonmoot. In one of these hunts, her young niece was killed and eventually made into several suits of silver dragon armor for the dwarf kings. She requested the return of the remains of her ancestor as well as an apology from King Brawnanvil himself.
Our heroes offered words of wisdom as well as concessions and favors to placate the great creatures. Most were reluctantly but gracefully accepted. Yes, the dragon masks will be turned over. King Melandrach, in his way, from his kind, will formally apologize for the dracorage mythal. Under the guidance of our heroes, a temple to Bahamut will be built in Waterdeep to further understanding of the metallic dragons amongst the humanoids. (This was a great idea and much warmth and esteem was earned at its suggestion and promise.) Brokk even finally agreed, most graciously, to return his beloved axe to Tazmikella without condition. The great beasts were impressed at the intelligence, generosity, and wisdom of our heroes. Lastly, King Brawnanvil reluctantly agreed to return the remains of Elia’s niece, as well as to an apology for the “accident” – in exchange for the hides of two red dragons!
It was arduous going, but our heroes achieved as much at the table of diplomacy as they have on the field of battle. With foresight, Brother Micram of the Arcane Brotherhood accompanied them to the Dragon Council and he worked his arcane magics to teleport our heroes back to Waterdeep once again.
Back in Waterdeep – our heroes had various errands to attend to. Brokk set out for the market and at the last minute, or even perhaps afterwards, Raynard sought to accompany him. There, he met an old acquaintance, Maeag Filian. Somehow, “Mae” was far more attractive than Brokk remembered. She was fuller and more figured. Her clothing revealed nearly everything and her eyes more. Perhaps it was his recent conquests and growing fame but Mae seemed downright hungry for him and his affections. The two slipped off and nearly lost Raynard, but Raynard was watching. He fought to separate the two. Brokk was totally smitten and quickly brought his fist to keep Raynard away – to let him have his moment. But Brokk missed. He didn’t seem to fully grasp the situation – not as much as Raynard appeared to grasp what was going on at any rate.
Mae’s eyes settled on Raynard. Seconds later Brokk was wondering where Raynard and Mae were disappearing to. The warlock was slipping away with the crushingly seductive Mae. Brokk intervened and this time, Mae seemed to laugh. She didn’t want any trouble. “Not now, anyway.” She disappeared into the crowd.
The two went back and informed the others of what had occurred. Recent tales of Succubi coercing members of the Council came to mind. Our heroes have gathered a reputation. Members of the Dragon Cult seem to know about who they are and even some of their names. Was this a near miss?
At some point later, Raynard slipped away to meet his Mae. He could barely think of anything else since she turned her eyes upon him and told him, telepathically, when and where she could meet him and told him everything that would be his. Finally, in a decaying old inn, in a room smelling of stale urine, Raynard found her. So perfect. She laughed and moved as only she could. Then she said, “sit now, and listen.” She then relayed the following message:
“You don’t know me, but we can help each other immeasurably. My name is Iskander, and I made a terrible mistake in joining the Cult of the Dragon. The cult’s horrifying plans are sure to bring doom to all, but I can stop those plans with your help. Rescue me from the cult’s clutches, and I will deliver to you the prize of prizes: the Blue Dragon Mask. Without it, Severin faces an insurmountable setback in his effort to call Tiamat back to our world. The mask is here in Xonthal’s Tower, being studied and guarded by only a handful of wizards, including myself. “The danger of my treason becoming known grows with every passing day, and if I’m discovered, I’ll surely be killed. Please hurry, for the sake of everyone and everything you value.”
Raynard sat blinking and somewhat bewildered. Mae gave a laugh and kissed the warlock in parting, stealing some of his very soul and filling his heart with a painful icy chill – but it was worth it.
The midnight hour was upon us. We ended the evening with questions.
What of this Iskander? Is it a trap? What might the cult know if they can identify Brokk and Raynard in a crowd? The Blue Dragon Mask would be a great coup if it can be obtained. Xonthal’s tower lies a hundred or more miles to the east on the slopes of Mount Hilm. Once it was home to an ancient and mysterious wizard now thought long dead. Sounds dangerous.
What do you do?