Tyranny of Dragons

Among the Dragon Kneelers

Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Chapter 6, Part 3

The adventurers head down to the mess hall to chat up the cultists. Raeyanne sits down to a card game with Kevan, Marget, Ryany and Addmyng. The rogue quickly proves to be more than a match for them, but tries to glean information from them.

She learns that the cult is putting Kevan’s daughters through law school and regrets hustling him. The cultists are in the dark about the overall plan for the cult, beyond bringing about a reign of dragons. They also wonder about the involvement of the Red Wizards. The adventurers learn that the cult’s overall leader, Severin the Red, apparently has a connection with the wizards that led to their partnership.

Hurk asks about the leaders of the guard patrols and learns the Bullywugs handle security. The cultists count and sort the loot, then package it off to the lodge, which is apparently a much nicer posting. The bullywugs are not well-liked, especially their strange religious ceremonies.

While the rest of the party pumps the cultist for information, Garrett and Larion stay in the party’s room to engage in a different sort of pumping.

During the cold, damp night, Beryl has a dream of standing out look up at unfamiliar stars. Green lights dance overhead and then shoot over to the west. She then sinks into the earth and finds herself in a underground chamber full of mist that lights up with the same eerie green. The glow comes from a set of runes etched i a large circle on the floor.

The morning drums from the barbican wake her and she hastily scribbles down what she can recall of the runes.

As the party gets dressed, a red mist coalesces at the window and then disburses to reveal the Red Wizard Azbara Jos. He wants to speak with the party privately and asks them about their business here, as well as their thoughts on the cult’s leaders and its overall plans.

Hurk, awoken from “a pleasant dream about tiny… things,” does most of the talking. This is probably a mistake, and explains that they were mercenaries hired by Cyanwrath and they don’t exactly know why they’re here or what they are doing. Jamna spends much of the conversation elbowing him in the leg, trying to get the half-orc to shut up. Raeyanne meanwhile creeps in a position to backstab him should hostilities break out. Looking a little disappointed, Azbara bids his farewell and exits out the door.

Hurk wonders if Azbara could be an ally against the cult, but the rogues want him dead. There is discussion of the best way to kill a wizard, with Rae and Garrett favoring striking the throat first, which is difficult for Jamna to do without a ladder.

The gnome spies the sketch of the runes and identifies it as a permanent teleport circle, likely activated by a command word. Beryl doesn’t know where the circle might be, so they decide to file that away for now.

The party goes down to breakfast, a boring porridge, that is being drowned out by the rally outside. The bullywugs have gathered in the courtyard, where Pharblex Spattergoo shares the secret mysteries reveal to him by the Elder Gods and the spirits of the earth, the air and the other places. But the gods demand a sacrifice, and also a knife to perform the sacrifice. A goat is brought forth and Pharblex proceeds to cut out its heart. He takes the still-beating organ and smacks it against the heads of his followers, blessing them with the powers of the Elder Spirits and the gods of the earth, the air, and the other places. The goat is roasted up for breakfast, while Pharblex eats the heart and then retreats below to commune with the spirits once more.

Garrett is unhappy that the bullywugs get to eat goat while he’s stuck with porridge, so Kevan introduces him to the Dwarven cook Tharm. The cook is willing to provide some contraband bacon (“contrabacon”) in exchange for coin. Garrett shares his meal with Larion.

Afterwards, the party goes to the smithy to confer with the Lizardfolk, but they find Dralmorrer Borngray there trying to instruct them in metalworking. He asks why they aren’t doing whatever it is that they’re supposed to do. “This is a cult, not a charity—except for tax purposes.” They explain they want to thank Snapjaw for guiding them through the swamp, and the elf, who has a strange appreciation of the lizardmen, allows them to go speak with him.

They huddle with Snapjaw to hammer out a plan for that night. Garrett suggests getting the cook to put something in the bullywugs’ rations as a “prank” that will incapacitate them during the night. Beryl recalls that the frog men will be thrown into a deep slumber if they drink any shade of the evening, a type of palm oil. The two of them bribe and cajole Tharm into sabotaging the food.

That evening, the group engages in stage two of the plan: Garrett, Raeyanne, and Jamna climb up to the second floor of the barbican to sabotage the message drum and signal the lizardmen in the camp outside. Down below, Hurk, Beryl, and Larion wait with a small group of Lizardmen to help secure the balcony.

The climb doesn’t go as smoothly for the rogues as hoped, but the lizardmen are too distracted by a theological debate to notice. The trio creeps up until they are perched on the wall overlooking the roofless second floor of the gatehouse. Jamna creates an illusory noise to draw the guards away from the drum, and then Garrett jumps down. Along the way, he knocks loose several bricks which clatter onto the roof.

“Hi guys!” Garrett says and then rushes over to the drum, cutting it open with his shortsword.

“Get him! Get him!” the bullywug sergeant shouts, and all nine of them rush towards the rogue.

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