For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
Another statue had been recovered, the trolls surrounding the Trollstone routed–and further reaches of the temple-city of Tsar had edged closer to some semblance of control. With two of the sought statues remaining and precious little time to spare, the adventurers regrouped and refitted their armaments and supplies before setting their sights on the next of their tasks: assailing the lair of the black dragon Karkuune in which they were certain another statue could be found.
Intent on hedging any bet that could be mustered, Brother Vang enacted a ritual to bring forth a planar ally–his summoning effort rewarded with the arrival of an angelic planetar. Generals and warriors of celestial hosts, the planetar were potent combatants and powerful vessels of righteous wrath; introducing herself as Xia-Kai, the task at hand was discussed and an agreement was reached: the slaying of Karkuune and the recovery of the statue he was believed to possess.
Another, final contact was arranged–the green dragoness Aurakraul solicited to join the party as well; Karkuune had seen to the slaying of her parents long ago, providing ample incentive for her attendance to the battle which was to come. With powerful allies at their sides and the mightiest magics they could muster at their disposal, the group set forth to siege the upper-most reaches of Tsar seeking to slay the ancient dragon.
Arriving at the entrance to Karkuune’s lair, the party wasted little time delving within–greeted immediately by salvos of arrows from a slew of harpy archers lurking about the cave. As well, numerous half-breed black dragons began to quickly emerge among the commotion–half-gargoyles and other eerie couplings seeking to enter the fray. A powerful sunburst loosed by Anselme blinded all of Karkuune’s offspring and sent them scattering in confusion–while Emma and Xia-Kai pursued harpies with a righteous fervor throughout the cave.
Meryk and Cassandra had been waylaid and delayed from arrival to the battle–leaving Brother Vang, Pandora, Emma, Anselme and Leone to undertake the beginnings of the assault themselves. As Aurakraul also engaged harpies–the archers proving elusive and surprisingly durable–a terrifying shadow swept over the entrance of the cavern as Karkuune emerged suddenly from within. Delivering a vicious blow to Brother Vang, the ancient dragon bellowed before Emma moved to engage him, raining powerful swings against his frightfully durable scales.
After a brief but deadly exchange of blows which left Emma heavily wounded, Karkuune took flight–and loosing a torrent of powerful acid across the intruding adventurers en masse, the immense dragon swooped out of the cave and began to circle back. Though shielded by powerful protective magic in preparation of the acidic breath attacks, the party nevertheless weathered damage in the strafe.
Struggling to put down what harpies and half-dragons that they could, the party was beset on many fronts–a harpy matriarch emerging and attempting to assassinate Brother Vang but failing to slay the crusader. A scorpion-tailed harpy met Emma and Xia-Kai directly in battle, but the pair swiftly and savagely dispatched the monstrous creature after she had leveled a deadly sting against Brother Vang. With magic already in place to forestall the effect of poison, Brother Vang still dreaded the pain which was sure to come from such later.
Karkuune continued to strafe the adventurers and their ensemble, swooping by to deliver devastating attacks and loosing lines of powerful acid. Try as they may, the party had great difficulty in their efforts to bring the great dragon to earth that they might better stand against him–electing then to delve deeper into the cave in the hope that they might find something to lure Karkuune into direct combat.
At the rear of the lair the blinded and confused young were found along with a smattering of treasure and fly-strewn corpses. Upon approach of the treasure and corpses however, a massive swarm of pestilent beetles erupted onto the scene and nearly engulfed Brother Vang. Emma interposed herself in the cleric’s stead, distracting the swarm that he might escape its embrace before beginning to level what damage she and Pandora could against it.
Back at the mouth of the cavern, Anselme and Xia-Kai continued to combat the last of the harpies while Leone tangled with a particularly strong offspring of Karkuune; as the immense dragon continued to make his passes from the entrance, a torrent of powerful magic struck the dragon mid-flight–drawing Anselme’s attention to its source: the undead, werewolf-like figure encountered so long ago at the Isle of Terror.
Karkuune seemed to share Anselme’s confusion at the addition to the battle, but weathered the attack as he swept free from the cave once more. With a dragoness in attendance tending to Karkuune’s wounds, a temporary reprieve was found–with the remnants of the party, heavily injured and struggling to regroup within the rear of the cave as the swarm was dealt with. The missing statue of the nine disciples had been located–but without dealing with Karkuune it meant little for the adventurers; hoping for Meryk and Cassandra’s reinforcement, the party gathered and prepared to return to the entrance to face the dragon…
This battle took more than one week, to be continued in another update!