The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 4
The Iron Flow River & The Censer of Weal
————————— Part 10 —————————-
We move on down the natural steps ahead of us which brings us to a opening on our left. Mack shines his light into it and it seems to be another passage which bends after about 20′. We stop and listen and Gnoman thinks he hears something so gets us all to be quite. He hears shuffling sounds, we decide to move on down the main passageway which leads to more natural steps leading further underground. James would have so loved this! We come to a Y junction with us arriving from the bottom. Again we listen and Gnoman hears flapping like something flying maybe from the left. Again we continue deciding that resting here is not going to be of any help. The Trog wants us to go right which leads us to a massive cave
We have entered an enormous cavern. The ceiling towers above you, perhaps over100 feet in height or more. Long, jagged stalactites hang from the ceiling by the hundreds in tight clusters, and great, convoluted draperies of stone hang along the walls. The floor beneath our feet is loose, sandy soil. Beyond this small beach is a great pool of dark water that goes as far as we can see. Since we entered this cavern a continuous roar has filled our ears. Looking to the north you now see the source: or at least the spray glittering in your light, of a great waterfall. A flat bridge constructed of stone slabs stretches across the water ahead of us to reach another larger sandy beach far to the west. The bridge appears to be a primitive work, yet it looks stoutly constructed, and the builder was clever enough to include small handrails on either side and a walking surface made from giant, flat slabs of grey stone. The beach to the west appears unoccupied except for a scattering of boulders and large rocks here and there illuminated by scattered light from above. You can dimly make out what might be a cave entrance beyond the far beach. The majesty of this cavern is nearly overwhelming and we cannot help but believe that we have discovered the great scaly god’s lair at long last.
Gnoman looks up not wanting to be surprised while Thorn checks the water for refilling their skins. As Thorn thinks the water, which is flowing quickly, should be fine he wades away from the shore to get water, as it will not have sand etc in it. Rotnick holds the rope tied to him as he does this. I, Errath, stand by the entrence to keep watch while Mack holds the Trog off to the side.
Look out I shout as two Troglodyte zombies shuffle towards me only a few feet away. The zombies reach me and I ready my club, not having time to throw a javelin. Gnoman moves to get line of sight, while I get hit, in the chest, by one zombie while by parry allows me to fall back from the other one. The chest blow dazes me.
Gnoman releases a sling shot from his sling and a zombie hits its right leg and knocks it down. I parry the other zombie attack but miss with my club. Gnoman starts to reload his sling I again parry the zombie attack and this time manage to hit it in the chest with my club. Gnoman continues to load.
Gnoman lets go another sling shot at the fallen zombie hitting its right arm. I parry the zombie attack but miss my counter attack. Rotnik readies his mace and moves up, having helped Thorn from the water. Gnoman starts to reload his sling, I parry the zombie again and my club trips it up as I hit its left leg. Rotnik also attacks but misses.
With both zombies on the ground it is easy to finish them off now that Rotnik has joined me. However just as we do we hear a roar and a flash. Lighting blasts from behind me catching Thorn, myself and Rotnik in its blast. Both of them burst into flame as their backpacks etc, catch fire, I am lucky as nothing catches fire.
Thorn seeing a Blue Dragon, the Scaly God!, flees heading for the passageway. Gnoman changes weapons to his hand crossbow. I use a potion to restore my very burnt body, I took more of the lighting blast than the other two. Rotnik turns to face the dragon and flees in terror. Mackenzie, being a paladin, ignores the fear and challenges the dragon to a fight man on man.
The dragon accepts and they line up on the beach as I and Gnoman watch, only after Gnoman gives Mack one of his Blue Dragon slaying crossbow bolts to use as a dagger if he can.
The dragon is faster and strikes first with its claw, smashing into Mack’s right leg and only with luck not ripping it right off. Mack is dazed by the pain of his leg and stands.
The dragon lowers its head over Mack and swallows him in one gulp ripping his head off as he does so.
I start to sing as I run, about a dragon who having swallowed a paladin chokes on a crossbow bolt. Unfortunately this one doesn’t.
We stop a little way up the passage and think. Does this dragon have the censer or is it just another block in our journey to find it? How can we get past it or kill it. We still have one Blue Dragon Slaying Bolt for Gnomans hand crossbow left. Thorn also still has his potions of Giant strength and invisibility left in what is left of his backpack. Our plan is simple, Gnoman will sneak back to the cave invisible, he still has enough power to cast it on himself. Thorn will cast Silence on him and I will cast Barkskin as well. I will drink half of Thorns invisibility potion and Gnoman will have the other half for when he has to drop his spell. I will follow Gnoman into the cave as support.
Gnoman, carrying his cat, heads back into the cave with me following while the Dwarfs tend to their burns. Gnoman sees nothing so moves up to the bridge and checks it for traps, seeing none he moves onto it to cross over. Halfway across he notices that the central slab is dodgy and will tip if a human or Dwarf walk on it tipping them into the flowing water. Being a Gnome has its advantages thinks Gnoman. He moves onto the other beach while I watch from the other side, not him of course he’s invisible. Looking up Gnoman sees the outline of a hole in the roof with diffused light coming down it.
Moving over the beach Gnoman reaches the entrance they had seen from the other side. He has night vision thanks to his cat and can just about make out a long thin cave around 100′ by 20′ just in from the entrance is a pile of coins and gems with a scooped intended top next to it is a smaller pile of items, he can not see a dragon. Listening he can hear the breathing of the dragon, where is it? Thinking maybe its in the pile or made itself look like the pile of coins Gnoman removes a coin. It comes way easily and a few others roll down the pile. He reaches out and touches just above the coins and feels a heaving body. A eye opens and the dragon says well I never it is a Gnome, I smelt you coming and wondered what you wanted, just what do you intend to do? Gnoaman puts up his hand crossbow and fires his dragon slaying bolt into what he hopes is the invisible dragons belly.
He draws his potion of invisibly and runs back towards the bridge as the dragon shacks itself and scrambles after him. It looks like the bolt of slaying didn’t work, such bad luck. Gnoman thinks his days might be numbered. I seeing the dragon coming after a visible Gnoman drink the potion of giant strength and throw my javelin at the dragon. I hit it in its forequarters where I can see the bolt sticking in it. This seems to daze the dragon who just hovers near the bridge. I quickly ready my second javelin and throw again. Again I hit its forequarters and I force its surrender. I Errath forced a dragon to surrender.
We agree with the dragon that we will leave it alone if it gives us the Censer, flies us up out of the caves and destroys the goblins holding the fort. Rathulagon agrees, he was lucky not to die[he has used up his last luck point], he will do all of this after a days rest.