Grekas, looking to inspire the obviously frightened men, weaves magic into his words and shouts, “TAKE HEART, MEN! TODAY, WE BECOME DRAGON-SLAYERS!” The men let out a cheer that is cut short as the dragon swoops down from her perch and spews a gout of acid down upon the battlefield.
Throwing up a quick shield, the wizard is able to protect the men nearest him from Bochura’s acidic breath, but the enemy soldiers on the far side of the wall are not so lucky. A whole contingent scatters as they are doused in acid, and Zor Khaal Varuun orders his archers to fire upon the traitorous black dragon. The gesture is futile, however, as she simply flies up and out of range of their arrows. In the chaos, Grekas looses sight of Saeleara.
“Meanwhile” (actually two days after the events occurring at Brentil Keep), the group fleeing south continues upon their journey towards Vesh. Deciding that they have ventured far enough south to not have to worry about the forces of Kibbel, the party descends from the Tigerstripe Mountains, and heads onto the trade road nearer the coast. They run into a Veshan patrolman from Castle Waywatch, and convince him that they are indeed refugees fleeing the army to the north. He informs them that Lord Brentil and his new bride set out to reclaim the keep with reinforcements several days ago, but that they’ve yet to hear from them.
Continuing down the road, Jaraltanth begins to giggle, and fidget about. The group gives him space, and ask what is wrong with him. He tells them that it feels like something, or rather, several somethings, are crawling on him. Using a bit of divine magic instead of his hands, Chadwick pulls the culprits out of Jaraltanth’s coat pockets: six bouncing baby kobolds.
The cleric names them thusly:
- Serenity (tan scales with dark spots on their face)
- “Crazy-Eyes” Shadow (dark brown scales with one red eye and one yellow eye)
- Malatesta Jr. (tan with curly horns on their head)
- Toothy (dark brown with three extra long teeth protruding from their mouth)
- Krav Maga (reddish-brown with a horn on their snout)
- Lexington (off-white with vestigial wings under their arms)
Ka points out the chirping babies are probably hungry (as is Ugi, who keeps staring at the babies, and then licking her beak) ,and admits that the group as a whole is running out of travel rations, as well. He suggests they take some food from one of the surrounding farms, but Chadwick, having been raised on a farm, shoots down the idea, electing to head towards the coast, or maybe even go hunt bandits.
Marzek approaches the cleric, and informs him that freshly-hatched kobolds would go for quite a pretty sum in Vesh, but Chadwick tells him that they are part of a “future investment” of his. The goblin understands, but tells him to remember just in case he changes his mind later.
After a few hours of searching, the party comes across a cove at the foot of the sea cliffs, in which a trio of men are pulling a boat filled with sacks. Chadwick yells down to them, “HEY! ARE YOU BANDITS?!” They don’t seem to hear his question, but freeze when they see the party looking down at them. Ka and Chadwick wind their way down to the cove, and the assassin asks if they are fisherman. One of them, a rotund human with a nasty-looking scar on his lower lip, hesitantly says yes, but when Chadwick looks into one of their bags to find it full of silver coins, they quickly reach for their blades.
With a flick of his wrist and a vile word, however, Chadwick’s zombie-bulette (who has been burrowing beneath the party on their journey) pokes it head out of the cliff, and lets out a ragged roar. The cleric tells them to empty their boat and hand over any food, then get back into their boat and leave. The trio are gone within minutes.
With their bellies filled, the party continues towards Vesh.
Back at Brentil Keep, the two remaining ogres at the gates begin pounding away with their clubs, splintering the wood. A rather drunk Sir Felero (having gulped down one of the alcohol bottle-firebombs after seeing a dragon enter the fray), leaps into the catapult bucket, shouting for someone to shoot him at the giants, but Cora face-palms, motioning for the rest of the troops to ignore him.
Suddenly, a loud crash is heard overhead, as a silver dragon twice Bochaladaxx’s size emerges from the storm clouds and slams into the black dragon’s side. Grekas, finally able to take his eyes off of the dragon threat, casts a ‘Sleep’ spell on the ogres assaulting the gate. They quickly fall into a stupor, their feet landing right beside the flaming hay.
A band of goblins, recovering from the surprise of yet another dragon entering the battle, clamber over the sleeping ogres, and through the splintered remains of the gate, charging into the outer bailey. Maltravakis orders Grekas to take some men down and hold their advance, and the wizard quickly complies. The two groups clash in front of the inn. Cora, looking to stop any more Kibbelese troops from getting into the keep, charges into the fray, clawing at the enemy, and tossing rubble, left by the bulette’s rampage the night before, to block the entrance.
The leader of the goblins, a rather large warrior with an over-sized bardiche, catches sight of the shifter, and nearly gets her in the back, but Grekas’s quick summoning of a stone construct to block the attack save her. The bardiche’s blade breaks into pieces as the barbarian turns on the goblin and slices him with her claws.
To the south, a day after the hatching of the baby kobolds (about three days after the events at Brentil Keep), the group fleeing the battle arrive at the gates of Vesh, the great Broken Tower casting it’s long shadow over the city below. Guards meet them at the entrance and inform them that they must submit to a security check before being allowed in. Chadwick, realizing that they probably don’t want to be caught with stolen money, hands over one of the bags of silver coins from the “fishermen” they met the day before, telling the guards that they “confiscated it from some bandits.” The guards look at each other, and one of them winks, saying “Right… you ‘confiscated’ it… Welcome to Vesh.”
Dumbstruck that they just accidentally bribed someone, the party continues through the gate, finding themselves on a broad street beyond, packed with market stalls. Ka, interested in finding somewhere to set up shop now that they’ve left Cavarix’s tower back at Brentil Keep, asks Emaranelle if she could arrange a meeting with the merchant-prince she used to work for. She says that he probably won’t be happy to see her, but yes. Mining her for more information on why she left in the first place, the party learns that her and the prince in question, Lord Rokesh Dar, were romantically involved. He sent her away out of fear for her safety, however (although she’s not exactly sure what the source of the threat was). Ka remarks that she doesn’t need to worry about any threat to her life anymore, as she’s seen what they are capable of firsthand. Chadwick points out that they can be her “bodyguards.” Emaranelle half-smiles and nods.
Meanwhile, Cosmodios is entranced by a nearby stall selling “Edible Soaps”. He buys one (which supposedly tastes like “Oranges from the Isle of Whitetower”) from the bent old woman running the stall, and shoves the treat into his mouth as soon as she hands it to him. Ka comes and drags him along as he, Chadwick, Jaraltanth, and the helmed horror follow Emaranelle up towards the mount atop which sits the Broken Tower, leaving the owlbear, Ugi, in charge of Dazzler, Djekir, Winivelth, Marzek, and the newly-born kobold babies.
They pass through another gate, but notice smoke rising from a nearby street. Nonchalantly approaching, they realize that a building is on fire. A single young wizard, waving his staff back and forth and producing a stream of water, is the only one nearby, trying to frantically put out the fire… to no avail.
Ka asks the wizard if a “fat, half-elf bard” came by and started the blaze, but the man, Jakko Arennti, replies that he has no idea what started it, he was just passing by on his way to buy a book for one of his classes up at the tower when he noticed the smoke. He nervously looks around as his water spell continues to do little beyond make the flames spit and crack.
Rushing to a nearby street and finding a dullard selling water from a keg on his back, Ka and Chadwick convince the man to give them the barrel to stop the fire (by pointing out that while his boss won’t be happy about the water missing, he would be less happy if his house burned to the ground). As the party helps Jakko put out the fire, a pair of strange-looking sparks shoot up into the air before disappearing out of sight. The young wizard thanks them, and asks that they don’t tell any of his masters up at the academy before hurrying off.
Investigating the burned-out shell of the clothing store, Chadwick notices that ALL of the wooden dress-forms seem to have been seared through at their waists. Cosmo, disinterested, lets out a bubbly belch in reply to Emaranelle’s concern. With that, the party continues, heading into the nobles’ district.
At Brentil Keep, Grekas and Cora continue to fight off the attackers in the outer bailey. But the wizard, noticing Bochaladaxx break off from her metallic opponent in the sky overhead, fires a pair of icy rays up towards the black dragon. One whizzes past her head, but the other spears her right in the wing, sending her spiraling to the ground.
Cora charges towards her, but the badly-beaten dragon lets out a laugh, reminding the barbarian that she “won’t be defeated so easily”. She rears back and opens her mouth to breath acid on the shifter, but her eyes widen as the acid gets caught in her swollen throat. With a single, rage-filled slash of her sharpened claws, Cora tears through Bochaladaxx’s neck, sending her head plopping to the ground.