13/4/1480: The party are hard pressed by the Chimeras when Sir Jorah, Paelias and Arya arrive, Jorah having been warned by a premonition of doom. Jorah shoots down the black dragon chimera with his first arrow and Arya and Paelias soon dispatch the second. The wounded are tended to.
14/4/1480: The party leave the Stronghold of the Nine and return to Travys Manor, where the chimera heads are to be stuffed and mounted over the fireplace along with that of Emerald Dawn, the green dragon slain previously.
15/4/1480: Using Quin's magic steeds the party ride to the ruins of Kiris Dahn, fighting through minor encounters with goblins to consult with Tyristix, the green dragon from whom Lirael and the Burning Hand once obtained the Slaying Stone. Lirael wants Tyristix to relocate to the Endless Caverns and take up Grimnosh's guardianship there, but Tyristix wants 10,000gp - the bulk of Grimnosh's hoard. Lirael refuses, and Tyristix graciously allows her to depart alive.
When Jareth went down with a loud, clanking thud, Lirael thought for sure they were doomed. How had it come to this? She had finally been knighted Warden of the North and had begun the process of healing the wounds her people had sustained (even helping her own family in the process) and now…were they really about to fall at the claws of some three-headed monstrosities?
She cradled Halvath’s head in her arms and held it steady as she poured another healing potion down his throat. He’d briefly perked up after the last one, only to pass out again as the acid poison worked it’s way into his body. Then she heard the welcome twang of a bowstring and the dark chimera fell to the ground, its weight making the very ground tremble. It shuddered and then lay still. She peered around the tree and saw Jorah striding down the path and behind him…yes…could it be! Arya and Paelias both! They were saved!
And it was true; with a few well-placed strikes and spells, the second chimera fell with a roar. Captain Harrowleaf, ignoring the groans of Jareth and Dunstan, rushed to the fallen Quinn and staunched her wounds. Lirael helped Halvath to his feet. He shook his head groggily, his green beard seeming to glow in the dimness of the forest. He sent a healing word to the dwarf and another healing spell towards Jareth and then tended to his own wounds.
"What did you get yourselves into?” asked Paelias, surveying the damage.
"Blasted chimeras,” spat Lirael. “They must have been what killed the dragon.”
“We’ve got to get the gold!” said Jareth. “Before someone else gets it first.”
Always the treasure with that one! Lirael wanted only rest but the party was split, with Jareth and Paelias ready to enter the caverns alone if need be. Better all, that they stick together. Together they were strong. Quinn, however, was too weak to continue on. She returned to the manor, along with the six heads of the chimeras, destined to be mounted above the mantle with the dragon head. Grisly, perhaps, but a reminder of what they faced…and perhaps, a warning to those that would oppose them.
They allowed themselves a short rest and continued on, Harrowleaf, that useless shot, leading the way.
As soon as they entered the cave, Arya, Halvath, and Paelias seemed to sense that something was awry. Arya motioned for the others to pause.
Then a somewhat tremulous voice came out of the depths of the cave. “Who goes there? You there, with the trader’s badge…come forward.”
Lirael’s eyes adjusted to the dark. She watched as Halvath stepped forward to within a few yards of a Drow. There were two more behind him. And where there were three there were likely more. She felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She did not like this, these dark, dank caverns filled with bones. Give her the forest any day.
Halvath spoke with the Drow and was soundly rebuffed. He retreated, saying the Drow said to come back tomorrow. Out of the corner of her eye, Lirael saw Paelias slip off to the side behind a large pile of bones. Seemingly he did not care for their words anymore than she did. She stepped forward and spoke to the wizard that seemed to lead them. Perhaps he could shed some light on the fate of the dragon and the chimeras that had attacked them, but he rudely refused to explain himself. She continued forward and then, as per usual, things broke down as it became obvious the Drow meant them harm.
Paelias leapt silently across the pile of bones to land in front of the wizard, while Jareth stepped forward, obviously ready to charge. He soon did, when the wizard launched some type of fiery attack upon Paelias. The cavern echoed with elvish curses and then it was Paelias shouting, “Treasure! Look, she’s making off with it!” and he was off to cut down an escaping Drow.
“Don’t kill them!” shouted Halvath, but in vain for most. The blood rage had come upon Jareth. Soon there were only two Drow left and the rest were dead. Lirael and Halvath tied and gagged them securely while the rest gathered up the treasure they Drow had been trying to escape with, as well as what items they had upon their persons.
“We should just kill them all,” snarled Paelias. “Dirty Drow…they make my skin crawl to look upon them.”
In the end, they compromised, reasoning that they might need a guide into the Underdark. They escorted both prisoners to the Stronghold of the Nine, therein to await trial for their crimed. It had been them, under the leadership of the sniveling wizard, who had unleashed the chimeras on Grimnosh, the dragon guardian.
How to replace the dragon? Lirael feared the Drow would now have easy access to the North. They had raided in the past, but Grimnosh had slowed the raids to a trickle. What would happen now? Could they find a replacement? The Nine said they would patrol the area, but they would not be able to permanently guard it.
They dwell upon the matter as they return to Travys Manor. There, looking upon the dragon head mounted on the wall, Lirael remembers another dragon, back from the days of the Burning Hand. A dragon that had not eaten them. Tyristix. Wasn’t she related to Grimnosh somehow? What if she could be persuaded to guard the caverns? Surely the lure of the treasure paid in tolls might convince her.
They travel to Kiris Dahn, the trail there (and the raiding goblins, who now seem pathetically weak to her experienced eye) bringing back many memories to Lirael. Would that Ashara were with them; she had connected with Tyristix and had talked her out of the slaying stone.
Lirael, Arya, Halvath, and Paelias enter the dragon’s lair, leaving Jareth in particular outside to guard against further goblin raiders. While he spoke draconic, the rest worried that his particular brand of diplomacy might not work well upon the green dragon.
Lirael was surprised when the dragon recognized her. It had been some time now since her last visit, but dragons were known for their good memory. She presented their case and Tyristix seemed interested…but she wanted all of Grimnosh’s treasure. Lirael thought of all the ways they could put that money to use and, of course, how much Dunstan would weep at the loss of it. They retreated to the outside to discuss the offer.
“Absolutely not,” said Jareth firmly and that, for the most part, was that.
|Soon to be dead Drow|
2 Chimerae: 3,200x2=6,400
3 Drow Stalkers (175x3=525), 3 Drow Venomblades (800x3=2400), Drow Arachnomancer (800)=3725
Combat XP Total: 10,125/7= 1446x1.5=2169
Level 13 major quest - seize Grimnosh's hoard: +800
Attempted negotiations with Tyristix: +200
Need 47,000 for 14th level
LEVEL 14 REACHED
Lirael account +250
Inter-session PBP +1,000=48,326 XP
Need 57,000 for 15th level