Tyranny of Dragons


Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Chapter 8, Part 4

Having vanquished the Wyrmspeaker Rezmir and come to an amicable resolution with the Red Wizards Rath Modar and Azbara Jos, the adventurers have only one major enemy left on the flying castle of Skyreach: the white dragon Glazhael the Cloud-chaser.

As the party plans their attack, the cloud giant castle begins to shake and tilt disturbingly. An alarm howls through the castle and moments later, the adventurers are contacted by the melodious voice of Esclarotta, the spirit of Skyreach Castle. She warns them that one of the dragon cultists has managed to climb into the inner workings of the castle and is attempting to scuttle the flying palace.

Esclarotta explains that the chamber is only accessible via a difficult climb and the entrance has been sealed. The servants of her husband, the cloud giant lord Blagothkus, cannot reach it, so she has reached out to the party for assistance.

After a bit of haggling, the adventurers decide that preventing the castle they are on from crashing into the ground is A Good Thing. Garrett is volunteered to put his second story skills to work, and he takes the still-excited Larion with him.

The rest of the adventurers still have the dragon to deal with. Raeyanne concocts a plan to convince the dragon that it has been betrayed and that it should go back to the Parnast Hunting Lodge to regroup with Talis the White. The plan involves using a bit of Jamna’s illusion magic to disguise the Black Wyrmspeaker’s Mask as the White Wyrmspeaker’s Mask. The party believes this plan will work because white dragons are known to be dimwitted.

Hurk remembers a bit of lore about the Wyrmspeaker masks that he overheard during his time in the mercenary company the Right Bastards. The masks, a creation of Tiamat herself, allow the wearers to take on certain aspects of their respective chromatic dragons, causing those particular types of dragons to look upon the wearers favorably in negotiations.

When they descend into the frigid tunnels within the glacier at the heart of Skyreach, they discover a complication. Three of the remaining dragon cultists have regrouped with Glazhael and are conferring with him. Raeyanne insists on attempting the plan anyway, despite a growing sense of foreboding that there would be blood spilled on the ice.

Wearing the illusory White Wyrmspeaker’s Mask, Raeyanne stepped into the cavernous chamber that Glazhael called home and warned the white dragon that the Cult’s leaders planned not to free Tiamat but to control her. Raeyanne claimed that the white dragon faction was withdrawing from the cult and urged Glazhael to regroup with Talis at the hunting lodge.

The real dragon cultists accuse her of being one of the interlopers who had invaded the castle. As Glazhael stands confused, Raeyanne orders the servants of the white dragon to cut down the traitor cultists. She retreats into the tunnel and removes her mask, while Hurk comes charging out, shouting “For the white dragon!”

The half-orc’s evil greatsword Hazirawn cuts down one of the cultists in two swift strokes, yellow-green necromantic energy burning outward from the initial wounds. The two surviving cultists attack Hurk, one of them landing some nasty cuts with his scimitar.

The dragon is perplexed by this violence among the cultists and ineffectually orders them to stop. He also demands to speak with Talis, as she writes him poetry. While Beryl marches forward to heal Hurk, Raeyanne and Jamna stick to the tunnels to attack from afar. Soon there is only one badly wounded cultist left, who retreats around behind the dragon, begging it for help.

The castle continues to shake and shudder, occasionally sending icicles plunging down from the ceiling, causing minor injuries to the dragon and Jamna.

Glazhael proves to be too stupid and bloody-minded to be tricked by Raeyanne. Instead, he rears up, his fearsome magnificence sending a jolt of fear through the adventurers. Hurk’s thoughts keep turning back to the last time he faced dragons close up, during the Battle of Karse where the Right Bastards were wiped out. He can’t bring himself to get closer to the creature.

Glazhael then opens its broad jaws to unleash a gout of frigid cold more terrible than any blizzard. Hurk and Beryl take the full brunt, while Raeyanne and Jamna are somewhat shielded in the tunnels. Hurk nearly freezes sold, but the orcish rages burning in his blood keeps him warm and upright. Beryl, nearly laid low herself, blesses Hurk with her most powerful healing spell.

Still trying to conquer his fear, Hurk takes a defensive stance. Raeyanne abandons her attempts to persuade the dragon, and instead stealthily approaches it, looking for some sort of weakness. Jamna, enraged by what the dragon did to Hurk, charges it. Her wrench merely clangs against its icy scales.

The dragon chomps down on Hurk, nearly dropping him, and wounds Jamna with a claw. Beryl calls upon Bahamut to channel more healing energy into the half-orc, but her powers are running low.

The piercing touch of the dragon’s fangs stirs Hurk from his fearful reverie and he rushes forward, Hazirawn telepathically urging him to sate his bloodlust. The black blade, surging with necromantic energy, carves terrible wounds into the dragon.

The surviving cultist rushes to attack Jamna, wounding her. She leaps up onto the dragon’s back, narrowly avoiding another scimitar strike. From her perch on the creature’s back, Jamna slams her wrench into the joint where the wings meet the dragon’s shoulder.

Glazhael roars in pain and confusion and lays into Hurk, biting and clawing the warrior until he lies broken and bleeding on the ground.

Raeyanne tries and fails to leap atop the dragon, and instead drives her blades into its flank. Glazhael glances at its many wounds with a worried look and says “So you were saying about going to see Talis?”

Beryl summons the last of her healing energy to revive Hurk. The half-orc springs to his feet, roaring “Motherf*****, if you thought I was mad before!”

With two spectacular cuts, Hurk splits Glazhael’s head from Glazhael’s neck. The dragon’s head rolls across the icy floor, necrotic energy still chewing away at it as it tumbles. The last surviving cultist drops to his knees in disbelief, crying out in shock. Jamna watches him for a moment, then conks him out with her wrench. Raeyanne is already collecting white dragon scales.

Suddenly Skyreach Castle lurches violently beneath their feet!


StakeTheLurk StakeTheLurk

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