Wanted: Treasure and Fame

Gregor's "Wolves" Part 3
The White Dragon

998 YK Wir, 14th of Therendor (Wednesday, March 14)

We took a few minutes in the bunkroom once we knew there weren’t anymore kobolds, or those NASTY beetles. Even with how severe the fire and frostbite felt, there thankfully weren’t any serious injures. Geesh, you’d think waking up to a few bugs would be the worst thing they could offer. Ew, now I gotta check my bedroll after this.

After the rest, we decided to follow the path the bugs and handlers had come from. Around the corner was..well, a play room. There was a small fence in the back, toys and balls in a pen in the middle of the room, and a few chairs around it. We were able to quickly confirm there weren’t anymore fire beetles, young or otherwise, in the room. Drawn into the wall were diagrams on how to both train and raise the beetles! They’re a good fight when they’re opposing you, but if Ni’Tarra had lucked out on finding an egg like she’d been trying, we would have the means to raise them. If anyone is looking for them, the following drawings were taken from the wall.

{A rough etching of the pictures on the wall are drawn here}

We then took the second path from the bunkroom. It went down a bit before we came to a crossroads. The mine rails were present under a thin lair of dust, but still in good condition. Ahead of us were five different entrances. We quickly realized how much a mine can act like a maze when we started getting lost and walked into deadends and even each other! It felt like hours, but was probably less than one when we finally found an end to the twists and turns. And this time it didn’t lead us back to where we started!

There was a beautiful cavern hiding at the end of the maze. I mean, there were a few stalagmites hanging from the roof a good 20 ft above our heads. Thanks to Drakar’s light, we were able to make out a spacious room. A good distance in front of us the room opened up to almost 35 ft of headroom. Not even Kildrak needs that much room! :) Far in the back corner there was a small pond that was surprisingly clear considering it looked stagnant.

Young dragon

As we walked toward the pond, we started to hear chanting. It echoed throughout the cavern, so we started to tip toe as lightly as we could, considering we have two brawd guys in metal armor. The chanting became clearer, if still unrecognizable, as the roof started to slant up. Drakar chose to break rank and that’s when a rope appeared from the roof, almost hitting me in the face. Immediately, four of the smaller kobolds slid down the rope and surrounded me. Thankfully Rife and Ni’Tarra were nearby and the bastards didn’t get too many hits in before they were dispatched.

That’s when everything went to hell. Just as Kildrak finished the last of the little kobolds, a roar like nothing I have ever heard echoed in the cavern. And then we saw it; a White Dragon as large as all of us side by side and teeth designed specifically to tear at flesh. A piranha’s mouth doesn’t even hold a candle to the raw amount of teeth this dragon had. It swooped down to us, roared once again in our faces before it breathed the very ice winds from atop Frostfell! We all were covered in ice; frost bite already nestling in as I saw the ice form around Kildra’s exposed bones and Rife’s beard.

We did all that we could. Combining a LOT of our talents, coordinating together, and an obscene amount of luck let us walk away from that fight gave us a chance to win. Of course I made it, how else could I be telling you about this? I started healing those who looked the worst as Ni’Tarra swung her “friend” at it. Before it had a chance to fly out of reach, Rife struck it hard with his sword. He then started to grapple it, like he was putting the damned thing in a headlock! However, this dragon {or maybe any dragon} did not appreciate the idea of a noogie, and took Rife with it when it flew towards the ceiling!

Rife held onto its thick neck for a good while as Kildrak threw javelins at it. A dragon is usually a horrible pincushion I’ve heard, but we had to make an exception. Ni’Tarra started to climb the stalagmite closest to the dragon as Drakar attempted to assail it with his spells. I’ve never heard of dragons being hardy against spells, but this one was seriously making me doubt the tales of old. To make things worst, like it could a kobold in thick robes and wielding a spear slid down the rope.

Just as Ni’Tarra had finished the climb, Rife lost his grip and fell the whole 25 ft! He was rolling to his feet, mostly unharmed, as Kildrak threw another javelin, this time hitting the roof above its head. Ni’Tarra took advantage of the distraction Rife provided and jumped from the stalagmite, swinging her axe right into the side of it. However, we still hadn’t seen any appreciable damage to its hide. On the ground from the Priest we felt another icy breath cross the floor. This time, however, we’d had enough cold from the dragon that it didn’t truly effect us. To make matters worse, other than the few javelins we had picked up from the kobolds and the unsuccessful arcane, we had no other options to cover the distance a flying dragon could create.

Just as we came to the daunting realization that it could just sweep by us, tearing into us with its claws as big as Ni’Tarra’s axe, it reminded us that it was more than just pointy weapons. It breathed, again, this time roaring as it did so. The very cavern shook with the sheer rage behind the sound, our feet attempting to freeze to the cavern floor after its worshipper. Kildrak was not having that again, and charged the Priest, bringing it down in three quick, precise strikes.

There were flurries of teeth and claws as we tried to strike, cast, and bait it to be within range. Eventually though, it became very clear it wasn’t going to, and then Ni’Tarra had a brilliant plan. She asked Rife for a piggy back ride. With the added height his tall frame gave her, the dragon was JUST in striking range. Since I couldn’t help anyone recover from their bites and talon injures, or support Kildrak’s sheer size I asked Kildrak for a lift. He easily tossed me on his shoulders as Rife helped Ni’Tarra settle on his.

Drakar continued to press his arcane knowledge, looking for some way to get his spells to impact that scale hide. Slowly we all got a rhythm, balancing on shoulders or striking from below with the remaining javelins. Eventually, between Ni’tarra’s raw determination, the low silver light I provided telling my comrades where the soft spot was, and the guys keeping us stable, we got through the scale. And once we saw blood, we carved. It was painstaking, but slowly we were able to peel back enough of its underbelly to bleed it out.

Not one story I have ever read about dragons ever mentioned the part, “What happens to the dragon when it’s defeated?” Common sense says, it crashes! And it did so, from mid-soar, on top of us. Thankfully Rife was able to move Ni’Tarra and himself out of reach. Drakar had been smart and already kept his distance and Kildrak..he rescued me by throwing me off his shoulders and taking the weight on himself. Now, Kildrak is EXTREMELY strong, but a dragon is a bit too much even for him. But, Ni’Tarra and Rife are just as impressively strong, and between the three of us we were able to unbury Kildrak from the white dragon. And he was safe, if not a little winded from the sheer weight of the thing.

We all made it, in relatively one piece. Thankfully, nothing else came down the rope. Once we’d recovered as much as we could safely, we continued exploring the cavern. Ni’Tarra ventured up the rope as Rife and Kildrak took the heads. Ni’Tara started shouting in excitement, saying we’d need more hands than we have to carry the horde. I’d completely forgotten about the stories telling us how big a dragon horde’s can be! Drakar came prepared, however, and with a little help got his Tensor’s Floating Disk working as a dumbwaiter. We found quite a few boxes, including a jewelry box {excluded from entry until decision made on items and a weapon/armor box.} There was also a mound of silver, a chest of gold, and a few gems arranged like a circlet around the silver coins.

On a second trip, with some arcane detection from Drakar, we also discovered some platemail that had been used as a make-shift pillow among the nest. To Ni’Tarra’s dismay, there were no dragon eggs for her to collect. We also discovered that, although the mine we had passed to get here was abandoned, there was still some kind of ore. However, due to the recent string of fights, the identifying and counting not including the staying up late to hunt down these “wolves” would have to wait until after some much needed sleep. With everyone’s help, we were able to use my campsite ritual and get everything unpacked. It did not take long for us to drift away into the Dreamlands. I pity Rife since he took first watch, but I am also glad, since it means I can catch up on some much missed rest.

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Gregor's "Wolves" Part Two
Those weren't wolves!

998 YK Wir, 14th of Therendor (Wednesday, March 14)

Not even the crickets are awake when we left Mr. Gregor’s farm. It’s two in the morning and even the monsters in the forest and the little noises of the night have fallen asleep. Which means we are alone, the four of us, as we take the 9 mile trek through the farmland to reach the abandoned mine. The hours pass quickly enough, Drakar’s stomach only chirping in once in a while. I have no idea what it is, but apparently feeding it doesn’t help.

When we finally got close, we heard celebrations. Beyond the treeline there were quick movements, like dancing, and an old wind chime going faster than the wind. I got a glimpse of a campfire and kobolds before they screamed, “To Arms” in Common. Ni’Tarra just grinned and screamed back, “To Arms” before she charged through the treeline.

The first thing she is greeted to on the other side of those trees were, well, kobolds. Over half a dozen grabbing weapons. This includes one with a long kobold-skull headdress and another with a literal skull cap! Most of them head straight for Ni’Tarra, but a few head past her and away from us. Just as Ni’Tarra is hit with what looks like an arcane snowball that left an impact like an iceball, I noticed him. A man, just a few yards away from Ni’Tarra in scalemail came running to intercept the kobolds.

Just as the small horde circled Ni’Tarra, Drakar dropped a pillar which sparked in anticipation of any of those kobolds getting close, and giving Ni’Tarra some breathing room. One, two, three went down as the new guy and Kildrak swung at the smaller kobolds. Before we could chase down the cowardly shaman, who had ran further into the mine, the skullcap approached. When he swung with his sword, and he had a real sword not the metal shard or pointed stick you knew it was meant for Ni’Tarra because he kept watching her movements. It was intense. But within a few moments, Kildrak and the new guy helped her take him down.

I quickly introduced ourselves to the stranger and he did the same. The imposing man who fought with a bastard sword and already looked battle-worn told us his name is Rife Gallionson. It is very important for you to understand this was just a matter of moments, but I could already tell you a lot about him. Importantly, he was Brelish and enjoyed fighting. He was already looking into the cave as we were introduced, and the accent. OH, the accent. It’s unmistakenable and just so..yum! Kildrak offered him a portion of the money earned if he helped us clear out the kobolds. He nodded and agreed since it meant more fighting.

And it didn’t take very long. Less than 30 yards away we could see the shaman run into an alcove. He was moving so fast, though, that he was well ahead of us. Ni’Tarra, of course, came up with a great idea. She turned to Kildrak and told him to throw her in the room. He asked her, “Are you sure?” She gave him a toothy grin and asked why not. While Rife ran down the hall with Kildrak and Ni’Tarra, Drakar was getting a doozy of a spell ready. Kildrak hefted Ni’Tarra up by the scruff of her armor and hauled her a good 40 ft! She landed so casually off the wall and yelled “To Arms” to the kobolds in the room.

The shaman, however, wasn’t alone. There were five, very groggy kobolds with him. One of them didn’t have the “pointed stick” like the others. Instead, he had a small sling. In the quick confusion that is fighting in confine spaces, it get even more confusing. Amongst our colleagues was a large warrior, easily 6 ft tall, wreathed in flames. Drakar smiled to himself in satisfaction as he told his warrior who to take down first. A few of the kobolds cried out as they fell to the blades and axes. The one with the sling fought the hardest. When he was backed against a corner and a warrior of flames, he picked up one of his glass bullets and smashed it into the warrior, leaving little embers to fall around them. Between Kildrak and the Warrior they were able to finish off the slinger. At the same time Ni’Tarra and Rife were able to stop the cowardly shaman from throwing anymore arcane orbs.

We took a few minutes to rest in the make-shift bunkroom. It seems now everyone understands what Kildrak meant when he explained I kept him out of trouble. So many people think that the arcane elements have no interest in the healing arts. Pssh. Afterwards Drakar and I took a moment to look for anything of interest, or usefulness while the others collected heads for Mr. Gregor. It was a big surprise when we discovered that the armor the skullcap was wearing was actually First Circle Mellorating Scalemail. Even more so when we identified one of the “blankets” to be a robe, also of the First Circle. And there were some gold coins in there. Who knew they were richer than us? That sounded desperate, sorry.

Just as Rife put on his new armor, with Kildrak’s assistance, and Drakar put on the new robe, we heard more voices. And..then there was creepy, chittering noise of large bugs. We barely were readied in the hall before we met the next oncoming wave. Five kobolds lead with their “spears”, followed by what could have been fire beetles once. However, these beetles looked like frosted glass. We could see passed the frost and ice to the gallbladder, the source of its fire. And behind the pair of fire beetles were their handlers, and another one of those smelly pot-slingers.

Before they could charge us, Drakar ran in front of them and threw a cacophony of arcane energy, both destroying the first wave of kobolds AND turning their remains into a wall. Unfortunately, this did not seem to hinder the beetles in anyway as they climbed over the fallen kobolds, opened their oversized mandibles at us, and spit fire and ice at us! Everyone was drenched in flames and shivering at the same time, a sick feeling if one ever has the chance to feel those extremes at the same time. The slinger launched it’s smelly, rotten egg lunch at Drakar, and unfortunately hit. As his eyes began watering, the two handlers followed their pets towards us.

It became chaos at that point. When the opportunity arose, Ni’Tarra helped Rife flank one of the pets as Kildrak dealt with the second and it’s handler. Drakar directed even more power towards the other handler as I kept up the distractions on the slinger. At one point Rife had wrangled the beetle and had actually put the thing in a headlock! Before it could spit at Ni’Tarra again, however, Rife and Ni’Tarra struck at its exposed body. Its shell cracked, then shattered before its innards oozed down Rife’s side. And no, it did not look like melted snow.

With the slinger defeated by his own distraction, we had only the last of both pet and handler. The handler looked up as Rife and Ni’Tarra come up to it, Kildrak behind them. And just as they were about to swing the last blows, the handler put its hand on the pets back. It looked like it was comforting its pet in those last few moments. That is, until it put its entire weight into the gesture, forcing the fire and ice cocktail to be spit out. Again the burns and frostbite covered us. This time, however, we knew how to resist the extreme elements and retaliated. The handler left quietly, however the beetle made that horrible clicking noise as it shattered, then melted away, leaving only the gallbladder and the shell remaining.

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Gregor's "Wolves"
Our First Quest!!

998 YK Zol, 13th of Therendor (Tuesday, March 13)

HA! I told Kildrak that the flier would bring people in. I knew he was a bit nervous since I wouldn’t write it for him, but it doesn’t matter because it actually worked!

Thankfully Ben, the keeper, didn’t mind us just waiting around while him and his sons continued their construction. The Drunk Phoenix is really starting to look good. Course, I hope they keep their prices the same so I can still afford it. We sat in the tavern all morning. Kildrak had to wait patiently at one of the tables when they FINALLY started to walk in.

I’ll admit, the people who came to apply were..interesting to say the least. I mean, I know people normally say that so their friends can seem more badass or sophisticated, or some such nonsense. But, these people were downright strange! And I can’t wait to get to know them.

The small shifter named Ni’Tarra introduced herself first. Then she introduced us to her “best friend”, her Great Axe. Can you believe someone could be so dedicated to combat they befriend their instrument of death or defense? She automatically qualified with that introduction. :)

Oh, then there was this kinda scary looking guy in the corner. He was..intense. I’ve never seen a Deva before, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he is. Can you imagine the history they can remember? Sorry, that sounds bad, doesn’t it? He eventually spoke and said his name was Orsus. He’s that kind of guy who is quiet, but direct if and when he speaks. If it weren’t for the fact that he also had a greataxe, I would have thought he was someone who was waiting to rob us. Actually, that should have made me think it more! But, he seemed more sad than murderous, so maybe that’s why I didn’t run behind Kildrak…not that I would have just because of a little confrontation, mind you. It just would have helped defuse the situation is all. Anyway, when I asked him what he did, he simply said his greataxe was not his friend, but an implement of his divine nature. Cryptic, right?

Anyway, the last person to show up was a wizard. You knew instantly because he had that high collared robe going on, the small bag of supplies..and the staff. You can’ wear a high collar AND carry a staff without making people think that. When asked, he told us his name was Drakar. He’s..an odd one too. I mean, Ni’Tarra was a bit barbaric in her manners, but she had them. Orsus was..well, like I said, kinda intense. But Drakar topped them both. He kept mumbling arcane things to himself. Now, if there was any meaning I’d be able to tell you what he was saying, but there was no rhyme or reason to it. To make it even worse, his stomach would respond back! What the hell did he eat?

Well, anyway, after making sure everyone was fed properly, since that’s just polite since they came here to apply, we told them our first job was for Mr. Gregor. He was having problems with wolves eating his livestock and he couldn’t lose anymore without his business suffering. So, we took the hour trip to his farm. You’d think that would be boring, except for the fact that Drakar was now listening to his stomach. I had kinda hoped feeding him would help, but I guess it had something important to say..for the whole hour.

When we did arrive we found Mr. Gregor in his fields. After shaking everyone’s hands and thanking us, he finally took the time to tell us what he was he was thanking us for. Apparently, every 2-3 nights for the last 2 weeks one of his livestocks would disappear. From the remains we could see in the range, the wolves were eating on the move.

He said he’d give us 5 silver for each wolf pelt we brought back to him. Orsus asked why he wasn’t using the barn to keep his animals safe, which is a good question I wish I had thought of. Mr. Gregor explained that, even with the barn being in good condition, his stock was still disappearing. He mentioned there was probably a hole behind one of the hay barrels he hadn’t found and that’s how the wolves were getting out.

Well, Orsus came up with a great idea so we could find the wolves doing this. He suggested Mr. Gregor put the sheep and cows in the barn for the night, and we’d stake it out until the wolves showed. He agreed and we all started looking around the range and barn. Ni’Tarra commented that the fence was too small for a grown wolf to sneak in and pups were unlikely to get this close to people.

Orsus showed us some really good hiding places to use when it got dark. We waited a few more hours until Orsus told us, “Showtime”, and then we all got into position. I had no idea that meant we’d be staying like that until 1 in the morning! But, his plan worked. In comes the heads of 5 Kobolds! Orsus signaled Ni’Tarra, who was clinging to the pitch of the roof, and they waited until the Kobolds piled in.

The last one kept watch as the other 4 went straight for the pregnant cow. Just before they grabbed her, Orsus jumped from the rafters and ran straight for the guard! And in that instant, I saw what he meant by his power being divine. He swung his Great Axe, and I could still see a silver afterimage of the weapon still lingering infront of him. Who knew that kind of power could come from the silent Gods?

Anyway, before they could even respond to his assault, Ni’Tarra fell from the roof and used it to power her “friend” and almost cleaved the lead Kobold in two pieces! I took a few pot shots of arcanic words to one of the Kobolds in the middle who fell from the sheer force. Then Drakar mumbled some arcane words I COULD understand, and a wasp the size of an actual wolf and almost as clear as glass assaulted the guard with Orsus.

When the guard tried to attack Orsus, it fell over as if the image of his weapon was as sharp as his real one. Nice, right? Both the guard and the lead ended up getting a small piece of Ni’Tarra and Orsus, but nothing I couldn’t fix when we were done. And then poor Kildrak. He stretches, knocking the carriage wheel he was behind over, and swung right for a normal man’s head. If they were regular sized and not small Kobolds, he would have knocked his head right off! As it was, he got a little too close to Ni’Tarra’s and she noticed. In quick work, Ni’Tarra got the lead back for his strike at her and Orsus and I finished off the two in the middle.

Kildrak and Ni’Tarra dragged the Kobolds behind us as we went back to Mr. Gregor’s house. Poor guy, he looked so tired when he opened the door to us and the remains of his “wolves”. He made us some coffee as we explained what happened. When he was more awake, Drakar tried to negotiate for a better pay since these were obvious not wolves. He said he could keep with the original 5 silver per head, including wherever they were taking his livestock, or just give us a flat fee.

Kildrak, the brilliantly tall man that he is, called our first group meeting to remind us that if it was just a scout party, that meant there was at least another dozen Kobolds. We’d make out better if we kept our original deal. Plus it doesn’t hurt our reputation when Mr. Gregor tells his neighbors how great we were and how easy to work with. So Ni’Tarra, in her best impression of Kildrak yet, told him we would of course honor our current deal. However, because of the hours we were doing this in to make sure no more livestock was lost, he would also have to provide us breakfast.

It is an acquired taste, but I think meals with your clients taste better than the same meal any other time. Maybe that’s just me, but those eggs and jerky were damn good to me. Unfortunately, after we ate Orsus told us he had to go. This mission, even though helpful, was not one his lady wanted him on. Then, as he turned to leave and we told him he could find us in the inn, he said, “I hope the lady does not seek you tonight.” I asked him what that meant, since it sounded like a prayer. That is when he explained that his lady, the Raven Queen, represents death. Like I mentioned, an intense, scary old, young-looking guy.

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