The New Blood: Tyranny of Dragons

Part 19: Gathering Forces

Leosin hadn’t slept in days. All communications from his strike team in Wendar had gone silent and the Wyrm Speaker Neronvain seemed unscathed. Cultists and slaves were being funneled from the north towards the Well of Dragons and the Princes of Glantri did nothing to seal their borders. The subhuman hordes of the Broken Lands had been driven into a frenzy and pushed south towards Darokin and Karameikos drawing their forces into a protracted defensive campaign. The Order of the Gauntlet, diplomats of Alfheim, and the Rockhome ambassadors had all been absent at the council meetings leading to a fractured front line. Unless some new source of strength came to the aid of the council Leosin couldn’t see a potential victory for the forces of order.

Duke Stefan of Karameikos had sent envoys to the far corners of the Known World seeking allies. One of his missives was answered by a high elf who only referred to herself as Elia and spoke of powerful allies. Duke Stefan could not afford to turn away any offer of assistance so he heard her terms. Once he recovered from the shock of her offer immediate plans were put in place. He would need a trusted agent to serve as his voice, a steadfast soldier to ensure his voice can be heard, and a source of magical support to maintain communication with the council since the envoys would be travelling. He also opted to attach a prisoner to the mission, a magically controlled servant of the enemy which possessed knowledge no one outside the cult had access to. He would be needed, potentially, for the 2nd leg of the mission.

This small team would be travelling with Elia to a Council of Wyrms, a moot of metallic dragons and possible allies in the battle against the cult of Tiamat. The aid of these dragons would provide a boon that could not be ignored. Since the meeting would be happening in the Colossus Mounts near Klantyre, the envoy could also investigate another potential ally, Prince MacGregor of Glantri. The rumors of the princes proclivities were foul indeed but surely most of that talk was merely uneducated mistrust of wizardry. At the very least it was an option to investigate. Lastly, there was word that one of the Dragon Masks was on loan to the wizard Xonthal in Boldavia. Perhaps a gesture to sway the elemental binder to the cause of the cult of Tiamat. The mask would hopefully be able to recovered through use of knowledge possessed of the Dragonborn prisoner.

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Part 18: Neronvain victorious

Neronvain had recovered the White Dragon Mask. The Ordo Magni thief, Jenma Gleamsilver, put up little fight and her tortured screams were beautiful music to the Green Wyrmspeaker. In the end he let Chuth consume the small morsel. Although these dalliances were enjoyable there was much business to be conducted back “home”.

Chuth was directed to fly to Sylvair, ancestral home of Neronvain’s family and current location of his father Gylharen, Lord of Wendar. Neronvain was elven in blood but his family line was not pure. His father Gylharen was now an ancient human over a century in age. Years ago Gylharen saw in his son the capacity for violence and evil and attempted to turn the boy away from his infatuation with the Cult of Idris. Neronvain was sent away to Laurianta to commune with the Sylvan spirits among the Enchanted Wood and find peace. Instead, among the winter court fey and in the shadows of that beautiful forest Neronvain found his greatest ally and patron as well as the means by which he would cleanse his blood of its impurities.

Neronvain had gained power over one of the Sonneleth Rangers, Galin, and used his thrall to confuse and confound what defenses Wendar could raise against him. Neronvain then raised a sizable force from those pledged to the Cult of Idris and set them loose against his father’s lands. He and his bonded dragon, Chuth, led assaults against the unprotected hamlets and villages and gathered what treasures they could to aid the Queen’s return.

The meddling adventurers who had troubled Varram made a feeble attempt to stop Neronvain but proved less of a threat against a real foe. With their group broken he gave the bodies to the Cult of Idris to use in their necromantic experiments. Now, with the defenses of Wendar in shambles and his path clear from interference Neronvain made his move. His father commanded much magical power but it paled in comparison to the font of energy Neronvain was granted by his patron. Soon his father’s broken corpse was put on display for his vassals to weep and wail over while Neronvain forcibly took his Elven mother to his bed to breed a true-blooded line. Her cries only served to bring a semblance of enjoyment to an otherwise mundane task.

The new Wizard-King of Wendar gladly took his throne and diverted his forces south towards the Well of Dragons. The true Queen of all the Known World would soon be arriving and the known world would be forcibly dragged into a new age.

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Part 17: The Tomb of Diderius

The Wyrmpriest Varram had been thrice shamed. First by the loss of Skyreach Castle to the meddling adventurers out of Darokin. Second being the defeat of Glazhael and the theft of his horde. Lastly, Varram had awoken after a night too long spent in the cups to find the White Dragon Mask was gone. Stolen by a thief in the night!

The dwarf needed a break, a way to deduce the likely hiding place of the sneak-thief who stole the mask. Plus, he needed to keep the loss of the White Dragon Mask hidden from the other Wyrm Speakers for the time being. Severin was not the forgiving sort and Varram was already on precarious footing with the elder Wyrm Speaker. Varram did not gain his station through luck or chance though, he was an accomplished sage and historian and knew more about the creation of magical items than the other four Wyrm Speakers together. His studies had told him a place not too far from his current location: the Tomb of Diderius, which contained a scrying pool of vast (if not malevolent) power. Thus, Varram, alongside a small force made way to the Tomb to locate and recover his mask.

Unbeknownst to the Varram, Neronvain the Green, had been watching and scheming. The Elven noble hated Varram with a passion deeper than the rift between their respected races. After turning Varram’s second in command against her master and orchestrating the means by which Skyreach Castle would be lost to the dwarf, Neronvain was finally in position for his final definitive strike.

Through the mercenary group Ordo Magni, Neronvain had Varram poisoned and the White Dragon Mask stolen. The thief, Jemna Gleamsilver, acted outside her orders though and attempted to sell the mask to the enemies of the great cause. Neronvain had no problems though tracking and killing the rogue, recovering the mask, and then moving forward in his plans to ensure Varram’s demise.

The insipid dwarf had taken a small retinue to the Tomb of Diderius to hopefully scry upon the location of his mask. Neronvain approached on his dragon Chuth, killed the guards Varram traveled with and coaxed the serpentine Yuan-Ti to capture Varram for ritual sacrifice. The blood-thirsty snake men were all too happy to oblige while Neronvain left to head north to his ancestral home. He had a family reunion to plan after all.

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Chains that Rattle

Upon being summoned the guards placed chains on both feet and hand, making for a great show, but completely and utterly unneeded. The Geas this duke has put upon me will see to my behavior, because my skin is worth more than the blood of some simple fool and his precious little head. I play the part and rattle down the hallway in my slumped glory. Upon entering the grand hall there is much to steal and take from this simple baron, he leaves his treasures around like a small child and wishes the worms to comment and make him feel loved and powerful. As the commencement starts and the story unravels, so does his affection for the sniveling shyster that sits at his side that should accompany the squalid group that has formed to save the world. He wants a story, the only story end for him is a book closing as he draws his last breath.

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A Fool's Errand

Being hand to the grand duke truly has its perks. For some, being saddled with a pair of criminals might seem a daunting punishment, but I couldn’t be happier to have been put on task. Accompanying (heh, bard pun) this group, undoubtedly puts me in bad company, but the prospect of things going horribly and unpredictably wrong is more exciting than playing court fool, street performer, or bounty fetcher could ever hope to be.

I can already tell the lizard man hates me, if he hadn’t already been so inclined my prodding surely would have pushed him there, this is by no mistake; the collective hate on all sides of this conflict and the sentence he’s been given no doubt weigh heavy on him, making him a loose cannon and story just waiting to happen. Should we survive this whole cultist situation, the slaying of 5 dragons and his own dragon-like lust for magic will likely lead to his demise. In the case that it doesn’t the tale is even greater, I can hardly lose.

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Ripped from Death

This green and rider have a lot of nerve, but when you gotta go you gotta go. The fog of chlorine suffocated me to the point of blackness. I saw the silver light of Mealiden to call me home, walking the path was bitter sweet, knowing I had so much more to contribute to this world in the name of Mealiden. Upon seeing the golden arch of my love and patron, I felt a pull of the material plane and knowing I had to continue on this quest in the name of my patron, I turned away a small tear streaking down the cheek and the searing pain that racked my mortal body as my soul did return.

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Piik's Dance

Specter, I see you there
A shroud of mist reveals your stare
For the moment the center of it all
Yet it is more than I can bear

You followed me to the brink
Once again you invite me to dance
Electrified by your spark
Unable to avert your glance

Your reach but a chill that sets me to fire
The ferocity of the storm churns
Wild and unbridled
Unleashed is a rage that burns

Step by step, you match my stride
My sword is set ablaze
You parry a surging strike
But you fell hard upon my unrelenting gaze

Sustain this moment of raging
Locked in this familiar embrace
Alive in the chaos of combat
We let the fire intensify our pace

Primal are the cries that surge forth
My bloodied caress painted across your face
We dance in pained exchange
Until I taste your bones crumble to waste

I open my eyes, am far out of place
Gone is the vision of you there
Leaving me aghast from yet another chase
All that remains your shadow I wear

~ Killer Bree

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Part 16: Ice Hunters

The majority of Kaldmont had been spent struggling to find warmth in the village of Althaven. The heroes had purchased a small homestead and crammed themselves together to ride out the long and brutal winter as they awaited passage south. Ships would not dare sail to Darokin or Karameikos until the days were longer and the seas calm. The party had an estimated three months of sitting in front of the hearth before they could even attempt the voyage.

The pace of life had slowed so much for the first time in ages the party started to feel relaxed and could see their hard edges begin to soften. They did not want for food for they had coin to spare for hearty meals. They did not want for companionship for the Heldanni of Althaven welcomed them warmly where the Vanyans did not. They did not want for activity for there were always chores to be done on the homestead to keep the ever present bitter cold winds and bay. All they were in need of was comfortable warmth and that primal thrill that came from living on the cusp of death. In comparison to adventuring: stoking the hearth just left them feeling numb.

So it came as a relief when a message finally reached them from Leosin, now apparently based out of the metrolopis of Specularum. The monk sent word that he had been drumming support against the Dracologist cults activities with the free peoples of the south. He also sent the message that the wounded Dragon, Glazhael, had been discovered on a floating glacier lair in the icy seas of the north. The closest agents currently to the dragon were the party who had successfully battled the dragon once. Also, the council believed the sage Maccath had been captured or sought out Glazhael’s lair to study an artifact; a massive horn capable of drawing the chromatic dragons of the Known World together.

The party commissioned a longship, the Frostskimmr, to ferry them north in the hunt for this floating lair. Only a crew of either fools or greed-blind mercenaries would agree to such an endeavor. In this inhospitable wasteland such a crew was easy to find. The scarred captain of the ship agreed to the mission and set forth through the deadly waters of the Sea of Dawn. Unable to leave the plundered hoard defenseless the party chose to leave Karn behind as a guard, it was a bittersweet moment as the ship pulled from the dock leaving the mighty warrior behind.

It took nearly all of Nuwmont to locate the Iceberg lair. Despite attacks from icebears, sea trolls, and unfriendly locals the trip was safe enough to not need to turn back. Upon the floating plateau of ice there were signs of a village; long displaced children of Atruaghin from the Orca clan. These remote peoples were not quick to trust and their ways were foreign to the party; whether they worshipped the dragon or camped atop its lair as protection from other predators was unknown. The first meeting with the Chief of the village and it’s Shamani went dismally. The result was an outright slaughter of the villagers and those not left to die on the ice were taken back to Frostskimmr in chains for a life of slavery. The gnome Orrie was lost in the skirmish and her vessel used to expunge the draconic-soul binding that had been placed on the heroes.

Within the twisting passages of the glacier the party found the dying place of the Ice Hunters. Those too ill or wounded to pull their weight were sent below as tribute for the minions of the dragon. It was one of these ill, able to be cured by Kor-Zara’s holy miracles, that assisted the heroes in their task. Communication was difficult but not impossible and from him the location of Maccath was learned as well as warnings of Ice-trolls that wandered the frozen halls.

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Maccath was not what the party expected. Where they had expected a socially awkward and bookish sage they found a demon blooded temptress with a fascination with power and little regard for the lives around her. She was able to answer many of the heroes questions regarding the Drakkenhorn as well as Glazhael himself. The horn, as expected, had been sounded and flown from the glacier by the dragon Arauthator. Her rider, the Wyrmpriest Varram, had left with her for the dragon moot. Glazhael was actually the mate of Arauthator and had fled to her lair to recover from his injuries from his earlier defeat by the heroes. She had dismissed her mate as weak, hurt him further in her fury, and left him to lick his wounds and protect her hoard.

The heroes now knew why Glazhael had never flown south to recover the treasure lost from Skyhaven, he had been injured and cowed into waiting Arauthator’s return. Seeing this as an opportunity to finally end the threat of Glazhael the party ventured deeper into the tunnels prepared for the worst – a cornered and wounded dragon.

Glazhael.jpg

Glazhael attacked with ferocity but was reckless and easily put into a position where he could not escape. Once the final blow was struck and the threat of Wyrm finally ended Arauthator’s horde was gathered and loaded upon the Frostskimmr for the trip south. Meanwhile at the dragon-moot Arauthator sensed her hoard being moved and flew to her lair with haste. Leaving Varram without his dragon or the favor of the cult from his earlier loss of Skyreach. The dwarven Wyrmpriest was finally vulnerable which was all the figure in the shadows had been waiting for…

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First Impressions

It’s been years since I was out with a group like this. Didn’t realized how much I’d missed it.
When I was young I was saved, I followed along because I didn’t have anywhere to go, I didn’t know anyone. The freedom of roaming around and helping people who couldn’t help themselves seemed foreign to me; strange, but right. I was once a slave forced into confined spaces, beaten and made to do harm to other captives and well-intentioned adventurers. I can only recall bits and pieces, but it’s more than I want to remember.

This group has that spark that I remember; eager to roam and discover, a little chaotic maybe, but at least well-meaning. Two of them, Kor-Zara and Vall have been together for a while. They remind me of Corrin and Jordan too much, like siblings who are each sure they, themselves are their parent’s favorite, butting heads, but always having each other’s back. They’ve been together a while, but aren’t averse to taking on newcomers, I’d be suspicious of their being quick to trust if I weren’t part of the out-group. The others, Piik and Ront seem to be a welcome addition to their ranks, for their ferocity and ability to take a hit if nothing else, something the others have obviously been missing, it’s rare to see a holy-man and a bard who have taken such a beating and are willing to again.

Piik and Ront seem to be nearly as new to meet each other as myself. Ront keeps quiet, but it’s not hard to see the gears turning, every move he makes is calculated; in battle and out. He’s seems to be a good man, but it’s difficult to discern his motivation, though they no doubt exists.

The small one Piik, has no idea that she’s small, like prey able to frighten away those who would hunt it. I like her, she has a kind heart and thick skin.

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Playing with Dead Things

I truly despise this little gnome, she has gotten us into trouble before and it might be the last time for her. Upon the discovery of the shallow grave, hope of all hopes was the discovery of Jemmna cold dead body in that hole. But, alas our luck was not that day, an elf of female gender that was ended very cleanly by what appears to be a colleage. Upon interning her back to the earth and making the necessary rituals we discovered the killing fields of a large pack of something. With voices and puzzles galore our group is in a great fight to possibly finish another Worm speaker and remove another pawn from Tiamat great plan.

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