The Dragonslayers III Pt. 28: Follow that Wasp!

The slayers had gathered together the booty they looted from the corpses of the Sons of the Dragon including the unfortunate Archer. After Vor shot a few arrows to dispel the shield around the enemy bowman Grom had flown in above the half-dragon and cut his throat. Before the coup-de-grace they had agonized for a while over that decision. Vorwulf checked the juggernaut’s corpse, Maggi was searching the charred remains of Nose Bone, and Grom stripped the gear from the dead archer and flew it down to his companions. Their take comprised of a black lacquered composite shortbow probably with the True Strike ability on it, a large jade bracelet from the juggernaut which Vor was determined to wear as an arm torque, a superior quality spear that was magic but what it did they didn’t know, 4 superior quality throwing glaives which were also magical, a mithral arrow with red fletching definitely magical, 2 potions of Heal, a gold ring with a large emerald, and a pearl ring. They knew the massive mace that the juggernaut had wielded had the Thunderblast ability on it since it dealt quite a bit of damage to Maggs but that they left. They also left the gold medallions bearing the mark of the dragon that each of their enemies had also worn. They didn’t care about the bits of armor and none seemed to be holding any money or jewels. They packed their near gear away and readied to get back on the move.

Grom cast Restoration II on Magiia, she had been hit by one of the Draconian’s envenomed glaives. The shaman also decided to take the time to cast Impervious to Elements (Fire) on both himself and Vorwulf as it had served Maggi well in the battle. They took a look around mainly trying to locate Xanto the Wasp if he was anywhere near. He jumped out from behind a crumbling archway enwrapped in very dry vines.

The Wasp: “Guys! Hey! Over HERE! Let’s go its opening! It’s opening!”

He gestured to the darkening evening sky they could see the green moon was filling the sky with strange, green light and they now noticed that everything had a sickly green pallor cast over it. The Wasp extracted a small crystal sphere with a gold bee trapped at its center. He mumbled a quick spell over the orb and it disappeared with a pop leaving behind the gold be which immediately began to buzz and flew swiftly ahead the Wasp burst after it with his own blurring buzzing wings.

“C’mon Fellas!”

The Blackwings jaunted after the mischievous mage. Vorwulf took the opportunity to down his brand new Heal potion restoring himself to near full health. They proceeded through the weed & vine choked twists and turns of the maze-like ruins at a brisk pace leaping over sudden piles of dirt and stone and jerked to dodge unexpected obstructions and large fallen lichen patched blocks. All the while they were moving towards the pillars of black smoke which were all the more visible and appeared as hideous black pillars against the weird shimmering green sky that crackled with the blue-white bolts of magic energy from the active leyline which ran through the dead-center of the ancient city. They noticed the red-orange glow which began to bow over the shattered battlements more and more, tell-tale dragon-sign or at least the obvious light of a very large fire or fires.

The Wasp rounded a corner through a narrow but very tall archway and suddenly dodged to the side buzzing crookedly through barely avoiding the blade of a fairly large bipennis axe. He had nearly been cut in two by the surprise blow (at least in his retelling of it). Before the slayers stood near identical creature to the juggernaut but more lithe and wearing a polished steel helmet with a red-dyed horsetail tassel at its crown with large deer antlers mounted on either temple. The only differences besides the scant difference in build form the first juggernaut this one also had a jade bracelet on his left wrist and was wielding a long superior quality double-ended heavy bipennis axe. He ignored the Wasp whose buzzing was barely audible and was out of sight and turned towards the 3 slayers and took a fighting stance.

Cris (Vorwulf’s Player): “Ahh! I wondered where this guy was. Let’s do this.”

Gil (Grom’s Player): “Oh yeah, the guy the hunter told me about.”

Magiia charged and power-attacked with her axe but her blow was batted to the side with an unnatural ease and she suffered the very effective counter-attack wounding her badly in the very first exchange of the fight. Vorwulf lunged in simultaneously drawing his paired weapons and struck, the big-guy kicked a blast of dirt into his face but to no effect and he landed his double blows dispelling the magic shield, the half-dragon’s medallion burst with a golden glow. Grom stayed back and used his Rod of Magic Missiles which again hit the medallion’s shield. The half-dragon took a step back and slung one-end of his double-ended weapon at Maggi’s ankle trying to trip her nearly succeeding but ultimately failing to throw her on her back. He struck out with the other end at Vorwulf hacking into his armor and dealing a fair blow to the ranger/dragon-slayer.

Maggi struck out again but was again easily parried. Vorwulf followed with his paired swords and hit wounding the 10 ft.-tall brute and Grom sent another blast of magic missiles dealing no damage. The dragon-son swung at Maggi again but this she successfully parried the end aimed at her and struck back with a counter-attack smashing he axe into him unleashing a gout of red-hot dragon blood. With a roar the monster lashed the other end of his weapon at Vorwulf hitting him again. Maggi struck again wounding her enemy mortally but he was still on his feet. Vor followed up a second later dropping the half-dragon in a shower of gore. They made a quick check for the Wasp but he was nowhere to be seen. What they couldn’t know was that he was heedlessly buzzing along urging on companions who had ceased to follow quite some time ago.

They quickly looted the half-dragon’s corpse with Vorwulf putting on the jade bracelet as an arm-torque. They followed the path they though the Wasp had taken and soon could see his yellow and black striped form buzzing under an archway into a large high-walled courtyard where the ominous columns of black smoke were visible floating above the disintegrating battlements. It was fully dark now save for the weird lights of the green moon and the crackling leyline. The Wasp motioned for them to follow and he buzzed through the arch into the courtyard.

Cris: “Damned Wasp!”

Vorwulf: “HEY! WAIT UP!”

Vorwulf with the other two in tow moved swiftly to follow the Wasp through the tall archway between two half-ruined square towers. The group found themselves in a large triangular courtyard blocked on one side by a high hill of rubble and bush where several ruined buildings were scattered about. There were a few large gaping holes where the ground had fallen in and up ahead the group could see another archway between a pair of capped towers a large but badly defaced statue of white stone stood in front of each representing, possibly, wizard-like figures. Through that arch lay a larger courtyard where the dragon obviously lay as the red glow was shedding a bloody light over the triangular courtyard and a steady rain of fine black soot was raining down. The path under the arch was choked with two very large pieces of pale stone blocks.

The Wasp suddenly turned sharply to the east and buzzed through a large breach in the larger courtyard’s wall. Vorwulf sighed probably tinged with exhaustion more than frustration. He decided to try stealthily creep through the archway into the large courtyard hoping in vain to gain any kind of advantage. He moved around the last block in the path and saw before him a mostly barren courtyard bounded by mostly ruined 20 ft. battlemented walls. There several massive piles of burning coals and wood burning hotly placed at three corners around the place and several large cave-in holes in the ground and between all these at the center lay the dragon with its face peering at a small pale object that had a blinding crackling aura about it. It was the mushroom which seemed to increase in size as he looked on. He shot his eyes ot the east trying to spot for the Wasp. He caught sight of a yellow and black blur through the smoke of a smoldering coal field shooting across a short span of the courtyard and down into a nearby hole.

Vorwulf [more mumbling than anything else]: “Damned Wasp.”

He looked back as the rest of the group caught up with him being only a step behind. Suddenly the bone-white stalk of the millennial mushroom shot up and grew to at least 10 ft. in height in a second and its aura burst with white energy and the crackling energy of the leyline suddenly collapsed in on itself falling into the mushroom and disappearing all the while all sound seemed to just stop and everything seemed to freeze dead still for just a moment. The sky was a uniform dull green dominated now solely by the light of the weird green moon with only the pinholes of stars with which to share the night sky. The gigantic red dragon turned its horn-crowned head, the 3 dragon skulls slung around its neck clunking with strange music, its evil green eyes meeting those of Vorwulf. This was an ancient dragon.

It was also a dragonlord and a hybrid, its blood a mix of a Great Horned and a Chromatic Red dragon. Just as he realized this he heard Maggi’s war-cry echo out from behind him the frantic beating of her feet against the ground as she charged followed. The dragon, which still looked uninterested in them as it believed them no threat, waved a claw casually. Three large Red Drakes appeared near it and with a single beat of their wings they were roaring at the slayers through the air.

Vorwulf knocked a dragonbone arrow.

To Be Continued…

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