[The tagline for this session is brought to you by Kirk on LSD]
(This tale was told by Torrick Ripson and Victobar Cobb to the last remaining deva, Kesher)
We were on our way to an old cave that was purported to have been filled with umber hulks in ancient times. We searched along the side of the mountain for the cave to no avail. We did however, find a ragged looking goblin tribe with friendly disposition, although the goblins were in poor spirits. They had been attacked by a band of draconic creatures heading towards the cave, so they were able to tell us exactly where it was. Vic decided to take this as an opportunity to proselytize, and their mood brightened significantly as they listened eagerly to his stories of the new gods. He held his flaming longsword in the air and the goblins were awed by it. He then suggested that the goblins head to the Temple of the Light to help aid the deva for the coming of the gods. The goblins were enthralled, and rushed off in the direction of the temple.
We found the cave easily enough, especially as there were goblin corpses to mark the path. Before we entered, Brandis sent his parrot familiar Shah to scout the cave. Apparently he can see whatever it sees. Thus we went in prepared for all of the scorpions we’d be fighting. Vic decided to collect all of the stingers of the dead so he could make a poison.
After we’d taken care of all of them, a low overhang led us into a watery part of the cave. Here we came upon a battle of scorpions and kruthiks (these weird reptiles that look like this) versus kobolds. Since
they were in the midst of battle, they didn’t notice our presence right away. The cave appeared to deadend here in a dome with shallow water around the edges and a deeper band (a stream?) in the middle. In the deeper water was the vague shadowy form of some apparent giant fire elemental that had died and turned to stone.
Vic took this instant to turn into, again, the oddly short dragonborn (this is becoming a repeating strategy) while Brandis shouted out to them in draconic to take heart. We fought off the reptiles and insects pretty quickly. Then Vic turned with his back facing the kobolds and Brandis came to stand beside and act as his voice. Brandis, Vic and Christopher argued for a couple of minutes over what to do with the kobolds. Brandis hates all draconic creatures and wanted to kill all of them – he considers them cold-blooded murderers – but Chris (who also speaks draconic and could potentially undermine Vic, which would have deadly consequences in front of kobolds) would not kill something not attacking us, and Vic was convinced he could convert them. Eventually, Vic/Brandis called for their leader. The kobolds squabbled for a minute (picture Josh speaking for them in a Gollum voice), and one
called Bilg (Bilg Ates, apparently) came forward. We sent the others to guard the front of the cave (so we could deal with them later). There were some very funny moments with the “leader,” wondering why this dragonborn was travelling with humans and why they have a horse, of all things, hitched to the wagon, as opposed to a drake.
The party searched the cave and found a couple of pots, which are apparently the thrown weapons these kobolds use. Most of them were empty, but a few were full of some stinky black tar. (Apparently this is one of the kobolds’ special attacks.) Vic decided to keep some of the
empty pots to use to store his poison, and, what the heck, a couple of the stinkpots in case they might come in handy. Bilg said that they were to meet with a dragonborn called Tireth who was up ahead. Although this appeared to be a dead end, Bilg led us through the water under the cave wall into another cave room with a ladder to help us climb out of the water.
Here we had to think fast; Bilg raced off to get Tireth, and Vic covered his dragonborn face with a handkerchief to conceal the fact that his mouth wasn’t moving exactly in time with the words that would follow, and Brandis stood behind him to act as his voice.
(This begins Vic’s retelling)
In struts Tireth, a very ornately armored dragonborn with a commanding demeanor. This guy is obviously a badass. He is surrounded by two kobold wyrmpriests who are always at his side. He is very suspicious, and wants to know what this strangely clad, disturbingly short dragonborn is doing here, what unit he is with, and why he is wearing that ridiculous handkerchief over his face. Brandis has concocted a brilliant story, saying that he is not part of the military at all (having learned from the previous experience of being asked for his papers). He was an entrepreneur who had left his homeland to follow the military. He has followed the troops seeking to join the forces and help with the victorious army. But who are these humans he was with? These humans, although wretched and disgusting (Chris spits on the ground, but remains silent), were mercenaries he had hired, as his protectors. Tireth, very surprised, seems to buy this. Speaking somewhat haltingly (and beginning to sound like Ron Burgundy — you can tell that Josh wasn’t exactly prepared for this turn of events), he says, “Well … then … if that is truly your wish … come with me outside, and help me bury our dead companions.” Vic gives Brandis a look like “What are we getting into here?” and they follow.
After the work is done, and the other kobold has loaded the wagon waiting outside, Tireth says, “Come now, leave behind these disgusting humans and come with me to our camp.”
Vic is a little taken aback. “But these are my mercenaries; I have hired them to guard me.”
“They will not be needed now.”
“But I … still owe them for their services. Give me a few minutes … and I will pay them and send them on their way … It will not take long.”
Now there is some furious whispering discussion (all the while as Vic makes a show of fumbling for his purse to “pay” them). Vic tries to come up with several ideas to get them all along, but realizes that Tireth will never let a human in his camp.
“Come, we must go now!” yells Tyrith.
Vic turns to face him and Brandis shouts, “On my way!”
Vic, terrified turns back to look at Brandis, but Brandis shoves his parrot into his pack right behind his shoulder and pushes him forward with a cruel looking smile and a wave, saying “Well, good luck, friend.”
Vic, still not exactly sure of the act, resigns and boards the wagon behind Tireth, and they take off.
“What is your name?” asks Tireth.
Vic, befuddled, realizes that the parrot is quietly telling him what Tireth is asking and then speaking for him. Brandis is speaking through the parrot. Vic also notices that Tireth is carrying a box just the right size to house THE ORB!
“So, uh, Kroxor, you are from Tirusia?”
“What ward are you from?” asks Tireth.
The parrot explains that Vic is the son of two noble merchants that have forbidden him to join the military, but he’s run away so he could join anyways.
“Do you have any weapons training?”
“I can use this crossbow and short sword.”
Tireth snorts with laughter. “These toys?! You will learn to use a broadsword, like a worthy dragonborn!”
Tireth seems to have really taken a shine to Vic. He leans in close and says, “Listen, I know it
must be tough being so short. You stick with me, and we will make a dragonborn out of you! You’ll be able to help us defeat those nasty humans. In fact, our forces are destroying the temple as we speak.”
Vic’s eyes widen. “The temple?”
“Yes, the dragon Uranbrulf is taking care of those pesky deva.”
Brandis screams the name of his adversary and takes off running in the direction of the temple. “UURANBRUULFF!!”
Cut back to the group. Mikel takes off after Brandis and the remaining three (Torrick, the bard, Chris the swordmage and his servant Reed) are left standing there. They discuss their options and decide to head back to the mouth of the cave and get the wagon because with the
horse’s speed, they will arrive at the temple faster than if they ran from here. They trek their way back and find those kobolds still guarding the entrance. Chris yells out in draconic, “Oh, the dragonborn told us to come here to get the wagon, but you guys keep waiting here,
kthxbai!” and they take off around the mountainside back towards the temple.
Cut back to Vic. They arrive at the camp and Tireth says, “Stay here! I’ll be right back.”
There are a series of tents in a cleared space surrounded by thick forest, but it is completely deserted save for two huge guard drakes to one side of Tireth’s tent and one to the side of
the wagon. Tireth carries the box as he steps out of the wagon and speaks some orders to the drake. It stands in front of his tent while he goes inside, apparently to secure the box.
Vic realizes this may be his only chance, so he jumps out of the wagon.
From the trailer behind the wagon, Bilg shouts, “Wait! Where are you going? Tireth said to wait here!”
“psst Brandis!” Vic mutters to the parrot in his backpack.
Brandis responds, “Nature calls, I’m going into those trees over there.”
“Good idea! I will join you!”
“No! You must not; Tireth told you to stay where you are. You must listen, as you are military. Besides, I heard Tireth saying that ‘That Bilg better shape up.’ I don’t think you’re on his good side.”
Bilg’s eyes grow wide, and he says, “Oh yes, of course. You go, I will stay here.”
Vic jumps off into the woods and manages to sneak around behind the tent without catching the attention of the two drakes nearby. He can only see Tireth’s silhouette through the tent, but it
appears that he is securing the small box into a larger box and (unfortunately) seems to be sealing up the container with incantations. Vic considers poking a small hole in the side to get a better view, when he is grabbed very hard on the shoulder. He turns quickly around and confronts the rotting face of a zombie that has caught his arm. He reacts instantly, grabbing a thick branch of the tree above his head, kicking off the ground, and spinning up into the branches, thereby breaking the grip on his arm and clearing him from the reach of any of the five zombies he can now see below.
“Brandis!” Vic once again says into his backpack.
There is a short pause as Brandis hurriedly figures out what to do. And then:
Tireth comes running, and upon seeing “Kroxor” up in a tree he bursts into laughter and says, “How did you get up in that tree?”
“I had a nature call, so I went into the woods, and zombies attacked!”
Tireth’s laughter soon becomes near pity. “Oh, how pathetic! Get down here and help me fight them!”
Vic shoots at one of the zombies. “No, I’ve got a crossbow, I can shoot them from up here.”
Tyrith makes exasperated noises. “That toy again!” He steps into a zombie and takes it down swiftly with his broadsword.
The other drakes join in and begin to make very quick work of the zombies.
Vic manages to kill a zombie with his crossbow. “Oh whoopie,” says Tireth, “now get down here and fight like a dragonborn, not some pansy with a toy.”
Vic gets Brandis to attempt a diversion. “The zombies moved very strangely, and I think I caught a glimpse of a skull lord farther in the trees!”
“Nonsense,” Tireth replies, “we took care of the skull lord around here when we set up our camp.” Having killed the last zombie Tireth begins to rush toward the wagon. “Now come on! We must go now!” [DM’s note: this is when the tagline was uttered, by your loving DM. -Josh]
Vic jumps down into the trees, and Brandis shouts, “Oh no! A skull lord has got me! AAH! I am dead!”
Tireth stares into the woods for a second as Brandis continues to make dying noises. “You pansy!” he shouts. He whips the drake ahead and the wagon takes off. “I totally misjudged that guy,” Tireth says to one of his wyrmpriests, who merely shrugs in response.
Quickly Vic jumps back into a tree and surveys the situation. The three guard drakes are still there! But it appears the two on the side weren’t specifically ordered to guard the tent, as they left to fight zombies. Vic grabs one of the stink pots out of his pack and tosses some of the tar into the area between the drakes, so that his scent will be disguised. He then tosses a few of the pots to the other side of the camp, so that the crashing noise will send the other two drakes off to investigate. He manages to sneak down and open the back flap of the tent — only to confront a small, quietly growling drake wearing a collar. He quickly looks around and finds a container of meat scraps (drake treats). The drake perks up and stops growling at this. Vic grabs two scorpion stingers out of his pack and squeezes the venom into the meat, then tosses it to the drake. The drake sniffs it for a minute, then scarfs it down.
A few minutes later, the drake is violently vomiting and Vic surveys the chest. Three locks and a sheen which indicates a magic seal. Plus, it is as large as a table, so there is no way he could carry it. He picks the locks, but is dejected for a minute about the magic seal, before he realizes that Brandis can see through the parrot. He pulls the bird out of his pack and Brandis surveys the seals. But Brandis doesn’t know anything about magic seals, so he must defer to Mykel, who is running beside him. So, Vic describes the seal to Brandis, who describes it to Mykel. Apparently the final seal can only be opened by the correct incantation word, set by the seal’s maker. “How will we ever figure out what that is?” Vic asks as he looks around the room for something. His eyes find the drake, lying in a pool of its own vomit and breathing
very raggedly. “Brandis, the Drake’s collar!” Although Vic only sees strange squiggles on the collar token, sure enough Brandis can make out a name. Brandis whispers the draconic word for “Fang” (Vic thinks I should write that it said “Cuddles”) and they hear a pop from the box. Inside is the box with the orb and a shiny new helmet.
In a few moments Vic is running full speed away from the camp cradling the box, and manages to be near enough in time to the party’s wagon coming around the pass that he can call out to his friends to get him. He jumps into the wagon and they race off towards the temple. On the way, they pass the band of goblins, who have erected a ragged banner marked by a crude drawing of Victober’s visage. They cheer our passing.
They round the base of the temple just behind Brandis, who is still running full speed. He has an insane expression, steam pours from his nostrils, and a patchwork of scales are faintly visible below his skin, and he screams, “I am coming for you Uranbrulf!”
Most of the temple is a complete wreckage, and there is a fierce battle raging below. The rest of the party runs up the steps towards the top of the temple behind Brandis. They race to keep up with Brandis until they actually see Uranbrulf, an unimaginably massive ancient dragon. Chris and his servant say “No way am I going up there. We have to go, now!” They wait beside the cart.
Vic is torn for a moment until he catches sight of his friend Aeven running down the steps and shouting, “Victobar! It’s horrible, everyone is dead! We have to flee. There is no hope!”
“But everyone, the deva, my mother!” says Vic.
Aeven grabs Vic by the shoulders. “Vic, your mother is dead! I saw her go down!”
“Noo! My mother!”
Vic races up the steps, and Torrick follows, shouting to him. At the top, they see Uranbrulf, with a massive aura of flame surrounding him, about to finish off Kesher, the elder deva. The other deva are slain, lying nearby. To one side Corcus the old goliath is nearly overwhelmed by kobolds. Mykel stands behind Brandis, off to one side, nearly paralyzed by fear, but valiantly ready to defend her friends. Kesher manages to see the group arriving and yells out, “Get out of here you fools!” just as Brandis steps into the center at the edge of the dragon’s aura and shouts, “Uranbrulf!”
The dragon, apparently recognizing the voice, arches his head around and smiles cruelly. One of his eyes appears to be a blind mass of scar tissue. His words are deep and resonant as he laughs the name, “Brandis!”
“Time I took your other eye!” Brandis shouts, and readies for battle.
Kesher and Uranbrulf battle for a few minutes while Brandis feebly attempts to help. Barely scratching the enormous dragon, frustrated, Brandis shoots his acid orb spell at Uranbrulf’s good eye. If the gods lived, Brandis would praise their name, as the spell hits its mark, blinding Uranbrulf (though only temporarily) and sending him into a rage.
Kesher does some ridiculous monk move in a glowing blue flash and takes the dragon unawares. Uranbrulf sweeps forward, but the monk teleports to his other side, where everyone is standing. Brandis begins running in to attack. Mykel runs to the side to help Corcus fight off the kobolds.
Vic and Torrick by this time have retreated out of sight of the dragon, and have been shouting to Brandis to come to his senses. They see Kesher and Torrick calls out to him. “Brandis has gone crazy! Stop him before he gets himself killed!”
The dragon is still searching for Kesher in a blind fury, and Brandis keeps failing to even attract his attention with feeble attacks. Mykel has managed to free Corcus, and they are rushing out to meet Victobar and Torrick. Kesher catches up with Brandis and gives him a solid
crack on the head to knock him unconscious. Corcus picks him up, and everyone rushes to the cart and flees the temple and the blinded dragon.