Ames the cleric was peacefully lumberjacking by the river at Dragon's Gate, when she heard a massive roar from the guild hall, followed by the sound of a dragon taking flight.
Ames the cleric was peacefully lumberjacking by the river at Dragon's Gate, when she heard a massive roar from the guild hall, followed by the sound of a dragon taking flight. Running back to the hall, she found the sign clawed to pieces and the guards....well, the guards were both dead. Torn to shreds in fact. The poor cleric went to sit on the bed and discovered the errand boy was hiding underneath it. Giving him a restorative dose of ginseng tea, she quickly jotted down a note. She knew Shayde was away on vacation, so she made a quick decision. Giving the note to the boy, she sent him running. "Find Serancha and give her this - RUN!!"
The messenger reached me in the Southeast woods of Mirith. Telling my companions of dragon trouble at my hall, they agreed it must be investigated. After stopping at Mirith, where we gathered our supplies, Sumac, Jade and I headed up the river. Meeting up with Ames and Razan at the hall, we immediately set out towards the Maze where the dragons lived
Approaching the Tree Maze, Sumac and I saw signs of dragon activity inside. Our party made our way in, and cleared our path to where we were quite sure one would be found. Just before we reached the one, we saw signs of a second dragon further in. Unusual for this spot. When the first dragon saw us, she attacked. Unwilling to stop, what she had to say shed much light on why the hall had been targetted. Unfortunately we had to kill her in the end, since she would not break out of her fury.
"And so they come to the slaughter. My brother was right. He attacked and now you return to us. You humans are all the same. Kidnappers and killers all. First you take our sister....."
Remembering the dragon that had been heard roaring inside the fortress of the Black Hand, recently seen in Duldrus, we realized that the Alliance must have kidnapped one of the dragons from the Tree Maze, and these were her siblings looking for vengeance. Agreeing that we must talk to the brother that had attacked the hall, we turned to find him. Even as we turned, he found us.
After an inital clash of arms, the dragon was convinced to stop attacking so we could talk to him. There would be no revenge for our fallen guards, however, I hoped that we could at least come to an agreement that would allow our guild hall and the dragons to co-exist in the area.
Explaining that it was not us that had kidnapped his sister, and that we knew where she may be, I proposed a truce to try and see his sister rescued. Some could call my proposal hypocritical, and I know Sumac disagreed with this decision, but the lives of those residing at my guild hall were under threat, so I had to try. I hoped the older ranger would understand.
We had a very good idea of where this dragon's sister was being kept, and with the magic that had been making the fort disappear and reappear... it was probable that the captive dragon was intended for use with some sort of black magic. If this was indeed the case, the dragon could not be left with the Alliance. Since we would have to get her away from them anyways, and her brother would not be able to free her himself, I took the chance.
(Forest Dragon): I am intrigued by your readiness to aid us now.
(Sumac): Well, if it will bring us fortune... we will change our aliance.
(Serancha): I will aid you to protect my future guards from slaughter
(Forest Dragon): If you do as you say perhaps I will tolerate your hovel for some time longer.
(Serancha): *nods curtly*
(Razan): I just wanna be able to fish with the safety of knowing my guards are there to help me...
(Serancha): So is it agreed?
(Sumac): Dragon, if I were you... I would ask for a cessation of our slaughtering of your kind.
(Sumac): Me make peace know because it suits our needs.
(Forest Dragon): You can settle this matter of humans between yourselves.
(Serancha): We will attempt to rescue your sister, in exchange for you letting our hall be
(Forest Dragon): If my sister is released and gives favourable testimony...
(Forest Dragon): You may have reprieve.
(Forest Dragon): For the moment.
The older ranger, showing his agitation with the tentative nature of the negotiations, made several efforts to push for something more solid. Resisting this pressure, as I did not want to commit to anything major in haste, the dragon's comment on this matter showed that he did not believe such a pact would hold. I admired Sumac's resolve and tenacity, and I knew what he said had merit, but I also had to do what I felt was necessary to protect my home and family, even if that protection was just for a time.
(Forest Dragon): Greater powers than I have attempted to bring lasting peace.
(Forest Dragon): It will not happen, even in my long life.
(Forest Dragon): I merely condescent to cease using your hut as my pantry, for a while.
With this semi-reassuring sendoff, we departed the tree maze. Sumac wished us well on our quest, but chose not continue on with us and headed back to Mirith. Still uncomfortable with having conflicted with my mentor and friend, I took a few minutes to compose myself as Ames went to the hall to send a call to arms out across Oberin. Once the cleric returned, we took the river to Duldrus. After stopping by the hall of the Cavalier Knights for Jade to get supplies, we headed onwards to the last place we had seen the mysterious fort.
On arrival, we found Mustafaa already on scene, and as we had hoped, the fort was visible yet again. It was huge and well constructed, and the gates were blocked by a magical force. That force did not prevent us from seeing inside, and the wide gate showed us a huge Alliance force, with brackens on each side like watchtowers. The mysterious Unknown Figure appeared inside to confront us.
(Serancha): We want the Dragon
(Razan): Oh hey there
(Serancha): She was kidnapped
(Serancha): we want her back
(Razan): We've come to reposses your dragon.
(Unknown Figure): The dragon is part of my research, she will not be released.
(Serancha): Then she will be rescued
(Serancha): *kicks at rune*
(Serancha): remove these!
(Unknown Figure): I can tell by the looks none of you are capable to handle the power I can harness.
(Unknown Figure): Too weak to even get through a simple protection spell. * laughs *
The figure then attempted to impress us by bolting a giant and a troll to death, saying that soon he would have the power to control. Chanting some words of black magic, with no apparent effect, he tried to tell us to go somewhere safer.
(Serancha): No...no I don't think so
(Serancha): You see, I made a promise
(Unknown Figure): I hear Lerilin has some skeletons rising from their graves, maybe start there.
(Serancha): and I plan to keep it
(Serancha): Which means...you will be dead soon
(Unknown Figure): That is a shame, because that will not be happening.
After some more exchanged insults, the Unknown Figure.....featherless harpie that he was....teleported himself away. We then heard incantations coming from the back of the fort, accompanied by the agonized roaring of a dragon. Then all fell silent. Either the mage had gone to rest, or something terrible had happened. There was only one way to find out. We had to find a way past the runes. But first we needed more people. Thankfully the messages Ames had sent out were starting to have an effect. Slowly at first, then in a flood, help arrived.
They arrived just in the nick of time, as the power of the protective runes began to fade. We could feel the magic dissipating, even as everyone took their positions. Making a final plea to all the new arrivals, to not harm the dragon when we reached her, I planted my boots firmly and felt the last of the magic fade. The battle was on. Unfortunately both the brackens that were guarding the gate saw me first. The double magical attacks combined with the multiple giants pounding on my armor, was a lethal combination. Thankfully Ames was on watch and brought me back to my feet soon enough, and the rest of the battle raged on.
There was no luring this day. The design of the fort was such that we had to proceed as a group. It was difficult to keep everyone together, but for the most part, it worked. It was just about all that we could do to clear the front area before retreating briefly for the clerics to restock potions and the warriors to catch their breaths. It was a tough battle, and there were the expected casualties, but overall, the death toll was not as high as I had feared it would be, and everyone was willing to work as part of a bigger unit. I believed that having a purpose for this raid (other than just to kill) aided this comradarie, although it may also have just been the nature of people that showed up to help. Either way, it was a great feeling.
As the withdrawl for regroup was called, dark clouds began to form over the fortress. These were not natural clouds, and could only mean the mage was performing his horrid magic. Asking that the Stone Golems be left in their pen for the time, much to the dismay of the eager fighters, The charge was made to where we heard the roaring of the dragon. Ripping down shelters and chopping trees, we were suddenly all paralyzed by magic. The unknown mage cursed at us, but didn't bother sticking around to fight. I guess his bragging about how powerful he was, had been mostly bravado. He teleported himself away, hopefully to be killed for his failure..... and I approached the dragon as the others looted the mage's chest and smashed his tent.
(Serancha): Dragon dear, the first of your hatching awaits your return
(Serancha): we have come to free you
(Forest Dragon): My...My brother?
(Serancha): Your brother!
(Breigje Balloc): sorry it took awhile
(Serancha): He awaits your return
(Serancha): please do not eat us
(Maingloe): Hello Dragon
(Maingloe): are you ok?
(Forest Dragon): Why would you release me, humans?
(Serancha): we are your friends
(Serancha): Well...not your friends
(Serancha): but we have come to aid you
(Serancha): because your kidnapping was wrong
(Serancha): I spoke with your brother
(Maingloe): No one should be held captive by these scum!
(Serancha): after he attacked Dragon's Gate Guild hall
(Forest Dragon): I thank you then, humans, though I do not understand your kind.
(Serancha): he agreed not to eat our guards in exchange for your return
(Razan): I hope they fed you well here
(Serancha): Can anyone open these runes?
(Forest Dragon): I shall tell him of your deeds.
(Serancha): Thank you
(Fuoco): greetings oh mighty creature
(Forest Dragon): The Mage is gone, the spell should fade.
(Razan): Be safe, dragon.
(Serancha): I hope you were not harmed too much
(Fuoco): you are free now?
(Serancha): fly free, dear dragon
(Forest Dragon): Farewell kind humans.
Watching the dragon go, I felt a sense of relief. She was safe and would speak favorably to her brother. I did not doubt that, after seeing what we had rescued her from. I would have done it anyways, without making a deal, however, our hall would now remain safe from hungry dragons, for a time.
Turning from the dragon, I saw more fighters arriving on the scene. Good timing, I thought, as I headed over towards the Golem pen. The Shelters were already halfway down, and the trees burning nicely. I was happy to see that there were more than enough fighters present to handle the four guardians, and the rogues were already into the chests. Chopping down a couple of last brackens, I began to unwind a bit. Laricen wasn't interested in splitting the loot....no surprise... and said something about me having led the mission. Nodding, I agreed...ok bags for 19 people. There was some nice loot to be shared. Essences of power, small moon fragments, weapons of power and speed, robes, dwarven hand axes, and a bunch of gold. The mage may not have been able to control a dragon, but he certainly had some wealth.
Thanking everyone for their help, we watched the party dissipate, and I headed back to Dragon's Gate with Ames and Razan. A little later, new guards arrived, bringing a new sign with them. Welcoming them to their new home, we settled down for a peaceful night.
Serancha, Ranger of Dragon's Gate