The Cult of the Dragon

To be or not to be

Well, Arauthator is dead. Unfortunately, so was I for a bit there. Sounds like a good story, right? Not so much….

Fighting the dragon in its lair might not have been the smartest thing we’ve ever done, but it’s not like we had much of a choice. Fortunately, he was asleep when we arrived, so we were actually able to choose where we wanted to start the fight. And things were going alright, at least until Arauthator recognized the weapon Gavin was wielding.
Turns out, Hazirawn was formerly a part of Arauthator’s hoard, and the damn dragon was able to invoke the entity bound within the sword, which proceeded to take over Gavin. I mean, it was very similar to the incident on the boat, when Hazirawn wanted to start senselessly slaughtering the sailors to appease its bloodthirst. That time, though, Gavin was able to shake off the compulsion. This time, Gavin lost the fight and became a mindless puppet, taking actions which helped the damned dragon. (side note – I guess I wasn’t paranoid after all!)
The fight in general was bloody and brutal, and losing Gavin made things even worse! At one point, I’d garnered enough of the dragon’s attention that he decided he needed to deal with me directly. Dimension door, though, is an absolutely beautiful spell and got me well away from the dragon’s claws, tail and teeth. At least until he breathed. The last thing I remember was the bone numbing cold before everything went black.

When I woke, I knew something was wrong. I took a few moments to realize just WHAT was wrong though. My horns, gone. My tail, gone. My body, not right. I felt clumsy, heavy. I wasn’t ME. It wasn’t until I got to see my reflection that I understood why. They reincarnated me. I wasn’t a Tiefling anymore; I was a fucking rock Genasi! I don’t know that I can do this… I’m not really me anymore. I’m somebody else and I don’t know how to do this. I tried playing the Cil-lyre and everything sounds wrong. My fingers keep tripping up the notes. Somehow, I need to find a way to fix this. I don’t know. Maybe it’s time to change my name… maybe that will help me figure out how to be the “new” me.

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Underneath Oyaviggaton - Introspection of Grr Animal-Friend
the one in which most of our intel comes from a dog

Thanks to the information we got from the dog in the village, we found Makoth the Crimson in the caves under Oyaviggaton. She’s been working as a scribe for the white dragon Arauthator for the past 3 years. In that time, the red wyrmspeaker took the Drachorn off the island, and Makoth doesn’t know where it is anymore. Our only lead on the Drachorn are some histories written in the language of super-intelligent ice toads. Makoth agreed to copy the Drachorn histories for us, in exchange for killing the dragon so she can get off this island with her precious documents. That seems like a fair trade. Also, the dragon kills anyone who tries to leave the island, except for the red wyrmspeaker.

So, to get off this island, find the Drachorn, and free the dogs from the tyranny of the dragon, we’re going to have to kill the dragon. Sabir can use the black dragon mask to try and get some information out of the dragon before it either
1) tries to eat us
2) finds its bitch, then they try to eat us
or
3) kills half the villagers, adds some to his frozen trophy room, then tries to eat us. I do hope the dogs escape.

Before we leave I have to meet the super-intelligent ice toads. I’m curious how intelligent they really are. The kobolds we met called them super-intelligent, but then again only one of the kobolds could count to 10. And after it saw that many of its companions slaughtered by Gavin in the blink of an eye, it still thought it had a chance to run away. So the standard isn’t very high.

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I Think We Have a Harpell Infestation
I am Walrow Lord of the Thunder-Seals HOooooo

Dear Mother
In case you have never had an occasion to deal with someone from the Harpell Family you are luckier than I am. They are a family of crazy wizards, with way too much magical power and they love to do “experiments”. So I was in the town of Longsaddle for “reasons” and we needed to leave quickly to get on the trail of the Dragon Cults plans. To do so we needed to find a wizard to teleport us, well in a town known for wizards that is not so easy since all the wizards are crazy. So we went to see Allondra Harpell, who we were told is not as crazy, but kind of bitchy. Well that started off with a bang. A fireball spells goes off as you enter her walkway. Now to be fair she did have signs out front that said “Fuck Off!” Now you would have been proud, I controlled my temper and did not cut her head off for shooting a fireball at me, since we needed her to teleport us out of Longsaddle. It was surprised how easy it was to get her help once she got to talk to my sword. I am finding that there are people who speak dead languages, and they will do all kinds of things for others who also speak the same dead language. So after Hazirawn preformed an epic poem in Netherese with the companying music played by Kadance we got the help of Ms. Harpell. On the up side of getting fire-balled Allondra was also able to tell us about a missing sorcerer Mackoth the Crimson, who was also looking for the Drac-Horn in the sea of moving ice. It would be nice to get ahead of this by knowing who is blowing the horn and for what reasons.
We get teleported to Neverwinter and from Neverwinter we have been able to get a boat for hire to the Sea of Moving Ice. The Captain is a reasonable man, Lereustah the ½ Face. It make sense when you see him. Anyway he is good captain with a good crew. The trip north was very uneventful until my sword got hungry and tried to compel me to start killing people to feed it. I am not sure if Hazirawn is going to make it back from the Sea of Moving Ice. If the sword has the power to control me, well then I cannot bring an evil blood drinking sword back were someone can get hurt. It would be sad, it is such a wonderful weapon, and it is like being an artist with the best tool for your craft that you have ever seen. With the sword starting to get hungry and no enemies around for me to kill I was starting to worry, but then we were attacked by Merrows, I feel ok about killing evil Merfolk. Lucky they got greedy and thought they could take us. It is funny when I was talking to the sword about not trying to control me or I would drop it into the sea, and no one would be around to us him unless some seal learned how to fight with a sword. Ever since I said that Grrr has had a gleam in his eye. I think he wants to teach a seal to use a weapon.

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After a few days later we were able to find what we were looking for Oyaviggaton. This was last known place of Mackoth the Crimson, and a location that might house the drac-horn. We have found a settlement of seal hunters who live on this iceberg and from what we now know that feed a giant white dragon that lives under the ice. The people here fear and serve the dragon. I hope that we are up to the task of killing this one in its home. The last dragon we faced we tricked into a tunnel, and it had trouble moving about. I don’t think that this is going to be the case this time. So if you don’t hear from me after this you will know that I am dragon food. Well maybe a dragon’s slave. We have found that our missing Tiefling Ms. The Crimson is a slave to the dragon. So maybe it will be sick of her and need a replacement. Wish me luck on my dragon killing so far I am %100.

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A Gnomish Peter's Whimsey
Our Heroes discover the solution to their Wuffle problem

Just when we thought the Cult had lost track of the White Mask for good, our least favorite gnome showed up to reveal that her organization1 had stolen and then immediately lost it. She arranged for our teleportation to a town whose economy is based on rooting through the garbage of a family of insane wizards. Her powerful, multinational employer had decided to store the Mask in a horrible, oppressive building which dispelled all magic2 cast on or entering the grounds. There, we investigated the fatal poisoning of a loyal dog and the Zhentarim’s slightly less loyal dog.

Our suspicions immediately fell on Brandovar Thistleweed, a gnome with exceptionally poor impulse control who hit on anything with two legs (even Jamna!) Further digging revealed that he had been having a long-term affair with the half-orc3 wife of a local businessman, which allowed her access to the room with the Mask.

We tracked down and killed the thief and her husband, but not before discovering that they had sold the Mask out of town before Jamna even told us of the theft. Ordinarily, I would be angry about the waste of our time, but while in this town we made a marvelous discovery. All of the different Wuffles that have been plaguing us throughout our journey are cursed to share the same body. Thus, one simple murder in the night perfectly justified altercation that gets a bit out of hand is all that’s needed to get justice for the money Bayland cheated us out of and to stop the rest of them from bothering us.

1 Turns out she’s a member of the Zhentarim. Who’d have guessed such a charming lass would be evil?

2 Such as that which could have been used to protect or hide the Mask

3 Some Thoughts just shouldn’t be Detected.

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Yuanti and mummies and trolls, oh my!

Yuanti. Why did it have to be Yuanti?

Seriously Rhaps, the world is getting stranger and stranger. We rescued the white wyrmspeaker from the Yuanti, only to interrogate him and, when he was no longer useful, behead him. But before that happened, my erstwhile companions thought it would be fun to taunt some trolls living in the well to come out and “play”. I admit, I had to teach Gavin how to properly taunt a troll (duh, yes, of course you offer them halfings!) but I still don’t understand why it was even necessary in the first place.

We did get some useful information out of Varrim, but a lot less than we’d hoped for. Sabir at least should be able to put some of the information to good use, long term, after we get back to civilization.

Dedarius’s temple / whatever you want to call it… weird place. Lots of annoyances to be dealt with and the scrying pool required a living sentient being as a sacrifice so needless to say we skipped that part. The only good thing we did there was let a crazy librarian ghost finally get the rest she deserved.

Anyway, I need a favor. You remember that gnome I’ve talked about before. You know the one… turns out her friends had and the lost the white mask. And she’s asked us to conduct the investigation and interrogation of the people who knew where it was being kept. Seriously… she’s asking us. Keep an eye and ear out, would you?

I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

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The Tomb of Daederus - Introspection of Grr Animal-Friend
Snakes, I love snakes

I, Gavin, Kadence, and the tiefling who now goes by the name of white wyrmspeaker Azbara Jos followed Varrum into the tomb. The tomb was home to Daederus the Ether-walker, Conduit of Clairvoyance, Blower of smoke. He promised us wisdom, but so far all he could do was point us toward the Yuan-ti who have taken over his tomb. It seems more like he needed us to clean them out. We were ambushed by a group of Yuan-ti at a bridge over a pit of snakes. Gavin nearly fell in, and while we would have had fun playing with the snakes, it seemed necessary to turn into a bat, fly down, and catch him so he could help with the fight. We even managed to push one of the Yuan-ti into the pit.

There was also some sort of scrying pool in the tomb that might come in handy if we can figure out to use it.

We ran into a group of bearded devils that told us they are working for the Archduchess Inverness to help the cult get Tiamat out of her prison in the hells. It seems the plots of devils may complicate our mission, and we should definitely find out more about this.

Varrum the pitiful was being held captive by the Yuan-ti, who graciously let us have him in exchange for leaving their home. He does not seem so tough for a leader of the cult. We are going to have to find out what he knows.

My dreams have become more urgent. They have picked up tempo, and I hear music from metal instruments, which reminded me of a song of the bard Sammy Hagar. The spirits scream at me:

Man with a sword that devours
rides a giant bat through the night
In the final hours
when they turn out the lights
with inspired power
and it’s pushin’ overload
The milky tentacles devour
all the cultists they can hold
Shatter overload
Fireballs explode

It’s a one way portal to Faerun
Calling Tiamat
from the hells to cause destruction
Calling Tiamat
Desperation on a death save
calling Tiamat to rise

I’m not sure of the greater significance of this, but it must be important if the spirits showed this to me.

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Snakes it Had to Be Snakes
Dumbass Lost His Mask

Dear Mom

I had a very exciting few weeks; I had the loveliest pendant made for Lady Molly. I think she will love it, it is one of a kind, and I had a platinum and white dragon tooth pendant made. Oh by the way I killed a white dragon. But I did not get a chance to give her the pendant. I was in Waterdeep for a few days, and I meet with people from all of the different “factions”. I am finally getting some real support from the powers that be to deal with this cult situation. The thing that has me worried is that I got to meet Lord Neverember of the Lords Alliance, and Lady Molly was no were to be seen. She has somehow been able to catch up with me in every large city I am in, and with her mother’s connections to the Lord’s Alliance she was not able to get to this meeting. I have my concerns. If you hear anything let me know, messages can always be left for me at the Pearl and Mead. It is a smelly little bar in Waterdeep, but the place is a mail drop for me. My companions and I are the new owners. It is a long story, but we needed a spot in Waterdeep to leave things. If you wish you can go through more normal channels to contact me you can go through “The Council” now that my cadre and I are official investigators. As in investigator we now have some official standing in this craziness. Also we got a lead from the Harpers, I know they are a bit stand offish, but they do seem to know a lot. Lady Remaila Haventree told us how the white worm speaker Verim lost his mask. HAHAHAHA Anyway she tells us he is near Bearskyer Bridge looking for a magical relic that can help him find who stole the mask and where it is. I would love to get this relic 1st and then use it to get the mask for myself. I would looks so good in that mask, but I would have to change my entire wardrobe to whites, grays, and silvers to match it. Anyway back to Verim, so we follow him out to the tent city near “The Bridge”, and in looking around we find that he and his crew are traveling into Yuan Ti territory. Well let me tell you that the people out here are savages. They take people as slaves, and have no manors. So I was forced to kill a few of them to free their slaves, and continue our trip. We have found some ruins looks like we may have found the place to look for relics, let’s hope for the best.

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Moving Violation
in which Our Heroes are arrested, then Deputized

After a few more minutes discussing politics with our naked cloud giant pilot, we (Kadence, Grr, the racist human with a sharp stick, and myself) departed for the fabled markets of Silverymoon. Unfortunately, the three more diplomatic members of our party forgot the racist human with a sharp stick’s hatred of anything which is not human or giant1,and foolishly allowed ourselves to be led into an armed conflict with the elves over stabling rights.

After declaring it to have been a misunderstanding and releasing us from prison, the local human lord teleported us to Waterdeep, for a council of war of those allied against the Cult of the Dragon. There, we were presented with a marvelous document with examples of the signatures and seals of almost all major political faction leaders on the continent. There may also have been some talking before that, but it’s hard to recall in the face of such beauty.

1 Or wyvern, apparently

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A trade worth making

Dearest Jamna -

I just wanted to be the one to let you know that the trade we made with you – you remember, the venom dagger for those immovable rods? – was actually one of the better trades we could have made. Now, I know Gavin will never admit it to you directly, but having those rods sure made clearing the cultists out of the cloud giant castle far easier than it would have otherwise been.

It started with us coming to an agreement of sorts with Blagothkus. Turns out the information we’d been given about him being an unwilling participant in helping the cult was full of crap. So, some fancy talking on the part of our Red Wizard of Thay managed to convince the cloud giant that allying with the cult to bring back Tiamat might not be in the best interest of the giants. He then graciously asked us to take care of the cultists in and around his castle for him, and of course we graciously agreed.

This is where those immovable rods came to our rescue. Being able to “lock” doors which weren’t designed to be locked made it far easier to take care of both the kobolds and the human cultists. That just left a pissed off half black dragon – did you know they spit acid in a straight line? By Tymora that spit burns! Fortunately, since we’d been able to keep all her cultists from joining the fray at once, we were able to teach Rezmir the lesson she’s been avoiding since before going through the portal.

The adult white dragon, on the other hand….. I wouldn’t be at all upset if I never have to deal with another dragon. Ever. Stories about vanquishing them always sound so terribly impressive; its probably a good thing the audience doesn’t really know what its like or they would be significantly less enthralled (and therefore less likely to tip well!).

Anyway, I think it’s time to get off this floating castle in the sky. I’m sure I’ll see you again in the not-so-distant future.

- S

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To the cloud castle -- introspection of Grr Animal-Friend
How to train a wyvern

Gavin’s training of his pet troll seems to be going well. After we gave the troll all the leftover meat from the epic battle with Tallis the animal-murderer, he was helpful in cleaning out a Peryton nest for us. It’s too bad we couldn’t stay long with our new troll friends, because we were in a hurry to follow the cultists to Parnast. At least the trolls are happy to guard our new home while we are gone.

It turns out that Parnast is overrun by cultists, but it was pretty fun as far as towns go:

1) I got to try brandy: It’s kind of like beer, but you’re supposed to make a funny face and “sip” it.

2) I bribed my first guard: He was trying to distract us by keeping us at the jail. So I gave him some money to let us go. Then he took the money and didn’t let us go. Then Gavin stabbed him. After we killed him, we took the money back. Fun game, although I’m not sure what the point of the money was.

3) I got to fly a Wyvern: While we were playing the bribing game with the guards, the cloud castle took off ahead of us. It just so happened there were a couple of wyverns in a nearby stable. We worked well as a team to get them flying and going to the castle, with Gavin and I each driving a wyvern, Sabir contributing some much-needed assistance at a critical moment, and Kadence inspiring us with her singing. Maybe we can keep them as friends after we leave the castle. Our new home conveniently has a stable for them.

While Parnast was a fun distraction, our real target was the cloud castle. While we were able to fool the guards to get into the castle, we ran into the red wizard Asbara Jos, who recognized us. He was with an other red wizard, Rath Modar. A lot of fireballs were thrown around, and while Asbara Jos ended up well-done, Rath Modar disappeared and jumped out of the flying castle inches ahead of Sabir’s fireball ( I assume, since I couldn’t see him). I was hoping for the satisfaction of seeing him splat on the ground, but unfortunately he was able to featherfall safely down and escape. After searching his room, we discovered Rath Modar is leading the red wizards helping the cultists, because they need hundreds of powerful magic users to perform the ritual to summon Tiamat. Rath is also plotting to overthrow the lich Szass Tam who leads the red wizards, which is something we may be able to use against him if we can get a message to Szass Tam.

It’s still not clear where the castle is going, or how we can keep the treasure inside from getting there. I must consult the animal spirits.
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