We left our Heroes in the freshly emptied Redbrand hideaway. Zex had painstakingly checked every inch of the stone within for secret doors or hidden treasure, but came up empty. Ten had scoured every corner of the lair for magic, but found none. Ro-Kan had cleared every room of anything that wasn’t bolted down strongly enough to stop him from ripping it out. Rat had escorted the freed prisoners back into town, and Turin had followed him to bring back the oxcart and some hirelings.
When Turin returned with the cart, Rat was riding shotgun, and with the help of the four stout miners Turin had hired, they loaded up the goods and went back in to town.
The miners noticed that some of the crates had sigils from various traders inscribed on them, and offered to return the goods to their rightful owners. However, on one crate, the insignia had been completely scratched out and burned away. They agreed to return the stolen goods to their owners, but this crate would have to be opened later to determine whose it was.
Arriving in Phandalin, Toblin met the party outside the Frays & Balks with an Orc in tow.
“Gentlemen! Excellent work in freeing our town from the Redbrand. Allow me to introduce my friend Krag. Krag is a builder. A most capable builder. You tell him what you’d like done with this building, and he will be able to do it!”
After a brief discussion, the group decided that a second floor, a few underground levels, and some secret compartments and passageways would be a great start.
Krag accepted a 3 gold down payment from Ro-Kan and set to work surveying the property.
A few more trips back and forth to get the rest of the loot from the former Redbrand caves, the last trip in the pouring rain, and the heroes opted to retire to the Stonehill Inn for some refreshment.
Toblin, of course, was already there.
“Hello! Hello, yes! How was your meeting with Krag? Were you able to reach an agreement?”
“Yes! Thank you.”
“Excellent. And look, your friends are already at the feasting table, go ahead and join them!”
Turin, having been experiencing a psychotic episode the last time their paths had crossed, did not recognize the mercenaries who had taken full payment for a job half-finished and disappeared. But Ro-Kan, Rat, and Zex certainly did.
Roselyn the Elf Wizard, Garcon the Halfling Rogue, and Soro the Forgettable, the Human Fighter were seated at the table, accompanied by two individuals they did not know: a Gnome, and a High Elf.
“Hey guys!” said Roselyn, waving. “Come sit!” Either she wanted to get a reaction out of them, or she was genuinely oblivious to why they were upset.
Zex turned his back on the mercenaries and sat at the bar next to an Elf with a puddle of rainwater beneath her.
Rat stared daggers at the Wizard and her Halfling bodyguard, and with a defiant set to his jaw, the Halfling calmly walked up to the table, leapt onto a chair, and started taking food off of everyone’s plates.
Turin sat, and started to speak quietly with the Gnome and High Elf.
“Hey big man!” said Soro the Forgettable.
“Hello, puny human,” replied Ro-Kan, coolly.
“Got any more jobs for us?”
Turin quickly picked up on the fact that these “friends” were not actually friends, and telepathically whispered to Ro-Kan: “How about bartender?”
“Yes,” said Ro-Kan. “Bartender. Perhaps that is more your speed, human-who-was-defeated-by-a-single-Bugbear.”
“You left me to die!”
“I cheered for you!”
BANG BANG BANG
The knock at the door was loud enough to get everyone’s attention. The barmaid walked over, opened the door and fainted straight away.
The crowd of miners started pushing towards the door, some to try to help the collapsed barmaid, and some to look outside to see what caused such a reaction. The mercenary team joined them in pushing to the window.
Instead of pushing through the crowd, Ro-Kan grabbed Rat and went up the stairs three at a time, into the bedroom where Turin had recovered from his episode, and went out the window onto the ledge. Looking down, he saw a Dragon.
A green Dragon.
An angry green Dragon.
“YOU HAVE SOMETHING OF MINE!” hissed the Dragon in the Common tongue.
Turin climbed out onto the ledge with Rat and Ro-Kan.
“It’s a dragon,” he told them.
“We noticed,” quipped Rat.
“I AM VENOMFANG, AND I AM THE RULER OF THESE PARTS.”
“Ruler? Did you say ‘ruler’?” asked Roselyn
“YESSSSSSS! I AM THE RULER OF THESE LANDS, AND I WILL HAVE WHAT IS MINE.”
“BE GONE FROM THIS PLACE, DRAGON, OR YOU WILL BE DESTROYED!” shouted Ro-Kan.
The Dragon glanced up at the Goliath on the ledge, snorted back a bit of laughter, and resumed her speech.
“THERE IS AN ELF AT THE BAR. SHE STOLE TWO OF MY EGGS, AND I WILL HAVE THEM BACK.”
“Never!” cried the Elf at the bar. “I mean, I did. But it’s a Dragon.”
“MY EGGS WILL BE RETURNED TO ME. AS PAYMENT FOR THIS AFFRONT, GATHER ALL THE GOLD, SILVER, AND MAGICAL ITEMS IN THE CENTER OF TOWN. I WILL RETURN WITH MY ORCS IN TWO HOURS TO COLLECT THEM AND MY EGGS. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS, YOU WILL ALL BE KILLED AND I WILL RAZE THIS TOWN TO DUST.”
With a flick of it’s leathery wings, the beast flapped off into the night, headed North.
The Adventurers confronted the Elf about the Dragon eggs.
She revealed herself to be a Wizard, called Avery. Toblin interjected that she had been in the Stonehill Inn a few weeks back, with a party of nearly a dozen or so who had set out North. She was the only one who returned.
Avery flatly refused to turn over the eggs, or to allow them to be destroyed.
Ro-Kan piped up “We have to kill the Dragon.”
“What should we do about the civilians?”
“I’ll take them to the Redbrand hideout,” offered Ten. “If I stay there, I can cast an illusion over the entrance so it looks like solid rock, no one will find us!”
As Ten led the civilians to safety, the rest of our heroes began preparing for danger.
“Enough talk!” said Zex. “We need to make ready for the Dragon.”
Check. Check. Sibilance. Sibilance. All right everyone, this is Turin. This is what it sounds like when I talk to you through your brain. This is the sound of my voice. Alpha team, that’s ranged attacks, that’s Roselyn, Donnella, Garcon. You copy?
Copy, thought everyone on Alpha team from the roof of the Stonehill.
Bravo team, that’s melee in the town square. That’s Soro, Zex, and Rat. You copy?
“We copy!” shouted Rat from Whiskey’s back. Soro, in the town square banged his gauntlet against his shield. Zex, next to him, looked at the pile of gold and treasure, two greenish Dragon eggs nested atop the horde, and nodded.
Air Support. That’s you Ro-Kan. Ro-Kan, you copy?
Ro-Kan turned towards the belltower from his position on the roof of The Frays & Balks and raised his arm. He looked at the misshapen tarp behind him and grinned.
And the Tower is me, Avery, and Rylin. I know you guys can hear me… Roselyn, what does your hawk see?
Orcs on the North Road thought the Wizard, relaying her familiar’s information to Turin.
A dozen Orcs came down the Tri-Boar Road out of the North, splitting into three phalanxes.
Two Orcs of the Easternmost phalanx got caught in hunting traps Ro-Kan had hid along the path earlier.
As they entered town, Rat rode up on Whiskey. The Halfling leapt off the pony’s back and dove at a pair of Orcs, twisting his little body like a corkscrew. His spinning cutlass blades hacked into one of the Orcs, spraying black arterial blood across the path. The second Orc turned and smashed his axe into Rat’s torso.
Go Alpha Team
Donnella, the Gnome Fighter, fired her crossbow just wide of the Orc that Rat had slashed and instead hit Rat, the bolt sticking into his armor.
“Turin! Tell the gnome that she’s next!”
Garcon fired his shortbow. Rylin shot his longbow. An Orc from another phalanx went down.
Ro-Kan launched an arrow from his longbow, and smiled in satisfaction as it pinned the Orc next to Rat to the wall behind him, through his throat.
Rat wheeled around and slashed the other Orc’s belly, spilling some blood. But the Orc stayed on his feet and raised his axe again. Before he could swing it, though, a green bolt of energy streaked out of the bell-tower and struck the Orc in the chest. With a smell not unlike a backyard barbecue, he dropped to his knees, and Rat looked through the gaping hole in the Orc’s chest to see a phalanx of Orcs had made it into the town square.
Rat rushed down the street and into the square himself. He was just in time to see four Orcs launch javelins at Alpha team up on the roof. He heard Garcon scream. Rat put himself in front of the door to the Stonehill, in case the Orcs wanted to do more than throw javelins.
But they weren’t interested. They were drawn to the pile of treasure.
“SURROUND MY TREASURE! BUT DO NOT TOUCH IT!” came the voice of Venomfang, approximated by Roselyn. The Orcs were dumb enough to believe the illusory voice, though, and hustled to surround the gold.
Soro and Zex stepped up and started hacking away at Orcs as they moved into the square. The Orcs tried hacking back, but the Human and the Dwarf were so well-armored that none of their axes found flesh.
With one foot on its shoulder, Soro pushed the corpse of an Orc from the blade of his longsword as Venomfang swooped into the square.
“YOU SHOW SPIRIT,” said Venomfang, eyeing Soro, Zex, Rat, and Alpha team.
“IF YOU SURRENDER NOW, I WILL PERMIT YOU TO BE MY SLAVES.”
Soro dropped to his knee. “We surrender! You are the winner!”
Zex followed suit.
The Orcs didn’t play fair, and one of them kicked Zex in the side of the head and then hit him with his axe.
“I’m not gonna surrender to you! Why don’t you just EAT ME!” Rat shouted.
With barely a shudder of her wings, Venomfang flew across the square, alighting gently between Rat and the treasure.
“THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD IDEA.”
Venomfang snapped her jaws and slashed at Rat with her claws. The little Halfling was hurt, but alive.
Now, said Turin. Rylin, go!
Rylin, the Elf Ranger, fired a fire arrow from the bell-tower. It stuck into the side of the pile of gold, which shimmered briefly, and then the illusion fell away, revealing the arrow stuck into the side of one of a dozen open oil barrels.
The oil barrels ignited, exploding the barrels they were in, launching flame and wooden shrapnel everywhere in a 30-foot radius, vaporizing all the remaining Orcs, leaving nothing but their shadows burned into the walls behind them.
Zex and Soro weathered the damage stoically, behind Soro’s shield.
Rat was carried back by the blast and fell to the street. After a moment, his eyes popped open, and he rolled to his feet.
Ro-Kan pulled the tarp off the catapult that was built atop the Frays & Balks. He quaffed the invisibility potion and climbed into the catapult’s basket.
“Launch me, Krag!”
The Orc pulled the lever, and Ro-Kan found himself accelerating up into the sky, towards Thor. He hung in the air, weightless for a moment, and felt himself returning groundward. With a glance, he saw his target, and twisted himself into position. He reached back and began swinging his hammer, transferring all of his momentum into the head of his Maul.
Ro-Kan blinked back into sight, astride Venomfang’s neck, his Maul smashing into the back of the Dragon’s skull. The Goliath squeezed his legs around the Dragon’s neck, locking his feet tightly.
Volleys of arrows, javelins, crossbow bolts, magic spells that crackled with energy hit the dragon from all angles, from the roof of the Stonehill, from the Tower, from the few miners who were brave enough to help.
“FOOLS!” said Venomfang. “I WILL DESTROY YOU ALL!”
The beast flapped her wings, and quickly rocketed up into the sky.
It is beautiful thought Ro-Kan. It is up to me to rid the world of this wretched monster. Turin, if you can still hear me, if I should die now, do not let the world forget me. Do not let the world forget my people.
The Goliath leaned forward and spoke.
“Dragon, I made you a promise. I told you to leave this place or be destroyed. I keep my promises.”
Ro-Kan put his hand over the Dragon’s left ear, and called upon Thor’s glory. A massive THUNDERWAVE emanated from Ro-Kan’s hand and traveled directly into Venomfang’s brain.
The Dragon’s eyes rolled up into its head and its body went limp. Ro-Kan thought back to earlier that day, when they had all met with the Priestess at the Shrine of Luck. She gave each of them a disc, about the size and shape of a sand dollar, that would let them “stand up again, if you should fall”.
Ro-Kan smiled. As he and the Dragon plummeted out of the sky, Ro-Kan reached into his belt pouch and removed the disc. He placed it in his mouth, and muttered a prayer to Thor.
The Dragon’s body hit the ground with enough force to shatter all the windows for blocks. Ro-Kan’s body smashed into the cobblestones short distance away.
A moment passed. Neither Venomfang nor Ro-Kan moved. Then…
“GLORY!” Ro-Kan spat out the fragmented bits of the Luck disc and pulled himself to his feet, wobbly, then stalked over to the Dragon.
“I will have this Dragon’s skull mounted atop the bar!”
All the Adventurers surrounded the Dragon, and slowly, over the next few hours, eventually managed to get through its hide to kill it.
Ro-Kan started talking about having the body broken down for parts, claiming bones, claws, scales, and teeth. Rat wanted the meat to be sent to the butcher’s. Turin showed some interested in the Dragon’s poison glands…