Shades of Grey

Did everyone remember to pack their acid proof undies?

Standing knee deep in the muck that was the fens, or floating on a disc as was the case with Alcher, the mixed group stared each other down. Lane, Gerran, and Alcher were startled by the new trio after the surviving chuul had escaped with Charney as a captive. Fortunately Oolog choose that moment to emerge from the the brush and joined the gathering, he explained the the trio had been following him since he set off to join the rest of the party and clear his head from the horrific hangover he had suffered from. When asked how he had been able to walk all the way from Redwater, he replied, “That he just kept walking.” “King” Ike explained that he and his traveling companion Miria, who served as the official ambassador for the land of Land, and Rommel an associate of Oder. They had traveled to the sunken city at the urging of Oder to find something there and then bring it back to him. Gerran quickly convinced “King” Ike to aid them in rescuing their missing comrade, Alcher rolled his eyes as Gerran embellished their tale with such outright lies and misdirection that only a fool would believe it, thankfully “King” Ike was that kind of fool. Miria rolled her eyes but was unable to restrain the enthusiasm that gripped Ike as he raised his mighty sword and set off to charge further into the swamp.

Gerran could not believe that his story had worked, neither could Alcher, Lane had exhausted her powers for the day and after healing the last of Gerran and Alcher’s injuries volunteered to stay on the edge of the swamp and keep watch over the horses. Rommel volunteered to stay and keep watch with her. The quintent set off into the swamp with Ike attempting to lead the way but fortunately Oolog was able to find the trail that the fleeing chuul had left and the quartet set off. Mira explained how Ike was convinced he was the rightful king of his “land”, and by that she meant a small plot of land with a hut and partial moat. She further explained that he had worked for Oder as a cursed magical item inspector and that contributed to his various quirks but that he was every bit the warrior that he portrayed himself to be, and that she herself was an oracle well versed in healing but haunted by various things…nothing to dangerous just annoying so far.

After a short while of traveling deeper and deeper into the fens they were attacked by three chuul, the battle was as vicious as their last encounter with no quarter being asked and none given by either side. This time however the advantage was with the party as any who were affected were able to shake off the paralysis poison and Miria was able to channel healing power that negated the damage dealt to the party. Ike and Oolog dealt savage blows to the chuuls while Gerran and Alcher provided support. After the final blow was dealt to the last chuul the group glanced a shape flying through the air towards them, that kept getting larger and larger as it approached. Gerran and Alcher realized that it was a black dragon. Ike was greatly excited by this as he planned how the skull would adorn his dwelling, the rest of the group was more subdued as they frantically prepared for the arrival. Gerran quickly cast a spell that made Miria invisible, while he and Alcher enhanced their abilities through magical and alchemical means. Oolog was debating between his crossbow and axe while Ike began yelling insults and taunted the dragon…everyone wisely stepped away from him after that.

The battle began as many expected…with a cone of acid aimed right at Ike! He took full damage from the breath of acid and unfortunately Oolog found himself just on the edge of it but was able to avoid the worst of it as the black dragon plummeted in front of them. Ike and Oolog wasted no time in counter attacking the dragon while Mira began channeling energy to keep the burned fighters alive. Alcher backed away from melee and began carefully lobbing explosives at the beast, while Gerran dashed around to attack the dragon from behind. The dragon responded with a fully bevy of attacks at Oolog and Ike before taking flight and leaving the battleground…only to return several moments later with its wounds healed and began mauling the fighters again. The battle continued back and forth as the dragon would deal damage to the party, Miria would frantically heal them, as the dragon would then take flight to heal. The dragon battered but not dead demanded a parley. It stated that it had underestimated the party and that it wanted no more of their quarrel. When asked about the fate of Charney it replied that its minions had captured him to gain access to the house with wooden statues and claim the treasure within the walls. The dragon scoffed at Mira commenting that even invisible she was visible to the dragon. Gerran took this time to demand the return of Charney while Ike demanded that the dragon become his mount. That was to much for the chaotically evil dragon and it reared up to attack once more and met its end at Ike’s blade as he beheaded the dragon with one blow.

Ike posed triumphantly and claimed the severed head as his trophy. The rest of the group was less enthusiastic, with the dragon slain they were left alone in a large swamp with their lead on the location on Charney dead and nightfall fast aproaching. They had slain many chuuls but no one knew how many remained or what had been stirred from other lairs by their battle against the dragon.

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