Lanevas 14, 6,995. It was Kaedo birthday, and he celebrated to bleary unconsciousness along with Saedenn, Strings, Blayloch, and Crazy Bear. The next morning they cleaned up and fumbled towards sobriety out by the oasis pool, except Saedenn, who didn’t overindulge so much. That way he could explain to Kaedo some recent events.
In other good news, the plague threat was dealt with. Ellisandra Purelight, a Damsel of the Lady, and some inquisitors rooted it out of Calx. Their efforts were followed by scrutiny from a couple Scavenger Masters, who finished burning it out. So, the road is again open (and that’s how Blayloch found his way back to the Lottery Dungeon, in the company of five hulking Northrons.)
Meeting the Frog Khan
The Khan sent guards to collect them, focusing on Saedenn and Kaedo, with the others invited. The Khan explained that Arishakel, the madame for the brothel of the oasis (and, as an open secret, the Khan’s woman) was headed to Langtland. The Khan wanted Saedenn and Kaedo to be personally responsible for getting her there and back unharmed. They agreed to this task. The entourage would leave at noon.
Blayloch bartered the merchant down to make the price of camels more reasonable, and the party got two weeks worth of food and a camel for each of them before heading out at noon.
The five mysterious Northron warriors went with them, uncomfortable on camelback. Of the Northrons, Sven was the main spokesman, and he liked intimidation and a snooty attitude.
Arishakel and her two handmaidens, Senna and Lifta, were pleasant but a bit aloof. Arishakel rode a fancy white camel named Pug, and she cried out “yip yip!” to make him go.
The Journey Begins
They began a journey of about 250 miles across the Dust Road to Langtland, expecting the journey to take about a week. Fortunately, as a Scavenger Master Saedenn could protect them all from the dangers of mutation on the magically irradiated road.
They met some hopeful adventurers on the road headed to the Lottery Dungeon, survivors of Calx. Then they continued on, and during siesta the next day the relative peace of their journey was shattered.
As they rested, a dragon burst up from a nearby canyon, freaking out the camels (and the humans) as it lazily pounced out of the sky. Saedenn fired a nasty mystic attack at it, but it ignored him and targeted the ladies’ pavilion. Strings, Kaedo, and Crazy Bear tried to defend the ladies from the dragon.
It was magnificent; 60 feet long, with an 80 foot wingspan, and a hide like boulders of the Scavenger Lands. It swatted Strings aside, nearly killing him. Saedenn rammed acid magic into it, weakening its hide and bursting dark energies across it (even though it was magic resistant, his powers were too formidable to be denied.)
Blayloch held the struggling camels, preventing them from bolting, as the Northrons nervously stayed clumped together and out of the fight. Kaedo slashed and stabbed with his 6 foot sword taken from the corpse of a Black Warlock, stinging the dragon even after it tore at him, staining the rocks with his blood. The dragon fired a maelstrom of sandblasting gravel as a breath weapon at Saedenn, who managed to stay out of the way of the worst of it, his magical armor pummeled by the attack.
The dragon was freely bleeding by the time it pounced back up into the air, circling for another breath attack, angered and frustrated by taking actual wounds. Crazy Bear lived up to his name, in bear form, leaping at the dragon to try and prevent its escape; he was slashed down, and the dragon took to the skies. To retaliate, Crazy Bear scooped up Kaedo and—flung him at the dragon!
The throw wasn’t dead on, but Kaedo (not wishing to fall) managed to use his leverage and massive sword to gain purchase on the dragon, hacking away viciously as the dragon gusted its breath down at Saedenn.
Frothing as he clung to the dragon, Kaedo stabbed and slashed and hacked. Alarmed, the dragon flew high in the air, snapping at the berserker; but Kaedo climbed on its wing and buried the length of his 6 foot sword in its heart, slaying the dragon.
The dragon fell down and smashed a crater in the ground, and Kaedo survived but fell unconscious.
Still shaking from the adrenaline of the clash, Saedenn hauled out his Scavenger Masters grimore to see what might be most valuable on a dragon.
Meanwhile, Crazy Bear dug out the dragon’s teeth, and salvaged as much of the claw and tail weapons as he could, jealously packing them and guarding them for himself.
Strings and Kaedo received medical attention from the fancy ladies. Blayloch had a brief awkward conversation with the Northrons, neither one mentioning that the Northrons had been seriously considering snatching the camels and making a run for it. Blayloch then went and dragged an eye out of the dragon’s deep socket; it was like a fist-sized pearly gem, onyx, reflecting the world upside-down.
Saedenn read that dragons tend to focus on threats in a fight, rather than other objectives; they do not tend to ignore danger in favor of a task. Only a few Scavenger Masters and Narlathians ever managed to turn the savage desert dragons to their will. He also read that eating some of the dragon’s heart makes dragonslayers mighty warriors.
Saedenn burrowed into the hissing and melting dragon corpse, digging down to the heart. He managed to salvage half of it, it was still the size of a basketball. It had 8 chambers, regulating time/space, magical energies, air, blood, and other dragonnish things.
Saedenn, Kaedo, Strings, and Crazy Bear all ate some of the dragon heart. Apparently the heart did not think Crazy Bear was a slayer, so as he struggled not to die, the others felt fresh power flowing in them.
The slayers packed up their gear and moved on, not wanting to stay too close to the magical radiation of the desert dragon corpse. (Saedenn gave them refresher shields against mutation.)
That night they had a visitor; Saedenn felt a disturbance when he woke, and in looking around they found a small foot in a pointy shoe left a track, and little pock marks (possibly from ENORMOUS spiders.) Over the siesta, Blayloch was startled by a hand-sized spider scuttling out of his pack.
Mysteries and Spiders
For the evening camp, they met with a group of a dozen Narlathian pilgrims, some scarred or hunched. The pilgrims were headed to holy sites in Langtland, and were generous, offering a gift of a replacement pavilion for the tent the fancy ladies lost.
The Northrons were oddly chummy with the Narlathians, but the others were suspicious and wanted to separate their camps. The mysterious Northron the others were guarding said they’d camp together, so they did.
During Saedenn’s watch, one of the pilgrims seemed to follow something or follow some sign out of the camp. Saedenn used his honed ability for stealth to follow, but stay out of sight. He saw a hooded figure meet with the pilgrim; a feminine voice. The pilgrim knelt before the figure, and they talked briefly. The figure was a spellcaster with at least some Narlathian magic, and growing suspicious, the caster sent her fire lizard familiar to look for prying eyes; Saedenn managed to pull back to the camp.
The next morning the pilgrims needed to pray, so the travelers moved on without them.
They traveled into a ravine, and hails of arrows sailed down at them! Dozens of archers, and enormous pony-sized spiders rushing down to attack!
Struggling to cope with the ambush, the travelers sent some warriors charging into the trees to deal with some of the incoming spiders as a couple of the Northron were cut down. The rest of the Northron bolted along the road to the north, leaving the rest of the travelers behind.
Teetering on the edge of being overwhelmed by the cowardly attack, the travelers pulled back and raced along the road they had come down, with Saedenn leaving an acid fog wall in their wake.
Catching their breath and patching up their wounds, they discussed next steps. Strings volunteered to take a fancy lady with him, striking out as a diversion so their attackers might think he was with Arishakel; the arrows had landed thickly all around, except around the fancy ladies.
First the dragon focusing on the women, now an ambush—what was going on? She had no magical properties. Fuming over the mystery, the travelers considered how best to deal with the dangers before them…