Torben Eastlander woke with a start. The scrivener had been up late with the Dragonborn Paladin trying to get the last bits of the adventurers’ exploits as they entered the Horned Hold. He was tired. Was he dreaming? No, for certain, there in front of him, occupying most of the tiny inn bedroom, was the definite head, yes there were the eyes and most assuredly the teeth, of a platinum dragon. Smoke wafted from its nostrils. The smoke was silver and purple and seemed to dance in the air. It had a scent of lilacs. Huge wings extended beyond the edge of Torben’s sight. A bass voice rumbled, almost so deep that he felt it more than heard it, “The five serve me with their compassion, with their fierce pursuit of justice for the wronged. My paladin and my cleric, the dwarf, the ranger, and the wizard, they all bring honor to me with their courage. Their story will honor me throughout the ages. Listen to them and write it well.”
Torben closed his eyes. He meekly nodded his head in ascent. He heard nothing. When he opened his eyes, the room contained his small cot and washbasin. His pack and his writing instruments were still on the small table. He was soaked in sweat.
He dressed quickly and hurried to the tavern room. Few were up so early, but he almost leapt for joy when he saw the form of the Half-Elven Cleric finishing some eggs and bacon.
“Z’alden, you must tell me what happened after your party slew the five orc guards. Was there some harrowing adventure? Some near miss at death? Some valiant struggle? What?”
Z’alden shook his head in wonder at the scrivener. He had never showed such passion for their adventures before. And, Torben was ashen white. He looked as if he had seen a ghost. “Master Eastlander, are you feeling alright?”
“Fine, fine, never better. Now, what happened?”
Z’alden took a sip of ale, and started to tell of their next encounter.
“A hallway led past the orc sentry post to a large forge room. We found two more of the Dung-gar and their loathsome orc companions. One of the vile un-dwarfs was a wizard who could reach into the fire and shoot a fireball at several of us. Still, we did not falter, Felsmon and Erik quickly dispatched this nasty Urwol wizard, with Erik’s sword piercing the heart. Then, the mighty dwarven warrior’s axe slew his dung-gar henchman. It would not be the last time that day that the blades of our comrades felled these heinous imposters of true dwarves. An invisible duergar attacked us and then fled as his comrades were slain. The orcs, showing their cowardice, ran down a wide hallway to the next pod. By the Teeth, we tried but we were not able to catch those hideous creatures before they had made good their escape.”
Torben grew visibly nervous at Z’alden’s oath. He regained his composure and said, “Please, please, continue.”
“We tried to find the invisible Dung-gar but to no avail. We did find a curious scepter with the skull of a minotaur. What evil this might be or purpose it would serve, we knew not, but took it with us, lest it be used against us. We were happy to relieve the duergar of a few small coins, too, that will help to care for the needy (196 gp, 206 sp). Then, we found a smaller bridge, just one staff wide. This we crossed and entered another part of the Hold after Rift kindly opened the locked door with some handy tool she carries. It is a wonder that she has these marvelous keylike-instruments, as though she knew that our noble pursuit of the prisoners would be barred by locked doors. Very useful.
In this next pod, we found a room with two more of the nasty un-dwarfs. Barrick tried to engage them in a kind bluff, so that we might simply find the prisoners and put an end to these battles. Instead, in anger at seeing us “Topsiders” behind the door, the nasty beard quills from a fighter slashed into Rift. Another wizarding one sent waves of despair flooding over us and the nasty fighter tried to slay me with his flaming warhammer. But he was in for a surprise, as the healing in my true Dwarven armor restored the wounds he had inflicted, and the Light of the Dragon burned his eyes even as it empowered Felsmon. And when this “Gorderoy” tried to run away from me, by the Claw, I swung my crossbow like a club and felled the vile Dungheap, as Erik’s flashing blades laid low the undwarven wizard.
Unfortunately, this little ruckus had brought into an adjacent room two more of the nasty warhammer boys and with them, magic wooden constructs that fired dual crossbow bolts. These inflicted heavy damage on Barrick, Erik, and Rift until Felsmon was able to get his sword into the fray. And more than that, his lightning breath made them rue the moment they had responded to their vile comrades’ call for help. I , too, finally shaking off the despair that had dazed me, was able to call upon Bahamut and let these duergar feel the Flame of the Great Dragon, even as the power of Bahamut healed Rift. Most amazing, the wizard teleported right next to the constructs, slamming them with her staff.
Felsmon’s sword ripped into one of the Duergar, but the other coward ran away. We gave chase. Erik’s blades chopped one construct into pieces and seriously damaged the other but not before I felt the sting of one of their bolts.
The cowardly Dung-heap ran down a long hallway, through a pair of double doors, to another long chamber, and through another pair of doors. After the final construct was fallen, Erik, seriously injured, switched to his bow to extract a great toll on whatever enemy might sally forth from these doors, even as Barrick and Felsmon led the way down the long hall.
Suddenly, the double doors exploded. There, before the warriors was that hideous nightmare of a two-headed giant, the Ettin. With a club in one hand and an axe in the other. Behind him were orc axe-throwers. Rift shouted with glea and placed her powerful flaming sphere between the Ettin and his little axe friends. They knew the power of our wizard and regretted it that day. Despite the size and ferocity of the giant, Felsmon and Barrick did not falter. Instead, Felsmon gave a guttural laugh despite what was surely a great pain as some huge reservoir of energy was ripped from him, channeled into his sword, and the Ettin knew the pain of confronting a Paladin of Bahamut. Embolden by my comrade and enraged by this trap of the coward, I stepped forth and an image of the Great Dragon’s head formed in front of me sending silver bright flames of sacred fire at the giant’s head. These flames brightened more and the Ettin screamed, as the battle called forth the hidden power of my holy symbol, and I exacted an even greater price, thanks be to Bahamut. Then, the valiant dwarf ripped his axe across the belly of the creature. All the while, the orcs threw their axes barely able to even target us with this monstrosity in the way. But, the victory seemed not to be ours as the axe of the Ettin dropped the mighty dwarf to the ground. The Dragonborn roared, his sword finding the spark of life in the giant and snuffing it out, even as lightning passed from his sword to his fallen comrade Barrick. Instantly, thanks be to Bahamut, the dwarf was revived!
Erik’s arrows flew past us, as the orcs lasted but a few more seconds before only one remained standing. Rift’s flames had taken a heavy toll on the orcs. The surviving coward fled before we could give chase. And, that dunghill of an undwarf who had led us into this ambush jumped on Rift’s flaming sphere before we could capture him and question him as to the location of the prisoners.
Barrick was hurt more than I realized, and by the Wings, I said my most fervent prayer that he might recover further. Indeed ,my prayer was granted as he was restored some.”
Z’alden paused and his eye gleamed as recalled the valor of his companions. Z’alden was called out of hid reverie by Torben, “Is there more? What happened next? Did you capture the orc? Did you find the prisoners?”
Z’alden looked at the scribe. “Yes, there is more to this tale, Scrivener, but your hands are trembling. Rest some. Here, have some meat and cheese. A pint of ale. You really must try to relax. It is not as though you have a dragon breathing down your neck.” And the cleric of Bahamut smiled.