Part 1: The Door
Usupuiss, our musical Halfling, spotted a scroll tucked away in Arithar’s robes. The large ornate door dominating the scene, Usupuiss attempted to summarise the scroll in song, the team listening enthralled by his melody but understanding nothing. Kudge and Lleldorin looted the corpses of Arithar and Meric, gaining as the last gifts of dead men some magical potions. Aviella patted Usupuiss sympathetically on the back, took the scroll (which she discovered was actually a letter) and read it with the diction her elf family would be proud of. Lleldorin gave her an appreciative nod. Kudge praised her poise. Steve listened but only understood every other word of the scroll’s polished prose. Dave is sulking in a corner, his cursed nature subsided, he’s left bruised both physically and emotionally from being previously ‘subdued’ by his teammates.
High Mage Pelorin has written to Arithar. It’s a warning! He writes that his forces in the southern garrison have been assailed. The High Council has enemies within. He knows for sure High Mage Caluvan has turned and a cult has risen up on this dark side.
As the team reel from the news, Lleldorin discovers another scroll. He reads it aloud.
The scroll found on Meric’s body contains information about the amulet found by the party under the mountain to the East. The amulet, now worn by Aviella, is one of five crafted by Lord Eurilon before the Wars of Apophis. Eurilon’s Red, The Heart of Fire, carried by the party is the key to opening the door before which the party stand. It was used at the end of the wars, in combination with the other amulets, to open a gate to a pocket dimension of Eurilon’s making where it is believed he resides to this day.
They’ve discovered they have the means to release a monster! The enormity of this paralyses our heroes and the next hour is filled with rationed arguments (from the more intelligent team members), impatience, frustration, a quick nap (this was Steve) and then a resolution to face the dreaded Red dragon. Aviella places the amulet into its mirror recess in the door and with an audible rumble the two doors bend inwards to reveal a long passageway.
Part 2: The Statue
The team attempt to close the doors by hand and fail. Steve charges ahead oblivious to any possible dangers. The passageway opens up into a large room. In the centre, a tall granite statue of a chiselled man stands on a plinth. Enamoured by the stone man’s beauty Steve runs forward to admire his face. His teammates look on in horror as she orcishly lumbers over draconian rune symbols painted (very clearly) on the ground metres away from her new love. As she approaches his eyes begin to glow, the once static muscles begin to flex and he jumps down from his pedestal. Steve turns round to her teammates, she sees the symbols behind her and shrugs her apology but it’s too late, everyone jumps into their battle stances.
The opening salvos rock the construct, tangled thorns erupting from the stonework around it as Lledorin strides into the room. Flanking the creature, Aviella sends arrow after arrow flying, stripping stonework from the statue. As Dave and Steve ring hammer blow after hammer blow into its flanks, it struggles to keep on its feet and, finally, is defeated.
Aviella would like it notes that she was particularly badass. The heroes, fresh from battle move beyond the room to another smaller passageway, opening into a gargantuan cavern. A flight of stairs winds down on the left. Beyond the stairs, a bridge straddles a stream of magma, visibly singed by the flickering heat. The bridge leads to a stone island surrounded by molten rock. To either side of the island are two stone huts, which stand empty. At the centre of the island on a large ornate plinth writhes the smokey figure of the famed red dragon.
Part 3: Meet the Dragon
Aviella seems to attract his attention. He speaks in the gravely tone of an ancient killer. The group try to ingratiate themselves. Steve even bows but the Dragon sneers clearly hating it. It spreads it’s leathery wings and flies over the bridge straight for Aviella, its sharp claws clasp the amulet, ripping it from her neck. As it goes in for an attack she manages to slip away. In an attempt to help Aviella, Usupuiss summons a magical dragon to distract the red demon. His plan half works, the dragon diverts his attention to Usupuiss’ simulacrum but it knows almost instantly it is fake and turns its attention to the conjurer. Usupuiss is left unconscious by the plume of fire that engulfs him. The team throw as much fire power as they can at it but the dragon keeps flying, magical arrows tearing into his flanks but not stopping his ascent to the mouth of the tunnel above them. With one last roar, summoning his minions in the molten rock below, he turns and disappears toward the city – beyond our heroes reach and away. Still in shock that they have released a formerly imprisoned monster onto the general public, the team are surprised to find six serpent like monsters rising from the magma to either side of the bridge.
Part 5: The Serpent Men
Battle reignited. Lleldorin revives Usupuiss just in time to help.
Firing from the stairs, Kudge sends shot after shot streaking towards these new assailants; the light of magery flickers across Gnorm’s daggers as he attacks once more.
The group dispatch of their enemies swiftly only to be attacked again by an incensed Dave. In his berserk mode, with none others to attack, the party are forced to fight and subdue him again. Dave is rendered unconscious and lies prone on the stone floor. Usupuiss summons an ape to steal his dreaded axe, his comrades deciding that it would be best for their cursed friend to no longer have his accursed weapon to inflict pain on them all. The nimble ape throws the sword off the bridge and into the fiery depths of the magma flowing underneath. Dave awakens weakened, the extra strength gained from his favourite weapon sapped from him. He is not happy about it.
The cavern now silent, they search the dead bodies and then the huts to find piles of assorted bones and take some. After a short rest our heroes leave the caverns through the complex tunnels, reaching the exit they look out to see the town in the distance. Draconic flames are raining down on men and buildings and the flashes of magery light the city. Civil war has seemingly erupted, the magnificent council building in the centre wreathed in flame, and the red dragon crashing through its domed roof to make itself a new lair.
Part 6: War in the Town of Ithalon
The group move closer to watch as the eight schools of magic wage war upon each other. However, determined to right their wrong they head straight for the last sighting of the dragon and attempt to sneak though the chaos. They trudge through paths strewn with dead bodies, some adorned with strange new tabards they have not seen before, through the town to the main bridge framed by tall ivory towers. They cross the ornate bridge noticing the number of corpses left on the ground decreasing rapidly as they near the entrance to the ashen relics of the fallen council building. They step into the courtyard to find light streaming down from the demolished roof onto the red dragon blowing hot smoke from it’s flared nostrils, but visibly scarred from battle.
Part 7: Rumble in the council building
The dragon spots them all sneaking into battle positions except Kudge who manages to sneak around the walls of the courtyard undetected. They are all physically frightened except Kudge. Steve, Aviella and the quick footed Sparrowfart face up to the dragon whilst Usupuiss cowers in fear. Kudge, Lleldorin and Dave turn to attack six red caped acolytes who spring into action. The elf wielding lightening kills two, leaving another unconscious. The human kills one, then another as it bounds off to attack Aviella, she turns to strike and he drops to the floor a live but motionless. The dragon, fighting to the last, showers down flames onto anyone in range. Usupuiss has been rendered unconscious again. Steve stabilises him whilst everyone fires any and every power they have left. Lleldorin seeing the end is near, sets loose the final arrow to the heart of the dragon. The dreaded drake is dead. Steve takes the amulet from it’s dusty claw, the light held within it already fading with the death of the dragon. An acolyte and a berserk enthralled Dave are left. Gnorm Sparrowfart slices dead the last acolyte but the cursed Dave remains. The friends realise they must again subdue their comrade. Aviella and Lleldorin swiftly put him down. It’s over, Dave is stabilised and left to sleep.
The team decide they must find a way to save Dave from his dangerous curse but where should they start? Who now remains that they can call to for aid?
Outside, the city burns….