A short while before dawn an impressive looking blue Half Dragon warrior approached the gates of the keep. Behind him were 20 kobolds prodding with spears 4 tied up prisoners, a woman and 3 children. The kobolds forced the prisoners to their knees as the Half Dragon yelled to the keep that he was bored but feeling generous. His name was Langdedrosa Cyanwrath and he said he would release the prisoners if a champion from the keep would meet him in one on one combat. He had not been able to find a worthy opponent this night and desired a test of arms.
One of the militia guards recognized the woman as his sister and her kids. Seargant Markath resolved to go forth and face the Half Dragon to save her, but Ember Paladin of Torm said she would face the dragon man.
Ember strode out the front gates, Langdredosa saluted her and thanked her for being willing to test her mettle against him. He promised that his word was his bond and that he would not use his breath weapon if she used no magic or spells. This was to be a test of steel.
Ember agreed and they fought. She fought well, but Langdredosa fought better and cut her down. With one final jab of his spear he nodded in satisfaction and turned to leave. The kobolds released the ropes from the prisoners and disappeared into the night. The woman was barely able to staunch Ember’s wounds until Father Falconmoon arrived with a spell to save her just before her life slipped away.
As the sun began to rise in the east, the raiders left town. When full light came, the town was quiet except for the moans of the injured. The party rested from their grueling night, they were exhausted. Governer Nighthill asked if they would be willing to follow the raiders after they rested to try and gather intelligence for the town. He offered them 10000 gold piceces. He wanted to know their rough numbers, who their leaders were, any reasons for the raid, and where they might be raiding next. Also, any prisoners that could be saved should be saved, and any stolen loot returned if possible, but the information was of the utmost importance.
They agreed. Just before leaving a monk from Berdusk approached them and told them of his master, Leothin Erlanthar, whom he feared was captured or foolishly might have tried to infiltrate the raiding band. He had disappeared. He pleaded with them to rescue him. His master had been researching dragon cults for months now and would be a wealth of information. The young monk recognized Ember as a Paladin of Torm and told her his master was a friend of the Order of the Gauntlet, a knightly order of Torm.
They set off mid afternoon, following the obvious trail of trampled grass into the hills to the southeast of the trade way. After about 9 miles they spotted a campfire smoke plume and surprised a group of stragglers from the raiders that had foolishly stopped to roast some game hens they had found. The group consisted of humans and kobolds. Most were killed, a few kobolds scattered away. One human mercenary was captured and a charm person spell from Cilliana got him to spill all he knew about the raid. He told them they were gathering a great horde for the return of the Dragon Queen, which Nym figured to mean Tiamat the goddess of evil dragons that had been banished to the 9 Hells long ago. He said that they had a permanent camp in a canyon between two plateaus a few miles from here and described it in detail. He mentioned he had overheard talk of dragon eggs. He also told them that there would be a rear guard ambush set up where the path passed between two rocky slopes about a mile on.
After he talked Nym casually murdered the helpless man in cold blood. Nobody seemed to care.
Travelling on as dusk approached, they spotted the rearguard position described and gave it a wide berth, leaving the trail and picking it up on the other side. About an hour before dark they spotted the two plateaus as described and the canyon entrance between them. Nym scouted, climbing the plateau in panther form and saw it consisted of narrow 3 sided canyon with an entrance about 150 feet wide. There were two levels, the lower level consisted of ramshackle huts probably for the kobolds, the upper level tents where the humans lived in the back. A much larger tent was probably for the leaders. There was a watchtower at the entrance and one on top of the plateau at the back.
They saw straggling groups walking into the canyon unchallenged, security seemed lax and confused as the large group of raiders was settling back into their encampment. They waited until after dark, then Nym and Rocco approached the entrance and hoped to walk in. Unfortunately by then some guards had been posted and bright torches on log poles illuminated the canyon mouth. They tried to talk their way past, but the guards said they should know the rules and nobody was allowed to come or go after dark. Nym tried to press the issue and when the guard had had enough and grabbed him he turned into a bear and fled. This caused great confusion amongst the guards, some of whom gave chase. Rocco realized nobody was paying attention to him and slipped on in to the camp.
Rocco looked around and found that the camp consisted of about 200 kobolds and humans, some mercenaries, some devoted cultists. The leader tent in the back was well guarded as was a large cave mouth in the back. He also found the monk Leosin prisoner alive but tied spread eagle to two large stakes crossed like an X. The monk was badly beaten.
Rocco talked to a few mercs and got some idea of the leadership. The main leader was some woman named Mondrath, and there were two half dragons, one blue and one black. The blue was obviously Cyanwrath, the black was called Rezmir. However, before too long the alarm was raised in camp when someone realized there were two people who had tried to come in after dark, but the guards only chased one! Rocco had to hide, but when he realized camp was being systematically searched he was certain he would be found.
In a stroke of desperation which he soon came to regret he decided to hide in the latrine. Unfortunately this cornered him and when he realized they were just about to search there he had no place to go but down. Into the hole. Of the latrine. In the soup of urine and feces. Yes, Rocco was feeling quite crappy, and he was trapped. But fortunately none of the searching guards felt the need to look for him there. Who would be crazy enough to do something so disgusting? Crappy indeed as a parade of disgusting mercenaries used the latrine for their “business” over the next few hours. Some of them clearly did not have good diets! It was going to be a long night for the thief from Baldur’s Gate…