Dragon's Blood

Puzzle Madness

This week the party got through another two devious puzzles.

The first required them to find a hidden key to get through a complex lock. The party quickly figured out that only one of the mirrors was magical, and that, when viewing the small chest, they could see the key through the mirror, but not in reality. Although one would expect it would be easy to spot, the party took a while longer to figure out that rotating the mirror around an axis pointing out of the mirror caused the key to move. Once the party figured this out, they quickly caused the key to fall out of the mirror and unlocked the door.

The next puzzle was a bit trickier. A long, pentagonal hallway presented itself. Its floor, walls, and ceiling were covered in colored tiles in the theme of Tiamat, as well as the occasional field of densely-packed spikes. After some experimentation, the party discovered that the colored tiles caused the entire chamber to rotate, which made it tricky to avoid the spikes. The party also discovered that some tiles caused a fine line of razorwire to sweep through the hallway, most dangerously. With some experimentation, most of the party was able to get through the maze without falling into the spikes or triggering the razorwire, but Duncan chose to sever the razorwire when it came at him. This mostly worked, although he did suffer some non-life-threatening injuries.

What remains in the catacombs underneath Wintersbite Keep? Chancellor Wintersbite, of course!

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Chancellor Wintersbite
"Dragon?! GG!"

Last night, the party finally confronted Chancellor Wintersbite. After making their way through his many puzzles, they were confronted with over a dozen Wintersbite clan vampires. Before Rook could suicidally charge the vampires and Turn Undead, The Bashar kicked a side door down and linked up with them. The Bashar, Wil, and several soldiers from each quintile of the City of Dragons formed a wedge, driving the vampires aside and leaving the party enough room to get by into the final sanctuary of the evil chancellor.

Upon entering the large, dragon-skull-shaped room, the party discovered where the missing alchemical explosives were – right there, underneath the outlying wall separating the City of Dragons from all the undead out in the Valley of Bones. A small black box rested among each group of explosive barrels, clearly designed to detonate them.

Chancellor Wintersbite sat at the back of the room, his throne on a raised dais, which was decorated with two fist-sized gems, one a sapphire and one a diamond. His lieutenants stood on raised platforms, staring down at the party menacingly. “I wasn’t planning on detonating these explosives for weeks” remarked the Chancellor “but you’ve forced my hand.”

The party rolled for initiative.

Notdem went first, and aimed a spell at the explosives near the platform that the nearest vampire lieutenant was standing on. The fireball was huge, but luckily it did not set off any more explosives. The lieutenant, Prask, was burned slightly, but regenerated from this damage quickly. He and the other vampires leapt into combat, doing heavy damage to Sered and Duncan. Chancellor Wintersbite sat imperiously on his throne and watched.

After some time fighting, and disarming explosives, the party had downed two of the three lieutenants, with only Prask remaining. Prask ran west to a set of explosives to rearm them, calling for help. Wintersbite reluctantly rose from his chair and entered the fray, starting by dominating Notdem’s mind and forcing him to rearm the explosives that he had just disarmed. After he had done this, he drew his dagger and stalked glassy-eyed toward Sered.

Luckily, he was able to break out of the spell before stabbing his Deva friend. They ran to the north to disable the large caches of explosives in the corners of the room. Mordrin chased down Prask, pinning him down in the corner. Duncan valiantly kept Wintersbite’s attention, striking back at him with equal viciousness. Through this, Rook was able to keep everyone alive, even using his own life force to heal his allies.

Just when things were looking good for the party, Mordrin struck at Prask with one of his vampiric powers. Prask, recognizing one of his own, shouted out to Wintersbite to alert him. Wintersbite instantly turned to mist, rushing a great distance in mere seconds to Mordrin. “Come to me, my child” he commanded, for he recognized his bloodline.

Mordrin fought valiantly against the vampiric control, but he could not refuse. He staggered slowly toward the chancellor. It was at this moment that Mordrin noticed something – Wintersbite was missing a tooth.

“What? Could it be? After all this time? It is! Bwhahahahaha! After all this time!” Wintersbite cackled.

Mordrin could not help himself. He presented Jesk to his new master. Wintersbite took the dagger and became whole – doubling in size. Cackling with laughter, he outgrew and shed his armor in seconds. He reverted to his true form, an enormous, vampiric white dragon. The stories about Jesk were true – it really was made from the fang of an ancient dragon, a consort of Tiamat. Chancellor Wintersbite was that dragon all along, but he was forced to pose as a mere dragonborn in his weakened state.

Things were not looking good for the party. They were unable to harm the dragon through his frosted, undead scales. Duncan was grievously wounded when Wintersbite released his dragon breath, an unholy flurry of frost that somehow sucked the life out of the paladin.

Just then, the entrance doors to the room were flung open, to reveal the Bashar and Wil. They had defeated the vampire guards outside, bloodied and tired but standing and alive.

“Holy crap, a dragon! Wil, get the dwarves!” the Bashar shouted. Wil was back in an instant, helping the mountainfolk wheel in a giant ballista. As they lined up a shot, the great dragon took to the air. He careened across the room, picking up Mordrin and Lieutenant Prask in his claws.

“We’ll see how well the city of dragonborn does when its walls are rubble!” Wintersbite roared, triggering the explosives.

Several giant fireballs filled the chamber. The walls shook, the ceiling cracked and fell inwards, revealing the gloomy night sky of the Valley of Bones. Wintersbite swooped away, his vampire lieutenant and poor, afflicted Mordrin with him. Coinspinner went with Mordrin.

Luckily, the party had disarmed enough explosives to stave off major damage to the walls. The rubble from the ceiling sealed the hole after the dragon had escaped, and the valley remained sealed.

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Mordrinception
Save Mordrin from Wintersbite's Influence!

Once the party brought Mordrin back from The Rilark, they set to work determining how to break Chancellor Wintersbite’s control on the rogue. Jasha researched how to do this in the White Temple, but she could only find ways to remove the vampirism entirely, most of which had a good chance of killing Mordrin.

So Sered offered to dive into Mordrin’s mind and dreams to help save him. The ritual set, the incense burned, the party tranced. They dove into his dreams and themselves in Ravendale, in the midst of a goblin siege. Mordrin, looking about eight years old, was bent over a dead woman and taking items off of her body. Jasha convinced Mordrin to leave the danger of the street for a warehouse, during which time Mordrin stole rations out of her pack.

In the warehouse, they were ambushed by several images of Wintersbite. The party was able to defeat them before they were able to drag Mordrin away through the strange light, thus freeing him from Wintersbite’s influence… hopefully.

The worst part is they still don’t know whether the woman Mordrin was looting was his mother.

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Rescue at The Rilark
Rescue Mordrin!

Mordrin was carried away by Wintersbite, but he wasn’t eaten. Mordrin’s time under the foul vampire dragon has changed him. He has taken up residence in an abandoned castle in the Valley of Bones called The Rilark.

The Rilark is a keep built in the motte-and-bailey style. While it is several miles from the City of Dragons, the tower is several stories high on top of the motte (a steep hill) such that it is well within sight range. The bailey has been overrun by mindless undead, but the keep itself is host to a squadron of Wintersbite clan soldiers, lead by Mordrin and Lieutenant Prask.

The tower of the Rilark was built hundreds of years ago by the dragonborn of the CoD on top of much older dwarven ruins. The original purpose of the Rilark has been lost, but the Wintersbite soldiers have been seen attaching large metal rods vertically to the outside of the tower. This is troublesome, and needs to be investigated.

Since the bailey surrounding the tower is overrun, there is only one sane way to enter the Rilark – through the tunnels. These haven’t been traversed since the initial flooding of the Valley with the undead after a cave-in, but the dwarves of the City of Dragons have volunteered to get the party through.

The party successfully infiltrated the Rilark and saved Mordrin – but they failed to subdue Lieutenant Prask. They found a buried warforged army in the basement of the Rilark, along with several activated warforged branded with the symbol of Tiamat. One warforged, Stargazer, was using the Wand of Storms to create lightning to activate unearthed warforged to fight for Wintersbite, but the party disabled him and took the wand.

Oddly, the party found a human man named Yakov of Vasilev in one of the basement cells of the Rilark. He claimed to be spreading the word of the Old Ones, and apparently made his way through the Valley of Bones unharmed. He smiles so often and unnaturally that it makes the party uncomfortable.

After Wintersbite showed up and rescued Prask, nearly knocking Notdem off of the roof, the party knocked out Mordrin and took him back to the city.

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Dragolympics

To encourage mutual cooperation, the Protectorate holds a competitive sporting event every year during peacetime. There are many events, including archery, conjuration, foot races, obstacle courses, and everyone’s favorite, gladiatorial combat.

Contestants from all over the continent traveled to the City of Dragons Byron’s Landing, Littleton, Copperkill, Singing Vale, and Moonstone all had contestants. Notably, in the city-state category, the Singing Vale won the gladiatorial combat gold medal.

In the Adventurer’s/Solo Entry category for the Gauntlet obstacle course, Mordrin Relgar won the gold, with Jasha coming in fourth, and Notdem last. This year, the portcullis lift obstacle was the hardest. The party also won their 4v4 Gladiatorial Combat round, versus a group consisting of some of the Protectorate’s best. They fought Captain Tidonius, Ninduin the elf ranger, Fosco the Illusionist, and Borkun the paladin.

Despite that Fosco was able to trick some of the party into believing that the dragon statue in the middle of the arena had come to life as Chancellor Wintersbite in dragon form, the party was finally able to break the gnome’s concentration and win the battle.

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Pelor's Message

After the Dragolympics, Jasha returned to the White Temple to help resupply the orphanage’s kitchen. Exhausted, she stopped for a moment to kneel in front of the large, glowing mural of Pelor to pray, holding her symbol closely and counting out a prayer for each of the six points on the disk. She asked the Sun God for guidance on what to do about Mordrin’s unholy offspring.

Suddenly, her sun disk glowed with a warm and light. The mural of Pelor started to move; the pinwheel halo around his head became almost too bright to look at. Jasha realized that she was no longer alone in the chapel. Beside her was a motherly woman wearing white and yellow robes, which flowed in the warm breeze. She gave Jasha a gentle smile gestured for her to stand.

“Greetings, child. I am Sotillion, Queen of Summer and Exarch of Pelor. You have been chosen for a wonderful destiny.

Jasha. You are right to worry about the vampire’s child. While he is young and innocent, he has great capacity for evil. You must find a home for him outside the City, where he can be grow straight and tall in the sun. Left in the shadows of this city, he will become a terrible creature of the dark and a threat to all that live.

And one more thing – the Valley of Bones was once fertile farmland, the volcanic soil was rich, and the light flourished. The hills surrounding the Rilark were once covered in grape vines and olive trees. Heal the valley, drive out the undead. That is your charge.

Do this, and Pelor’s radiance will shine from you with light everlasting."

With that, she stepped into the painting and Jasha was alone.

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