Steel Dragon's "Tales of Orea"

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Braddok, Haelan, Fen and Trihna races up the curving path to the "side" entrance to the dragon's mountain. Pyrnion, having winged his way ahead, alit when he saw them nearing.

"We need to find her." Braddok said.

The sea-priestess Trihna, in the guise of Alaria, pulled her locator orb from the pouch and with a brief command, the grey-green water within the crystal began to churn and swirl with a soft glow.

The companions raced through the stone corridors. They passed through the small cavern where the large iron chains that had once held the hellhounds lay discarded. They entered the cavern where they (minus Pyrnion) had first fought the water-hydra and reclaimed the Shoal temple's sacred pearl.

Unbelievable, Haelan thought to himself, that was still less than a year ago.

"What is that?" Pyrnion said with some disbelieve at the unconscious aquatic elf now occupying the space above the filled cistern.

"Karolostae." Trihna said in an awe-inspired whisper. The clerics of Tyris were schooled all manner of oceanic flora and fauna, including many "peoples", of whom the average land-dwelling races were unaware.

"A Watcher of the Deep. A branch of elfkind that lives beneath the seas." Fen explained for those who didn't know.

"That poor woman. We have to free her." Haelan said trotting over to the sea elf.

"Pyrnion, get that." Braddok said pointing toward the fire-gem topped staff, even as he raced toward the shelf on which Haelan's food-producing bowl sat.

Fen, racing for the Karolosta woman, noticed too late that the warriors were going to gather the treasures. "No wait!" he shouted seeing Pyrnion flap his way across the chamber and nearing the staff.

*BFFZZZAP!*

Magical energy sparked and flared with a yellow light as the zephari bounced off the mystical barrier.

Pyrnion growled as he stood from his knees. "I hate that! That's twice I've been electrocuted in the past twenty minutes."

Braddok stopped in his tracks and slowly retracted the arm that had begun to reach for the bowl.

"Can any of you cancel the barriers?" Braddok said softly toward the three spellcasters who were trying to determine how to free the sea elf.

Fen placed a hand against the stone wall of the cavern, as close to the edge of the cistern as he dared and murmured the incantation for shaping stone.

The rings of rock that bound the Karolosta's wrists and ankles began to ripple and melt away. The unconscious elf slumped down and nearly fell into the cistern. She was so light and small, that Trihna was able to catch her and slowly lower her into the water.


The elf's large eyes flitted open. All of the companions (who were near enough to see) were amazed by the large silvery-green irises that took a moment to focus on the faces before her. Questioning fear filled her face.

"Be at ease. We are elf-friends. We will get you out of here." Fen said in elvish.

She looked with a slightly crooked head at the half-elf.

"Maybe she doesn't understand, you?" Haelan muttered from the side of his mouth, though hardly quiet enough to keep everyone from hearing him.

"Pyrnion, can you mind-talk to her, maybe?" Haelan suggested to the zephari.

The winged man shook his feathered head. "It's only for communication with others of my kind...or others who already have the ability."

"Huh." Haelan mused. "Do succubi have telepathy?"

"Focus, Haelan." Fen repremanded gently.

But this gave Braddok and idea! The swordsman motioned for Pyrnion aside and quietly instructed the zephari to try to see if he could mentally find the demoness.

"I've never tried anything like that before. I don't know if it will work." Pyrnion's feathery eyebrows rose on his forehead at the warrior's suggestion.

The sea elf looked all of the companions up and down. Her gaze lingered on Braddok and Pyrnion the longest before going back to Trihna and noting the amulet displaying the holy symbol of Tyris. It glinted from beneath Alaria's cloak. She grabbed the medallion and pointed to it.

"Wear [something something] Waves! Waves [something] the Mother!" she said in elvish, though it was thickly accented to those with ears that understood and used certain sounds...that may have been words...that were completely different than land-elvish.

"Yes." Trihna said softly, intuiting something of what the elf was trying to convey. "I worship Tyris, blessed be Her depths." Trihna smiled gently.

"Tyris! Yes! Kama!" the sea elf said, very anxious.

All of the heroes eyes opened wide.

"You know Tidemaster Kama?!" Braddok said...in his language, forgetting himself.

The sea elf shook her head in agreement. "{something that sounded like an affirmative] 'Tidemaster'...Kama! Where he is? Find him?" she sounded very concerned for the elder priest.

"We don't know where the Tidemaster is, I'm afraid. He has been lost." Fen tried to explain in the sea elf.

Again she grabbed the amulet and pointed to the eteched waves. "Kama!" Then she pointed to one of the other passageways that led from the room. "Evil. [something] Dark. Come...[something something]...Kama!"

"Is she saying that Kama is here?!" Haelan said, unsure if he was getting the translation correct.

"I...think she is." Fen said, also unsure and a bit surprised.

"Shoulda known." Pyrnion grumbled.

"Where is he?!" Trihna said full of concern.

"Can you show us? Kama? Tell us where he is and we will get him." Fen asked gently.

"Evil [something] dark." she said, pointing again to one of the other passages. Then she held up her hands like one pantomiming something with claws and did her best to make a growling snarling sound and bare teeth.

"Oh boy." Braddok and Fen simultaneously said.

"What?" Haelan looked at the two quizzically.

"Well, my elvish isn't up to snuff, but I'm pretty sure she just told us that the dragon has Kama." Braddok said.

"I must concur." Fen added.

"Oh not to worry, heroes. My mistress has more than that wrinkled old wave-priest." Althrizz's sultry voice came from all around them, echoing throughout the chamber.

The companions all whirled around in time to see the succubus materialize in the air, her wings spread nearly across the whole passageway as she hovered above a force of goblinoids. The goblins were a motley-looking bunch. Many wore sailor or pirate-esque garb. Behind these miscreants were two sets of heavily armored hobgoblins.

"Looks like it worked." Pyrnion said under his breath to Braddok as the two warriors gripped their weapons more tightly.

Braddok scowled. He counted about 15 goblins and half dozen of the larger red and black armored hogomors, as far as he could see.

"And soon she will have five more than that. Take them!" she commanded.

The goblinoids charged.
 

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steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
An excerpt from Jerub the Bold's prolific work, "Of the Adventuring Ways"...

"Of the many myriad of wondrous things that all who follow the path of adventure must be aware, there are three which must never be forgotten, nor neglected, nor ignored, lest they that do wish to face sheer defeat and utter misery.

In the first, one following the adventurer's path must be aware that if one comes acrossed that which appears to be jelly, or of jam or of pudding of any like sort of confection or tasaty delicacy, do NOT touch it! Do not caress nor poke nor grab nor stumble into nor lick nor imbibe. For those that do shall surely endure the slowest and most painful of deaths.

In the second, one must never drink nor sip nor taste nor apply to the skin nor imbibe in any fashion those liquids of fascinating scent and wondrous color, lest they have afore encountered such liquid or been otherwise identifyed as to its purpose and demeanor. Not the one found in crystal vial nor tattered skin nor sealed flask nor lovely fountain nor gilded chalice nor flagon nor any container of any sort. For those that do shall surely endure the ruinous and most unexpected of events to poisonous death or hateful transformation.

In the third, in no circumstance nor event nor cause nor feat nor jest nor joke nor trick nor temptation of any sort is it wise for one who follows the path of adventure to wake a sleeping dragon."

Jerub the Bold, Lord Blackleaf, Viscount of Karlith
The Year of Our Good King Elibon, 142


Braddok charged forward, unsure of the current group's chances of defeating such a force, even if the succubus kept her distance, which the swordsman was sure Fen simply would not allow. He shouted orders as he went.

"Pyrnion, pepper the goblins. Leave the demon to Fen. Tri-aaaahhhhlaria watch the elf. Haelan...do what you do."

The team did, mostly, as instructed. Pyrnion's flawless aim with his short bow took down several goblin-pirates before they could clear half the cavern. His aerial agility easily keeping him safe from the few poor shots from some rear goblin crossbows.

Haelan invoked his goddess, taking little more than a thought at this point, to cause all of his allies' weapons to take on the amber glow of the Hill Mother's blessing...in case anyone needed to attack the demon directly.

Braddok's enchanted sword blazed with sapphire blue light and sliced through the vanguard of the charging goblins. Wielding the bastard sword as easily in his single hand, he managed to fell two before any of the goblins could even take a swing.

A hobgoblin charged the swordsman, utterly fearless in its fury, brandishing a wickedly serrated sword. The two traded minor blows, before the hobgoblin ripped his blade across Braddok's chest followed by a spray of blood. The wound was not severe, but bloodier than it looked from the sword's serrated edge. This was returned by Braddok, threefold and the hobgoblin's deeply cut body was a corpse before it hit the dirt.

Haelan bashed one goblin with his pinecone-headed mace. A second was knocked out with a fling of his returning shield. He took a jab from lucky strike from a dagger by another pirate-looking goblin, eye-patch and all.

The eye-patch goblin's face turned into a mask of surprise as one of Pyrnion's arrows sunk deeply into his back.

Another of the hobgoblin's had already fallen to other true shots from the zephari.

The few goblinoids remaining hesitated their assault. They looked, somewhat nervously, across the chamber at the nearly untouched adventurers.

"Stop them, fools!" Athrizz shouted with vicious determination. "The mistress will have your hides!"

Trihna, trying to make the sea elf understand she should stay behind her was shocked when the elf pulled away rose above her on/in a pillar of water from the cistern.


"[something] evil [SOMEthing] female whale!" the Karlostae shouted in obvious anger, without a hint of fear, toward the demoness.

The sea elf through her arms forward and water from the pillar shot out of the pillar of water beneath her. The blobs of water solidified into dagger-sized shards of ice as they flew at the succubus.

"She...can't be." Trihna marveled.

Athrizz snarled as three of the five ice-shards struck her. They melted and steamed away almost instantaneously. But the magical cold was still unpleasant for the wounded demon.

"Fish-blooded bitch!" the succubus hissed in retort. She couldn't respond to the attack. The mistress needed the stupid sea-nymph alive. She opted, instead, to disappear in a shimmer of heat.

Fen had taken his first moment to hurl a ball of flames into the goblin ranks. One had died from the burns while a second ran about in circles, screaming at the top of his green-lungs trying to bat out the flames that were consuming the red and white-striped bandana wrapped around his head. A third was chasing after him, trying to bat out the flames with his small mace. He succeeded, crushing the skull of his compatriot in the process.

The druid again whirled his sacred leaftip spear above his head. Ablaze with the green enchantments of his order, it became a blurring circle of blue flames at the end before Fen cut a swathe, hurling an arc of blue flames up at the space of air where Athrizz was fading from view.

The outline of blue faerie fire about the invisible succubus was only momentary before the demon's magical resistance brushed it aside. But it gave everyone a solid outline to work with for just a moment more.

A lightning bolt went streaking across the room, followed by a loud crack and low rumble of thunder...from the Staff of Azanna!?

In her weakened state, Athrizz felt the arcane onslaught of the electricity tear through her supernatural defenses. The membranes of her wings sizzled away like tissue in a flame. Her skin was scorched and smoldering. She cried out in agony as the icy fires of her native plane stabbed her through the ether to be wrenched, forcibly, out of the Orean plane of existence. She discorporated in a spectacular explosion of fire and brimstone smoke.

The heroes turned to look at Trihna with varying amounts of shock and appreciation.

Trihna's face was a mask of utter shock to see a hand grasping the staff along with hers, before an arm appeared that gave way to the rest of Alaria's form came into solid form and view next to her.

"Who's the bitch now?" Alaria said calmly.

The companions cheers were almost immediately silenced by another calm deep, yet feminine, voice.

"Who...indeed?"

The assembled goblinoids parted and bowed their heads. Some began to sneer and snarl in what sounded akin to laughter.

From behind them, strode their black-robed raven-haired mistress. Desaarthal stepped evenly into the chamber, her robes streaming out behind her like flowing waves of ink.

The company gripped weapons and steeled nerves even more tightly.

"You woke...me up." she said with a disapproving glower.
 
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Teflonknight

Explorer
Great Story

I am still 3 years behind the current post, but I just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying the story.
I also found it amusing that you have an elf that is looking old. It the game that I run I had something similar a few months back. In the world of my campaign the aging is a result of an elf that has lived far longer than is normal for an elf. Mine was a 100+ years older than the maximum eleven life span.
Thank you for tha great story and I look forward to catching up.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Thanks for the kind words all. It is most gratifying to know you are enjoying it.

---------------------
Duor stuck his, still wet, dagger back into its sheathe. The goblin he’d just yanked into the underbrush with him lay at his feet. Its black blood oozed out into the island ground. The small lidless box the creature had been taking down to the rowboat at the beach, to be transported to the larger ship waiting out some distance from the coast, glittered with gold coins and a few gemstones.


Gods, how I do love gemstones. Duor thought to himself.


It had been an easy enough assassination. There was some commotion up at the cave entrance. Most of the hobgoblins had rushed back into the mountain while the treasure laden goblins hurried their carrying and dragging of the dragon’s riches to its evacuation point. This poor feelow simply happened to be the last and slowest, while there was noone around to notice the grey-cloaked dwarf pounce from the bushes beside the trail and pull the goblin in. His throat was slit before they were out of sight and hit the ground with a dull thud securely behind the great fern fronds and other twining vegetation.


More rallying cries in the hogomor’s gutteral goblinese tongue were shouted from the cave.


“Hurry! Hurry...intruders...for the mistress!” was all Duor was able to piece together. But “intruders” was pretty much all he needed to hear.


“So much for the plan, sounds like, eh pally?” Duor said quietly to the dead goblin at his feet. He tucked the box of treasure under a nearby fern. “Keep an eye on that fer me, will yeh?" He kicked the goblin corpse in the head before he began making his way, carefully through the underbrush and deepening shadows, up to the cave entrance.


Meanwhile...back in the domed chamber within the mountain...


“Shall we take this outside?” Desaarthal suggested calmly.


“We’ll take this no where, monster. You and your scheme end here and now.” Braddok shouted back and charged the black-robed dragon-in-sorceress-form.


Pyrnion, following Braddok’s lead, took wing and zoomed, close to the ground, toward the woman.


Fen was already finishing his cryptic syllables and slamming the butt of his sacred leaftip spear into the ground. Green lightning struck out across the floor of the chamber.

Desaarthal rose up and curved into the air, whether it was her lengthy robes trailing out behind or by some wicked spell, she seemed to rise and ride ahead of a great pillar or wave of inky blackness. But she wasn’t heading for the warriors. She was bending to the left, heading for the cistern in which the Fire Staff of Nator sat behind its shield of force.


“Don’t let her get the staff!” Alaria called out in horror at the realization of what [she thought] the dragon was up to.


With a thought, a lightning bolt streaked from the Staff of Azanna. The fast moving dragon was well ahead of where Alaria fired and the bolt crashed into the stone wall some distance behind her, on the other side of the chamber. Rocks flew and a couple of hobgoblins, not yet knowing what to do or how to proceed without their mistress’ instruction, fell beneath a large chunk of stone that crashed to the ground.


The Karolstae sorceress and Waverider Trihna both began shouting out spells (or in the aquatic elf’s case, what Alaria presumed to be a spell, not understanding anything the small silvery-blue-green woman was saying). The sea elf’s magic seemed especially quick as a whip-like tendrils of water shot out from the churning pillar of water upon which she “floated.”


The “water whips” missed the shadow streaking dragoness, passing harmlessly through the inky blackness that trailed behind her as they twirled and waved about, as grasping tentacles, in what appeared to be an effort to grab the dark one.


Fen’s attempt to Entangle the dragoness where she’d stood sent vines and roots flailing and grabbing a couple of unfortunate hobgoblins within the spell’s area of effect.

Haelan began invoking a powerful prayer for enhanced protection and added blessing to himself and his companions.


Desaarthal passed by the cistern in which the Staff of Nator stood on its pedestal. As she passed by, the staff was no longer there. In a great arc of blackness, she curved toward where the three magical women were preparing their spells. With a wave of her hand, both Trihna was physical pushed away by an unseen force, away from the sea elf and Alaria.


The wave of inky blackness passed over Alaria and the Karolosta. Alaria’s vision was entirely blackened before she was struck with a terrific pain and brutal strength knocking her back and forth, yanking at her. She fell to her knees, feeling badly beaten.


As the blackness passed over her, the Karolosta elf was gone and the blackness following Desaarthal was curving its way for the final pedestal. Alaria, on hands and knees, noted the blood pooling beneath her. Before the rush of air as the winged Pyrnion swept by attempting to get close enough to the dragon for a strike.


In desperation, the zephari flung his enchanted hand axe with all of his might. Haelan did likewise with his shield. The shield missed, clanging off the stone wall and then the floor before its returning enchantments flew it back to Haelan’s waiting hand.


The axe, however, disappeared into the blackness and, judging by the alteration to the dragon’s trajectory, hit something within it. The axe clanged to the floor near the short stone wall.Desaarthal, however, continued on her way around the huge chamber and, passing by the cistern over which Haelan’s “food bowl” sat, looped back around to the opposite side of the chamber.


Pyrnion alit to collect it. He looked at the small stone shelf above the brackish water. The bowl no longer where it had been.


Desaarthal came to stand, again, near the passageway that led further and deeper into the mountain. Toward where the chamber of lava had been. The smoke-like inky blackness trailing to a halt around and behind her, settling again to the floor, into normal appearing black robes. Of the items of power or the sea elf, there was no sign.


“I wish I could say it’s been fun, heroes. But I am at the end of my patience. No small thing for a dragon, I assure you. You can be proud of that in your final moments. I have not plotted and planned and bided my time and power for four centuries to be foiled by a ragtag band of mortals.


“Die well, Alaria Stormrider.” the dragon-woman proclaimed across the chamber, holding aloft the Ihs Repahl, a sneer spreading across her face as she did so.


“Kill them.” she said simply and with a flowing flourish of her trailing robes, disappeared into the passageway that led to the lava chamber.


The hobgoblins, given the order they most enjoyed to follow, charged forward.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
The recovered Trihna was already healing Alaria.

Fen cursed some elvish word under his breath and then began another incantation.

Braddok, Haelan and Pyrnion prepared for the hobgoblins' charge only to be surprise when the front rank of four hobgoblins were consumed in an inferno as Fen’s Wall of Fire erupted across the chamber. The remaining goblinoids quickly stopped their charge and could only watch in concern as their vanguard writhed and fell within the blue and red flames.

The wall extended most of the length of the chamber, but the clever half-elf druid had placed in such a way to allow access to the passage they needed, from the companion’s side.

“Come on!” Fen shouted and made for the passage through which Dessarthal had made her exit.

The rest of the stunned adventurers followed suit. Braddok remained behind a moment until Alaria stood and caught the warrior’s eye.

“I’m alright. Go! We have to stop her.” she nodded and with Trihna, the two women began running across the chamber.

“What is she going to do?” Trihna said. “The equinox isn’t until tomorrow.”

“There is only a little more than a day until the day of the equinox will begin, at midnight. It is possible, albeit ahead of her presumed schedule, that she could conduct the raising ritual when the day begins instead of the night. If she can elude us long enough, it is conceivable she may succeed.” Alaria replied.

The companions, all in the passage that led down into the fiery heart of the mountain, presumably the whole island. Fen stood near the passage entrance, his outstretched arm maintaining the wall of magical fire, holding the hobgoblins at bay.

“So what’s the plan, now?” Fen said. Beads of sweat beginning to form on his forehead.

“We have to get Duor." Haelan said. “We can’t just leave him out there with all of the goblins!"

Braddok had counted a rough dozen hobgoblin soldiers. It was conceivable they could fight their way out, though everything in his being wanted to pursue the dragon.

“It may be our best option to do as Dessarthal suggested." Alaria said.

The questioning looks from her companions demanded an explanation. “Maybe we should ‘take it outside.' We can regroup with Duor, find somewhere to replenish our strength and attack again at our greatest power hours before she would be able to conduct the ritual."

The would-be heroes debated this for a moment.

“Whichever it is, decide quickly. I can’t maintain this indefinitely.” Fen piped up as his second arm was now raised to continue maintaining their fiery barrier.

With masks of stony resolve, the heroes made themselves ready. Haelan and Trihna began to invoke their respective goddesses, the chanting of Old Selurian creating an oddly resonating melody between the halfling and female human voices.

Braddok nodded to Fen and the druid dropped his arms. The fires almost immediately subsided, leaving nothing but a trail of blacked earth and a few flickering flames where it has been.

Braddok shouted out a war cry and charged forward. His sword, Kandu, bursting into sapphire blue flames as he did so.

Two arrows from Pyrnion sped to one of the front soldiers and lodged themselves in the hobgoblin’s neck and left breast.

A golden bough topped with a large pinecone and a glowing blue white-capped burst of water flew into the room knocking into the hobgoblin ranks from opposite directions. Haelan’s Spiritual Weapon struck three. Trihna’s washed over four, pummeling them with the strength of a large wave. The whole area seemed to fluctuate from an aroma of pine to salty sea air and back again, alternating summer breezes and the low rumbles of breaking waves, as the mystical weapons rose and dove, back and through the ranks, to rise and strike again.

Alaria let fly four shards of violet-blue energy, firing two each into two separate hobgoblins.

Braddok’s attacks were as exacting as they were furious, nearly taking down one hobgoblin with each swing.

Pyrnion sent arrows into two different magically wounded soldiers, sending them to whatever treacherous hell surely awaited the vile creatures....assuming they even had souls.

The spiritual weapons again flew about the assembled hobgoblins, and two more dropped the collective assault.

With only half of the creatures still standing and half of their number wounded, the hobgoblins broke ranks and fled back down the passage through which they’d arrived.

Braddok and Pyrnion were not about the allow their escape and rounded a bend in the passage to find one hobgoblin on its back, a small dart sticking out from between two of its eyes. A second fell in a flash of green fiery energy.

“‘Bout time, boyo!" Duor’s ever-pleasant voice sounded through the corridor as soon as the dwarf caught a glimpse of the blue tunic and black flacon of his warrior friend.

Pyrnion‘s arrows took out one and a swipe of Braddok‘s sword across the back of the last left the four remaining hobgoblins.

Duor tumbled around two others, deftly avoiding a wild swipe of a broad sword and a stabbing spear.

“You too, bird brain.” Duor said without a hint of thanks in his tone over his shoulder, obviously to Pyrnion. His return swipe with his ethereal dagger missed, but kept the hobgoblins backed off with its eerie magical smoky energy.

Two remaining hobgoblins blocked the passage, engaged in a fighting retreat as their companions simply made for the main cave entrance.

One of Pyrnion’s arrow volleys, shot from the air over the heads of the fighting defenders, managed to take out one of the fleeing before it rounded a corner.

Braddok took down the other two, Duor supplying an adequately threatening distraction, though not wanting to get in the way of the Grinlian swordsman and his great madly swinging blade.

The fighters stopped for a breath and a beat to make sure there would be no additional wve of reinforcements. Duor took the moment to inquire, casually.

“Sooo...? How’d the plan work out?”
 
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SolitonMan

Explorer
Happy new year SD! :)

Soooo...been a bit since an update I can't help but notice. Not to be pushy or anything, but just wanted you to know people are still lurking and looking. :)
 

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