Iounday, Septantus 8, 1017 A.G. – In the catacombs beneath the Temple of Bahamut at Gardmore Abbey
The piece of walking excrement calling himself Vadin Cartwright, having just surrendered, is trying to sell his information to us. Seething that this low-life almost managed to bloody me, I demand a moment. I ask Vadin “Want to dance?” as I shoot an arrow into the ground a few inches from his left foot. Then another close to his right foot. I yell at him “You are scummier than 10 day old Orc shit! My companions will ask questions – if they or I don’t like your answers, my arrows will get closer AND stronger! And you won’t know from what direction they will come!” I then teleport away and become invisible, taunting him. Groa, noticing that his mace is within his reach, gives it a kick, toward Morthwyl. The scumbag is indignant that his weapon is being treated that way and gets lippy. I shoot an arrow near his toe. Ungus needs a few moments to catch his breath before questioning Vadin, so we bind and gag him, strip him of his money and other valuables and throw him in the corner. As we rest, we continue to fill Groa and Morthwyl in on some of our past adventures, especially Lord Vhennyk and the Eldritch Engine. Itzehl says the mace is a “Vicious Weapon” which is somewhat sentient and takes pleasure in creating pain. She says the wielder would hear little voices in their head. Morthwyl speaks up and shares some information that we had not heard before. There is a Dead Zone now around Thunderspire, where no healing can happen and anyone and anything in the zone has their life energy sapped. He also says that Thunderspire and the Labrynth is completely abandoned.
Ready now to interrogate our prisoner, Morthwyl drags him over to the center of the room and ungags him but leaves him bound. The party surrounds him as I maintain a little distance, more arrows ready to fly. Morthwyl starts off by asking him about the Dragon he mentioned. Vadin, in a very sarcastic and arrogant manner, tells us the Dragon’s name is Mekkalath. I start to shoot more arrows around him – mostly around his feet, but occasionally past his ears. He starts to cooperate – a little – and tells us it is a fully grown, adult Red Dragon. And he tells us how to get to its lair under the Hall of Glory, which just so happens to be where the Chalice is that Jarnl needs to find. His tongue loosened up now, he proceeds to tell us a long story about an alliance that was forged between the Dragons and the Orcs. It involves an Orc chieftain named Bakrosh who is in The Keep. Morthwyl then tells Vadin to tell us everything he knows about Vhennyk and the Eldritch Engine. He starts to get lippy again so this time I shoot an arrow into his foot. He’s starting to learn I think because now he talks fast and furious. He says that the EE is made of Sky Metal and can only be destroyed by another artifact weapon made of Sky Metal. Then he laughs and says that Sky Metal does not exist in this plane. Ungus asks what he knows about The Devourer. He lapses into his sarcastic attitude again and says “you don’t know his true identity? The devil’s face you see is just a symbol. Have you not heard his legend?” Morthwyl has heard it before and shares it with us. He is a half-demon (or cambion) named Acererak. Seems he was sired by a Balrog who raped his human mother. Back to the subject of the EE, Vadin informs us that there is more than one EE and we should know that! I restrain myself from shooting him again. Groa asks where the others are and he tells her Mother Gerd took one to the Feywild, Kalarel took the other one to the Shadowfell and the Gargoyles took one to the Elemental Chaos. Now back to the subject of Vhennyk. (He’s really jumping around subjects, trying to answer our barrage of questions.) He tells us a long story about how Acererak is Vhennyk’s half-brother. Vhennyk himself is half-Demon, half-Vryloka and he has pledged his help to his brother, who wants to conquer this plane and ascend to godhood.
Itzehl asks him to further explain about how to destroy a Sky Metal artifact. Vadin says the only way to destroy the EE is to destroy some of the lesser ones first, use its Sky Metal to forge a weapon to destroy Vhennyk’s EE. But he said even if we succeed, there isn’t anyone who is capable of forging an artifact weapon from it, other than the Red Tinker. (WE ALL GROAN!) Groa has heard a little bit about the Red Tinkers and we discuss the Red Tinkers once again.
We have run out of questions and are eager to get on with our quest. Now what happens with Vadin. Lady Itzehl, in all her innocence, asks him what he will do now when we let him go. (HUH?) He says he wants to go to Sigil and hide. Not yet ready to let him go, I fire one of my more potent arrows at him, causing him considerable damage. So a battle begins. But is this battle between us and Vadin or between my friends and me? Itzehl is really angry at me, Ungus and Groa have mixed feelings and Jarnl and Morthwyn are just miffed at my rash action. In my mind, he is worse than other evil creatures we have battled and killed. With them, we know they are inherently evil and it’s in their nature to kill. But this, this, this pukeface is HUMAN – and working for the most despicable fiends of our time, trying to kill us – for money no less!! Vadin starts out running away. As I try to go after him, Jarnl tries to grab and restrain me, telling me to control my temper. I shout back at him “haven’t you learned that you can’t restrain an Eladrin?” as I teleport away and continue my chase. Just as I round the corner and prepare to shoot him again, Itzehl runs into my line of sight, blocking my shot. She begins arguing with me, that we are better than this. She says we made an agreement to spare his life in exchange for his information. Agreement? I yell back at her, when was that vote taken? I don’t remember agreeing to that! Did I have a chance to vote on that? Did anyone? Besides, I argue, we just let an evil Beholder out into the world and now we are going to let another evildoer escape? Groa and Ungus are just praying. Kuiperia, what’s your opinion? She’s not paying attention. Vadin takes advantage of Itzehl’s block and runs away out of sight. I drop my bow in exasperation, walk over to Lady Itzehl, kiss her on the cheek and tell her that he has sealed his fate. Hopefully, Vhennyk will find him and kill him for his failure.
Morthwyl, while this was going on, picks up the black mace and examines it. It mind-speaks to him saying, “hey big guy, we could cause a lot of pain together.” Morthwyl knows by its configuration that the pain it creates would feel twice as agonizing as that from a normal mace. Unconcerned, he puts it in his backpack!
Jarnl, shaking his head at me, walks over to the Bowl of Io’s Blood. The rest of us have a discussion on how we should treat these type of prisoners in the future. Groa’s god Melora tells her to “honor your agreements”. Ungus prays to his god Boldrei, who shows him a vision of his spirit companion bear, Boldra, ripping Vadin’s throat out followed by the words “Evil must be eliminated at every opportunity”. He’s really confused by that because he was previously punished by his god for killing an innocent. (Well Vadin is not an innocent!) I pray to my neutral god Corellon but get no answer from him, which I interpret to mean he has no problem with my action. So we leave it at that. No final and firm decision. But I do agree that in the future, we should talk about it and make a decision as a group.
Joining Jarnl over at the Bowl of Io’s Blood, he warns us not to drink the blood. We are appalled and say none of us would ever want to do that! (Well I don’t know about Kuiperia, tee hee!) He explains that doing so would help us control a Dragon, but in exchange, the blood would control our minds by corrupting us. He tells us that he needs to leave the blood in the bowl for now and we must find the third and last artifact – the Chalice of the Dragon. He tells us the blood will not spill and we need to put it in my Haversack. Morthwyl, testing that theory, lifts the bowl up and tries to spill some of the blood but it won’t move. So I place it in my Haversack along with the treasure chest containing the Brazier of Silver Fire. Searching the room, we find 850 gp and nothing else. Ungus and Groa check the black mace once again after asking Morthwyl to pull it out. They find that it is not inherently evil but is generally used by evil persons. (Like Vadin, hmmm?) Jarnl doesn’t want us disturbing the crypts but we have concerns as small Vampires emerged from two of them. Jarnl says those were the only ones desecrated so Ungus says a prayer over them and assists their souls into the afterlife.
Ungus asks Jarnl what’s next who says we need to head to the vaults under the Hall of Glory – where the Red Dragon resides. We have a discussion about what we know about Red Dragons. We learn that a Dragon in its own lair is twice as formidable as one on the battlefield. The reason being it can tap into additional magic energies in its lair. We also learn that Red Dragons are the most vile and vicious of the chromatic Dragons, with a superiority complex. And of course, they have fire breath. Ungus reminds us we have several vials of Starbane Potion which are only effective on Starspawn. We can use it to coat our weapons and cause long lasting poison damage. We also discuss waiting until the next day to confront the Dragon in order to restore all members of our party to full vitality. We briefly consider a quick trip to Hammerfast and back but Jarnl says we need to do it now. So we discuss a battle plan and then proceed.
Prior to leaving the area, Kuiperia, Morthwyl and I coat our bolts, arrows and hammer with Starbane Potion. We start heading down a long corridor, Kuiperia going first, checking for traps, etc. The first thing she encounters is a strange huge mirror. She feels vibrations coming from it. Using Basil to check it out, Itzehl says it is just glass but enchanted in some way to bend light. In addition, she can see wisps of heat coming off her body. Ungus says there is no solid wall behind the glass so Kuiperia suggests it might be a two-way mirror and tries to see if it can be removed. She finds that its sides are molten and fused into the wall. Itzehl gingerly touches the mirror, quickly removing her finger saying it is very hot. Leaving the mirror alone, we continue down the corridor. Kuiperia goes to a massive set of bronze doors, checking for traps and locks. Finding it unlocked and with no traps, she listens and doesn’t hear anything but says they are very warm also. Morthwyl and Groa suddenly begin to feel nauseous from some kind of fumes in the air. They whisper they will do their best but might not make it thru the whole battle. Ungus boosts their stamina with a spell which might help them combat the fumes for a short time. With our party in battle-ready mode, Kuiperia pulls the doors open.
We see an enormous chamber glittering with flakes of gold leaf that cling to statues of human Knights, all offering homage to a huge statue of a noble-looking Dragon. To our left, a heap of treasure is piled in one corner where it forms a bed for a living Dragon, its scales red as blood, smoke trailing from its nostrils as it awakens. Our brave little Lady Itzehl goes in first, encountering random hot flames bursting up thru cracks in the marble floor. In addition to the Dragon there are two Orc Mercenaries on guard. Itzehl wastes no time in creating a zone of swirling wind around the Dragon. Kuiperia shoots it with one of her Starbane Potion bolts and then moves in using her Sneaks Trick. Pissed off, the Dragon rouses himself and flies toward us. I shoot one of my poison coated arrows but miss. Itzehl does a lot of damage on a reaction to its fire breath attacks. The Dragon points to a fissure in the floor and up pops a large Salamander Fireshield creature. The Dragon and the Orcs attack Ungus and he quickly goes down – unconscious and dying. Mistress Groa knocks both the Salamander and the Dragon prone and creates a powerful zone of thunder, killing the Salamander. I manage to cause some more poison and physical damage to the Dragon, dazing it in the process. Then Morthwyl proves his worth by bloodying it with his poison coated hammer. Even though it is prone and dazed, it still manages to recharge its fire breath. After Itzehl blinds it, it spews fire breath on everyone except Kuiperia and I. I look over at Ungus and it looks like he is really, really dead, his beard smoking, his face covered in blisters. One of the Orcs tries to bloody Groa but Morthwyl blocks the attack taking most of the damage. I move into a better position and make another attack on the Dragon after which it stands up. My position brings me next to Ungus’ body and by kicking his side with my foot, I confirm he is quite dead. Morthwyl makes another huge attack on it as it was trying to fly away thru a tunnel in the back of the room. Jarnl charges it but misses on his attack. One of the cowardly Orcs runs away, crashing straight thru the mirror, closely followed by his buddy. Groa attacks the Dragon but misses. Morthwyl bull charges it, knocking it prone once again, blocking its escape route. But it quickly stands up again and stuns both Jarnl and Morthwyl. Groa uses a summoning spell to teleport both of them safely away over to her side. Instead of thanking her, Morthwyl grumbles he was blocking its escape! So Groa then casts another spell, slowing it down while Itzehl bravely runs over and blocks the tunnel. Doing so causes her to be bloodied though and almost unconscious. Jarnl and Morthwyl regain their composure as Groa makes the final kill on the Dragon!!!!
Morthwyl and Groa are feeling quite woozy now, almost to the point of fainting, so we take a short rest. Morthwyl still manages a mighty kick to the Dragon’s head. I walk over to it and using a tool from my kit, I break off a Dragon’s tooth to save for Ungus. I hear a sobbing sound and notice Morthwyl is crying over Ungus’ body, apologizing for not protecting a fellow Dwarf. We try to console him but he is having none of it. We are all stunned at Ungus’ death and in a state of shock. Itzehl wants to start looking for treasure but only takes some Dragon scales for now. We have more pressing things to take care of first as Jarnl spots the Chalice and says he is ready to perform his ritual. . . .