Awaking the next day our group of adventurers prepared to leave on their journey. Before heading out The Hand had to take care of some business. Theo and Celestine headed to The Bluecrater Academy to research the Kou-Toa. The group had learned from their past experiences and wanted to be ready this time. While Theo and Celestine did some research Logahn went to gather supplies for the expedition, he grabbed a laundry list of items the guild had made. The list included stopping at Skie’s to pick up a rope of climbing. Jerome stopped by the Church of St. Cuthbert to see Jenya before they left. There was some light flirting and Jenya gave Jerome a Wand of Bless to help with their next adventure. No one knew what Gavrialle was doing. With all of their errands completed The Hand was ready to journey.
Traveling north the party knew “Crazy Jerod” lived on one of the mountain tops. It would not be an easy journey but it had to be done. They followed a map that had been drawing leading them to a steep cliff face. Our party debated which path to take; climbing up the cliff or walking around the mountain. Traveling around the mountain would take time and the added dangers would be unknown. After a short discussion the decision was made to climb the cliff, after all they had just bought the Rope of Climbing and were eager to use it. The priests removed their armor and prepared themselves for the climb.
Jerome was the most experienced climber of the party and made the initial accent. As he climbed the rope he put anchors into the cliff face, making a route that could be used now and in the future. The climb was easy for Jerome, after about fifty feet he found a resting area and waited for the party to join him. There would be some time until the party joined him on the rock face; Jerome figured this would be a perfect time to play some music as he stared off towards Cauldron. Everyone made it to the first check point and all locked themselves securely to an anchor. It was time for Jerome to make the next climb.
He felt calm as the next climb started. Something about the music and being out in nature, it had been sometime since Jerome had this much excitement. The climb was easy for Jerome; he started to make his way towards the top, halfway up Jerome heard some squawking. He thought nothing of it and continued his climb. A loud screech echoed off the cliff, looking up the party saw a hippogriff fly down landing on a rock above Jerome. The party was not ready for a fight. This was supposed to be an easy climb.
The party below saw the hybrid beast and prepared themselves. No one was ready. Our heavy plated clergy were without their armor, a rare instance for both of them. Ranged weapons were taken out as the party decided what the best course of action was. There was little time to make conversation as a second hippogriff came charging in towards Celestine. The creature snapped and bit into her causing her to loose footing and fall from her perch; luckily everyone had secured themselves with anchors and ropes. The rope snapped tight and Celestine was left dangling. The first hippogriff decided to charge at Jerome but he was ready. Jerome commanded the rope of climbing to go around the beast’s neck. Once it was secured he pushed off the cliff letting the weight of his body pull the hippogriff down. The hippogriff tried to grab onto the cliff but couldn’t keep its footing. It tried to take flight as it begin to fall but once again the weight of Jerome spoiled the attempt. Gavrielle took aim planting an arrow into it neck and sent it crashing to the ground. Jerome released the rope and hung their waiting for the party to finish off the other hippogriff. More arrows had been shot and the pin cushion of a hippogriff also made the plunge to the ground below.
Everyone took a second to realize what had just happened and how close they were to falling to their deaths. Jerome looked to the group and said
“I heard some chirping half way up the cliff. We should take a look at it.”
Most of the party agreed. Celestine’s brush with death left her in no mood to investigate. Claw marks from the now dead hippogriff could be seen all over her body. She climbed to the top of the cliff and tended to her wounds. The rest of the party could hear Celestine telling them to hurry up but there was something to investigate and The Hand was easily distracted.
The four curious members of The Hand moved towards the chirping that Jerome had heard. Along the cliff face they found a small cave with a single juvenille hippogriff inside. They all looked inside deciding on what to do. Should they kill the little beast? Should they eat it? Should they capture it? Should they train it? All of these questions went through their minds. It was decided to try to capture the baby and one day train it. Being of the woods Gaverial was the first to try to approach the infant. Something must have thrown the hippogriff off because it did not react to Gaverial , maybe the lack of scent threw the baby off. Logahn stepped forward and tried to calm the animal. Something inside Loagahn appealed to the creature it started to let its guard down. It moved closer to him, he reach out and put a bag over its head and then punched it. The little baby was now orphaned and unconscious, mission accomplished.
Climbing to the top The Hand was greeted by a waiting Celestine. She had put on all of her armor and was ready to kick some ass. Gaverial started to look around for something to track, there had to be some way for them to find this crazy Jerod. Lucky for the group Gaverial had decided to study nature and was able to pick up some human tracks leading away from a bush. They decided to follow the tracks in hope of finding Jerod. Following the track around the bend they encountered a blackened scorched rock face. Theo made his way towards the nest and saw a pile of dead baby dragons, burnt, mangled and likely half consumed. On closer inspection the dragons were black with red spotting on them. Just as the group was looking at the dead dragons they heard a scream from over the ridge, being the vigilant heroes that they were The Hand raced towards person in need.
The group could hardly believe their eyes. A man stood before a large red dragon; this could be the famed dragon Hookface. Theo took the lead and stealthed behind a rock outside of the dragons view. He could hear the dragon and the man talking, more like the dragon was yelling at the man asking where he could find someone or something named “Dorlot.” The man looked scared and based on his clothing it seems as though they had found crazy Jerod. With Theo in position the rest of the group slowly moved towards the dragon but their clunky armor gave them away. Upon seeing The Hand, Jerod started to announce that they were his savors and great knights here to help their king. With a wave of his silver rod, Jerod had transformed his clothing into a marvelous bear skin cloak and well-tailored suit complete with gem encrusted chains, rings on each finger and a glittering gold crown atop his head. Hookface turned around to see the approaching adventurers, he was not amused. These were not the first humans he had fought but they may be his last. Before the battle began our heroes buffed up and prepared themselves. Jerome drank a potion of enlarge person and was ready to go head to head with the dragon. Gaverial’s bow was now more powerful from gravity and the group as a whole felt blessed.
Jerome charged the dragon getting just within his reach as it started to take flight. He got off a quick attack as Hookface flew off into the air. Jerod was so happy with the arrival of our heroes that he started to sing. The members of The Hand felt better something had come over them. Celestine took this opportunity to cast summon animal, right above her appeared a dire bat ready to attack the dragon. Nothing happened for a few seconds as The Hand tried to figure out what was going on. A moment later Hookface landed and let loose an scorching blast of it’s fiery breath. Logahn, Gaverial and Celestine were caught off guard and were completely consumed by the fireball. The clerics started to heal each other trying to stop what would soon be death. Jerome raced over to attack Hookface but before he could attack the dragon flew back into the air. The heroes were unsure of what to do the dragon what up in the air and not coming back down. They would have to wait and see what it did next.
While they were waiting something must have snapped within Gaverial. He went over to Jerod and slapped him across the face, knocking him to the ground. Gaverial notched an arrow and started to yell at Jerod demanding that he answer questions as to what is going on. The rest of the party stood there speechless. Logahn and Jerome looked up at the dragon and noticed it was doing something with its hands, the creature was casting something…..