1 Ardor 508
Today we completed our negotiations with Andreas and have purchased a sword for Azuredee. It is a “defending sword”, designed to be both enchanted and good for the defense of its wielder. Perfect for a defensive fighter like Azuredee. We are both pleased.
Tonight, Andreas attended my cousin’s performance at the Goat and Goblin. He seemed to enjoy himself and then took Azuredee to dinner afterwards. She has apparently caught his eye. I, on the other hand, am off to bed.
4 Ardor 508
Today we received a surprise visit from Master Jafir of the Shandorian temple. He said that he and some of his followers traveled to Dukane Village to verify our story about the monastery there. Having had our story confirmed, he wanted to give us the thanks of his order in the form of some coins. We gratefully accepted the payment and his thanks.
7 Ardor 508
Finally, we received word that Mistress Zondervan had information for us. So we paid a visit to her office.
According to a legend that she came across in her studies, Scraelaterix is an ancient green dragon who resides in the Slayt Mountains. During the time of The Five, Scraelaterix terrorized the countryside around her mountain home and killed many adventures and knights who came to claim her treasures. The Five, mighty in strength and glory, came and nearly vanquished the ancient beast. However, the blademaster Satrina Sableblade managed to secure an oath from the beast to leave the mountains in peace forever more.
Ancient. Green. Dragon.
Nevertheless, my cousin is determined to continue. So I am equally determined to protect her.
We leave tomorrow for the Slayt Mountains by way of Kalimsport.
9 Ardor 508
Today we came across the remains of a battle with orcs and the survivors, a band of humans by the names of Thora, Dain, Martel, and Kale. They seem companionable sorts and will accompany us as far as Rayl, which we should reach tomorrow morning.
10 Ardor 508
On the outskirts of Rayl, we walked up on the execution of an apparent rapist and thief. This man’s crimes made my skin crawl—he is exactly the type of person I swore an oath to defend people against. He was hung from a tree outside the town proper and left there as an example to others.
We are staying at an inn called the Knotty Pine Inn. It is unusual in that it is built around an enormous pine tree. It was apparently designed by an elf. Azuredee said it reminds her of home. It is beautifully designed, I’ll give it that.
My cousin has found companionship for the night in the form of a man named Maslin. I will finish my ale and my journaling and go to bed. Tomorrow we leave for Kalimsport—the largest city in the world.
14 Ardor 508
Today we arrived in Kalimsport. We arrived just as a funeral procession made its way through town, which made our progress slow going but allowed us to take in the sights.
Imagine all of the city streets that you have ever seen and multiply them tenfold. Take the noise and the stench and multiply them as well. Then you will have imagined the activity of one square block of Kalimsport.
Both Azuredee and I kept a close watch on our purses as we rode through the streets in search of an inn. We finally settled on a place called The Prancing Elf. Azuredee was not amused by the caricature of the elf on the signage. Nevertheless, it means a comfortable bed and a stocked taproom. I’m pleased.
We also visited one of the scholars at the University here, an Aerven Chenwyth. He will be researching more on this Scraelaterix for us.
Tonight, Azuredee will entertain us with her newest compositions. I always have to suppress a blush as she details our exploits, but she really does an excellent job with the singing. I can’t deny her the obvious pleasure she finds in writing these new songs.
16 Ardor 508
We still await word from Chenwyth on this dragon. In the meantime, tonight we were accosted by a drunken man demanding to know if we were “King’s men”. Despite the obvious fact that neither of us were men at all. Azuredee managed to calm him, assuring him that we were strangers to Ornis but supported the king, nevertheless. Mollified, he rolled away, making his demand of others as they came in.
I had heard something of the civil war in Ornis, but it has been over for five years. I guess men in their cups sometimes go back in time. Some go maudlin, remembering past loves. Others grow political and accost strangers in common rooms.
17 Ardor 508
We finally received word that Chenwyth was ready to see us. According to his researches, Scraelaterix resides in a dead volcano called the Sleeping Dragon in the southernmost reaches of the Slayt Mountains. There is a village near there called Luften.
We thanked the man for his time and paid him for his services, then took our leave.
Tomorrow we take the road from here to Crownport and, from there, will travel cross-country to Luften.
19 Ardor 508
We arrived in Crownport around noontime today and have taken rooms in the Ebon Hound. The inn is run by a man called Taril Kent. Today they are celebrating the wedding of one of their waitresses, Tessa, to a man named Bron. The common room is gaily decorated and spirits are high. We were even given a complimentary tankard of the house brew as we came in.
Azuredee had it in mind to sell that hideous dagger she acquired in Dukane Monastery. Good riddance, as far as I was concerned. It was too small for combat and mostly ornamental, anyway. And ugly at that. So we ventured forth into the city to find a buyer.
We found ourselves in the shop of a Kronar Battleflame, a dwarven merchant of magical items. According to Azuredee, the dagger gave her the ability to see in the dark and to see magical objects. As the two negotiated a price, the dagger seemed to speak, declaring that my cousin should “release” it by declaring that she was no longer its master. Mystified, we continued to negotiate with the dwarf when the dagger hissed, “Enough of this!” and—transformed—into a strange beast of scales, blood, and steel. As we fought the strange beast, the dwarf cowered behind his counter. We finally vanquished the beast and, ensuring that the dwarf was unharmed, made our exit.
Back at the inn, everyone seemed to catch the celebratory mood—except for one man who sat and brooded in a corner, an expensive looking lyre propped up against the wall behind him. When not looking depressed, he seemed to be downright angry. He was well-dressed and handsome—if only he would discard that scowl that marred his features. Azuredee nearly vibrated with the need to know what his issue was. The only clue to his identity was an outburst he made when my cousin proposed that he give us song on his lute. He puffed up indignantly and declared that he had performed in the court of Daveth Pynrose and other dignitaries and that he would be damned if he played in a most common of common rooms. Azuredee offered an apology and returned to our table.
In the meantime, I kept my eye on three shady-looking figures that were seated in one of the corners of the common room. Wondering if they were casing the inn for a robbery or perhaps looking for a future victim of petty theft—or worse. Turns out I was wrong. They were apparently waiting on their employer, a wealthy-looking merchant who entered the common room later in the evening.
Tomorrow, we leave Crownport for Luften.
21 Ardor 508
Today we were diverted from our path by a strange, loud, squawk that echoed throughout the hills in which we traveled. Azuredee insisted on checking it out, so we ventured off the trail we were following to Luften. Following the strange sound, we came upon a griffon with a broken wing. It pranced about, squawking and roaring in pain. Azuredee took pity upon the poor thing, but there was nothing we could do about it. The mounts, with the exception of my noble Brownie, were beginning to panic. We cautiously made our way back to the trail.
22 Ardor 508
We seem to be drawn to the pitiable and injured on this journey.
Today we happened upon the injured form of a priest of Hathras. He had been robbed by a band of ruffians—ruffians who know little of the revenge of the gods, apparently. Azuredee was able to offer him some arcane healing. His name is Laurent Thornhaven and he was traveling to the temple in Crownport from the village of Luften. After making sure that the man was alright, we parted ways.
23 Ardor 508
Today we arrived in the small village of Luften. We have taken rooms in the town’s only inn, the Swiftarrow Arms, run by a halfling woman called Kenlo Quickfoot.
Kenlo has been especially helpful, letting us know that if we are seeking out the Sleeping Dragon, then we should seek out a ranger called Findran Yew that lives just outside of town on the mountain pass. Apparently, no one knows the mountain like him.
Further, we are not the only ones who have sought the mountain in recent days. A Jossian by the name of Burandir (who has recently taken on the epithet of “Dragonsbane”, came to the mountain and returned with a dragon’s egg. He was the sole survivor of his party. Apparently, he left Luften for Kalimsport.
This development deeply concerns my cousin and I. If the dragon has had one of its eggs taken…it may not be well-disposed toward further visitors. Nevertheless, we will travel on in the morning and seek out this Findran Yew.
24 Ardor 508
This morning we arrived at the cabin of Findran Yew. The half-elf greeted us cordially and asked us about our business. After telling him of our quest, he replied that he could lead us to the pass that ended at the entrance of the mountain’s cavern system. Azuredee also let him know of the injured griffon that we happened upon during our journey. He thanked us for the information.
We spent the day in the mountain passes, allowing the ranger to guide us on our path. At noon, he pointed toward a wide trail that lead the side of a flat-topped mountain peak.
“Follow this and you’ll eventually come to a fissure in the side of the mountain. That’s where I lead the Jossian and that’s where you’ll find your way inside.”
After thanking him for his help, we parted ways.
Now we camp on the side on the mountain. Above us, we see the flights of griffons and other winged beasts. The cool mountain breezes cut through the summer heat.
And tomorrow, my beloved cousin and I go to seek out a dragon.
Life is strange, indeed.
25 Ardor 508
We found the fissure around noon.
Inside, we explored a series of caverns and tunnels. One would think that enormous green dragon would be easy to find, but the cavern system was vast. And dark. And otherwise inhabited.
Inside we found several horrible creatures. One, a mass of teeth and tentacles mixed with a gods-awful stench. Azuredee was bit by the filthy creature before I finally dispatched it. We also encountered hideous plant-like creatures whose spores made my cousin and I see things that were not there. As we struggled with hallucination after hallucination, it attacked and attacked, nearly killing us. Still, we persevered.
We also found various signs of other adventurers making their way through the caverns. Scrawls upon the walls, skeletal remains, and treasures left behind told the story. We gathered some of these treasures as we went.
Eventually, we wandered into a vast cavern that reeked of reptile. Inside, we found Scraelaterix. She sprawled throughout the chamber, filling it with her mass. Above, we could see the primary fissure of the volcano as well as the light of the setting sun. Her voice filled all of the empty space surrounding her.
“WHO DARES DISTURB MY SLUMBER? WHO SEEKS DEATH AT THE HANDS OF SCRAELATERIX?”
And, to her credit, for I was overawed, Azuredee stepped forward, introducing us to the great dragon.
The beast cast its gaze upon us. And laughed, its guffaws echoing throughout the cavern.
“AND WHY SHOULD I NOT SLAY YOU—OR BETTER YET, HAVE YOU SLAY EACH OTHER FOR MY SPORT? SLAY YOU, LIKE I WILL THEN NORTHRON THAT CAME BEFORE YOU AND FOR WHOSE SAKE I WILL LAY THE COUNTRYSIDE TO WASTE.”
And then my lovely and talented cousin gave the performance of her—or rather, our—life. She spoke amiably and confidently to the creature whose very breath could send our souls scattering to the underworld.
And she made a deal with this dragon.
“If we can retrieve your egg from the Northron that came before us, will you not only spare our lives, will you spare the neighboring lands from your vengeance?”
After a long pause, the dragon took a breath, and spoke.
“YES, I WILL SPARE YOU AND YOU WILL RETRIEVE MY EGG. YOU HAVE UNTIL THE NEXT PASSING OF THE MOON TO BRING IT BACK TO ME. AND THEN I WILL KEEP TO MY OATH. IF YOU DO NOT, THEN THE NORTHRON WILL HAVE NO SAFE HAVEN FROM MY VENGEANCE.”
“Until the next moon then, Great One,” my cousin murmured as we backed our way out of the chamber and into the caverns from which we came.
We made our way out of the caverns found that night had fallen since we had entered the mountain. We also found that our mounts were being attacked by a griffon!
We managed to fight the beast to unconsciousness, and Azuredee insisted that we stabilize it to ensure its survival. Perhaps she is trying to impress the ranger?
We have now set up a camp at the fissure and will return to civilization tomorrow.
26 Ardor 508
Today we made our way down the mountain. The trip was uneventful.
This evening we came back to Findran Yew’s cabin. The ranger was not in, so we left him a note letting him know that we are, indeed, alive and that there is an injured griffon on the slopes.
We made it back to Luften just after nightfall. We checked back in to the Swiftarrow Arms and bought ourselves a meal.
Findran Yew has just left. Seems he found our note and came to thank us for sparing the griffon. He didn’t stay, much to Azuredee’s disappointment.
27 Ardor 508
Today we left Luften for Crownport.
We had quite an eventful evening. As we attempted to make our camp, we were set upon by a pair of bandits!
I managed to knock one unconscious. The other fled and Azuredee gave chase, but she could not find him. We have taken the unconscious one as our prisoner and will present him to the guard in Crownport.
29 Ardor 508
Our campsite was assaulted by a giant stag beetle! The creature came wandering into camp as we started to bed down for the night. Fortunately, the insect was easily dispatched.
Our prisoner has also awakened. He’s a belligerent sort and keeps trying to provoke Azuredee, but she mostly ignores him. We keep him bound on our cart.
30 Ardor 508
Azuredee hasn’t been feeling well. I’m not surprised, what with the filthy bites and other wounds we’ve endured. I treated her for her fever and I think she’s going to pull through just fine.
Journal Entries for Longday 508