The gods toy with me. The Kresh, the hunters-of-blood pursue me, and the gods sit and mock. Even The Platinum One makes sport of me, and finds my predicament a fine jest.
I will begin where I left off.
We attacked the tower of this Malus – the orium dragon – in the form of dragons ourselves. We dealt with his underlings, but he himself was nowhere to be seen. Some of us entered his tower, some of us shook it, gouged rents in it. We were drunk on our borrowed power. But we were not dragons in truth, and did not think like dragons think, not fight like dragons fight. The whole time, Malus flew high above us, watching.
When our forces were split, he attacked. He was powerful, but we prevailed. A pyrrhic victory over this plotter – the only reason I desired his death was that he had tried to enmesh us in his intrigues. Now he lay dead, but enmeshed we remained, wrapped safely alive in the webs of the divine, soon to be the food of the gods.
In his tower we found what we had been sent to find. A key, and a portal to the underdark – my old home. We opened the portal, and descended.
No, I am not happy to be back home. The surface is strange and alien, but it is safe. A refuge. Here, the familiarity does not bring comfort. I feel my habits of caution returning.
We find the “temple of the winds”, a great inverted pyramid standing on its tip. The design, the craft – this is no work of my people, its shape is too simple and unornamented, too clean and simple, too overtly brutal. My people are subtler, and delight in painstaking ornamentation. Or perhaps I mistake it: perhaps it is simply that the structure is built at a larger scale than we.
The pyramid is hollow, and stairs ascend up its inner wall. There is a platform above us. There is noise from above.
I break cover first. Running up the stairs I see a half-dozen or so of my people, and two priestesses standing at the edge of some design inscribed into the floor. I advance forward and obscure the area with darkness, to cover my companions as they ascend the stairs.
My allies enter the area and begin to attack. I change and move in to one of the priestesses, to bite her. She looks at me, commands me. It hurts! It burns like venom! I run, I help my allies as much as I can and I run as far from her as the platform allows, right to the edge
Story-wise, it turns out that Azroth’s fear of the priestesses was not baseless. They can automatically suck hp out of any drow or spider: no save, no defence, no nothing.
Interesting. This works really well for character development. Azroth’s transformation into dragon was a real turning-point for him. It suggests a way that he can permanently be free of Lolth’s power. His best option has changed from “run away and stay hidden” to “find a way to permanently change race – dragon is good, but anything non-spider will be ok”. At this point, he’ll cut any sort of deal to make that happen.
I cower at the edge, running away. My allies fight while I watch, then a strange thing: Gabriel disappears and instead there is a dragon! A big dragon, but he is dead. We all attack it – even the priestess turns and attacks it. Here is something I can fight. I move in and bite it again and again, I cover its eyes and face while my allies sting it.
It looks like it is trying to take wing, which will be bad because we cannot reach it while it flies, so I change back and call upon the roots of the earth to entangle it and keep it on the ground, then I continue to fight and distract it. Gabriel-ally comes back, which is good, because his bite is especially vicious.
And then: disaster. Do you recall my plan? My grand design? To run and stay hidden, to draw no attention. It was a blow to me, when that red dragon fell: my allies had cut it apart and shot it with a great magical ballista, but I had the misfortune to strike the final blow that finally dropped it. Our bard added a verse to his song about it, the caravan crew spoke about it, the news spread through the town – my name common currency.
My race, of course, does not help. I am inevitably a novelty. But, as someone put it: “a nine-days wonder is granted obscurity on the tenth day.”
The dragon totters, it’s undead sinews weakened by the power of our dragonborn devotee of Bahamut and the sword blows of Gabriel and Huru’s beast. But it is I, I again, who strikes the final blow that fells it. Worst of all – that priestess sees it, just as she flees. My doom pursues me, a rolling boulder the size of a mountain. I will never live this down.
1d6 maxed = 6, +6 (wis), +1 (magic implement), +2 (feat, +2 vs foe w/ cbt advtg), +5 (feat, +5 vs foe w/ cbt advtg & bloodied), 1d6=+2 (+1 implement, so 1d6 on a crit)
22 points of damage. The dracolich had 18 left. At the table, Azroth let out a big “Nooooooo!”. Do Not Want!
We enquire of Gabriel, where he vanished to. The strange design in the center of the platform is some kind of portal. Those of us who speak draconic explain – it exchanges the location of two souls. When Gabriel stepped on it, his place was exchanged with that of the dracolich who had last made use of it.
On the far side of the portal, a dragon is chained. But not any dragon – no! Not Gold, or Red, or Iron, or Orium, or any other colour, but a dragon of a hue (as near as I can make out) that is completely new. One of us recalls an old story, a bard’s tale. Io was not the only progenitor dragon. There were other such, and this one seems to be one of them. At least: he fits the description.
I am seized with an idea. A mere sip of the blood of Io transformed me into a dragon for a day. What if I could acquire more than a sip? What if I could drink a gallon of the blood of a progenitor dragon? Transformation into dragonkind would make me forever proof against Lolth’s preistesses.
I carefully suggest it, broach the topic delicately. We do work for the Platinum One, and many of us have simple notions of “hnour”. But: was Bahamut not pleased to retrieve the blood of Io? Should we simply loose this new dragon on the world, when it may be greater than bahamut himself? And I am not proposing a gross evil, after all – this dragon surely has plenty of blood to spare. A mere bucketful, or two, will scarce make a difference to such a creature.
And so I argue, and I see that some of my words have persuaded some of them. In some cases, I doubt that much persuasion was needed: I doubt I am the only one who would gladly be transformed into a dragon – if it can be made permanent. I would risk all for such, I will step through the portal alone … but I prefer not to have to.