The Dragon's Demand

Reckoning with Roaghaz

Sofie's Journal

Starday, 25 Pharast, 4723

I beat the kobold chieftain with my staff until it shattered over his ruined skull. I've had that staff for a month, since I landed in Taldor. It was to accompany me on my scholarly expedition into the Verduran Forest. Now it's just another victim of my beserker episodes. But I get ahead of myself.

We awoke in the kobold caverns where we'd pursued the Witch Tower saboteurs yesterday. We left Nighttail to watch over the prisoners, then cautiously descended to the floor below. Knives led the way thanks to her darkvision. Aldern cast his light spell on my signal whistle, so it could be tucked into my tunic to dim the light. A large stone pillar shielded us from sight in the chamber beyond. Knives crept around the corner and spied two kobolds and a pair of animated human skeletons by a profane altar. They seemed to be expecting us, but we had the drop on them.

At least until Aldern poked his head around the corner and complained how "tacky" their demon altar was. What is wrong with that wizard!

Tagnus and Lennox made short work of the skeletons and soon it was just the lone kobold priestess left. Her fell magic was strong, but not strong enough. Strange, though. When she was slain, her body vanished from her robes as if it had been summoned to join its master in the Abyss.

Knives and Lennox then scouted the corridor and disabled an ingenious oil trap, recovering several bottles of alchemist's fire. I have trouble imagining these foolish kobolds successfully concocting alchemical potions, but they have shown a certain raw cunning.

Our friends' scouting attracted the attention of a guard slurk (Odobenus Bufo) and some kobolds protecting the egg chamber. Knives and I had a firsthand experience with their slime spray, which was more odoriferous than the texts had described. The sensation of being coated in sticky, viscous slime and then feeling it harden into resin is one I'd rather not encounter again. I was later able to go back and examine the creature's body afterward and discovered some fascinating signs of how kobold domestication has impacted this breed compared to the wild versions that Voadys encountered.

Anyway, after we killed the creature and the guards, we realized that we had captured the tribe's eggs. I proposed we use them as leverage to force the remaining kobolds to surrender—with one exception. We all agreed that Chief Roaghaz, the architect of Belhaim's woe, deserved only death. Aldern picked up one of the eggs to emphasize our point.

The clan's great hall was empty, save for two guards at the far end protecting access to the chief's area, which was separated from the rest of the hall by two boulders. Knives crept inside and dispatched one of the guards, while Lennox short down the other. Roaghaz was alerted however, and as the red beserker mists closed around my vision, I held up my nithing staff and called out a challenge. Roaghaz responded in kind and his followers, though rattled, refused to surrender.

My memory of the battle is spotty. I know that the kobold chief summoned up an enormous spider web that filled the great hall and made reaching him challenging. Especially for Tagnus, whose beard kept getting tangled. Knives and I cornered Roaghaz, but he used a cheap sorcerous trick to conjure up mirror duplicates that made it hard to strike true against him. There were other kobolds, too. I think Lennox killed one. Aldern was trapped on the other side of the web and had to slowly burn his way through.

The kobold chief had this nasty wand that battered Knives and myself again and again with missiles of magic energy—similar to Aldern's magick I believe, but in a less attractive color. Only my berserk adrenaline kept me upright, but I delivered the final blow, breaking my nithing staff over Roaghaz's head. 

While I recovered from the ordeal, the last kobold surrendered. We handed him over to Nighttail and gave her control of the eggs. She scrawled "Aldern" on the one that he had carried. We plundered the chief's gear and discovered a treasure chest which contained several dragon scales: an ancient, enormous black one and several smaller, fresher green ones. Aeteperax, the tribe's "god," was said to be a black dragon, so the green scales are unexpected. A new mystery?

It will have to wait. We have a long trek ahead of us back to Belhaim, where I am in definite need of a bath.

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thestarturtle StakeTheLurk

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