Tyranny of Dragons

The Fight In The Keep

So far the party had avoided attracting the attention of the Cult of the Dragon. That was about to change.

They sneaked past the guard drakes in the inner courtyard, and entered the central keep. Te lower floor was empty, so Heironymous Caine headed up the spiral stairs to the second floor.

A dozen lizardfolk guards were on duty in the main room of this floor. They opened with a volley of javelins, only a few of which struck home. A desparate battle ensued – Caine, Breonna and Seraphina Tealeaf made it to the top floor, but Berrian Amakiir and Thertranna weren’t able to make it up the stairs quickly enough.

Azbara Jos was also on the second floor, and tried to escape invisibly, pushing Seraphina aside to get down the stairs. He conjured a cloud of fog to fill the lower floor as the Wearer of Purple, Dralmorrer Borngray, also made a desperate attempt to escape.

Upstairs, both Caine and Breonna were dropped by the relentless Lizardfolk attacks, leaving Seraphina to heal them, using one of Tymora’s gifts – the ability to create illusionary mirror images.

Downstairs, Thertranna was beset by lizardfolk as both Jos and Borngray escaped past her and Berrian. Thertranna continued to try and fight the lizardfolk despite the conjured fog, while Berrian chased Jos and Borngray. Jos was able to use a teleportation spell to escape from the courtyard, while Borngray dashed (moving faster than might otherwise be expected of an Elf) into the castle proper. Berrian followed him past the cultists in the great hall, into the southwest tower.

Stairs led both up to higher floors of the tower, and down to an underground section. Berrian checked the upper floor first, but sensed that another group of cultists was gathered in the rooms here and retreated, fearing discovery.

Downstairs, he was able to pick up Borngray’s trail again as he raced through damp and misty dungeons.

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Castle Naerytar

The party handily defeated several of the lizardfolk who approached the camp. One of the lizardfolk, who identified himself in Draconic as Snapjaw, turned out to be more or less a leader, and he made alliance with the party.

Deep in the swamp was Castle Naerytar, which was a major base of operations for the Cult. The castle was defended by a tribe of lizardfolk and by a village of bullywugs. It was not an amicable arrangement though – the lizardfolk felt hard done by as they did all the work while the more numerous bullywugs just sat around in the mud being lazy. But the bullywug leader – a particularly fat shaman named Pharblex Spattergoo had killed the lizardfolk tribe’s shaman and bullied them into submission. Snapjaw saw the adventurers as a way of getting back at the bullywugs.

The lizardfolk tribe actually served a black dragon, but according to the half-dragon leader of the cult, the dragon now served the cult too. Hence, the lizardfolk also served the cult. But they weren’t happy about it, especially when the bullywugs were put in charge. The Wearer of Purple who commanded the castle tried to treat them well, elevating several lizardfolk to be his personal guard and attempting to teach them metalwork. However, this only made those lizardfolk who made the guard arrogant, since they got the best treatment and the metal weapons.

There was a great deal of discussion during the day-long canoe ride to Castle Naerytar, mostly focusing on whether the party should just march in the front door and start murdering everybody, or whether a more subtle approach was warranted. In the end, Snapjaw’s description of the castle dissuaded them from a straight frontal assault.

They approached the castle and pulled up in the mud, noticing the two small but well built huts for lizardfolk and the veritable village of bullywugs. Snapjaw led them into the castle courtyard, where a simple reconnoitre established that there was a large force of cultists along with the bullywug guards.

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The Carnath Roadhouse

After dealing with a troll on the road, the caravan of road builders arrived at the Carnath Roadhouse. This was a staging point and equipment storage facility for the High Road Charter Company. It also seemed to be a centre of activity for the Cult of the Dragon. Wagons were brought into the courtyard to be unloaded, then moved back outside to be parked. The goods were stored in the courtyard, for nonperishable items, or in a warehouse for foodstuff and fodder for the animals. There was also a locked strong room, and the crates from the Cult wagons were placed in there.

The roadhouse was run by a half-orc named Bog Luck. This was the third name on Seraphina Tealeaf’s list of people she wanted to get revenge against – the others being Frulam Mondath – whom she killed in the Hatchery – and the half-dragon Rezmir. She curbed her anger, however, and determined that it was more important to find out what was in the locked room.

The common room was above the warehouse, and the proprietor/cook Gristle Pete was busy cooking dinner and mumbling to himself about vermin banging about in the storeroom below, and the strange hissing noises that could be heard at all hours of the night. The stable boy Wump also was heard to wonder what goods the Charter Company might need stored behind a locked door.

When night fell and the workers retired to the common room for the evening meal, Thertranna entertained the room while Heironymous Caine engaged with Bog Luck and beat him in several arm wrestling matches. Meanwhile Seraphina deftly stole the key hanging from his belt and unlocked the storeroom, jamming the lock so that it couldn’t be re-locked, then returned the key to Bog Luck’s belt before he noticed it was gone.

Later that night after everyone had gone to bed, the party gathered in the warehouse, determined to find out what was in the now-unlocked room. Turns out it was lizardfolk, who were carting the crates into a tunnel in the floor concealed by a crate nailed to a trap door. After a brief fight the party overcame the lizardfolk and started to explore the tunnel.

The tunnel only ran for a little way underground before emerging in the swamp in an area hidden from the main camp. Though it was dark, Berrian Amakiir was able to discern blaze marks in trees which appeared to mark a trail that led deep into the swamp.

It was hard going, and difficult to make progress with any speed. Those areas of the trail that were not dry enough to walk on were marked by the cuts in the trees. The party progressed through the swamp until dawn, then stopped to rest, then continued on into the murky day.

About midday they came upon a camp – really just a clearing with a few rough lean-tos, and three dugout canoes. Here, dry land ended.

They were about to have a look around when they heard a group of lizardfolk approaching…

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End of the Road

Payback

Finally the end of the journey was in sight. However, after rounding a bend and coming over a hill, a head was spotted in the middle of the road. On closer examination it turned out not to be severed. It was alive, and the body that the head was attached to appeared to be buried in the middle of the Trade Way. Written on his forehead was the word “Oathbreaker”.

Many of the caravanners insisted that he clearly deserved his fate, and continued on. Heironymous Caine and Breonna had mercy on the man. Berrian Amakiir fed the man a healing berry, and he regained consciousness.

He said his name was Carlon Amoffel, and the oath he broke was to marry a woman. He discovered to his chagrin that she was the daughter of a bandit chief, and he was expected to join them. He of course refused, which is why they buried him up to his neck in a major road.

It took several hours to dig him out, but it wasn’t long before a Harper tattoo was visible on his arm. Once unburied, he told the party the truth – that he, like them, was following the Cult but was discovered. He had contacts in Waterdeep who would be able to help on their mission.

Who’s Your Friend?

The following morning, Jamna Gleamsilver approached the party at breakfast. Silently she took Seraphina’s bowl of oatmeal and fished around it with her dagger. She pulled out a tiny lump, which she said was a sliver of bone. Once ingested it would uncurl and tiny spikes would tear into their innards. She offered to talk that night. Seraphina was overjoyed that she had a date, but the others searched their own breakfasts carefully, finding a few small lumps that might have been bone slivers, but also might have been oat husks, small stones or insect husks.

That night Seraphina met with Jamna, who asked her all about the Cult and their caravan. Seraphina was able to tell her about the Cult and what was in the wagons. The party attempted to interrogate Jamna, but didn’t get much information out of her. Specifically they wanted to know who she was working for, but all she would say was that they really didn’t want to know. Then Jamna left, disappointing Seraphina, who had expected a night raid. Carlon Amoffel was suspicious, and speculated that she might have been a member of the Zhentarim.

Murder Most Foul

The following day, one of the cultists posing as a caravan guard was found murdered, a sword wound in his back. The other cultists immediately pointed their fingers at the party, but fortunately most of the other caravanners looked on the party quite highly – after all, they had saved the caravan from spiders, perytons, hobgoblins and doppelgangers, so the cult had a hard time pinning this murder on them. However, from here on, the cultists never failed to look on the party with anything but undisguised hatred. Jamna Gleamsilver denied any knowledge of the murder.

Waterdeep

Finally the party arrived at the city of Waterdeep. Here, the caravan broke up. Their employers paid them and scattered into the city. The cult wagons, however, headed straight for a warehouse in the north of the city, where they appeared to unload cargo. Azbara Jos at this time was never unaccompanied by several Cult guards. In the warehouse, Breonna lost contact with her familiar, which reappeared shortly thereafter and reported being attacked. It appeared that Azbara had been part of the Cult all along.

The talk of the town was that a half-black dragon had been seen in the city a tenday earlier, but had left heading north.

It was not difficult for the party to get hired by the High Road Charter Company, which had been tasked by Lord Neverember to rebuild the road between Waterdeep and Neverwinter. Jamna Gleamsilver also joined them on this trip.

The trip to the work camp was expected to take ten days. A few days after leaving, the party was attacked by a small group of orcs and an ogre, but they were killed quickly.

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Life - Still On The Road

The Golden Stag

Life for the caravan turned fairly dull for a while, but one morning – about halfway through the trip – the caravanners woke to see a herd of deer in the forest around them. Among them was a magnificent golden stag. The hunters of the caravan immediately set off to try and bring it down. Berrian Amakiir, however, had more respect for the creatures of the forest, and also realised that such animals were generally considered to bring good luck to the surrounding villages. As a result, he headed off with the rest of the hunters with the intention of dissuading them or frightening off the stag in some way.

The hunters slowly began to return to the caravan in small groups. Berrian was last, and he reported that the stag had been driven away.

The Brutal Murder of Cultists in the Woods

Shortly thereafter, it became clear that the cultists had noticed the characters, and recognised them. At least, Heironymous Caine was sure that they had recognised him. They had to be dealt with.

That night, Caine feigned drinking heavily, making sure that the cultists had seen him. He went into the woods to relieve himself, and two cultist thugs followed him, intending to do him harm. Unfortunately for them, it was an ambush. The other members of the party got the drop on them and brutally murdered them, hiding their bodies in the woods so they wouldn’t be found.

As a precaution, Seraphina Tealeaf spiked the wheels of the cultists’ wagons to make sure they could follow the tracks if they moved out of sight.

The next morning, the cultist wagons noticed that two of their guards were missing, but didn’t say anything or mention it to anyone.

The Mushroom Incident

One morning after a few days of rain and lightning and strange whistling sounds on the wind, the caravan woke to find that the ground for miles around them was covered with weird mushrooms that seemed to cry out when they were crushed. The caravanners felt that it was a curse, or that they were dangerous. Berrian was able to determine that the mushrooms were not, in fact, poisonous – they seemed to be a variety of shrieker, which was a mushroom usually found in the Underdark. It was unclear what they were doing above ground, but the party suspected the usual mad wizards.

They rigged a method of clearing the shrooms using the harness of one of the horses. The caravan was able to get moving again, but Caine was overcome by the sense of grief and despair given off as the mushrooms were destroyed that he had to retire to one of the wagons. For days afterward he was unable to eat mushrooms of any kind.

Daggerford

Finally, the caravan reached Daggerford, where they were able to rest their horses and sleep in a real bed for a change. Following the Cultists, however, they saw a human giving the cultists cash. It was not clear what the cash was in exchange for, so the party arranged to follow him to his lodgings.

While Thertranna performed in the common room and Seraphina Tealeaf kept watch, Heironymous Caine and Breonna sneaked into the man’s room and interrogated him.

He identified himself as Azbara Jos, a traveller from Thay, escaping the reign of the lich king Szass Tam. He paid the cultists for passage to Waterdeep, but claimed not to know them, who they worked for, or where they were headed after they arrived at Waterdeep.

Breonna and Caine, sensing an opportunity, recruited him to spy on the cult, and assigned Breonna’s familiar Quoth (now not a mere raven) to invisibly keep an eye on him and act as a conduit for information. They paid him some cash and let him sleep.

As the caravan left Daggerford a couple of days later, a gnome named Jamna Gleamsilver joined the caravan. She seemed friendly enough. Seraphina started to develop something of a crush on her.

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Life On The Road

Ten days into the trip, Berrian Amakiir noticed that a pair of eagles circling overhead were not actually eagles. He identified two perytons just as they stooped to attack. Fortunately they were easily dispatched with little harm to the party.

The weather turned bad, and the caravan had to slog for several days of freezing rain. Finally one night they came across an inn. It looked like they would have some shelter for the night, but there was a group of nobles in the common room who had booked the place out for the whole night. They weren’t very nice about it, either, and they proviked Heironymous Caine pretty hard, and as he tried to get redress, they drew poisoned swords and attacked. Caine and Breonna were grievously poisoned, but when they started attacking Berrian, he suddenly woke up and realised it had all been a dream.

The party was still in the caravan, in the rain. Miserably, they continued their journey.

A couple of days later they came across a wagon being attacked by a small group of hobgoblins. They were able to rescue the wagon driver, but one of his guards was killed. He asked for help, and they loaned him a pair of horses so that he could take his wagon to the nearest town. He vowed to pay them back if he was able.

Meanwhile, a dwarf guard named Tyjit Skesh started obnoxiously expressing an interest in Breonna’s dolly. She offered a copper for it, but Breonna steadfastly refused to sell. Skesh got ruder and ruder, but was eventually dissuaded by Breonna’s friends, who threatened violence if she continued to harass Breonna.

As they were making camp that night, two buxom young lasses – twin sisters – joined the caravan. They had been making camp in one of the only convenient locations when the vanguard of the caravan arrived. They seemed friendly enough, though they did express quite an interest in Caine.

The following morning, Breonna found that her dolly was missing. Angrily they confronted Skesh, who maintained her innocence, even under Detect Thoughts. Satisfied, the party looked around for who else might have been responsible for taking the dolly. They focused on the twin sisters, who were nowhere to be found. However, Berrian noticed two other caravanners who were behaving oddly. He concluded that the caravan had been infiltrated by a pair of doppelgangers. Seraphina Tealeaf stealthily searched the pair’s belongings and did indeed find the dolly. A fight broke out, and upon being killed the doppelgangers reverted to their true forms, showing the entire caravan the reason for the fight.

The caravan continued on its long journey. They were about halfway to Waterdeep, and the next major town was Daggerford.

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Spider Attack

The Trade Way skirts around and between the huge Trollbark and Misty Forests, but passes though many other smaller forests that don’t appear on maps. While passing through one such forest, Samardag the Hoper’s cart was attacked by a pair of giant spiders, accompanied by an ettercap. The spiders attacked the horses, but Dona, who was guarding that particular caravan, immediately leapt to the defence. Heironymous Caine, Seraphina Tealeaf and Thertranna saw what was happening, but Breonna was in another part of the caravan, not close enough to help.

It was during this fight that Thertranna noticed two additional ettercaps stealing a pair of horses from another cart while everyone was watching the fight. “Hey! The horses!” she cried out, and raced to catch one of them while the others fought the spiders. Captain Caine managed to hurl dead spiders in different directions while Thertranna was severely wounded by the ettercap. While the second escaping ettercap continued to lead the horses away, Thertranna channeled her inner comedienne and reduced the ettercap to Hideous Laughter. It tried to get up several times, just enough to prevent her from escaping its reach.

Meanwhile Dona and the others dispatched their ettercap. Dona raced to assist Thertranna, while Caine picked up Seraphina and chased the third ettercap, which had led the horses some distance into the forest. They finally managed to recover the horses, but the severely wounded ettercap got away.

They returned to the caravan to a scene of tragedy. Thertranna was unconscious but alive, but alas Dona had not survived the fight.

After giving her last rites, Seraphina dispatched a rider to return the body to Elturel to be laid to rest. The others drowned their sorrows at the cart of one Beyd Sechepol, who sold ale to the caravanners during their trip. It was here that an elf if indeterminate gender approached and fell into conversation.

The elf introduced him/herself as Berrian Amakiir, a ranger of some skill. He/she gained their trust and joined their party.

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On The Road

In Elturel

The party returned to Greenest, where Governor Nighthill informed them that Leosin Erlanthar had gone on ahead of them. Erlanthar had generously purchase horses and riding gear, and left a message for the party to meet him in the city of Elturel.

After returning some pieces of jewelery, stolen by the Cult, to their rightful owners (and recieving a reward for doing so) the party set off. The trip was uneventful, and they arrived in Elturel about six days later.

Elturel was a large, orderly city overlooking the River Chionthar. Its most distinguishing feature is a brilliant magical light that hovers above it, illuminating it day and night. This light is painful to undead and is visible from almost every corner of Elturgard (of which Elturel is the capital).

Arriving at the city, the party immediately split up. Heironymous Caine and Breonna sought out the seediest dive bar they could find, while Thertranna went to the opposite end of town. Dona headed for the city barracks, and Seraphina Tealeaf looked for the local Thieves’ Guild.

Thertranna was able to earn enough money through performance to pay for food and lodgings for the whole party. Dona spent some time with the city guard and their blacksmith. Seraphina gained the favour of the goddess Tymora by distributing alms to the city’s poor. Heironymous Caine and Breonna had a much more interesting time…

While trying to use her telepathic ability to search out information from the tavern’s patrons that might help them to locate Cult members, several of the patrons started getting excessively handsy. Caine started to help, but Breonna didn’t seem to require it. Black tentacles sprouted from her body and beat up everybody within range, including the thugs, and including Caine. This certainly deterred the attackers, but left her comatose for a time due to the mental stress. Once all had quieted down again, they were asked to leave, but the authorities were not called.

After spending the night at the lodgings Thertranna had procured, they were at first unsure how to proceed. However, one of the beggars that Seraphina had favoured informed them that the monk they were seeking might be found at a tavern called A Pair Of Black Antlers.

Upon entering the tavern, it was very clear that it was not really a tavern. It turned out to be the headquarters of the Order of the Gauntlet. Erlanthar was there, and he introduced the party to the Order’s leader, Ontharr Frume, a big paladin with a big voice. The entire Order were friendly, and engaged the party in games of skill and drinking. Frume was able to win both an arm-wrestling contest against Dona, and a drinking contest against Caine. The party was, however, unable to get any information until the following morning.

The Order of the Gauntlet had joined up with the Harpers, of which Erlanthar was a member, and another organisation known as the Emerald Enclave in order to find out more about the Cult and its doings. The party was well-positioned to help.

The factions needed to know where the treasure was being taken, and what was being done with it. To that end, the party would travel to Baldur’s Gate and get themselves hired as caravan guards. They were to follow the caravan and keep an eye on the Cult as they moved the treasure north. The mission was surveillance, not interception – it was more important to find the Cult’s hidden base (and whatever, or whoever Naerytar was) than to prevent them from finishing their journey.

The party were given new equipment and sent downriver to Baldur’s Gate.

The Caravan

Only a couple of days after they arrived in Baldur’s gate, the party noticed Cult members arriving. At first one at a time, then a group of them arrived with an unknown person carried in a palanquin. Their contact, one Ackyn Selebon, informed them that the unknown person had bought five wagons and supplies and were looking to leave the city shortly. The party did their best to hire themselves as bodyguards.

Caine was hired by Aldor Urnpoleshurst, a human lawyer looking to leave Baldur’s Gate, apparently due to some sort of scandal. Dona was hired by Samardag the Hoper, an extremely optimistic and generous human merchant carrying fragile porcelain. Breonna was hired by Noohar Serelim and his brother Selvek, elves from Cormyr. Thertranna was hired by Green Imsa, who was green. Seraphina didn’t get hired, but posed as an itinerant healer and traveller and accompanied the caravan anyway.

The trip was to take two months to arrive at Waterdeep. The first few days were uneventful, but on the morning of the fifth day, one of the wagons owned by the Cultists overturned and spilled some of its cargo. The valuable-looking jewellery was spotted by a number of people in the caravan, including Caine. But it was also clear that the Cultists also saw who had spotted their goods.

Among the caravan there was also a merchant who routinely mistreated his horses – failing to attend to their needs and shorting their feed. In the evening of the fifth day, one of his horses collapsed in its tracers and the man started beating it. Seraphina intervened, casting a healing spell on the horse, but it didn’t look like the man was going to change his behaviour.

The next morning, one of the guards who witnessed the overturning of the Cult cart was missing.

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Revenge

Revenge is sweet

Even though they were wounded and mostly out of spells, the party decided to tackle the chimney immediately, without a rest. Dona led the way up the ladder, but she wasn’t nearly stealthy enough to avoid being noticed by Frulam Mondath, who was working at a desk in what appeared to be an office and living quarters.

The whole party was invited up and Mondath attempted to bargain for her life. However, she recognised Seraphina Tealeaf – they appeared to have some history together. Seraphina was certainly extremely angry, and battle was joined immediately.

Despite casting a number of spells, Mondath was finally taken down by Heironymous Caine, but not before a horde of cultist reinforcements arrived. The cultists were delayed in the doorway and finally all killed – though one escaped – as Mondath lay bleeding. Before she could die, she was revived by Seraphina, tied up, and allowed to recover.

She must have regretted regaining consciousness, but not for very long. Seraphina said “This is for my daughter” and unleashed a vicious and bloody retribution which left only a severely mutilated corpse.

Seraphina revealed to the rest of the party that she used to run with the Cult of the Dragon, but she was betrayed by the leadership and her family, including her daughter, were killed. She had a hit list with three names on it. Mondath was one of them. Another was Rezmir, a half-black dragon who set up the raider’s camp and was a senior member of the Cult of the Dragon. She kept the third name to herself for now.

On one of the tables there was a map which appeared to show the course of the caravan carrying the treasure – west towards Beregost then north along the Trade Way. A note indicated that the goods had to be delivered to Naerytar, though it was unclear whether this was a person or a place. They also found a pristine set of purple robes. They took map, note and robes for later use.

Death and the Guard Drakes

They were just about ready to go, but Heironymous Caine recalled that Leosin Erlanthar had said that the raiders in the camp referred to this cave as “The nursery”. They had to push on.

Down a set of stairs that ran off the temple, they came to a huge chamber, misty and with the constant sound of dripping water. They were on a wide ledge along one side of the chamber. Stairs went down to the floor, and like a similar pit earlier, a cage and gate prevented any egress between the pit and the ledge. Perhaps this should have tipped them off…

Seraphina was able to pick the lock just as Breonna found the key hanging from a peg on the wall opposite. The entire party made their way down the stairs. Just then they noticed several round objects sailing through the air from a secondary pit towards them. The objects exploded into gluey goo and fire – Thertranna, Heironymous Caine and Seraphina Tealeaf were all stuck in the glue, though only Seraphina was unable to wrench herself free. Dona immediately leapt into the pit to take on the four kobolds there who had thrown the grenades, which was a pity because it meant that she could not assist in the fight against the two fully grown guard drakes that ambushed the rest of the party.

Thertranna was taken down first by the large and vicious lizards, and Heironymous Caine shortly thereafter. Dona was finally able to defeat the kobolds and come to the party’s aid, but she was also taken down. Seraphina Tealeaf hung onto life by a mere thread when an eldritch blast from Breonna finally killed the last of the monsters.

With all of the monsters dead and the party on their last legs, they were finally able to take stock of their surroundings, which contained three large dragon eggs. What were they to do with them? Leave them and they will undoubtedly hatch into dragons that would grow to terrorise the country. Take them and they would still hatch, but perhaps they could be controlled or tamed in some way. Alternatively, they could just be destroyed and the embryos within killed.

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The Temple

Kobolds and Drakes

A force of kobolds burst from the corridor to attack the party as howls sounded from within the pit. Three of them spread their wings and flew above the party, dropping large rocks. Heironymous Caine, poisoned by the pit-and-spike trap, hummed a jaunty sea shanty as his colleagues fought for their lives.

The winged kobolds few to the back of the chamber, near where the characters entered. Here there was a set of stairs leading down into the pit, but it was surrounded by a cage. One of the kobolds was killed, but another succeeded in opening the gate, allowing three juvenile Guard Drakes to come up the stairs and attack the party.

It was a hard battle, and Thertranna was taken down during the fight, but they did manage to defeat the kobolds and drakes. Caine managed to control his confusion for just long enough to assist.

Bloodied, the party needed to rest. They cleaned up the bodies and camped for an hour in the dark pit, with Seraphina Tealeaf on guard. During the rest, Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, accompanied by two barbarian bodyguards, came to investigate, but he did not see the party. Complaining about kobolds abandoning their posts, he returned to wherever he came from.

Somewhat recovered, the party continued through the dungeon.

The Temple

After carefully stepping over the falling-rocks trap at the top of the stairs, the party found the chamber where the kobolds lived. Repelled by the smell, they resolved to search it thoroughly later.

From that chamber there was a long staircase that led down to what appeared to be a temple to the dragon goddess Tiamat. Langdedrosa Cyanwrath and his bodyguards were there, and gleefully entered combat.

This time, Heironymous Caine killed the half-dragon, though to be fair he did have help this time. His colleagues mopped up the barbarian bodyguards.

Looking about the room, they saw that the temple included a statue or icon of a five-headed dragon, surrounded by carvings of dragons – black dragons in particular outnumbered all other types. There was a small chest on the floor, which Seraphina Tealeaf carefully checked for traps. She found and disabled two triggers – one under the chest itself, which would go off if the chest were moved, and one on the lock. Careful inspection of the carvings on the wall suggested that the small holes in the mouths of all the black dragons constituted an acid spray trap. The chest contained a few items of jewellery and a small pouch containing some gems.

There were two ways out of the room – a set of stairs leading down, and a chimney with a rope ladder in the far corner. The halfling climed up the shaft and found that the top was covered by a rug.

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