Securing an audience will, as always, be tricky for me. I make my quest known to Kriv, our dragonborn, and he of course announces it to all and sundry. Curse him. All of our unit elect to accompany me on my mission save the beast and his handler, who decide to pursue other business. Drat. Still, perhaps it is for the best. I would not get far, wandering about on my own.
Kriv tels the guards that he seeks to report to the local captain. He then, in some fit of propriety, elects to tell the captain that he has a message from the fort we came from, said message being that here we are. That line of subtlety exhausted, he simply spills the beans and states that we have a message from Veritas for the generals.
We are conveyed onward and admitted. The generals are seven gold dragons who directly serve Bahamut. We are not searched and prodded – the general needs no bodyguards. The one we meet is in the form of an elf. He is … impressive, his draconic might evident even through his chosen form.
I relive myself of my burden, handing him the package. He seems – shocked, if anything. In response to being ask why Veritas entrusted this item to a drow, I reply that I do not know, but clearly he chose wisely, for here we are. The habits of home do not fade in a few short months: never show weakness. Deference, perhaps, but never weakness or uncertainty.
He asks after the circumstances under which I was given the item, and we tell him of the battle between the red and the gold dragon. His grief is evident. He then goes on to tell us what this package contains.
Within is a mithril flask, and within that is a small amount of the blood of Io.
Io! Io the progenitor! Curse it, if only I had known. I carried it, I kept it, I bore it for days and never suspected. Such a relic – there can be no equal to it anywhere on earth. With such a prize, I could be forever proof against the wiles of the spider priestesses. Yet it lies beyond my grasp, now, not ten feet away and in the claws of a great gold dragon.
And while I regret my caution, I also am uneasy. Why tell us these things? Surely he is not so far gone in grief as to forget himself entirely. These things I do not wish to know – must fame dog our footsteps? In an attempt to cut him short, I ask what orders we have. He tells us to report back in two days.
We have liberty for two days. We shop, we drink. I catch a pickpocket in the act, a halfling. In exchange for not carrying out a series of gruesome threats (exaggerating only a little), I receive a little training in certain arts of civilisation.
Two days later, we report again.
There is no escape. We return to the general’s quarters. He seems to have reached a decision. We have a mission.
We are to go to one of the hidden cities in the underdark – one I know of. I am: lost for words. After risking so much to leave it, I am to be sent back. But there is more: the key to this city (whatever form such a think might take) lies with a certain orium dragon, Malus. The very same who sent us to protect that diabolist, against whom I have – as far as I am able – been plotting. We are to kill him.
A grim jest indeed, one worthy of the Lolth herself. That the end of my plotting to have him killed should be that I am ordered to do it.
We are no match for him, and certainly this band will not survive an hour in the underdark. The general … hesitates, but his decision is made, it seems. We will each take a sip of the blood of Io.
Astounding! How mad or desperate must they be? Such a thing … such a thing could not possibly be done except at the express command of the platinum one himself. A sip of the blood of Io! Armies would raze cities – no – continents for such a prize. And yet our band of eight is chosen, by Bahamut himself, to be given such.
If I sought escape from the spider goddess, what greater power could I ask? Ha! An easy question to answer: the power to remain hidden. I should have stayed in the forest and hid as best I could. I am enmeshed in the affairs of gods, now. Such rarely turns out well for mortals caught in the mill.
We are to drink, then swiftly enter a telportation circle.
My turn comes. I drink. A sip, a decent swig. It is blood, yet so much more. I feel a change, like the change into my form, but very different. Through the circle and back to our fort. I change, grow wings and copper scales. I am a dragon. A dragon! Not for long, and yet – who of my people has ever approached such might? I fear we shall become legends, if the fates mock us much further.
My companions appear, and each assumes his form: blue and iron, cobalt and green. Our time is short. We take wing and fly to assault the tower of Malus.