Balen'hol

A Legend Begins...

Into the Depths of Blackfang's Dungeon

Part One: Unlikely Companions

In the remote Village of Sandpoint on the coast of the Shimmering Sea, pests and mischievous monsters such as goblins have always been a problem. However, livestock had of late been disappearing in the night, only to be discovered half eaten and left to rot in the countryside. The town became panicked at the thought of a powerful and aggressive beast settling in the area, demanding that something be done to remedy the situation. Deploying tracking teams across the countryside, Kendra Deverin, the Mayor of Sandpoint finally determined the location of the beasts lair. Putting out a call to adventurers all across the Kingdom of Galloway – with three unlikely companions answering, each for their own reasons.

At the mouth of the cavern “Blackfang" calls home, the 3 companions met. A towering plate clad knight striding forward with a bow, introduced himself as Sir Robert Solaire, a Paladin of the Sun who sought to defend those in need at all costs.

The other two adventurers present did not mention their motives, though it was clear they were not servants of the light. The pale-skinned human man, leaning against the wall of the cavern, a look of boredom written on the cold features of his unnaturally handsome face sighed his name, Vahldious the Creeping Death going on to explain that he was simply in the area when the call to arms went out, and could use the coin being offered.

The only woman present stood silent, watching the others with amusement as malevolent violet eyes peered past the darkness of her ornate black cloak, a smirk written on her lips. She simply introduced herself as The Witch, Seleria. Sniggering quietly she raises a hand in gesture to the others, her palm open as she nods her head in the direction of the cavern mouth, "shall we?”.

Grunting in agreement as he eyed his questionable companions skeptically, Robert nodded his head and the group moved to the caverns mouth…

As the group strode towards the cave, a mossy curtain hiding the darkness beyond gave way, and two goblins, clad in crude rusty armour charged forward, makeshift swords in hand. Without so much as breaking a sweat, the group of unlikely companions quickly dispatched the minor nuisance and pressed on into the cave.

Part Two: Into the Depths

The first chamber the group encountered was mostly unremarkable, a stream of water gently poured down the eastern wall of the cave, signalling that the cave system likely had an underground river or lake of some kind. The air was humid, and up ahead were two filthy sleeping mats, most likely utilized by the goblins the group had only just dispatched, a rusty old chest sat between them.

Seleria grinned, her hips swaying as she strode forward, carrying herself with the confidence only a member of an elder race could bare, turning to the group with a knowing smile, she raised the mat to the left of the chest and produced a small golden key. The key slid into the chest effortlessly, producing a satisfying click as the lock fell away. The chest produced a tidy sum of gold, as well as an unmarked bottle of orange liquid.

Sir Robert, grew impatient of the others interest in baubles and forged onward. Examining the ancient stone door at the far end of the room, he pressed it open. To his surprise, the stone shifted effortlessly, the door swinging open only to bath the room in a golden light, and so the group pressed on to examine it’s source.

The light gleamed forward from a mysterious fountain, but it’s source was not entirely apparent. Two paths lead from the chamber, a gaping cavern mouth to the North, and a small door set in the stone to the right of the fountain. Seleria closed her eyes in concentration, even as her hands cupped the mysterious golden liquid. With a satisfied smirk crossing her lips, she drank deep… only to find her optimism replaced with disappointment, the enchanted liquid having no effect on somebody of her magical affinity. Hissing, she span on Sir Robert who had preoccupied himself pressing his helm to the cavern wall, seeming to listen, “here, you taste it you lumbering dolt!”.

Turning his head to meet her eyes, Robert replied, “do you address me, milady?”.

“Who else?”, replied the Witch coldly.

As he crossed his arms and stood to his full height, Sir Robert continued, “I can no longer indulge your idol curiosities I’m afraid, do you not hear it? There!”.

The proud Paladin strode off towards the Northern cave without paying a second thought to the others, disappearing into the gloom and darkness. A quiet shadow in the corner of the room gave a grunt of disapproval, uncrossing his arms and shrugging as he watched the Paladin go, “can’t say that’s a great idea… voices that way, don’t sound like friendly ones either”.

Seleria turned to meet the Dhampir’s eyes and nodded, “let him go, we’ll see if our over-eager companion returns unscathed, and if not? So much the better…”

Part Three: The Court of the Goblin King

Sir Robert strode forward with the same confidence and sureness as the rising sun, his eyes squinting in the darkness. The voices grew louder, taking form as he closed the distance. Shark, shrill, and full of mischief – he was sure they belonged to goblins, the same clan the group had encountered at the entrance to the foul dungeon. Suddenly, light – the flickering of torches on the cavern walls ahead warned him that he was drawing close. Stopping at the entrance to the cavernous fault, he peered inside.

The cave had a high ceiling and was well lit with torchlight, crude banners made of various animal skins decorated the walls marked with the clans sigil, a toothy black mouth. Several tables filled the hall. Half eaten rats, bats, and pieces of random local animals were as much on the tables as the floors. Below a raised stone dais, 4 goblins screeched at each other, clearly in the middle of an argument, and at the top of that dais, a goblin sat hunched on a throne of animal bones, a heavily rusted crown sat on it’s head… his eyes fell to meet Sir Roberts. Rising to its feet, it reached out to point a bony finger at the Paladin, who strode forward from the darkness as he realized his discovery. With a screech the crowned goblin addressed him, “Who DARE TO enter court of King Fatmouth?!”.

The other goblins turned to stare at the armour clad man, their eyes full of malice. Clearing his throat, Robert introduced himself, “I am Sir Robert Solaire, of the Kingdom of Galloway, your grace…”.

He cleared his throat, glancing from side to side he counted the goblins, knowing he had ran into quite an unfavourable situation. He would have to choose his words carefully, “My comrades and I have entered your domain in search of a fearsome creature which has been terrorizing the countryside your grace, with your leave we would push deeper into the depths of your realm in pursuit…”

King Fatmouth continued to glare coldly at the Paladin, a smile crossing his grotesque face as he began to chuckle, his smile suddenly a toothy grin, “I make you deal pink-skin”.

Sir Robert regarded the king with curious skepticism but remained quiet, Fatmouth continued, “You see… precious treasure of Fatmouth stolen, stolen by sister, Rakkak, last seen past webs in the red room!”.

The paladin crossed his arms, listening to the kings story with interest.

“Treasure is toy, a dragon, it’s wings move. Bring this to me and you will be welcome here, Fatmouth’s friend”.

The king grins wickedly, “nobody ever come back from the web’s… if you do, you can go deeper. Will find the beast…”

Fatmouth points to the top of a steep cliff where the path continues, making it clear to Robert that he and his companions would not be able to continue without assisting the Goblin King. Nodding, he gave his answer, “I shall return to my companions your grace, the next time we meet, I shall bring you this heirloom of yours, I swear it.”

Turning, Robert once again entered the darkness of the tunnel to rejoin his companions.

Part Four: The Things we do for Monsters

Sir Robert rejoined his companions who pressed forward into the next room, Vahldious checked for traps before they entered.

Upon entering the room which was filled with eerie red light, a voice boomed “approach with humility, and live!”.

Performing a magic check, Seleria was able to discern that the source of the voices were the statues flanking a large spherical ruby which sat on a pedestal at the front of the room.

Perhaps a little over-eager, Vahldious simply walked forward across the room, triggering a trap which caused 2 immense cones of fire to spew forth from the mouths of the statues, burning him badly. As he recovered, the Paladin – Sir Robert knelt, and crawling forward he took the gem in hand. It was hot to the touch but soon lost it’s glow. Seleria determined that the gem was in fact a magical energy heart, a boon which would lesson the wear on Robert should he encounter hazardous elements. Quickly, the group pressed on before the traps reset, moving to the next room.

With the red glow of the gem now extinguished, the next room was bathed in darkness and thick with cobwebs. Robert stopped to tell the group of the information he’d gleaned from the goblin king… “the red room… the webs… this must be the last place Rakkak was seen”. The group stopped, scanning the web strewn crypt – spotting the half eaten body of a goblin, they moved forward. Vahldious frowned, “great… good luck getting information out of her”.

Seleria grinned, closing her eyes, a cold wind blew through the cavern, surrounding her even as her body began to take on a faint blue aura… opening her eyes, they shone with frightening white power… the aura seemed to crawl from her finger tips, dropping like haze to the cobblestone and clinging to what was left of the goblin… it’s eyes opened, a anguished gasp burst from it’s lips as air filled it’s empty lungs. “w…why you… bring me back”.

The goblin looked around, pain the most notable expression on it’s face, and something akin to fear, panic. “S…she’ll be here, she’s always here!”

Robert stood a step forward, concerned, turning to Seleria he spat, “what have you done, witch? You’ve woken the dead!?”.

The goblin looked up, it’s eyes wide with terror, “She’s coming!”

Vahldious grinned, finding the whole thing rather amusing, “who’s coming, little thief?”.

“Look up… you fools”.

A massive spider, at least the size of a full grown man descended on her – it’s appendages digging into the torso of the small goblin viciously, the cavern filled with the most horrific screams of suffering, before the ragged body was pulled into the spiders gullet and devoured.

Vahldious grin never faded, snidely remarking as he drew his daggers, “I thought spiders simply sucked their preys inside out, this one likes it’s food whole”.

The group charged to the attack, and though the spider was vicious – it could not so much as dent Sir Robert’s armour, giving Seleria time to slow the beast with her ice, and Vahldious ample time to tear into it with his daggers. They made short work of the beast, but not without feeling a little shaken.

As they stood over the grotesque heap, Vahldious tore his dagger into its abdomen, finding the remains of the goblin, as well as their query – the dragon toy requested by the king, and various other trinkets.

Vahldious insisted that they now held leverage over the king, should they threaten to destroy his toy, he would surely allow them safe passage through his domain – but Sir Robert, sensing Vahldious maliciousness, staunchly refused to be party to such cruelty, insisting on pressing deeper into the tunnels ahead to bide his time, rather then turning around to the throne of the Goblin King.

As they made their way through the darkness the group spied a tall pillar and approached. Vahldious, apprehensive of such objects after the flames had scorched him so badly before, decided to check the obelisk for traps, but found none. Seleria followed suit, studying the object for the presence of magic, and to her delight – spied a pattern in a group of elemental runes which decorated it. Each side seemed to represent one of the four primarily elements, water, wind, earth, and fire – but only the symbol of water seemed to recur on each of the sides. She informed the group as such.

Boldly, the Paladin insisted that he be the one to risk a trap – stepping forward, Vahldious and Seleria shared a nod of approval with one another as they watched the Paladin feel his way around the pillar, touching the symbol of water at each side. The obelisk glowed blue… and soon, so did the armoured warrior before it. His mind soon filled with the knowledge of the boon he’d been granted. Turning, “we must press forward!”.

Stepping to the side of the obelisk and peering into the darkness, he pointed forward to a gleaming object in the distance. “There, across the lake”.

Sir Robert moved forward without a second thought, his companions staring on with intrigue as the heavily armoured warrior threw himself forward into a dark pool of water – immediately beginning to sink. Vahldious folded his arms and laughed “fucking twat’s gone and killed himself…”

The two remaining companions were just about to give up on Sir Robert when they heard stirring from across the pool, and with a final push, the Paladin began to surface on the far side – calling out to his companions “I am okay! Sorry if I worried you!”.

Seleria glared at Vahldious, bewildered, “but how?” she snapped, turning her attention back to the figure on the far shore who, with her keen Drow vision, she could see clearer than if he were standing in the light of day.

Suddenly a geiser of water went up, and another dark figure emerged from the water on the far shore, immediately rushing the Paladin.

“What ho!”, cried Robert in alarm, as turning – he blocked the massive claw of the Reefclaw with his mace.

“Companions! I need your aid!”, he cries, deflecting another blow.

With a surge of sudden power, Seleria was propelled into the air, taking flight. The Dhampir simply stayed quiet and watched as she soared across the pond with lightning speed, a burst of frost magic hitting the beast with a thunderous crack. Wheeling, the beast lunged into the air, grabbing the witch in it’s claw and pinning her. “Guess you’ve killed yourself too, my dear…” he smirked.

Robert was having none of it, and lunging at the now distracted Reefclaw, he leapt into the air with all the strength his legs could muster, bringing his great mace down on the creatures head with a sickening crunch, it’s brains bursting from its face and seeping from the wound as it shudders and dies… it’s grip loosening on Seleria as it crumples into a heap. Turning, Robert cries out to Vahldious across the water, “The threat has passed Vahldious, there is nothing left to fear!”.

Vahldious frowns, angry at the implication in the Paladins words.

Seleria nods her thanks to Sir Robert, even as he makes his way to the chest at the center of the island. Crouching to open the unlocked box, he is met only with glowing and valuable treasure – several potions, and a sword made of solid dragonbone, a powerful relic. “This is sure to help us vanquish the beast my comrades!”, he says with a flourish, brandishing the blade.

With another burst of power, Seleria unleashes her power on the waters, the sharp cracking sound of rapidly freezing water buzzing in the adventurers ears as she created a bridge to the other side, and the party rejoins Vahldious, continuing down the tunnel.

With surprise, Robert realizes that the tunnel ends in a familiar room, joining once again in the chamber of King Fatmouth, the Goblin King. He spies the adventurers, “Robert back, and with friends! Bring what Fatmouth asks for?”, he says with a grin, tilting his head quizically.

“We have indeed, your grace – Vahldious, if you please!”.

The darkly clad Dhampir treads forward gracefully albeit not at all pleased, the toy in hand, “here is what you sought… dear king”, he says as he holds it out to him.

Fatmouth’s eyes widen as he see’s the toy in hand, snatching it from the Dhampir’s hands, “my precious!” he cried, eyes watering as he hugged the wooden toy.

“Thank you… thank you!”, he grinned – looking at his bodyguards.

“These people are friends of Fatmouth, they free to come and go!”, he looks at the group, pointing to the cliff at the North end of his chamber.

“The dragon lies beyond the upper passage… beware, I warn, Blackfang still young, belly scales are soft like pink skin’s – not yet developed… aim for his belly”, he grins, dancing happily with his toy.

Nodding their thanks, Vahldious and Seleria begin to walk towards the cliff face, Sir Robert kneels to the king, “thank you your grace, for being such a benevolent host, without your help we would not be able to stop this beast…”, he stands to join his companions.

Part Five: Blackfang

Vhaldious had already begun climbing when Robert joined them, possessing a remarkable gift for all things dextrous. Soon enough he was up and over, and was even gracious enough to kick a rope down to his companions, who quickly followed up to the new passage.

A foul smell was coming from the cavern beyond and an odd shuffling sound could be heard in the pitch darkness before them. Clinging to the shadows of the wall, only Seleria could still see him as Vahldious moved silently forward into the cavern, checking for danger, traps… monsters “Wait Vahldious!”, Seleria cried – her keen Drow eyes seeing movement in the darkness ahead…

The shambling shadows moved right on past Vahldious, who remained silent – hidden from them, even as they wandered close enough for both Robert and Seleria to see them for what they really were – the dead had risen, skeletal apparitions, shambling in unnatural shuttering movements towards them, and projecting a sense of dread.

A sudden burst of energy exploded from Selerias fingers, the negative energy ripping through the rattling bones with a sickening snap as one of the skeletons exploded. In synch with the first attack, Robert lunged forward, his hammer swinging through the air with his momentum behind it, but his query narrowly dodged the blow, lunging forward as scraping a dull sword against the thick plate of his armour, these bones were quick.

Spying an opening, Vhaldious suddenly lunged from the shadows, slashing furiously at the back of one of the skeletons, his daggers grating back and forth along the bones but aside from narrow slashing, they did little damage. The skeleton wheeled on him, lashing out with its blade and catching him hard in the left arm. Vhaldious cried out in pain, gripping his arm, and as he backed away from the threat, he once again faded into the shadows.

Just as Vhaldious vanished, Roberts hammer came down on the second skeleton – and a burst of negative energy once again rippled through the now shattering bones of the third, the threat was over, but the battle left the group warn. Robert sighed, “show yourself, Vhaldious, for we must press on”.

The rogue, slinking from the shadows and clutching his arm, was clearly injured – he wore a grimace on his face as he eyed his companions and gave them a resentful nod of agreement. The group pressed onward, the sickly smell wafting through the warm air of the dungeon growing more and more sickly the further they went, until the darkness gave way to wide cavern, the ceiling open to the blue sky of the outside world. Seleria attempted to shield her eyes from the sudden light, her Drow eyes now used to the darkness. Ahead, they spied a small hoard of gold and glittering treasures, the beginnings of a proper dragon nest.

With no warning the young black dragon swooped in from the opening in the ceiling, landing splayed on the forefront of its wings, it’s legs bent as if ready to spring, its neck low and eyes centered, focused on the group of adventurers, intimidating and defiant. Sir Robert sprang into the cavern, rushing headlong towards the dragon – as if in response the dragon lunged forward with alarming speed – its massive jaws opening wide before crushing down on his left shoulder with incredibly power, it’s 2 foot long razor sharp fangs easily sinking through his plate, the sound of rending metal filling the cave with a sickening screech, even as Sir Robert dropped to his knees in pain, clearly not expecting the dragon to wound him so.

Using Robert’s distraction to his advantage, Vhaldious was already upon the dragon, slashing wildly at his underbelly with his daggers, even as Seleria unleashed a torrent of frost at the beast – trying to pry the dragons attention from the critically wounded Robert, who could do nothing but study the dragonbone sword in his hand…

The dragon wheeled on Vhaldious, letting out a sharp hiss of anger, it reared its head back… the dragon began to wretch, it began as a poisonous ichor seeping from between it’s razor sharp teeth, but soon grew to the force of a projectile, covering an already wounded Vhaldious in the poisonous sludge, eliciting horrifying screams of pain from the Dhampir who did not expect the sudden onslaught. It was all the time Robert needed.

Lunging forward with the sword in hand, Robert thrust with all the might his right arm could muster, the dragonbone longsword slashing deeply into Blackfang’s underbelly. The dragon’s eyes widened in pain and it let out a deafening shriek of pain, turning to stare the injured paladin down even as it’s blood seeped from it’s open wound. Sir Robert closed his eyes and opened his mind to Sarenrae, sure he was about to finally find his sun – but instead of lunging and finishing his foul work, Blackfang beat it’s heavy wings, suddenly and surprisingly taking off with a shriek – running. The companions had done it, while the dragon still lived, it was grievously injured and had fled the area. Their quest had succeeded.

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jaredlane

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