We were enjoying a relaxing evening at the castle being regaled by a story of one of Graile’s more uneducated owners when a guard brought before us a man named Michael claiming to be the brother of our new, impetuos, companion Altair. Altair embraced the man and verified that this was, indeed, his brother who was a renowned Dragon hunter. In fact it turns out that all of this man’s family are monster hunters of one sort or another with Altair hunting vampires. A fact which Michael seems to have a hard time in believing in spite of all of our protestations that they were, in fact, quite real!
Michael was seeking his brothers aid in tracking down one of the great Dragons that supposedly lived nearby. Our group volunteered to help him and I was a bit put out when Michael also asked us to bring a group of men at arms with us. Nonetheless, I picked out 15 of our newer mercenaries along with 10 of our veterans and a commander. I also took along Heinrich and the ever present Schultz.
We left in the morning and made good time. All along the way my luck proved true in its typical fashion. We found an abandoned mine that was FAR from played out. I asked Valya to fly back and have the Comtess send along men and supplies to claim it and get it back in producing order. Apparently Valya got lost on the way back and when she finally did arrive she was exhausted and fatigued. We put her to bed for a few days and she was right as rain. We also had good fortune in finding a very prosperous village at a tributary of the river on which the Barony Le Douche resides. I easily convinced the residents that it was much closer and would be much more profitable to trade with us rather than sending their supplies 3 weeks into Bhumanti. Another diplomatic coup!
Upon ascending the mountain we came upon a grizzled old man by the name of Alak who knew of the dragon and was willing to point us in his direction. He also agreed to relocate, contact Strider, and take up residence in the mountains closer to Le Douche where he would act as a scout and early warning person in exchange for trade and the occasional stay indoors.
We approached the “cave” of the dragon and found a veritable citadel before us. I rode up to the gate and a large gentleman with a fanatical light to his eyes greeted me in the most contemptious way. Nonethless I endeavored to be polite and asked if we could speak with the dragon and offer trade and mutual defense. The cultist insisted that I had to bow before the dragon and agree to serve him (as IF!). I stretched the truth and said "yes, we would love to serve the dragon (perhaps with a side of beef and some greens and a nice Chianti!) the cultist was NOT amused and his head was promptly blown off by Swen. thorn climbed into a tower and was fighting the men there when Valya cleansed most of the men with fire. Our troops easily outmatched the gate guards and Michael cleared the second tower by himself with a massive Sweep!!
We tore down the outer gates and found Michael straining at an inner gate. I offered to help and Michael did not reply. I asked Altair if he was normally like this and he said “yes, he likes to do things on his own”. I agreed and spread my blanket out, offered food and drink to the men and Valya and I shared a very nice lunch while I occasionally offered advice to Michael on how i thought the bars looked a BIT weaker now, keep trying! Eventually, tired and sweaty, Michael asked for help. I packed up lunch and we hitched horses to the gate and calmly pulled it off the hinges. We rounded up some cultist families and left 5 men to guard them assuring them of equal shares.
We proceeded through several more gates each harder than the last, Valya telling us the metals were Dragon Steel of some sort or other (we must take some back, it would be quite useful I think!) We also saw IMMENSE amounts of treasure in 6 rooms.
At the end we came to a cave with a large man talking to Michael and many Drgon monk disciples. The large man was the Dragon himself in human form. Michael engaged him while we took out the monks with the loss of 10 of our own men. The Dragon created a mirror duplicate of himself which we proceeded to slay. We then turned our attention to helping Michael. I stripped the dragon of vigor, Valya, thorn and Swen as well as our remaining men peppered the Dragon and he eventually fell turning back into a great reptile. I found an egg in the process of hatching and the small drake that emerged immediately impressed itself on me calling me “mama”.
The most disturbing thing then happened. The vampire, Thrond, appeared and tore out the dragon’s heart and ate it vanishing whilst appearing more Draconic. I fear we have NOT seen the last of him! Next entry The Treasure!