We gathered in force at the usual time and place after an inexcusably long hiatus. Sadly I was away to distant islands for two sessions which poured some cold water on our momentum. It was good to sit again at the table of great deeds. However, fate stole Raynard away this night and he was not present for the final challenge. We held a moment of silence for his absence.
Valeriya brought pizzas and all were fed and full within minutes.
Tonight’s game would be fast – or so I imagined. After all, we had only about one minute of game-play in which to save the world from Tiamat and a gruesome end for all. I thought it possible that we would finish within 2 or 3 hours but I was quite wrong. Nearly every minute of the night, 6 hours and then some, would be consumed in plotting out the perilous and violent actions of that single minute.
We picked up where we left off.
Our heroes had just slipped up from a deep crevasse onto the floor of the giant caldera known as the Well of Dragons. They transformed from cloud form back to their own bodily forms among piles of huge bones from long dead dragons and in the shadow of the looming obsidian horror – the Temple of Tiamat. Its hellish form towered above. There were five twisted and jagged lesser towers standing at least a hundred feet tall. They circled the central great tower which loomed over two hundred feet tall.
Readying for action, our party hid and watched as fire and steam erupted from the far side of the Temple. Suddenly, more than a thousand voices cried out and were quenched in fire, ice and deadly poison gas. Two red dragons and a white leapt to the skies and out of the Caldera. The red dragons were Nari Gartha and Thraxata for sure, perhaps Aurathator was the white?
From over and around the black buttresses of the Temple, a great green dragon settled out of view. Astride the beast, Neronvain, son of King Melandrach stood tall and shrieked with a hideous high pitched laugh.
There was brief discussion about what to do and then it was on. Terredon summoned eight pixies who each cast Fly on the members of our party. In seconds, all were flying at full speed toward the screams of the dying, the dragon, and the front entrance of the temple.
Tan Meng and Brokk fell back in the charge as they prepared a spell and weapons respectively. Those in front, Valeriya, Himo and Terredon fanned out as they rounded the corner of the black tower. Ahead, a cluster of eight or ten Crimson Cultists set to work murdering a wagon load of prisoners with long cruel pole arms. The green dragon, Mornauguth, and rider, Neronvain stood before the massive gates of the temple entrance along with half a dozen DragonWing Cultists and at least four Guard Drakes.
Valeriya shouted her challenge to the red cloaked minions and magnified by her shield, it resounded through the entire smoldering caldera. Several dozen cultists around the Well of Dragons turned to face her, the dragon roared a greeting, and Neronvain set to his bow. The battle was on.
In that same second, a great chanting began to ring out from the open tower gates and just as suddenly the dead black walls of the Temple flickered and crackled with fiery energy. The outer facets of the obsidian towers glowed and flashed, revealing arcs of purple fire within.
Nyh (Wizard of Thay) shouted, “It has begun!” …”We have less than a minute to stop the summoning!”
Neronvain loosed three enchanted arrows. Their green fire ricocheted against Valeriya’s shield. At Terredon’s urging, the pixies cast confusion and Neronvain, high elf of countless years and great wisdom, fell victim. He leapt from his mount and ran away and off toward the shadows. The dragon paused for only a half step as it glanced after Neronvain before striding forward to greet our heroes’ charge and breathed an enormous cloud of deadly green gas. The pixies, freshly summoned from some distant sylvan wood and hiding and clinging to Terredon, all died instantly. The fly spells of our party came to an end and our heroes descended to the floor of the chasm amid the green gas of death. However, due to Tan Meng’s Heroes Feast, they were immune to poison and charged on.
Himo, Garr, and Terredon ran past the dragon, DragonWing Cultists and Guard Drakes, through the great gates, and into the Temple. Meanwhile Valeriya, Brokk and Tan Meng faced the green dragon, Mornauguth and clustered cultists before the entrance. High above, another dragon, a great blue dragon bearing a purple-clad rider wielding a black-flaming blade, dove toward the temple entrance and our heroes.
Within the great tower from hell, the five giant apses each held two red wizards, one at ground level and another fifty feet above. Those ten wizards channeled purple and black beams of energy toward a great soaring glimmering portal thirty feet above the floor in the central chamber. In addition to the channeling wizards, Severin, wearing the Mast of the Dragon Queen, flew high above the portal in the central tower and channeled his own black fire to aid the opening of Tiamat’s Gate.
Outside, it took less than twenty seconds for Valeriya, Brokk, and Tan Meng to slay the wyrm Mornauguth. The old beast looked surprised as it fell to their wrath. The descending giant blue dragon, Lennithon, attacked with a blistering blast of lightning! Tan Meng ran inside the temple to help his comrades in their dire mission while Brokk and Valeriya held the gate.
Still higher, above even the high walls of the caldera, a huge heavy dark cloud-like shape swung over The Well of Dragons and the great battle raging below. Heavy clouds roiled and billowed from and within the shape. Suddenly, the clouds parted to reveal soaring towers. It was Blagothkus’ SkyReach Castle!
Within the Temple, forty to fifty mid and lower level cultists as well as a handful of Wearers of the Purple knelt and prostrated themselves, facing and chanting toward the shimmering black portal. Terredon tore into the first wizard directly before him. Tan Meng cast Banishment. One wizard and two of his “wearer of the purple” comrades were swept away to another dimension. Himo bloodied his fists and arms with red wizard gore. Garr’s short legs prevented him from closing ranks with many opponents – he accounted for himself with his bow.
Brokk stood fast outside the great doors. Valeriya broke for the inner temple to help her comrades shut down the red wizards and their dark ritual. Brokk held back a gang of cultists, Lennithon the blue dragon, Galvan the Blue (Wearer of Purple) now wielding Hazirawn, and a bunch of guard drakes. Sadly. the flashing blades of the DragonWing cultists were too much. Brokk fell. The Guard Drakes were on him and at his throat. They tore him to pieces. Hazirawn called, “Valeriya, I have come for you!” The blade belched black flame in exaltation.
In that same instant, two towering Cloud Giants, Blagothkus and another, slammed to earth, one on either side of Lennithon. Blagothkus immediately grappled with the great wyrm and snapped a sweeping wing over his knee. The two giants set to work on the dragon, breaking it down with mighty blows.
Inside the Temple, Terredon changed form and slung spells at targets high and low, menacing the channeling wizards. Valeriya received a Fly spell and took flight to charge Severin, but Severin was not so easily approached. Severin defended himself with fiery breath attacks and magical binding chains. Valeriya’s injuries mounted and Severin retreated to the highest heights of the central tower.
Our heroes killed, banished and incapacitated four of the summoning wizards. Six remained, in addition to Severin and Rath Modar who was also likely somewhere within the temple. The gate was somewhat diminished but still very huge and glimpses of Tiamat herself appeared in the blackness of the portal. The servitors of Severin wailed and cried before the appearance of their god. Any who had stood to join the fray fell to their knees or fell prostrate again weeping and overcome with joy. Tiamat Rises!
Still our heroes set to their grim task. Time was nearly out. From an apse to the right the channeling arc of energy suddenly went out. Seconds later, Jamna Gleamsilver and Rian Nightshade, low and running with amazing swiftness, moved from that apse to the next on their right. Jamna caught Tan Meng’s eye and put her finger to her lips and smiled as she ran. Two more Red Wizards down.
Suddenly the chanting stopped. All went silent. The portal pulsed and flashed with dark energy. Tiamat’s ancient white dragon head plunged from the blackness and as it emerged into this world it screeched an unholy word of divine darkness. A dozen acolyte cultists were slain outright and many others were struck blind. The god-head then breathed an enormous cloud of icy death on all that were near it. Piles of adoring cultists before the portal were instantly frozen to death. Terredon and Nyh were frozen also, but Tan Meng brought them back up with the white fire of Chauntea.
Valeriya, with help from Garr and Terredon, dropped two more wizards to the floor. Himo sprinted for two in the far apse. They were far but Himo closed the gap.
Tiamat’s ancient blue dragon head now emerged. Lightning shot everywhere from its maw killing more cultists and blasting Terredon to the floor once again.
In a state of rapture, Severin descended toward the shimmering gate and the thrashing heads of Tiamat, singing a song of awe and servitude in draconic. Just then, an invisible caster slung a fireball at our heroes! Rath Modar! Just as Rath appeared and cast his spell, he was caught in a shimmering cube of magical energy – and Habakuk appeared some distance away as the caster of Force Cage – entrapping and silencing the Red Wizard traitor.
The last wizard fell to death from the onslaught of our heroes. The portal, deprived of channeled energy, shuddered and collapsed even as Tiamat’s enormous black dragon head emerged. The three heads bellowed with unholy rage. Severin still approached. He was the closest living thing to the thrashing god and right at head level. As Tiamat was ripped back to the nine hells, she took one final snap at Severin, Wearer of the Purple and Wearer of the Mask of The Dragon Queen. She rolled a natural 20 and took him and The Mast of the Dragon Queen with her back to hell with a sickening crunch.
That was the stroke of midnight. All was quiet.
Tan Meng ran for Brokk. Though the barbarian was badly mauled and torn, Revivify brought him back. Others passed potions or shared minor healing. All survived.
It was late. We dispersed without much follow up. Many questions and many deeds remain unanswered.
The great danger has passed. The world as is known will persist. But, what does it mean that Tiamat took the crown with her to the nine hells? This is probably not a good thing. What of the hundreds of surviving cultists and the hundreds of captives within the Well of Dragons? How goes the battle the allies are waging on the fields outside? What of the Draakhorn? What of the millions of gold pieces in treasure and coin in the cultist horde? This is a significant portion of all the wealth of the Sword Coast. What will the chromatic dragons do in retaliation for the banishment of their queen?