Tyranny of Dragons

The Bullshit Maneuver

Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Chapter Two

The following morning, the locals take stock of the damage—Greenest has been thoroughly looted. Everything of value has been taken, including all the beer at the Winking Sun Inn and even Cuth’s messenger pigeons.

Raeyanne goes looking for her contact, and meets the monk Nesim Waladra, who tells her that his master Leosin Erlanthar was caught up in the fighting and separated from his companions. Nesim fears that he may have attempted to infiltrate the raiders, or worse, gotten captured. He urges Raeyanne to rescue the missing monk.

While Beryl tends to Hurk’s injuries, the castellan Escobert the Red invites the rogues to try their hand at interrogating the cultist captured last night. The man refuses to say anything other than “she is rising.” Garrett and Raeyanne play bad cop/annoying cop as the latter tries to provoke the cultist into revealing what he knows by belittling him and his cause.

They get some information about the cult’s plans to gather a hoard for the return of the “Dragon Queen.” However, the cultist appears to know little else about the grand plan, beyond the fact that it will supposedly scorch the faithless from the face of Faerûn.

Governor Nighthill hires the adventurers to track down the raiders and get what information they can about the attackers’ purpose and their next target. Hurk will stay in town recovering while the others venture forth.

The trail of the raiders is easy to follow, and leads southeast through the rolling plains of the Greenfields and into rockier terrain. They spy a campfire in the distance and approach stealthily. They see a group of four human raiders and eight kobolds arguing over a cooking fire before the kobolds take their half-cooked chicken and leave to eat 150 yards away.

The party decides to bypass the gang, but accidentally alert them. Rae tries to play it off as some sort of stray dog, but she and Garrett ,make matters worse. This causes the raiders to run for their swords, but Garrett gets there first. He cuts down the first one, while Beryl and Rae badly wound two others. The raiders surrender while the kobolds scatter.

The human raiders prove to be a mercenary group, the Blue Boars, who are perfectly happy to tell the party everything they know in exchange for being released. They explain that there are 150-200 raiders at the camp, including kobolds, various mercenary companies, as well as dedicated cultists. The mercenaries are paid well, though the Blue Boars have yet to collect their pay for the raid as they trailed behind the main force.

The mercenaries let them know that a rearguard is always deployed after a raid. However, if they can avoid that, they should be able to just walk into the camp dressed as they are, since they look like just another band of mercenaries. Raeyanne has them mark down the location of the rearguard and the main camp on a map. The Blue Boars don’t know anything about the army’s next target, unfortunately.

Garrett searches the mercenaries, finding little of value save a strange diary written in a language he doesn’t speak. Beryl recognizes it as Elvish script, but written in the Sylvan tongue. It appears to be arranged in stanzas and she realizes it’s a collection of poetry. Raeyanne and Garrett suggest that the would be poet, Gil, should focus on his writing career. “Tell that to my publisher,” he says.

The Blue Boars collect their slain companion and trudge off, promising to never cross the party’s path again.

The three adventurers circle around the rear guard and arrive at the camp to find it a chaotic mess with no real security in place. Kobolds boast about the events of the last night, while several different mercenary groups—the Dark Sail pirates, the Storm Blades of far Calimshan, and the Red Sun cutthroats—celebrate in their own ways. The party marches through the camp, trying to look as if they belong there while seeking out the prisoner pens.

They find a small group of slaves wearily loading a dozen wagons with heavy crates, while several cultists berate and whip them. The lead cultist challenges the party, but they win him over when he sees the dragon symbol on Beryl’s shield and assumes she is a new initiate into the cult. He hails her with the phrase “Praise Tiamat!” and directs the party to the paymaster to collect their pay for the last night’s raid.

Following the cultist’s directions, they pass by the Red Sun mercenaries, who are getting drunk on ale from the Winking Sun. They also notice several interesting features at the back of the camp. One is a large tent, set apart from the others and guarded by a patrol of armored cultists and giant lizards. The tent flap opens and the blue half-dragon Langdedrosa Cyanwrath emerges. He salutes the guards and marches into the camp.

Beyond the tent is the entrance to what looks like the mouth of a cave leading into the side of the plateau. They see several cultists carrying large shanks of meat into the cave.

Finally, set away from the camp and the command tent, they see a half-elf man bound to a stake, bruised and bloodied from extensive torture. Both Raeyanne and Garrett recognize him as Leosin, the man they came to Greenest to see.

While they try to think of what to do, the party walks on to see Karn the paymaster at the center of the camp. Still posing as the Blue Boars, they claim their pay for last night’s raid: 200gp, in coinage from across the Sword Coast. They are the approached by Cyanwrath who claps them on the shoulders and welcomes them to the cult’s army. They stick to their cover stories and he commends them on their service last night and promises that the cult’s campaign will make them rich. With that, he moves on, continuing to shake hands and exchange compliments with other soldiers in the camp.

After that encounter, the three adventurers discuss how to free Leosin and escape the camp. The decide that Beryl will use thaumaturgy to spark a fight between two bands of mercenaries, distracting the camp. At that point, Garrett and Raeyanne will get Leosin down and away.

Beryl goes to cast her spell, mimicking the voice of a Dark Sails pirate mocking the drunken red Suns. The Red Suns are furious and start marching across the camp to confront the Dark Sails. However, the dwarf’s spellcasting draws the attention of a cultist who challenges her. She tells him she is casting an augury to bring good fortune to the cult.

A fight breaks out in the center of the camp between the Dark Sails and the Red Suns, drawing the attention of Cyanwrath. The shouting also draws out two more figures from the tent—a stern-faced woman with dark hair and a female black half-dragon with a strange greatsword slung across her back. Both are dressed in purple robes and both head towards the ruckus.

Meanwhile, Raeyanne and Garrett hasten over to Leosin. He is heartened to see them, but warns that once he is cut down, an alarm will be raised. Garrett finds a drunken Red Sun half-elf passed out nearby and quickly switches his clothes with Leosin, then pins the double up in place. Even so, he has bought them only a little time.

The two rogues prop Leosin up between them, posing as if they are helping a drunk friend. They meet up with Beryl and hastily debate how to extricate themselves. They decide to try simply walking out to help their “drunk” friend puke in the bushes.

They find that a guard detail has been set on the entrance to the camp. The rogues tell the guards that a riot has broken out and that Cyanwrath has requested assistance. The guard captain sends half his force into the camp and thanks them for conveying this news. The adventurers then proceed to walk out with Leosin.

They don’t dare breathe a sigh of relief until they are well clear of the camp. Leosin thanks them and says he has much to tell—but he fears that they may still need to return to the camp soon.

The tired trio find a secluded spot to make camp for the night, with Beryl tending to Leosin’s wounds.

Meanwhile, back in Greenest, Hurk has spent the day convalescing. He was visited by the woman and children he saved by accepting the half-dragon Cyanwrath’s challenge. The woman, Myrcella is a comely barmaid in her late 30s, and brings Hurk a bottle of the “good stuff” from the Winking Sun Inn. With most of the tavern stock looted during the raid, so this is in especially short supply. When Greenest is resupplied, however, she promises that all drinks at the Winking Sun are on her.

But Myrcella is not just there to offer gratitude. She asks Hurk to get well soon because she wants him to go after Cyanwrath again and bring the half-dragon’s hide back to her. “Nobody puts a knife to my kids’ throats and walks away alive,” she tells him. She promises further rewards if he is able to slay the half-dragon for her.

Hurk is also visited by Governor Nighthill, who wants to make sure he is on the mend. With his head and arm still swaddled in bandages, the Governor himself looks like he should be resting but seems too driven to oversee the town’s recovery to think of recuperating.

In Beryl’s absence, Hurk is also tended to by Brother Falconmoon, who changes his dressings while exchanging light conversation about the half-orc’s background and what he knows of the other party members. Hurk learns that the town has been completely looted, with almost everything of value taken and dragged off. Thankfully, most of the houses are intact and the raiders didn’t bother stealing the flour stockpiled in the mill, so Greenest won’t starve, but it will be years before the town regains the level of prosperity it had just the day before.


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