By Jamey Martin
The Dragon Graveyard
Late Fall 1373DR
The band buried the corpses of the Fellowship of the Griffon, along with their trio of servants, the following day, with Disciple Landrian leading a short service in memory of the fallen. Moods were sober amongst the victors, for these had been men and women not entirely unlike themselves. And they had left their mark upon Hector.
There was much talk of this throughout the course of the day, of how far Hector could be trusted, especially with the she-wolf that "infected" him still on the prowl. According to Lacander however, that is, according to the many tales and legends he'd heard, Hector would be fine until the next full moon, while Brutus grudgingly added that they could not be sure he even had lycanthropy until that time.
Having thus oriented themselves, the band set out for the Dragon Graveyard the following morning with their frightened, but well paid guide in the lead. Standing vigilant against possible nighttime attacks (or transformations), the band at last reached an old hunters cabin, supposedly a couple of hours away from their destination.
Stashing their excess gear in the cabin, the band continued on and at last reached the great forest glade. It was quite large and of irregular shape. Everywhere could be seen the colossal, moss speckled remains of at least a half dozen dragons. Many of the bones were broken, with entire rib cages caved in, while teeth and broken claws jutted up out of the ground here and there. Some of the skeletons even appeared to have been torn in two. There was one skeleton however, the neck of which showed breaks in three different places, which was missing a leg, and which, short of being ripped clean in two, had apparently suffered a great amount of damage. Yet despite the great amount of damage this dragon's remains stood out as significantly greater, more commanding than the others, as intimidating, even in death. Certainly, this could have been none other than the fearsome Sessrellastrin, whom the elves called Manastorm.
So, after a brief recon of the immediate surroundings, Vandril cast the greater speak with dead spell, and before long a great, fearsome shade rose up out of the old, shattered remains. It demanded to know who had awakened it from it's slumber, to which Vandril responded with his own name. He charged the draconic shade to answer his questions, to tell him of the fate of the Green Orb, and though the ghosts eyes flared with demonic fury, she told of how long ago she had carried the dreaded Orb to this clearing at the request of the male wyrm Shanthatterok. Knowing she wished to mate with him, he her here with promises of love and passion, and such were his charms that the Green Orb seemed little to the dreaded offspring of Venominhandar. When she at last arrived however, she found that she had been lured into an ambush, made up of numerous black and green wyrms who feared the power of the Orb and would not bow to another “Monarch”. The greatest of Venom's offspring fought with great skill and unmatched power, obliterating Shanthatterok in her first counter attack, and then sending two other wyrms of green and black hue to join him. Nevertheless, six powerful wyrms yet remained. And while fight she did, the emerald-queen-that-never-was ultimately fell to the ceaseless pecks of her would be peers.
With that however, the ghost of Manastorm could recall no more. She returned to the grave without a fight.
And so, noting that more than four dragons were killed here, the band was left with the task of figuring out which of the wyrm's fell last. Presumably, that wyrm would know everything that went on after Manastorm's death, as well as the fate of the Green Orb. The problem was, the only way they could determine this was to guess and cast the Greater Speak with Dead spell over and over again until they hit on the right one. And of course, each time they summoned a dragon ghost they increased the likelihood that one would take offence.
Having little choice however, the band took the time to do what needed to be done. And as luck would have it, they quickly hit upon a goodly candidate, the green wyrm Gargundrallastrix. She had delivered Manastorm her deathblow, and she told of how, following the fight, the remaining six fell to bickering over the fate of the Orb. None wanted the other to possess it, for fear that they might use it‘s power to dominate and control them. And so each began to lay claim to the Orb, offering various reasons to back the claim, but in the end reason failed. Another great battle broke out between the remaining wyrms. As wounded as they were, it did not take long before only one remained. Again, it was Gargundrallastrix that stood victorious. Before the sorely wounded green wyrm could claim her prize however, the wily young wyrm Zarlandris of Glaun Bog burst out of the wood and set upon her. He was significantly smaller and younger than Gargundrallastrix, but, while she was wounded and tired, he had shrunk from the initial melees and so was fresh. Furthermore, the advantage of surprise belonged to the young black wyrm as well. And so, when all was said and done, the slayer of Manastorm was herself slain.
As Gargundrallastrix's ghost settled however, it seemed as though the earth began to rumble, but it was not the earth, but rather the bones of the dragons that rattled. And within the space of another breath, a number of the skeletal wyrms began to rise up with a life of their own.
So it was that the battle was joined. And it raged with great fury, with none escaping unscathed. Baldred fought valiantly and with great vigour, as one might expect, but he was at last bitten in two, while both Heudeen and Brutus suffered grievous wounds. In the end however, the remaining heroes stood victorious. Vandril was at a loss as to why or how these dragon skeletons were animated.
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