Friday, July 30, 2010

A Visit to the Dragon Burial Site

Wir, Lharvion 18, 998 YK (Day 4)

Dawn breaks on a clear day. After they leave Wrafton’s Inn, Zil’dejin, Tam’elanath, Morgue and Typhus choose to explore town briefly before setting out to the alleged dragon burial site detailed in Eilian’s map. After hearing Winterhaven houses a resident wizard (Valthrun the Prescient), they seek to visit him and speak with him about acquiring magical supplies, and possibly obtain some information. Initially unable to locate him, Typhus attempts to deceive a passing citizen into telling them, and frustrated by his attempts to sway him, the citizen walks away, only to be accosted by Zil’dejin who aggressively threatens him into telling them where Valthrun can be found ("TELL ME WHERE THE WIZARD IS, YOU BASTARD"). They are pointed towards his tower, and they go there and knock on the door. He answers, but is of little help; he tells them any services he can provide are only for those he deems worthy to receive them. They leave, bound for the local smithy, where they encounter the paladin Mikhal Thanesman, who bears a strong contrast to the regular townsfolk with his armor and weaponry.

The group approaches him; Typhus seems a bit at odds with the idea of him being a paladin and a Knight Militant of the Silver Flame, saying he doesn't trust fanaticism or even most religions in general. Mikhal gives a rough outline of his purposes: he has been dispatched to Winterhaven by Theoban Flamerule, a Karrn agent of the Silver Flame, who claims that the minions of the Crimson Monastery and agents of King Kaius are both in Winterhaven. He has come to deal with a ritual that the Voice of the Silver Flame alleges to be taking place, and the hordes of demons and undead that will come in its wake. When the party explains their purposes, Mikhal decides they coincide with the party’s current direction, as he has no leads on his issue yet. He asks to go with them for the time being, and the party welcomes him to come along with them to the dragon burial site. The blacksmith, a dwarf named Thair Coalstriker, is irritated by their loitering and shoos them out of his shop.

After this, they depart back along the King’s Road, which branches to the dragon burial site a small distance from the town. On the way they are once again ambushed by Kobolds, this time a somewhat tougher group than the last. The five engage them in combat, and are struggling somewhat as Mikhal, attempting to defend his new companions in the greatest traditions of the self-sacrificing Knights Militant, falls to the ground injured, thus collapsing their main defensive line. As the party struggles to stay standing, a passing Kalashtar arrives at the scene of the battle. He asks what’s happening, and amidst the panic, the party offers a brief explanation. The Kalashtar, who identifies himself as the psion Lythanis, offers to help resolve the battle, and assists in killing the kobolds using his abilities. Now secure, the party is able to tend to Mikhal’s wounds, and they talk with Lythanis briefly, who simply gives the vague explanation that he is wandering. Zil’dejin (and to a lesser degree, the rest of the party) is somewhat distrustful of him, but the usefulness of his rare abilities are undeniable. They ask him if he would like to accompany them, and he replies that he will, though on a highly temporary basis as it happens to suit him. Now six strong, the group continues along the road.

Eventually, they come upon the site. It goes down into the earth, a giant unnatural crater with the unearthed remains of a dragon in the center, which is surrounded by humanoid figures and a pair of guard drakes. From further in the site, the party hears the voice of Delphina Moongem, calling them to examine the discovery up close. As Delphina is familiar and the cautious group determines that the humanoids below do not appear to be hostile, they approach, with Tam’elanath, Typhus, and Lythanis remaining cautiously at the edges of the crater in case anything goes awry. Zil’dejin, Morgue and Mikhal lead the advance into the crater, where their fears come to pass; Delphina calls an attack, and the guard drakes leap into action, savagely biting at the three who entered first. From here, a battle ensues; human workers, little more than worker drones, are pulled into the fray, with support from a Halfling with a sling atop the cliff, and Delphina herself.

The party struggles, briefly, as both Zil’dejin and Mikhal hit the ground, but Zil’dejin is able to recover and lends aid to Mikhal. They both stand and, with assistance from the nimble Morgue get back into full capacity, fight off the drakes who are finished off by Tam’elanath’s daring attack with two arrows, where each one pierces the skull of a different Drake. They eliminate the humans, and then finally, Delphina herself, who collapses and morphs back into her true form: a female Changeling. After dealing with the last remnant of the gang (the Halfling slinger), the party investigates the Changeling. They remove a suspicious note from her body apparently describing the same rib mentioned by Eilian, and the rib itself, wrapped in silk. Morgue takes the both of them, believing them important. Typhus, for reasons best left uninvestigated, removes the Changeling’s clothing.

After further searching, the party discovers the body of a human not seen during the fight, clutching a bow and near a rusted short sword. They discover his amulet, an amulet of healing +1, engraved with the initials “D.S.” The party makes the connection: this must be the body of Douven Staul. Mikhal Thanesman takes this and wears it, in honor of Douven’s memory. They also discover his longbow, which they determine to be enchanted: a Flameburst Longbow +1. The bow is taken by Tam’elanath. The party then takes some time to examine the dragon skeleton, and Typhus attempts to remove the skull, believing it valuable. The party tries to dissuade him, but he refuses to listen and continues straining himself to extract the skull. Eventually, feeling the need to leave the burial site, Zil’dejin pries off the skull with ease and hands it to Typhus, who struggles a little under its weight. After talking him down from trying to take more parts of the skeleton, the party returns to Winterhaven by evening.

Here, they report back to Eilian the Old, who thanks them for their efforts in finding Douven, but expresses the idea that their mission for the king may not be finished just yet. He tells them to speak with Valthrun regarding the nature of the rib and the accompanying note, as Eilian has little knowledge of matters of the arcane. The party takes him up on this offer; Typhus steals the third sinister rib from Morgue’s bag, and presents it to Valthrun at his tower (where Morgue is deeply offended that Typhus would steal from him, but not especially surprised). Valthrun says he is not certain about what the rib is, or what its purpose might be, but offers to study it for them. The party accepts, and he tells them to come back later. Typhus shows him the dragon’s skull; he has no interest in purchasing it. In light of the party’s efforts, however, he offers to sell anyone interested some rituals if they so desire. They pass on this offer for the time being, and they head back to Wrafton’s Inn to rest for the night (stopping on the way to unsuccessfully try to sell Thair Coalstriker, the dwarven smith, the dragon skull - he vigorously refuses and is frustrated by Typhus' constant attempts at sale) and give Valthrun time to study the rib.

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