The dragon circled high above them ominously. The party cast what healing spells they could and arranged themselves in battle position. Jerome climbed up on top of a tall rock, while Gavrielle grabbed the stunned King Jerod IV and draggeddragged him behind the same rock for cover. With incredible speed the dragon dove and swooped straight above the rockrock, blasting it’s firey breath from the air. Jerome, Gavriel and Jerod were all engulfed in the inferno. Jerome, with his magically enhanced stature, attempted to jump and grab onto the beast, but it was just out of his reach. Gavrielle released arrows. One landed true, while the other bounced harmlessly off of its scales. It climbed quickly and swooped in a tight circle to come around for a second assault.
Celestine called upon her goddess and summoned her spiritual scimitar. Then Theo had an idea. He pulled out one of his grappling hook arrows, tied it to a rope, and, reasoning that Logahn was big and heavy, was tying it around the half-orc’s waist before Logahn had time to question the potential outcome of this action. Theo cocked his bow and let loose the hooked arrow just as the dragon swooped down in front of Jerome. It drove deep into the shoulder of the beast and lodged itself firmly in muscle and sinew. The dragon hissed, but lunged at Jerome nonetheless. It bit down on him ripping chunks of flesh from his side, pulling free blood and muscle that dribbled out of the dragon’s mouth. With a scream, Jerome fell hard to the ground, motionless.
Finally realizing his destiny Logahn planted a piton into the rock and retied Theo’s rope to it. It didn’t matter. Celestine’s holy weapon came screeching through the air toward the dragon. The scimitar plunged itself into the neck of the dragon with such ferocity it was as though the weapon was being wielding by the Dawnflower herself. The dragon screamed and staggered back, its neck nearly severed by the celestial blade. It tried to stand and take flight, but it stumbled and tripped over itself, struggling to lift it’s head. Blood sprayed from its limp neck. Quickly Gavrielle notched an arrow and let it fly. It drove straight through the monster’s head, quickly silencing its agonizing wails. It flopped dead to ground. A triumphant “HUZZAH!” rang forth as the heroes claimed one of the most sought after adventuring party achievements: Dragon Slayers.
Luckily Jerome was still breathing…barely. Healing spells were dispersed over his broken body, and he was soon revived to his old self.
King Jerod, coughing and badly burned, did his best to thank his brave knights.
“You saved me and the Kindom of Undriul! You must be honored, but first….SIEZE THIS BRIGAND!!!” He pointed at Gavrielle. Jerod cast a spell and all of the Unseen Hand, save Logahn, forgot any loyalties they had towards the elf. They quickly grabbed him by the arms. “Bring him to my dungeon!” ordered the king.
Logahn who was uneffected by the charms of the spell protested his fellow party member’s actions, but as time went on it became apparent that “King Jerod IV” was living in a fantasy, and was quite harmless. He decided to run with the charade.
As the party dragged Gavrielle toward Jerod’s hut, the “King” cast another spell as he walked. The barren rocky mountaintop turned into rolling fields and sprawling vineyards before their eyes. A magnificent castle materialized in the place of the ramshackle hut, its high walls, crenulated towers sprawling out to either side. A large formidable gate complete with portcullis and drawbridge opened before them. The King’s standard, a noble hippogriff on a white field, fluttered above every roof and tower. Logahn sratched his head as his friends stood, jaws dropped, at a magnificent sight that he apparently did not see.
Upon entering the “castle”, the surroundings revealed their true form: rotting walls, muddy floor and rusted old cauldron hanging over a burned-out fire pit.
“Throw him into the dungeon!” Jerod commanded pointing to a shallow hole in the ground. Shrugging Jerome and Celestine put Gavrielle in the pit which was a about as deep as Gavrielle’s knees.
“Now we must feast!” exclaimed Jerod. He stepped outside and waved his silver rod. From thin air a huge tent of fine silk and gold trim appeared in front of his hut. The smell of roasted boar and fine wine wafted from the inside. When the party entered they saw table settings for a hundred people with fine china, silverware and a covered silver platter at every table. Jerod gestured toward the head table and the party sat. Gavrielle joined them as all knowledge of his transgressions had been forgiven by Jerod’s tenuous grasp of reality.
“Servents! Bring us food! Pour us wine!” exclaimed Jerod Joyfully. An awkward silence befell as Jerod’s imaginary servants failed to appear. Thinking quickly Theo cast an unseen servant spell (he can cast spells now) and instructed it to serve the party.
“Splendid!” the “King” proclaimed as food and drink were put onto his plate by an invisible hand. When the party ate they realized that the food and majestic tent were indeed real and not a product of the man’s illusions. Conversations turned to the Land of Undriul and great wars waged against fictional kingdoms. The “King” spoke of his benevolence and great leadership. The party steered the conversation to the location of the fissure they were searching for.
“You speak of ‘The Pit of the Seven Jaws.’ Just last month I sent 6 of my finest knights there to defeat an excursion of Mind Flayers. I can draw you a map, and of course my knights will attend you.” He clapped his hands and waited a brief moment, then waved his hand presenting his knights who surely appeared before him in polished plate, longsword and shield; at least in his mind. The party saw nothing.
Logahn had brought the captured hippogriff with him. They lied about how they acquired it, but asked Jerod if he could tend to it while they were on their mission.
“Of course! My head stable master will tend to the every needs of this noble creature. It is safe in my castle” The king clapped his hand to summon yet again another of his “loyal servants.”
Once the Unseen hand had seen and heard enough of this nonsense they set off. They decide to return to Cauldron with some spoils. They skinned the dragon and took its hide. The took the hippogriff as well, doubting the skills and even the existence of King Jerod’s head stable master. They made a full effort to conceal their return so they would not alert their quest-givers to the side trek. Finally they returned to the mountain and found the fissure as indicated on Jerod’s map.