To start this storyline, start here.
Hoard of the Dragon Queen: Chapter 1, Part 3
The Longest Night
This week, the story is the personal account in the Lady Oskendorser, as excerpted from an early volume in her personal journals:
Upon returning from freeing the priest and citizens from the church, we refreshed ourselves briefly at the keep. The priest we had freed was Nesim Waladra. Uvan asked him for any information about Leosin. Waladra said Leosin may have been killed or captured, and that they had been separated before Waladra barred himself and the other citizens into the church. This lead was cold, in other words. Uvan decided not to share any additional information with Waladra, including why he inquired about Leosin to begin with. Governor Nighthill was amazed and grateful we lost no citizens.
The dwarven Castellan Escobar told us of an apparent raid underway at the mill, where their food was stored – they needed urgent help. We accepted the request. This time, Never, Osfyr, and Sohtah-Suqr remained in the keep resting and aiding citizens.
In deciding our route to the mill, we decided to take the longer way – following the river; a more covert option. When we arrived, the raid party seemed to be searching around for us – so we had to remain stealthy.
We came upon the mill. There was smoke all around…
The rangers Uvan and Fletcher scouted ahead and saw through the bushes a small number of kobolds tending a fire near the mill, but the mill was not yet burning.
Regrouping momentarily, we decided to setup our own ambush. Uvan would let fly arrows to draw out the kobolds and their companions, Fletcher would and did set a trap, and the rest of us would lie in wait to attack as they drew near.
When we began the plan, Uvan shot his arrow as planned and killed a kobold. However, Jah-Quatt rushed ahead – seeing and being spotted by at least 5 kobolds on her way to the bridge.
From the bridge, she shot and killed another kobold. Fletcher joined her on the bridge to take out yet another kobold. At this point, the kobolds began a retreat without a single attempt at counter-attack: shouting in Draconic at one another about having “finished their job” I knew immediately that this was a trap to draw us near. The kobolds scattered as they retreated, and we did not pursue.
Once the enemies had left bow range, we approached the mill. The sorceress and the druid put the fires out with frost and wind magic, respectively. These were just signal fires, never intended to actually burn down the mill! So, I stepped forward to the front doors of the mill to inspect the contents, joined by the sorceress and Fletcher. Uvan stayed a good distance away to survey the area.
Jah-Quatt used her cat reflexes and jumped onto the roof to inspect the tower containing the mill’s grindstone.
Initially the mill seemed abandoned. The wheel and grindstone were turning unattended. However, something wasn’t right – then suddenly the shutters on the tower window flew open and Jah-Quatt was attacked by spears thrown by enemies within!
At the same time, Uvan provided Dancing Lights for us to inspect the inside of the mill – we saw it was filling of cultists dropping from the rafters and tower.
Back on the roof, Jah-Quatt used her Thunderwave on the enemies in the tower before breaking through the thatched roof to join us below.
From outside, Uvan picked enemies off in the tower though a narrow window with his arrows. The tiefling dealt a devastating blow to the enemies with her fire attack. From outside the door, Fletcher took a cultist down with an arrow between the eyes.
We continued to clash, and one after another enemies fell. Uvan continued to snipe from the outside until all the enemies in the tower had fallen. The Burzum-Ishi alternately burned and froze her enemies.
Finally, there was only one enemy left, who surrendered and begged to be spared. When he noticed my attire, he asked to be spared in Bahamut’s name because of his employer. We weren’t sure of his meaning, but I agreed. After discussing it amongst ourselves for a moment, we decided to question him ourselves rather than take him back to Governor Nighthill for questioning.
Our prisoner volunteered the information that he was a mercenary working for a group hoping to resurrect Tiamat! The sworn enemy of my beloved Bahamut! They have been looting towns to finance the project, and were in possession of several dragon eggs – although he expressed confusion about how the money and eggs could be connected to resurrection?
Uvan lead the questioning of the prisoner. “Who hired you?”
The prisoner answered with no resistance and withheld nothing. “Frulam Mondath, she’s the one organizing the raid.” He provided a description of the woman.
“Did Frulam also enlist the blue dragon attacking the castle?”
“I don’t know how she did but it’s probably a mercenary, too.”
“Where is the encampment?”
“Follow the tracks south of here, that will take you to the encampment.”
“You mentioned dragon eggs. Why?”
“There’s a cave near the encampment, we were never allowed inside. They’re there, I think. I don’t know what the plan is to do with them.”
“What’s your name?”
“I’m of no importance. Call me anything, please just let me go.”
We then escorted the prisoner off peacefully out of town and returned via the old tunnel to the keep to the rest.
However, that was short lived. At midnight the blue dragon returned to the keep.
It seemed distracted, as if looking someone, as it milled outside the walls of the keep. Fletcher was the first to act, heading to the rampart to wait and attack when the dragon neared. Uvan followed. Jah-Quatt ascended one of the towers and set up her shield. The tiefling took position on the adjacent tower, and I above the gate. As the dragon neared, Uvan became frightened – but the rest of us stood firm. When it approached it attacked the interior of the keep with its lightning breath. Uvan quickly recovered from his fear, and he along with Fletcher and the keep guards let loose volley after volley of arrows, which merely bounced off the dragon. Uvan and Fletcher devised to tie ropes to their arrows to attempt to snare and hinder the dragon but struggled to execute their plan.
The dragon wandered some distance from the keep for a moment before returning once more.
As it did, Jah-Quatt leapt from her tower and managed to catch his tail!
In the next moment she transformed into a gorilla and clung fiercely.
The dragon bit her savagely, but she withstood and climbed to his back where he wouldn’t be able to strike again.
From there she punched the dragon, and transformed again, this time into a brown bear.
Thanks to Jah-Quatt distracting the dragon, as he flew awkwardly near the gate – I had my chance to strike! Summoning the last of my energy, I infused my javelin with divine power and pierced him between two claws, infuriating the dragon! All praise to Bahamut!
The blue dragon seemed to have had enough, growling – “I’m not paid enough for this shit! Let go, idiot! I’m leaving. You’ve won!” He flipped and flew upside down to try and shake Jah-Quatt (bear) off – over the field beside the keep, eventually succeeding. Jah-Quatt fell about 30 feet but was only lightly injured, still in her bear form. The dragon flew up and away, as the defenders of Greenest cheered! Bear-Quatt took that moment to rest there in the grassy field outside the keep.
Before we could catch our breath, we heard another voice form further afield shouting to Jah-Quatt, “Impressive, maybe you will be my champion.”
A 7-foot tall draconic humanoid approached the keep, and behind him were nearly a score kobolds surrounding four innocent civilians, among them children. As they neared it became apparent he was a half-human, half-dragon abomination. He offered a deal – he would release the prisoners to us if we provided a champion for him to fight. A guard at the keep recognized the prisoners as they came into view – they were his family – and he tearfully begged for the deal to be accepted. Jah-Quatt, still in bear form, reared up to accept the challenge from the creature. We, her companions, who’d defended from the ramparts now left the keep and waited just outside the walls – observing and alert, should Jah-Quatt need us.
The two opponents bowed and began their duel. Jah-Quatt began by mauling the draconic creature savagely!
But the enemy was determined not to let her take another strike as a bear. He retaliated with such force she was made to revert to her natural tabaxi form.
She’d survived to make another attack! She unleashed her final spell: Thunderwave, but she was not nearly as dangerous in her natural form. The draconic creature only laughed as he cut her down. Cruelly, even after she was down, he struck her again, leaving a huge gash in her side. Then, he simply declared the dual complete, stating “Remember this before you decide to interfere with the plans of the Cult of the Dragon!”
With this, the prisoners were released, and the raiders turned to leave. As I rushed place my hands upon Jah-Quatt to bring her back from the brink of death, Uvan almost had to restrain Bursum-Ishi as she began to cast some attack spell against the half-dragon Champion. Instead of finishing, she reconsidered and instead settled for spitting curses of revenge. Just a moment ago, Uvan told that his sensitive ears heard a quiet snicker in reply, but he decided to keep this from the sorceress.
We all returned to the keep for a long overdue full night’s rest, and this is when I’m writing this entry.
So ends the entry in Lady Oskendorser’s Journal.
Greenest is secured – but Leosin is still at large! It looks like the Cult of the Dragon camp is our heroes next stop…
Find out next time in: “To the Raider’s Camp”