D&D: Elderyn – Act 3: Session 15

NEXT: Campaign Conclusion

Pushing open the doors, Clotor led the party into the large chamber on the other side. The room, built out of the same marble as the exterior, was large and round with pillars supporting the heavy roof. At the far side of the room, a large alter supported the decrepit, skeletal remains of a dragon that had been laid to rest there. Before the alter, a large fire burned in a ceremonial pit, illuminating the room. Around that fire, now staring back at the intruding party, stood four human warriors and an old dwarf, presumably Zandak Swordsteel.

Two of the humans wore matching black armor from head to toe and were standing on either side of the room, guarding the other three at the center of the room. They drew their swords and turned to face the party, their shields at the ready. Besides the dwarf, one of the humans, strapped in leather armor, was immediately recognized as Udion, the merchant council member from Liam’s Point. The other, larger than the first two guards but wearing similar, massive black armor stood next to the dwarf. On his large, black helmet a single eye was carved in white on the helm’s surface. A growl escaped Clotor’s lips as she set eyes on the warrior.

The old dwarf interrupted the moment, “Ignore them! Is the ritual complete? What now, Balin? I have delivered what you requested, now give me the power you promised!”

The human in the black armor with the white eye emblazoned on his forehead, Balin, turned to the dwarf, “A great power will be unleashed, as promised. All we require is a sacrifice.” From the warriors belt, Balin produced a shining silver dagger, Clotor immediately recognized it from the stories of Shath Helath as the legendary instrument of Bahumat. Without hesitation, Balin plunged the dagger into Zandack Swordsteel’s throat. Blood poured out of the wound onto the marble floor as the dwarf collapsed to his knees, then the floor. “Now to deal with you fools.”

Clotor let out a rage filled below and charged Balin, her sword swung forward to meet Balins massive two handed blade. Udion stepped to the side of the two warrior’s battle and conjured up a blast of magic energy which he hurled at the other three. Nedda dodged to the side of the energy blast, charging one of the other heavily armored guards. Recoiling from the attack, Scourage managed to intercept one of the other guards as he charged for Harold.

Nimble and quick, Nedda was able to easily dodge the attacks of the slow, heavily armored human she faced. Unfortunately, she found it equally difficult to find a hole in his armor to strike back. Her flurry of blows failed to find purchase, screeching as they only scratched the surface of his armor.

Clotor and Balin traded staggering blows in the center of the room. Neither seemed much concerned with their safety and were more interested in the death of the other. Clotor pivoted around Balin and belched out a blast of acid which scorched the other’s armor and even managed to catch Udion off guard. The caster grimaced, his face twisting strangely in pain.

Harold used the opening Clotor created to get off a flurry of magic missiles which struck the traitorous council member. Each arcane blast ripped small holes through his leather armor and into his chest. The caster replied with his own dark magic, throwing a bolt of red energy which nearly took Harold off his feet.

The battle continued to rage as the last bit of life in Zandak Swordsteel’s eyes drained out of his body. His dark red blood poured into grooves cut into the marble floor, pooling and running towards the flame that burned at the center of the chamber. Though blood splattered, the silver dagger continued to glimmer brightly.

Cut and bloodied, Scourage finally got the upper hand against his opponnent. Throwing him off balance with a quick thrust to one side, Scourage swung his blade around and cut deep into the knee joint of his opponents armor. As the man fell to one knee with a cry of pain, the tiefling slammed his shield into his helmet, knocking it free of his head and dropping the man to the ground. A final swing of his sword was all it took to end the man’s life.

Turning, Scourage passed his sword to his shield hand and pulled up his loaded crossbow from where it was slung. Crossing the room towards Nedda, he let a single bolt fly from the crossbow, striking Udion square in ribs. The caster howled in pain, clutching at his side. The moment was all Harold needed, conjuring the energies necessary, the wizard cast a cloak of flame that wrapped around his oppenent, squeezing and burning the life out of him. As the flame dissipated, Udion fell to his knees and slumped slowly forward. As he did so, his features first twisted, then relaxed and softened, morphing into an indistinct and unremarkable humanoid face.

With the guard’s attention distracted between Scourage and herself, Nedda’s blades quickly found marks in his exposed flanks. A series of quick stabbing blows as the warlord held his attention made short work of the guard. He dropped to the ground, too weak from blood loss to even raise his weapons, staring back at them defiantly even as Scourage ran him through.

Both battered and bloody, Clotor continued to trade blows with Balin, though the large warrior was quickly giving out before the dragonborn’s rage filled onslaught. In a flurry of blows, Clotor beat him back, staggering him under each swing. In a deft maneuver, she smashed his double handed sword aside with her shield and buried her sword in his shoulder as deep as she could muster.

Balin fell to one knee before the dragonborn, still glaring up at her with eyes burning with hatred. He refused, even  now, to cry out in pain. “I die for my god, pathetic worm. I will have glory in her service. When you meet her, remember her face for she will be the one who carries you to the afterlife.” Clotor’s armored boot smashed into his chest, wrenching her sword free and shoving Balin up against a pillar. With a quick swipe, Balin’s head was severed from his body and fell into his lap.

Scourage poked through the dead as Nedda moved over to the alter, checking out the dragon bones left there. Harold stood over Udion’s corpse, staring down at his twisted form, “Udion… well, this Udion, is a shapeshifter.” he declared.

I wanted to reflect the party’s opinion that Udion had been involved in the attacks on Liam’s Point. Though Udion was ultimately innocent and his body disposed of in the fires after the attacks, they had discovered there was a duplicate of Udion running around the town that was the culprit they sought.

Before anyone could respond, the fire at the center of the room suddenly flared up, large, hot and red. The party had to shield their eyes from the light and took a few steps back from the intense heat as the top of the top of the flames played across the high ceiling of the chamber.

When the flames died down, they looked around the room in confusion. Nedda’s eyes returned to the dragon’s skeleton on the alter. A skeleton that now stood on its legs on the platform and stared back at her through hollow eyes. The jaws of the skull opened wide and an unearthly roar leapt forth.

Letting out a cry of surprise, Nedda leaped back as the dragon skeleton climbed down from the alter. Even as they watched, the creature seemed to be regenerating, regaining its former life. Black sinew and muscle began to grow and attach the skeletal pieces. Dark, leathery flesh stretched between the spines of the wings. Glowing red eyes filled the empty eye cavities as it gazed around the room.

Another, deeper, earth shaking roar filled the chamber as the dragon reared back on its hind legs before them. Around its neck and body, thick metal chains held a protective metal plate over its chest. Adorning the plate were the markings of the dragon god, Tiamat. As the roar faded, the party heard a faint scraping sound. Glancing around the room, the five dead individuals began to rise. Their eyes and flesh sunk into their faces in a matter of moments and their flesh held the unhealthy white pallor of the resurrected dead.

“Clotor! You… uh…” Uncharacteristically, Scourage seemed at a loss for words.

“I’ve got the avatar of Tiamat!” Clotor shouted back before charging headlong at the beast.

Harold turned and blasted a pair of the zombies with a gout of flame from his hands. Scourage and Nedda set off as a pair, overwhelming one of the undead at a time, making short work of their target and then moving onto the next.

Clotor battled with the dragon which, though recently dead, was surprisingly agile and deadly. She feinted with the creature, trying to find an opening to stick her sword but having little luck. The dragon snapped and bit, but Clotor’s shield held it at bay.

The other three made quick work of the resurrected dead, then turned to help Clotor with the dragon. Scourage and Nedda surrounded the avatar while Harold hurled spells into the fray. Despite the onslaught, the party found they were having little effect. For every wound they inflicted, it seemed another would close and heal.

Finally, the dragon stood tall on its hind legs and let fourth a blast of black smoke from its mouth. The heavy smoke filled the air, obscuring visibility and confusing the battle. Scourage and Clotor fumbled around in the darkness, trying to find the dragon. Harold conjured a magical light on the end of his wand, but it did little to cut through the thick smoke. Stumbling around, Nedda came across the fallen body of Zandack Swordsteel, the shining silver dagger still stuck in his throat.

Sheathing one of her own daggers, Nedda grasped the silver dagger of Bahumat and wrenched it from the dwarf’s throat. As she held it aloft, the smoke around her cleared noticeably. Waving it around, she was able to clear enough smoke to see a part of the dragon’s body as it slithered through the smoke, snapping at the other three in sudden and deadly sneak attacks.

Charging forward, the halfling leaped and buried the silver dagger in the dragon’s exposed flank. The creature let out a terrifying roar as the small blade easily pierced its flesh. In her hand, the dagger itself seemed to glow with divine light as Nedda pulled it through the dragon’s flesh. The wound itself seared and smoked, bubbling over with black blood. The black smoke around the room cleared as the dragon reeled away from the attack.

Now able to see their target, the others relaunched their attacks. The dragon wheeled and snapped, trying to keep its attackers at bay, but its divided attention was all Nedda needed to slide through its defenses and deal another flurry of slashing blows. In a combined attack, Harold stunned the creature with a blast of acid while Clotor and Scourage each cut out a front leg. As the dragon fell forward, Nedda leaped onto the back of its neck. With scarcely time to breath, the halfling buried the dagger into one side of the dragon’s neck and drug the blade across its throat.

The dragon thrashed and flailed as black blood poured from its body. The party stood back as its thrashing slowed and, finally, the dragon collapsed to the ground and lay dead.

Battered and beaten, the party slowly exited the shrine of Tiamat, closing the massive iron doors behind them. They walked for two days back to the portal that led them there, then for several more days back through the underground tunnels. Finally, exhausted and battered, they walked out of the tunnels and back into Erberek.

Khor Ironshard, the guard captain, met them not far into the city. “My friends! I am surprised, but glad to see you have returned! Come with me, we will get you taken care of, Maglynn wishes to hear what news you bring.”

The four returned to their inn where they bathed, their battered weapons and armor were repaired and cleaned, they were fitted into fine, comfortable clothing and then returned with the guard to the governor’s estate. There they were greeted by Maglynn Ironshard, the brave warrior Leaf Ironguard and the dwarven Paragon Thorak Ironguard, who seemed to have grown even older and frailer in the past few days. They ate a great feast as they told Maglynn of their adventure.

At the end of the session, I wanted to give the players an opportunity to give closure to their character’s stories. Similar to how we had done a short character development session at the beginning of the game, I asked the players to tell me what their characters did going forward, after their adventure. Somewhat surprisingly, they all decided to go their separate ways. No one mentioned that they would continue adventuring with their fellow party members.

After several days in the Citadel of Erberek as Maglynn Ironshard’s esteemed guests, Clotor finally bid his friends farewell. With the dagger of Bahumat in hand, the dragonborn was returning to Liam’s Point. There was much to rebuild and the church would need attention in the absence of Father Opdrop.

It was not long after that Harold also bid his goodbyes. After much thought, Harold decided that he would travel a bit more and then found his own school of magic. Unlike the Arcane University he had studied and taught in, his school would be made open to all the people of Elderyn.

Nedda left at the same time, intent on returning to Rickenmyre to finish school. While there, she told the other halflings there of her adventure and taught them how to survive and find adventure of their own. Sometime later, she penned her own book, an autobiography of her journey with her friends.

Scourage continued to stay in Erberek for several days before heading out as well. He had not found the answers he sought in his last adventure and he was finally coming to believe the answers he sought might not be out there. He headed south, to Frangel, hoping for some relaxed time on the beaches looking out over the endless ocean might bring him the perspective and peace he sought.

NEXT: Campaign Conclusion

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