The Dragonslayers III Pt. 29: Dueling the Dragon Lord

The Courtyard - 'X' marks the mushroom!
The Courtyard – ‘X’ marks the mushroom!

The great red dragon was at least 50 ft. in length not counting its powerful tail and extra-long neck. Its head was crowned with several spear-long ivory horns which ran along the spine in a ridge of spikes on its back to the end of and studding the tail. Its dark red scales resembled dark red shields battle-worn each but all still true. Three skulls of adult dragons, species unknown, hung clunking about its neck on a necklace alongside a shield-sized golden medallion covered in dragon-scratch. On a single claw was a carved jade ring like the one taken from the steel-helmed juggernaut which Vorwulf wore as an arm torque.

Vorwulf shot a dragon-bone arrow from his longbow which shattered harmlessly on the magic shield that appeared around the monster, its gold medallion glowing brightly. He activated an item gaining a magic shield of his own. Grom as soon as he caught sight of the legendary beast, the one which had wiped out his tribe leaving only him and his protégé, froze in his tracks a victim of his own panic. The dragon’s throat inflated with a hideous sucking sound, its jaws gaped and a white hot blast of fire shot out as it swept the entire area its back to the burgeoning millennium mushroom. Vorwulf took shelter behind the large stones under the ruined archway avoiding all the damage, Grom the shaman and Magiia however took the blast surprised that half of the damage bypassed their protection from fire dealing quite a bit of damage. Mags stopped her charge and drank down a healing potion. The first drake swooped over the rocks near the entrance to the courtyard and snapped at Vorwulf whom parried easily with his superior quality bronze buckler. The third and fourth of the three fire drakes swooped down at Maggi with their claws and caught her off guard as she ran towards the “big one” intent on “tasting his blood”. The flames of battle rose to a rage very quickly, three of the Drakes lashed out at Vorwulf as he tried to keep rounding the edges of the battle field using his bow more on them than on his main target as intended and the other Drake continued to pester Maggi. Grom fought top overcome his fear but eventually had to resort to casting Dispel Fear on himself. The dragon cast Hold Person on Maggi stopping her before she could get a blow in; she fortunately was still able to activate the Shield ability on her Bronze Helm. The dragon then turned and gupled the Ferenoi down following a massively powerful bite. Grom rushed forward eager to join the fray.

Maggi’s shield beginning to waver in the volcanic acid-bath of the dragon-lord’s stomach, Maggi was able to shake off the dragon-magic with a Natural 20 (the ONLY way she could’ve done so). Two of the Fire Drakes continued their assault against Vorwulf who was able to deflect their claws with his buckler. He quick-drew his swords and struck back concentrating his blades on the first of the two dealing some damage to the beast. Grom ran forward towards the dragon-lord and drew his morning star of Supernatural Might. The dragon glanced back keeping an evil green eye on the mushroom. Then as Maggi used all her might to slash with axe into the walls of the monster’s stomach it vomited her up. The Drake that remained near the dragon lunged at the shaman. The other drakes continued after the ranger, he continued to hack and slash at them. Maggi stood up and struck at the dragon-lord causing the second charge of his shield to be knocked down. The dragon stomped on her a great blast of dust mixed with the swirling coal smoke. Mags was able to work her way form under the dragon’s gigantic claw the way greased by the dragon-vomit which she was covered in as well as her own blood which flowed freely from her mouth and nose. The two Drakes fighting Vorwulf finally dropped their black blood spreading over the white ground where they fell. Maggi pulled herself up desperately trying to stay conscious (she made a Recovery check versus the stomp).

Jenn (Magiia’s player): “I’m on K-O points here!”

Grom dropped from the sky to her side with the third Fire Drake on his tail.

Vorwulf knocked an arrow and shot at the dragon-lord finally dispelling the monster’s magic shield for the final time that day. Grom tried his morning-star against the dragon’s hide; he found he was quite ineffective barely scratching a single scale (he did three points of actual damage to it). Maggi activated her shield and let loose a power-attack at the dragon who easily batted the whistling blow to the side. The last drake snapped at the shaman wounding him. The dragon struck at Maggi dispelling her shield with a single blow. Grom again tried his weapon against the dragon-lord (this time dealing about six points of actual damage). Maggi wound her body up and smashed her axe into the last drake felling it in a gory spray of blood and organs. Vorwulf was launching dragon-bone arrow after dragon-bone arrow at the red monster. He activated his boots of Fleet of Foot and the Eyes and Ears of the Dragon ability on his coif. Nearly all his shots at the dragon missed so he shot an acid-arrow at the monster which had little to no effect. In the ensuing struggle Maggi was forced into another recovery check to avoid losing consciousness and Grom used the Heal ability on his mithral open helm to being the Ferenoi back up to almost full health. She was able to counter a claw strike but dealt very little real damage with that blow. Then all of the slayers let loose a united frustrated groan as the red dragon-lord with a wave of its nasty claw summoned four more fire drakes. Its tail swept at both Maggi and Grom, the Dragon-Blood Warrior was able to get out of the way but the shaman took a great deal of bludgeoning damage and was forced into a recovery check to remain standing.

Jenn: “Well at least its shields are down.”

Vorwulf shot an arrow deep into the first newly summoned fire drake. Maggi hacked into the third, the nearest to her, hurting it. The dragon unleashed its horrific breath weapon for a second time sweeping the area forcing Grom to dodge into a nearby pit to avoid it and imminent death, Mags was barely able to absorb the damage she couldn’t avoid. Her life was now hanging by a thread though the bleeding was cauterized. Vorwulf had been just out of the area of effect. The drake on Maggi struck and she countered wounding it blood gushing. The first and second flew after Vorwulf; he was able to avoid their claws and teeth. The third leapt into the pit after the shaman. Grom in mid-fall was able against the odds, to quicken Bestial Might on himself magically morphing into his bizarre winged and furry form. He set himself down on the uneven ground below realizing he was in a high ceilinged vault which was choked with fallen stones and ruin. Up ahead he could see a strange glimmering light where the tunnel intersected with another; he briefly considered trying to seek out the Wasp whom they all believed to be down here somewhere. He ducked behind an amorphous pile of spider-webs, stones, and broken wood as he could hear the snarling of the incoming drake. Above ground the dragon snapped its jaws at Maggi who avoiding the blow lashed out and nailed it dealing it some decent damage. Vorwulf pulled out his great axe, he had run out of dragon-bone arrows, and engaged the drakes that were attacking him. Maggi dueled the dragon and drake while underground the shaman drank down a potion of Barkskin while trying to keep hidden as he could hear the drake trying to sniff him out. Before he stepped out he activated the Mage Armor ability on his necklace and made a run for it running past the beast and leaping into the air while it gave chase. No sooner had Maggi backed off and drank down a healing potion than she felt the claws of the drake raking her ribs (she rolled a Natural 1 versus the blow). The shaman burst out of the pit and swept over Maggi’s position. The drake on his tail was blur as it zoomed out of the pit and attempted a dive attack on him but floundered unexpectedly and smashed face first into the ground (it had rolled a Natural 1) at full speed killing itself.

Vorwulf closed with the dragon-lord, two drakes following him, Maggi struck at the drake still on her wounding it badly, and Grom also let loose a power-attack with his morning star on the same target dealing some damage. The dragon turned towards the mushroom which was now much taller and glowing with a strong and very pronounced eerie white light. The drakes continued their assault. Grom flew up 100 ft. above the dragon. The dragon swept its tail at Mags and she deflected the blow with her axe and countered it burying her axe in its hide. Vorwulf concentrated his attacks against the drakes using the magical speed granted by his boots to deliver a series of power-attacks felling two of the remaining three. The dragon unleashed a Swarm of Magic Missiles to little effect and then a claw at Maggi forcing her to recover. She was again in dire straits. Vorwulf, after dropping the two drakes, drank down yet another potion of healing.

Vorwulf then redoubled his efforts on the remaining drake dropping the already blood-ragged beast before it even had a chance to act. Maggi chopped into the dragon again. The dragon turned itself around to face the slayers and moved forward trampling Maggi then turned its face up unleashing a blast of its lethal breath at the flying shaman who was just able to get out of the way. Grom flew over near the tail end of the dragon struck at it; his weapon glanced harmlessly off of its armored hide. Vorwulf stepped back and exchanged his great axe for his cutlass and the Dragon Bane Longsword with the large rock-crystal pommel stone. The runes on the blade read, “Suck the Breath & Drink Deep the Dragon’s Blood”. Maggi power-attacked the dragon again wounding it and both Vor and the shaman focused their efforts towards cutting the monster to ribbons. It unleashed a Hold Person spell on Vor but he was able to resist, barely. They continued fighting it slowly making headway as its wounds began to multiply, Grom buzzed around striking and moving. The dragon-lord struck out at the flying shaman but missed only due to the constant Displacement spell emanating from the magic robes he wore. Using his magical speed Vorwulf continued to subject the great monster to a death by a thousand cuts.

All three of the slayers battled on for the next two rounds with their greatest enemy, all taking their share of wounds, their armor getting torn and dented. Maggi took the brunt of the dragon’s rage spending much of that time surviving by recovery-check and the shaman expending all of his healing touches per day. Grom found himself underfoot and was nearly crushed to death but fought his way out after struggling for two turns. At the beginning of the ninth round all including the dragon were badly wounded, bleeding, and filthy. All but the dragon were nearly out of breath nearing their threshold for exhaustion. Some of the dragon’s wounds closed and any bleeding stopped.

Cris (Vorwulf’s player): “S#*t! This is the last round and my boots are done. My armor’s nearly gone too.”

Jenn: “I’m out of potions! My girl’s bad, real bad right now!”

Gil (Grom’s player): “Yeah I’m hurt. My helmet’s out of Heal but I got some healing spells left.”

Cris: “Save ‘em. If we survive we’ll need ‘em.”

Grom swooped by the dragon doing a flyby attack dealing only a handful of actual damage. Vorwulf pulled a potion of Healing from his dragon-hide bandolier and downed it. Mags rushed forward again and let loose a powerful blow into the monster opening a deep and bloody gash. The dragon blasted its breath at Grom again and he dodged. Vorwulf moved over to Maggi and she surged forward again laying her axe into the dragon’s side. It reared and rushed forward trampling both Vor and Mags laying them out and leaving them bloodied and struggling to get to their feet in a cloud of choking dust. Grom did another flyby gliding down towards Maggi’s twitching figure. Realizing that it was nighttime Vorwulf activated the Cape of Bat Flight and shot straight up into the weird green night and drank down his last potion of Heal. Grom dumped his last potion of Heal down Maggi’s throat saving her life. The dragon lunged at Vorwulf striking out with its claws and tore into the airborne ranger wounding him badly. Its tail whacked Grom wounding him. Vorwulf, desperate, flew at full speed to the dragon and as he flew above its neck he canceled the cape’s effect and in midair went into a leap attack with both weapons.

Me (the GM): “Um, dude. you’re gonna wind up right next to him and he has an attack left.”

Cris: “S#*t. Damn. I uh…, Yup, he’s gonna kill. Ah..uh..Oh SCREW it, screw it.”

He threw himself towards its long and vulnerable neck with both weapons and as it turned it left itself open to his attack stretching its throat out for the Dragon Bane weapon in the ranger/dragon-slayer’s right hand (it rolled a Natural 1 to auto-parry). The first cutlass struck and laid open the hide to the muscle and the longsword sliced a bared artery, letting loose a virtual rain of steaming red-hot blood. He thumped to the ground on his feet and he, Grom, and the newly risen Magiia all had to dodge the dragon’s corpse as it convulsed in its death throes and fell with a crash. It was then that they saw that the mushroom which huge by then, it was starting to convulse madly jerking to and fro then suddenly it seemed to collapse in on its self, shrinking and shriveling into a nasty black mass then to nothing.

Cris: “Whatever the Wasp’s doing he’s doing it.” The others nodded in agreement.

There was a crack as of thunder and the energy of the leyline which the millennial thing had tied up and was sapping was suddenly freed exploded back into activity. All three of the slayers were injured by the explosion of magical energy. The strange green glow which had flooded the sky began to subside as the green moon began shrink away back into the darkness. The slayers looked about them and then to each other. They were all horribly wounded, completely battle-worn and utterly exhausted. Now all they had to do was travel back to town.


To Be Concluded…

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