Hurriedly rising from their rest in the guest room, our team headed to explore the rest of the rooms in the corridor, coming to a locked room they had passed earlier. Talon and Pierre tried their hands at picking the lock, and failed, so Dame Alkwin resorted to a technique that seldom failed her – kicking in the door! As the jamb gave way to her armored boot, the room’s sole occupant was revealed to be none other than Rezmir, the black half-dragon Wearer of Purple commanding this sect of the Cult! Talon, especially, had been waiting for this fight for a long time!
Pierre and Talon rushed forward, unleashing punishing slashes from their swords, injuring the cult leader terribly! Galoshti had some trouble getting his thorn whip to land, but Dame Alkwin had no such difficulty, and her goddess-enhanced strike thudded into the half-dragon like a cleaver into a side of beef! The evil cultist unleashed her horrible acid breath upon the group to no avail, as all were able to dodge away or turn most of the acid from them, taking minimal damage. A few more choice strikes from each member of the team, and the cult’s leader collapsed into a pile of ashes! Searching her robes, they were able to find a key ring and her greatsword, a fine weapon of black steel and onyx decorations. One of the keys opened the steel-banded chest in the room, revealing nothing – until Dame Alkwin noticed the false bottom, concealing a small fortune in gems and jewelry!
Moving to the room across the corridor, they found it locked, but upon opeining it with one of Rezmir’s keys, they saw it was a coldroom for storing meats and other perishable foodstuffs. Closing the door, they returned to the staircase to the Upper Courtyard to relay their success to the Cloud Giant, and were intercepted by his dim ogre minions. The half-witted brutes escorted them once more into Blagothkus’ presence, where they proclaimed theire success in ridding the castle of the Cult’s leader and the Red Wizards. Unimpressed, the giant bade them to remove the White Dragon guarding the treasure hoard before returning to him. He dismissed them with a wave of his hand and his servants guided them back to the staircase, where they began the decent to the dragon’s lair while discussing strategies for defeating the dragon as well as the absurdity of their chance for success…
Finally settling on a plan, they re-entered the icy cavern of the dragon, who challenged them with the same question as before – “Do you bring food?” Pierre stated that they had already killed Rezmir, and would not hesitate to kill the dragon if he did not leave now. Talon showed the dragon Rezmir’s sword as proof, which the dragon recognized – “You have Hazirawn – she is dead, then”. Dame Alkwin restated their original demand – “Leave now or we will be forced to defeat you, as well!” The dragon hesitated, mulling over his choices, and seemed to decide that the only way to meet this threat to his lair was with force! He unfurled his brilliant white wings and glared at the intruders with the full force of his draconic presence!
Galoshti, Talon, and Pierre resisted the urge to flee in terror before the dragon’s awesomeness, while Dame Alkwin felt a calm settle about her radiating from Sir Garrick’s sword – she knew that though she may die, no dragon could ever cause her to flee as long as she held onto this holy relic for Sir Garrick was with her, as was her goddess, holy Chauntea! With the fight certain, Pierre and Talon set their plan into action by tossing four oil flasks (with poisoned at the beast as Galoshti lit them aflame with his Druidcraft! Three of the flasks hit the dragon among the icy stalactites, shattering on impact and spreading hot flames along his scaly hide (but not exploding, as they had hoped – alas, their creativity exceeded their pyrotechnical knowledge!). The Saviors of Greenest then ran back along the tunnel towards the staircase they had previously descended, hoping to lure the beast to follow after them.
Enraged, the dragon dropped from his high perch and followed his attackers indeed, unleashing his icy breath weapon upon them! Talon and Pierre deftly tumbled out of the path of the hoary frost, with Pierre heaving Galoshti aside as he rolled, but Dame Alkwin was not so nimble, and her lower half was coated in a sheen of ice as it went instantly numb! Pierre and Talon rushed down the tunnel, turning at a fork to double-back to the cavern, while Galoshti and Dame Alkwin stood their ground, harrying the beast to ensure that it entered the tunnel. As it approached, Galoshti heaved a dart at it’s head, striking near to it’s eye, and Dame Alkwin unleashed a smiting blow fueled by her goddess and Sir Garrick’s sword. The dragon responded by biting Dame Alkwin grievously, nearly killing her. Galoshti continued healing her to offset the monster’s attacks, but it was clear that the battle could not last very long if the heroes were to survive…
As their compatriots were keeping the dragon occupied in the tunnel, Talon and Pierre managed to get behind the creature, out of its sight, and proceeded to attack it’s undefended rear with staggering blows! As the dragon fought to defeat Dame Alkwin with its claws and mouth, it was at a disadvantage in the tight quarters of the tunnel, and the many slashes and stabs began to take their toll. Another round of abuse from the heroes was only answered by a weak claw swipe at Dame Alkwin, who was immediately healed by Galoshti. The beast finally realized it’s mistake in attacking these heroes, and decided to leave his lair and its treasure behind too late. As it fled from the tunnel, Dame Alkwin and Pierre took parting shots at it, and Talon felled the beast with a final stab to it’s flank, whereupon it sank to the ground dead!
Stopping only to grab a few dragon teeth as proof, they raced upstairs to inform Blagothkus of their success, when they were again intercepted by ogres, asking “You kill dragon?” When they confirmed their kill, the ogres moved aside telling them “You see boss, we take care of other cultists” and headed to the barracks on the Lower Courtyard. Ogres parted for them as they once again approached the Giant’s tower, rushing up the stairs to tell him of the battle. Blagothkus seemed impressed (for a Cloud Giant) that they had bested the dragon “Although it DID take four of you…” and re-directed the castle towards his massing kin in the mountains rather than the Cult’s rendezvous. With a sign of relief, the heroes noted that they had succeeded in not only finding the hoard of the Dragon Queen, they had also managed to intercept it, gaining a swamp castle and a new ally against the cult at the same time!
As the castle flew towards the Northern mountains, the team thawed the glaze of ice from the treasure and split it among themselves, including a magical Longbow, Longsword, and bracers, as well as a smoky-looking potion. Galoshti informed them of the purported magical properties of dragon body parts, such as the brain, heart, tongue, and eyes, so they began to butcher the beast, giving over the flesh to the kobolds in the kitchen. Eating the brain was a disgusting affair, with only Talon and Pierre able to keep the greasy matter down. Their intelligence and wisdom were magically improved by the meal, however. Galoshti and Talon attempted to eat the eyes of the dragon, but only Talon gained mystical sight from the organ (as well as a bulging left eye and a new nickname). Pierre took the dragon’s tongue and gained the ability to “taste” poisons in the air five feet around him. They divided up 5 stones that they found in the belly of the beast that were imbued with mystical power, and Dame Alkwin kept enough scaly hide to create dragon scale mail for two humans and a gnome.
Here our story takes a pause while the Heroes of Greenest, Bane of the Cult of the Dragon, Slayers of Glazhael the Cloudchaser (as the White Dragon was known to the cultists who were “escorted” off of the castle by the ogres) took a well-deserved rest aboard the flying ice-castle en route to a meeting with Blagothkus’s giant kin…may we hear more of their story another time???