Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 21st of Sunsebb, 599 C.Y.
Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.
Having taken up residency in the local millinery, the group waited for eight days for the merrow to re-appear, only to learn from Marshall McFly on the last day of their wait that a runner from Brumblefork (the next village south), had arrived telling how “the army” had shown up and slain the merrow when they came calling at their village. Upon hearing this news, the party departed to Brumblefork, hoping to be able to interrogate the merrow’s corpses at least for a lead as to the dragon’s lair.
On arriving in South Brumble on the 3rd of Needfest, they learned that “the army” was actually a band of mercenaries they were familiar with, namely the Black Rook Company, who had been hired by the local lord to “deal with” the ogre problem. They had taken the bodies of the ogres with them when they left, so the party was stalled yet again.
They asked the local tavern-keeper (whose business had been booming with the mercenaries in town, so much so that he’d bought a cartload of lumber to renovate his tavern). if anyone knew the swamp well enough to help them find a dragon’s lair, he recommended a local trapper by the name of Maurice. When Maurice finally arrived in town 2 days later, they learned he was a halfling. While he knew nothing about any dragons, he did mention that he’d heard that someone had moved into the burnt out tower on the eastern edge of the swamp, so maybe the facts were related. For a nominal fee, he agreed to ferry the group out to the tower’s location.
After two grueling days crossing the swamp in pole barges, Maurice finally pointed out the squat tower in the distance. The group thanked him for his service, then set out on foot through the cold mud and snow flurries towards the tower. Wilfred overflew the region, spotting the skeletons of a large host of lizard-folk decaying in the fields around the tower, with a few hobgoblin skeletons mixed in as well. A nearby grove of somewhat freshly cut stumps lay in the distance, and the tower itself boasted a relatively new quilt of canvas covering the hole in the tower’s roof.
Investigating the tower, they found obvious signs of eight merrow living inside, though none were present. Also inside they found a framework for building a ship, which seemed odd as there was no way for a ship that size to have been removed from the tower (unless it went straight up). Also present was a large cauldron containing a rank stew, left over coals to keep it cooking. Examining the two logs supporting the canvas ceiling, it was obvious that the merrow could not have placed them, but that a large dragon might have done so. A more thorough search of the underworks located a broken dragon claw that had been used to scratch the likeness of a black dragon into one of the walls, as well.
Eventually the group decided to retreat from the tower and setup a watch from the stump-field nearby. As dusk fell, they could hear a pair of merrow singing s they approached the tower, bearing with them a sling of booty and a dire boar for dinner. Elerra, capitalizing on her heritage, attempted to convince the merrow that she and her companions were also servants of the dragon, but as the merrow prepared the boar and put the stew on a full boil, Meroln detected that they were stalling for time, and elected to attack them.
Quickly dispatched, the party then erased the signs of their entry to the tower, and hid in the shattered upper works to await whatever the merrow had been waiting for. Near midnight their vigil was rewarded as another four merrow could be seem running for the safety of the tower, pursued by unknown foes. As they neared the tower, however, one of them must have spotted something, as he cried out to his fellows and all four began attempting to run around the tower to escape. Two were quickly put down by the arty, while the other pair made their escape.
Soon thereafter, the merrow’s pursuers revealed themselves as a group of 24 soldiers of the Black Rook Company. Their leader, a lieutenant who gave his name as Arlen Gris, spoke with the group, and seemed quite shocked and dismayed to find Alexis among their number. When questioned, he made every effort not to be the bearer of bad news, but Alexis eventually managed to pull out of him that her fiance, Colman Stryker, unbeknownst to her, had broken off their engagement and was currently courting another woman, namely Jaliseem Tandor, who happened to be the twin sister to Janos Tandor, the leader of the Black Rook Company. He also attempted to lie about the merrow being in the service of a dragon, but try as she might, she could not get him to reveal what he knew.
Eventually the Black Rooks set off in the direction the merrow had fled in, and the group bedded down outside the tower to await the dawn. The next morning Alexis prayed for and cast a Divination, which revealed a route to the dragon’s lair some 30 miles distant. As the group made their way there, they came upon the remains of the bulk of the Black Rook Company, most of whom had fallen victim to the dragon’s breath weapon from the signs they could find.
When they finally reached the site of the lair, Alexis sent one of her clockwork scouts inside the hill to find the dragon, which it eventually did. Inside the caves where it laired, she found yet another member of the Black Rooks, one of their clerics, who was missing both arms below the elbow and whose legs looked unable to support his weight anymore. By repeating the words being spoken to Squizzles, they figured that the cleric was trying to assure the dragon that the situation was still recoverable (whatever that meant) while the dragon seemed genuinely pissed about yet another group of mortals intruding on his solitude. Said mortals (the party) were clearly visible (except for Elerra, who was guarded from scrying) in the crystal ball it was consulting at the time.
Realizing that the gig was up, Wilfred spent a hero point to cast Communal Nondetection, but as soon as the party “went dark” in the dragon’s crystal ball, Alexis’s scout alerted her that the dragon was on the move. Sam, who had stealthed earlier and had Spider Climbed to the top of the cavern’s exit at about the same time Alexis’ scout was entering the complex knew nothing of all this, so was surprised when the dragon blew past his position in flight and craned his neck back to breathe on him.
Wilfred, Mekkatorque and Elerra Dimension Doored to close the quarter mile of distance between themselves and the dragon, and as we broke for the evening, the group was preparing to meet the dragon in the skies outside it’s lair…
It is the 7th of Needfest, 600 CY.