Trickday 27th Sun’s Rise yr 2534 (continued)
Summary: The Lizard camp, diplomacy, Aragatharos attacks!, Dragon hunting
Looking out over the Lizardfolk camp, the PCs convene with the Salamon Army leaders and discuss a plan. Mikhail and Chaplain Scabbia convince Morgann and the others to attempt a diplomatic solution first. Raven and Nightshade are not happy with the decision but allow it to go ahead.
Mikhail, Dashel, Rosi and Baz approach the Lizardfolk lines under the traditional tribal signal of parley (being a shield tied to a spear and held aloft). They stop a hundred strides short of the trench and converse with a Lizardfolk sergeant on the front lines. They offer the Lizardfolk a chance to retreat from the island and to leave Greenwood Vale forever.
Eventually the Lizardfolk commander emerges from the camp, flanked by two shaman advisers. He removes his weapons and shield before stepping out from the trench and approaching the PCs alone. He explains that the Lizardfolk are in the area searching for a particular artefact, one that is reportedly buried in the area. His superiors have powerful magic and know that the PCs carry a similar item, the Talisman of the Sphere. Apparently the PC’s secret is well known among those with the knowledge and magical ability to scry.
The Lizardfolk commander agrees to leave the island if the PCs can help provide information on this artefact. They agree and show him their map of the Vale, pointing out the ruins in Gloomwood as a likely location but explain that the place is crawling with Talaire soldiers from Menephene. The PCs agree to ensure that the Salamon forces allow the Lizardfolk to leave peacefully and march on the ruins in order to explore them and Mikhail vows to defend the Lizardfolk personally should anyone breach that contract. The two sides are in accord and both turn for their camps, the Lizardfolk beginning to order the withdrawl of his forces while Mikhail, Rosi and Dashel must think up a way of selling the idea to Morgann and the others.
When they hear of the plan to allow Lizardfolk to openly march through Salamon and take the artefact, Raven and Nightshade are not happy. They storm off in the direction of Lake Town, no doubt to cause trouble for the Lizards.
As the Lizard army begins to leave, the PCs notice the commander approach their boat and begin giving orders. Suddenly the boat rocks and a massive black Dragon climbs out of the water and stands tall on the boat, spreading her great wings wide. She inhales then obliterates the commander with her breath weapon, turning him and most of the boat to slag. She roars in draconic at the Lizardfolk to cease the withdrawl and to turn and fight!
The diplomatic solution now over, the PCs make ready to battle a dragon and wonder how exactly they go about it. As she flies overhead Morgann rallies the men and most stand their ground, firing arrows up at the beast while advancing towards the Lizardfolk lines. Rosi and Alhena identify the dragon as Aragatharos, a female adult dragon who was the terror of Tor Acarne for years. The PCs also begin their attack but Carlos and Alhena decide to make a tactical withdrawal of their own into the nearby woods. Mikhail, Rosi and Morgann engage the dragon at range while Folkvar shouts threats and goads the dragon into flying within hammer range. Aragatharos obliges, swooping low and unleashing her mighty breath, engulfing most of the party in caustic acid which deals serious damage to the group. As she swoops by, she takes a chunk out of Folkvar’s shoulder but doesn’t fly up quick enough, allowing the Northman to land a number of serious blows with the Demondrum Hammer. Her low altitude also allows Dashel to damage her with his dorje and Alhena to blast her with a scorching ray. Rosi and Morgann also pepper her with bolts and tear a number of painful holes through her wing membrane. Carlos and his two bodyguards bravely hold the rear.
Aragatharos decides she has had enough of being shot to pieces and flies up high while her forces manage to outflank the Salamon lines and charge past towards the PCs who charge forward in return, Mikhail and Folkvar holding the line with their boar spears as Dashel charges in bravely with his greatsword with Alhena’s magic and Rosi’s crossbow for ranged support. Morgann continues to fire at the dwindling silhouette of Aragatharos, landing a few blows before she disappears entirely, heading for the mysterious tower which stands on the cliff overlooking the lake. Folkvar and Mikhail take a beating from the Blackscale Lizardfolk but timely intervention of Rosi and Runecall with healing magic keep them standing. Dashel takes a serious hit to the head from a Blackscale’s maqahuitl and is down but with their leader fleeing the field, the Lizardfolk’s sudden fury is short-lived. They are soundly beaten and forced back to the lake where they leap into the water and swim to safety, leaving the camp and the island in the hands of the victorious Salamon troops!
After securing the Lizard camp and helping to care for the wounded/dead, the PCs search the tents and mud huts, finding some treasures and interesting magic items. Dashel awakens, but the blow to the head seems to have had a lasting effect on his mentality.
Heading back to Lake Town, the PCs rest up and recieve the thanks of the town once again- recieving free healing and hearty meals at Hamfist’s Rest. Expecting trouble the next day (likely Dragon-based), the PCs use up the incense of meditation they found in the Lizard camp, making all their spells and powers much more powerful for the next day.
Fairday 28th Sun’s Rise yr 2534
The next morning, Morgann calls the PCs into his office in the tower. He has a mission for them.
He explains that the beast was wounded in the battle and now is the perfect time to strike and end her reign of tyranny over the area. Aragatharos will be a severe impairment to the progression of Lake Town and many lives will be lost if she is not stopped. The PCs agree and immediately begin planning their attack. They ride their horses west, along Lake Pechwe until they reach the river then ford it on horseback.
Dashel and Folkvar race up the sheer cliff in record time and leave behind a secure rope mounted with pitons into the wall, allowing the others to easily climb up after them. At the top of the cliff, the party advance cautiously toward the ruined tower which overlooks Greenwood Vale, the tower which Aragatharos disappeared towards after yesterday’s battle. The presence of Lizardfolk archers on the top of it confirms their suspicions. The archers spot the PCs and a brief ranged battle ensues, with the PCs managing to stop the Lizards from raising an alarm.
Searching the tower, the PCs find a trap door leading below ground and Folkvar recognises some of the symbols carved into the architecture. The others also discover a stout iron chest buried under fallen rubble. Excited by their find, they clumsily smash open the chest and set off an explosive fire trap, injuring some of the party. Inside they find a number of ancient treasures however; a staff and a short sword both apparently made of carved ivory and a small glass prism made to fit as a pommel jewel on a sword. They take the items and head down through the trap door, ready to face Aragatharos…
It seems the leaders of the army and Mickael want to try a diplomatic solution. The ride out to parley with the lizards, offering them a chance to leave peacefully. As it turns out, the lizards are in the area for much the same reason we are. They are hunting a valuable artifact, which we suspect to be the same we hunt. With the agreement that we help them lok for the artifact, they turn and leave. However, no sooner had the leader boarded his boat to leave a mighty dragon burst out of the water and enveloped the retreating lizards in a torrent of foul acid. This dragon was called Aragatharos, and is the leader of the lizards in this camp. Not happy with their decision to leave, the dragon bellows at them to turn and fight. So now we must also prepare ourselves for combat, which I do so with abadon.
As the lizards charge up the beach towards us, and the dragon takes to the air to rain its corrosive breath, time seems to slow to a crawl. I look around myself and see my bretheren, my comrades in arms. I would never have imagined I would live to see this. An Asgierr fighting side-by-side with a half-orc, a pampered noble, a mysterious swordsman, a young halfling girl and a dwarf bard. Yet I find myself unafraid. The winds have carried my to this moment, and I know there is nowhere else I should be. I will charge with my friends and we will find victory or death together. I will walk into the halls of my ancestors unashamed, I fought and died with those worthy of respect.
I return to the present to find that the cowardly dragon refuses to fight with dignity. Instead it circles about in the air away from danger. I am so incensed that this beast would deny me a true combat that I vent my anger in my native tounge. Fortunately the dragon understands and graces me with a chance to unleash my rage at the back of its head. Despite also lamding a punishing blow, the coward realises its folly and flies off to its lair to lick it’s wounds.
The lizards on the otherhand have nowhere to go. Thier boats are destroyed and their backs are to the sea. I charge in with Mickael and Dashiel and meet the lizards head on. I again lose myself to my fury and sustain some heavy injuries, but win out the day. However, I am told that I became quite uncontrollable, even after the fighting was done. Mickael had to stand between me and the fleeing civilians to stop me from massacaring them all. I was afraid this may happen. The burning anger that has been in me since my ressurection has proven to be dangerous to my allies, as well as my enemies. I have regained my pride in my combat ability, only to become ashamed of myself. I should never put my allies at risk through my actions, no kinsmen would ever allow such a gross violation of the trust put in him by his brothers-in-arms. I must be more careful in the future, and temper my rage lest I cause even greater harm. With this victorious failure pressing on me, we return to Lake Town to rest.
The next morning I am blessed to discover that we are being tasked with tracking down and killing the dragon, Aragathoros, a job I would have gladly done without sanction. The dragon has made his lair in a ruined tower overlooking the lake, so that is where we must go.
The cliffs proved a difficult obstacle for the group, with some of them lacking much climbing experience. Eventually we made it to the tower. It had a skeleton guard that was quickly dealt with. We searched the tower and found no sign of the dragon, but we did find a chest filled with some, presumably, magical items, including a sword and a pommel gem. During the search we uncovered a large trap door, so with the dragon no where in sight we open the trap door and climb down into the darkness.