I rushed quickly towards my companions, calling Tuan’s Wrath upon it if it dared to smite them and ignore my call to glorious battle. The dragon immediately blasted forth a blinding aura of darkness to cover its actions. I felt a hissing sound near and a stinging pain as the creature’s claws struck me, skittering along my armor. I tried to strike back with my halberd, but the darkness seemed to have concealed its retreat. I was in the cloud, and I was not sure if anyone else could see it, so I called out to them to try and see if anyone could tell where the dragon was. A call from…I’m not sure…Eisenheim or Al’Der’eth?...alerted me as the sound of rushing water told of the dragon emerging from her watery hiding place. The darkness began to clear, and I saw the dragon breathe a seething spray of acid at my friends. There was a snap and hiss of ozone as Tuan’s Wrath struck at her.
I moved along the shoreline, hurling a javelin to keep her under my challenge, bellowing insults to her lineage and her cowardice. She dove back beneath the waters, struck, I think, by several spells from my companions. When she re-emerged, I was ready, weapons to hand, and a most terrible battle was engaged. I used the various techniques you helped me learn, Master…I called Tuan’s Judgement upon her…I struck home with the help of Tuan’s Valor. And at all times, Tuan’s Wrath was with me, burning the dragon if it engaged in the folly of seeking to battle any but me. I saw looks of surprise on my companions’ faces as some of my powers lent them healing. It seemed we were much in need of the grace of the gods…but, slowly, I began to realize that we were winning. And then the beast tried to flee…a volley of our attacks followed her…I’m pleased to say I struck her with a javelin…I’ve never been much for thrown weapons. I know some of my companions cast spells and fired attacks of their own…but then the dragon was gone, Gaervesk screaming after her in what I can only assume were obscenities or oaths in his strange tongue.
We stood there, as it sank in that we had won…the dragon was defeated! Smokesnare…Gaervesk had guessed from her very name that she was a dragon. I am sure we will see her again.
Eisenheim immediately used his elf magic to teleport to an island in the middle of the lake. He began fishing in crevices, and we quickly guessed this must mean there was treasure. The rest of us, unable to travel so easily, began to strip down to join him. I noticed Delana staring at the marks on my back in…I don’t know. It may have been pity…or perhaps revulsion. I was glad she did not ask me about them. I swam out, with some of the others, and gathered up the coins and items we found, which included a holy symbol and a bow. We gave both to Delana, for she seemed the best able to put them to use.
King Meebo seemed glad to see us…troubled that we had not slain the dragon, but glad it was gone for now. We exacted an oath from him not to continue the raids, and then we began our return. One moment of difficulty was when we found the one hobgoblin who was still alive due to Delana’s mercy. The party was very divided on what to do about him, but I put forth that, as he was Delana’s captive, it was up to her to decide what needed to be done with him. Would she have us bring him back to town to no doubt be slain for his crimes? To leave him with the kobolds, who would no doubt torment or kill him for what he’d done to them? Or to free him, knowing that he might seek others of his kind to do wickedness with. Delana asked us to free him that he might take the tale of his defeat back to his people. I released him for her, but it was clear the others were not pleased.
We returned to Northbridge largely in silence. While the others went off to sell the gear of those who had fallen to us or to the temple to discuss matters of the soul, Gaervesk and I went to Galen to tell him of our victory and to assure him that the kobolds would pose no further threat. He had a message for us…apparently my companions were charged to this task by no less a figure than a king. One of the local lords, a man called Stern, wanted them to come to him for reward, rather than returning to the King himself. I assumed this was the end, and that we would part and go our separate ways. It quickly became clear to me that my companions wished me to continue traveling with them.
I must admit that this was a strange feeling. I cannot imagine that my company is so pleasant that they seek me for it. Still, it is good to be wanted for my valor and my strength. Tuan grant me them a while longer that I may see them safely to this Lord’s castle. They seem to feel he’ll have some sort of reward for me, as well, which seems odd to me. I’ve never heard in any of the old stories that Lords were well-known to be glad for the loss of more money.
We set out the next day, and Eisenheim rather startled me. He came up to me to speak and told me, very casually, that he’d known a worshipper of Tuan in the band of traveling entertainers he’d been a part of with Gaervesk. I studied his face a moment and realized that he’d never known any such person, but it was clear he wished to know more of Tuan, which was flattering enough. I told him some of the most basic elements of the Tale of the Brothers and asked him a few questions about these traveling entertainers in return (they call it a circus…I got the spelling from Gaervesk.) And then, I was curious enough to ask the others about where they came from. They seem to have all traveled far to be here, and, other than Gaervesk and Eisenheim, none of them had known each other before answering the King’s call. So in a way, we were almost all new to each other’s company.
I could not help but notice that, other than Eisenheim’s questions of Tuan, none seemed interested in where I came from. That suited me well enough.
As I write this, we’ve taken refuge in the ruins of what might be an old King’s inn along the road to Coldwell, the Lord Stern’s demesne. I pray Tuan for the strength and valor to face whatever lies ahead, whether it be dragons or the more perilous danger…sycophantic nobles. I hope that what I’ve learned of courtly manners from the old tales will be enough to keep me out of trouble in that arena.
In Tuan’s name,