The heroes crept slowly into the gloomy depths of Thoss’ lair. As they rounded the last turn they could here a very annoyed dragon calling out. “Cheleen! Cheleen! Return at once! i am under attack and need your aid! Cheleen?” Next to Cain’s feet splashed a giant sized Sending Stone and after it bounced a very angry black dragon. Acrid fumes and ichor dripping from his toothy maw, Thoss closed in on the party quickly. The remarkably agile dragon ducked in and around the massive roots that split the many pools of his lair, blasting the heroes with his acid breath and buffeting them with his wings. Things went poorly for the heroes in these first few moments, with Thoss’ victory near at hand has he sunk his teeth into Jarrus. Just as it seemed all was lost, a familiar voice called out from the entrance as Snapjaw entered the battle wielding the Staff of the Swamp. Risking madness by entering the lair, the shaman summoned forth a flock of bats that harried and confused the wicked dragon, distracting him for a time while the heroes could gather themselves.
Their confidence was stolen when Cheleen burst up from a hidden tunnel, returned to dispatch the badly wounded heroes! But all was not as it seemed, Cheleen appeared injured and desperate herself, with wild eyes rolling in her head as she screamed, “He’s found us! A Brightscale has f—-!” And with that the huge maw of Nymmurh flashed up from the dark water and sunk into Cheleen’s neck, twisting violently with a sickening crack. Seeing his mate slump lifelessly to the waters Thoss went into a berserker rage, lashing out desperately at any within reach. Nymmurh collapsed with exhaustion, unable to help the heroes any more. The raging black dragon was slain eventually by the combined blows of the hero and a strange quiet fell over the cavern.
When Nymmurh recovered his strength he appraised the horde of the Black Dragons eagerly. Looking on as Ossendar stripped the skin from one of the fallen black dragons, the dragon is visibly disgusted by the action. A gifted patch of scales is one thing… The great dragon seeked out the most prized piece for the heroes. A shimmering blue scimitar of elvish make. He chuckled as he scooped it up in his massive claws, saying,
“Ahhhhhh. As promised, the single finest item in this foul place. This…unless I am mistaken, is Flamebane. This sword once belonged to the elven Prince Draminon, eldest son of Syglaeth Audark, the last king of Illefarn. It is yours along with the promised coinage (he hands them a Bag of Holding containing 5000 gp). The rest I justly claim for the Brightscale’s horde.”
They also found a pit on the edge of the chamber containing three mutated offspring of the black dragon pair. They howled endlessly in rage and pain as their foul skin appeared barely able to contain their innards. Saddened and horrified by the abominable combination of evil elemental water and black dragon, Nymmurh ended the horrors with a blast of lightning. With that he rumbled, “Let us be away from this cursed place”
They returned with Nymmurh to the village of the Scaley Death Tribe. As they all rested and took part in the victory celebration thunderous footsteps could be heard echoing through the swamp nearby as a blast of greeting came from the lizardfolk sentry’s many horns. Through the branches then strode an enormous storm giant woman! She had a polite greeting for Nymmurh, and requested an introduction to the heroes. Dressed regally, she introduced herself to the heroes as Queen Neri, wife to King Hekaton the ruler of all Giant-kind on Toril. She wished them well on their journey to Castle Naerytar and warned them that a Kraken Priest had fallen in with the Cult of the Dragon.
With the last of the village warriors not stationed at the castle joining them, the heroes struck off into the wilderness towards the castle. Arriving under the cover of darkness, with Snapjaw as their guide they snuck past the Bulliwug guards and into the longhouse of the lizardfolk. They were able to convince the many Scaly Death Tribe warriors to attack their hated bulliwug overlords as they infiltrated the castle. At the predetermined moment the Tribe would attack the Bulliwug camp, despite being hopelessly outnumbered.
Using Jarrus’ ranger stealthy skills they crept around the outside of the castle, avoiding detection for the most part as they teleported and crested the fortifications. The agreed time was upon them and they heard the unmistakable sounds of Snapjaw and his lizardfolk clutch-brothers and sisters charging into the bulliwug camp. The Bulliwug forces, led by a strangely clad priest charged out to assist the bulliwug army in putting down the lizardfolk insurrection. Badly outnumbered, Snapjaw and his brave fighters were hard pressed and eventually had to fall back to their own camp.
Avoiding the prowling black guard drakes in the inner ward they instead leapt into the nearby window and down onto a treasure packing and counting room. The guard drakes there thrashed and bit the heroes, making a terrible ruckus and waking the many cult members sleeping in the chambers nearby. The finest warriors of the cult bore down on the heroes and nearly overwhelmed them with their soaring leaps and slashing swords. The arrival of the castle guardian, Dralmorrer Borngray bolstered the cultists and nearly spelled the doom of the party. A few swift kicks and punches from Ossendar however had the craven sun-elf on the run! The fool had just made it out the door into the outer ward to summon his most trusted Lizardfolk warriors when Cain struck him down. Seeing their leader dispatched, the lizardfolk abandoned the cult completely and joined their brethren in the battle outside. At that point the badly injured heroes decided to do likewise and battled their way out past the last outer guard of bulliwugs on the barbican.
With only a short time to gather themselves, the heroes marshalled the Lizardfolk forces for a charge at the ranks of bulliwugs before they swarmed into the camp with overwhelming numbers. A shadowy behemoth lurked behind the lines of bulliwugs, a terrifying menace just out of sight. Rowan looked to the sky and decided the field was not to her liking and set forth a blazing sunlight over the area, a spell gifted to her from her Angelic heritage. Snapjaw waved his staff and brought forth a thick wall of thorns from the muck among the enemy lines, skewering many of the brutes. The heroes then led the charging ranks of lizardfolk crashing into the bulliwug lines. The chaos of battle reigned and Tempus watched on. Sunddenly, a massive bipedal toad creature appeared near Ossendar. It looked like a giant bulliwug, but with incredibly strong limbs and a supernatural quickness, the beast thrashed the heroes and lashed out at Ossendar with his enormous tongue. Ossendar was fast, but not fast enough to avoid the sticky mass and the Banderhobb drew him into his waiting jaws…and then leaped clear over the wall of thorns with his meal. Ossendar managed to break free of the monsters clutches and BACKFLIPPED back over the wall into the light, short just a small patch of chest hair. The creature made several more attempts to draw on the heroes but seemed to be weakened and unable to shift in and out of the shadows while Rowan’s daylight spell persisted over the battlefield. Thwarted and badly wounded, it eventually fled into the darkness as the tide of battle miraculously turned in the Lizardfolk’s favor. The battle soon turned into a route and the cowardly bulliwugs fled into the swamp for their lives with the wrathful lizardfolk hot on their heels. The victorious heroes took a much deserved rest in the camp of the lizardfolk.
The next morning the heroes crept back into the eerily quiet castle Naerytar to confront their cult enemies and found a solitary priest in a magically flooded courtyard. The priest singled out Ossendar and with an otherworldy wail called out the bragard Monk for his false claim of victory over Slarkrethel, the Deep Terror on the Sea of Swords. Water weirds burst out of the water around them and attempted to drown the heroes as the Kraken Priest thrashed them with watery spells. The Priest fell quickly though, uttering a final warning to Ossendar that he and his friends would suffer endlessly for their insolence.
The heroes then spent the morning exploring the deserted Castle, finding a room full of angry wraiths, a wizard’s chamber and a nifty arcane telescope called the Farseer of Illusk. However, the treasure was all gone, as was Rezmir and Azbara Joz! They eventually found a password for a portal in Rezmir’s chambers that whisked them away to the cold, wooded countryside of the far off Greypeak Mountains, over 500 miles inland to the east of the Mere of Dead Men! With a foreboding lodge just visible through the nearby trees they wondered where in the Nine Hells their chase had taken them now.