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“A dragon?” Seoni asked skeptically.

Seelah nodded. “The farmers are still losing livestock and say they’ve seen it.”

“From my understanding, dragons are quite large.” Seelah agreed, and Seoni continued, “I’m curious as to why you’re going to search the Shrine to Lamashtu, and you want me to investigate the throne room.”

“Mostly we’re looking for clues, not necessarily the dragon itself.”

Seoni still had her doubts, but agreed to go along with Seelah’s plan. She rounded up her companions, Trevin the troubadour, Amy the acolyte, and Buck the burglar, and they headed for the throne room. While Seelah and her standard bearer went to the Shrine of Lamastu.

As they searched the throne room for clues, Seoni kept an eye on Buck. She still wasn’t certain of his loyalty and didn’t quite trust his sticky fingers.

“I think I found something,” Amy called, and Seoni went to take a look.

“Looks like a spell scroll,” Seoni said. “A well protected one. Care to see if we can break the seal?”

Amy nodded though she looked nervous. They channeled their energy and focused it on the scroll’s magical seal. There was a pop and a puff of smoke. When it cleared, the scroll was gone, and Amy looked exhausted.

“Perhaps you should go rest,” Seoni suggested.

“I’m fine,” Amy said, looking wobbly.

“I insist,” Seoni said.

Amy sighed but relented. As she made her way out of the throne room, another figure appeared.

“I thought you got rid of her,” Trevin whispered.

Seoni regarded Seva the standard bearer. “I gave her just one more chance.”

Trevin blew out a breath. “Hopefully she doesn’t kill us all.”

Seelah grinned at the opportunity to test out the new spiked chain Seoni had picked up for her. She knew it wasn’t an ideal weapon for taking down an ogre, but like a child with a new toy, she was showing a bit of favoritism. She discarded her mace, asked for the gods to bless her, and attacked. Even she was surprised at how quickly the ogre fell.

“That was impressive.”

Seelah turned to Nile from the night watch. “Thank you. What brings you here?”

“I heard you were looking for a dragon. Thought I could be of some assistance.”

Buck rubbed his hands together and ogled the stash. “This is why you need me,” he said.

“So you can open it?” Seoni asked.

“Of course!”

Despite his bravado, the lock turned out to be more than he could handle. He made a mistake early on which triggered a special mechanism that was beyond his capabilities. He seemed baffled by this, and insisted he needed to go do some research. Seoni didn’t try to stop him.

“Starla, give me a hand here,” Seelah said, and they dragged a locker out into the open. “I think we can smash it open, don’t you?”

“I suppose,” Starla replied.

That was good enough for Seelah. She started hammering at the lock, and after a moment or two, Starla joined her. It didn’t take long to bash the lock, and the lid popped open, smacking into Starla. The standard bearer fell back, clapping her hands to her forehead.

Seelah knelt next to her. “Let me see.” Starla didn’t respond, so Seelah pried her hands away. She sucked in a breath. “That looks nasty. You should go get that tended to.”

Once she was sure Starla could make it on her own, Seelah turned back to the now open locker. Inside she found shiny new armor. She pulled it out to examine it.

“That half-plate looks enchanted,” Nile remarked.

“Just the kind of upgrade I need.”

Seoni examined the shield as best she could. It really seemed wedged in place, but it would certainly be better than the wooden shield Seelah was carrying around.

“I can help you with that,” Seva offered.

Seoni glanced at her. She supposed there was very little damage the standard bearer could do, and she was trying to give the girl another chance.

“All right.”

The shield came loose easier than they thought which was very unfortunate for Seva. The shield slammed into her shoulder, knocking her off balance, and she cracked her head on a nearby table. It seemed like she didn’t know if she should be holding her shoulder or her head. In any case, Seoni decided she need to seek out a healer for treatment. Seva clearly didn’t want to be dismissed, but Seoni sent her on her way.

“It doesn’t seem like a good day to be traveling with you,” Trevin said, noting that he was the only one of her companions left.

“This place has quite a bit of loot for a shrine,” Nile noted as Seelah examined the large chest.

She couldn’t argue with him and set to work on smashing the lock. This one turned out to be a lot tougher than the last one. The lock just wouldn’t give.

Seelah sighed, deciding she’d wasted enough time on the chest. She moved on in search of something that would lead her to the dragon.

Seoni strapped the shield onto her pack, knowing Seelah would be grateful, then went to examine the potion she’d just noticed on the table.

“This might come in handy,” she said.

At first Seelah thought she was seeing the impossible. There was just no physical way for a dragon to be inside the shrine. Then she realized she’d stepped out into the courtyard.

The dragon reared back and spit at her. Despite how shocking the entire situation was, Seelah managed to dodge. The ground next to her smoked and bubbled as though acid had been poured on it.

“I take it we’re not going to try to talk this out,” Seelah said.

“I am Black Fang,” the dragon roared, “and I will destroy you!”

Seelah tightened her grip on her spiked chain and prayed.

It was a brief skirmish. Seelah landed a solid blow with her weapon, and Black Fang retreated. Seelah covered her face as the dragon’s wings created a small dust storm. When it had settled, the dragon was gone.

“Where do you think he flew off to?” Nile asked, coming out into the courtyard now that it was safe.

“Why don’t you help me find out?” Seelah said, putting the emphasis on “help me.”

Seoni pressed up against the wall and hoped the werewolf hadn’t spotted her. Then she quickly cast her invisibility spell to avoid the beast’s detection. She was glad she’d already sent Trevin to go check on the others. He’d gotten skittish and seemed relieved to leave the throne room. Now that she was safe from the werewolf, she took the time to dig out her Amulet of Life, her Sage’s Journal, and just in case, her masterwork tools. She wanted to be as prepared as possible.

It was unlikely Seelah would find anything else useful at the shrine, so she and Nile moved on to the nearby desecrated vault.

“What a cheery place,” Nile quipped.

Seelah was about to agree when she spotted the hill giant trying to sneak up on the night watch. She tossed down her pack to give herself more freedom of movement, and struck out with her spiked chain. Nile threw himself to the side when he saw her coming, and she was able to take down the giant.

“Thank you,” Nile said as she helped him to his feet.

“I can’t let some giant take you out before you’ve been useful to me,” she teased.

Normally Seoni would be surprised to see a Codex in the throne room, but considering everything else she’d found, she just considered herself lucky. Now she just hoped she had the knowledge she needed to acquire the book. She laid her hand on the cover and let the Codex’s magic wash over her. A fool certainly wouldn’t be able to take the Codex, but the magic sensed her knowledge and then faded. She tucked her masterwork tools back in her pack and picked up the book.

After the hill giant, they decided to take a short break. Nile was examining Seelah’s chain mail since repairing armor helped him relax. Seelah was feeling restless and couldn’t help but look around some more.

The clattering of her chain mail made her turn around. Someone had been trying to sneak up on her, but when they knocked Nile out, he’d dropped her armor. Seelah attacked first with her spiked chain.

“You won’t be sneaking up on anyone else,” she muttered, then went to check on Nile.

He was out cold. A desecrated vault wasn’t exactly a good place to leave someone unconscious, but Seelah did her best to hide him away. She needed to find Black Fang and just didn’t have time to take him back into town. Hopefully he’d be safe.

The ancient skeleton moved with surprising swiftness. Seoni drained the energy from her defensive spell and redirected it into an attack. She used her Sage’s Journal as a focus to make the arcane blast more powerful and blew the skeleton apart.

Seoni knew the werewolf was still roaming around somewhere, and she wouldn’t feel right about letting it remain on the loose. She just needed to be better prepared for it.

Seelah picked up the crowbar. “Where were you when I was trying to open that chest?” she asked the object which of course gave no answer.

The vault hadn’t revealed the treasure the shrine had, but Seelah decided to hang on to the crowbar just in case.

Seoni examined the scimitar wedged into the wall. Perhaps if she had help, she could get it loose, but it didn’t seem worth the effort. She moved on.

It wasn’t terribly surprising that a zombie was lumbering around the desecrated vault. Seelah wanted to dispatch it quickly, so she tossed down her pack and really put her weight behind the swing of her spiked chain. The zombie fell quite easily. Seelah wrinkled her nose in disgust at the mess she needed to clean off her weapon. Zombies were messy to kill. She waited a few more moments to make sure it was really dead then set about cleaning the gunk off her spiked chain.

Seoni whirled around when the Codex was ripped from her grasp. An enemy had snuck up on her! She jumped back and pulled the energy from her amulet, then blasted the sneak with arcane power. It was enough to dispatch the would-be-thief, but it also damaged the Codex. She slipped the charred book and her drained amulet into her bag. She’d have to see to repairs and recharging later.

Seelah turned, thinking she’d hear something, but thought it must have been her imagination. She was thrown off balance when something grabbed at her pack. She turned again, trying to dislodge who or whatever it was. There was a masked man holding her wooden shield. Seelah threw her pack at him, forcing him to dodge, then attacked with her spiked chain. He tried to block with the shield but obviously wasn’t used to it, and fell to the paladin’s attack.

Seelah took back her shield and blew out an angry breath. Her spiked chain had done enough damage that she didn’t want to use the shield again until it had been repaired. She put the damaged armor away and continued on her search for Black Fang.

“Another scimitar?” Seoni was beginning to wonder what had previously happened in the throne room.

She left the scimitar where it was and discovered the werewolf had circled back around in search of prey. This time she was prepared, though she still asked the gods for a little help, and blasted the creature with her force missile spell. The werewolf when down under the onslaught of arcane power.

Now that she’d defeated the werewolf, she felt better about leaving the throne room. On her way out she encountered some of her companions.

“See, still here,” Buck said smugly.

Seoni ignored him and focused on Amy and Seva. “Shouldn’t you two be resting?”

“We heard the dragon was seen at the temple,” Amy said. “We thought, even if we weren’t at our best, you could use the extra help.”

Seoni didn’t feel like arguing. “All right. Let’s get to the temple, then.”

With a little luck from the gods, Seelah had just managed to clear the trapped passageway when the ancient skeleton appeared.

Seelah groaned. Why did it have to be a skeleton? She looked at her weapon which certainly wasn’t ideal, but it would have to do. Hopefully the gods were with her. She attacked. It wasn’t an easy battle, and for a moment there it looked like she was going to lose, but she finally managed to take down the skeleton. She kicked at the bones, partly in triumph and partly in relief.

It seemed unlikely Black Fang was there, so she exited and closed up the desecrated vault. It was time to explore the temple.

“On second thought, temples make me nervous,” Buck said.

Seoni turned to ask him what he meant, but he was already gone. He certainly wasn’t doing much to earn her trust, and her other companions looked unsurprised by the turn of events. Seoni turned back to the temple and noticed a discarded crossbow. Thinking a ranged weapon might be useful in fighting a dragon, she went to examine it. Unfamiliar with weapons, she couldn’t manage to make the thing work and tossed it back on the ground.

“I heard you could use some extra help.”

Seoni didn’t bother turning to look at Trevin, and she didn’t bring up his leaving earlier. “That does seem to be the rumor. Now let’s see if it turns out to be true. We apparently have a dragon to find.”

Seelah put away her crowbar. If Black Fang was in the temple, she wanted to be ready to attack not loot. So she considered herself lucky when she found a dagger. It appeared whoever had previous wielded it had taken care of it. It had a good edge and had been kept clean. It wasn’t an ideal weapon against a dragon, but she felt better having two weapons in hand.

Seoni was preparing to fight an ancient skeleton when another one appeared.

“Need some help?” Seelah asked.

“So you heard about that, as well?” Seoni asked, though she knew the paladin wouldn’t entirely understand the jest. “I thought you hated fighting skeletons, though.”

Seelah shrugged. “I do, but I’ll give you a hand this once.”

Without a prepared spell, Seoni needed energy to attack. She didn’t want to risk an energy drain killing Amy or Seva, so she took the energy from Trevin. She then used her journal to focus the energy and attacked the skeleton. The arcane power blasted the skeleton apart.

Meanwhile Seelah was taking apart the other skeleton with her spiked chain.

Seoni waited patiently, and when Seelah was finished asked if she’d found anything at the shrine.

“I found Black Fang, the dragon, but he escaped. I think he’s here.”

“Then let’s find him.”

They stepped out into the courtyard and discovered that wouldn’t be a difficult task. The dragon loomed large in the enclosed space.

“Watch out!” Seva cried.

Seoni used the potion she’d picked up earlier, and thankfully it protected her. Seelah also managed to dodge.

“Why didn’t you warn me it spits?” Seoni asked, gesturing to the smoking ground.

Seelah shrugged. “You survived. Now back me up.”

It didn’t seem like the best course of action, but they hadn’t come up with a plan of attack. Seoni prayed for Seelah’s success, and the paladin also asked the gods to bless her crazy plan. She hurled both her spiked chain and her dagger at the dragon. By skill or luck, she managed to hit the dragon’s weak spot, and the beast was defeated!

“I cannot believe that worked,” Seoni said as Seelah retrieved her weapons.

Again Seelah shrugged. “Sometimes you have to take a chance.”

Amy called to Seoni then, and she went to see what her acolyte had found. It was another spell scroll, and one that didn’t have protections on it.

“You should have been able to sense that,” Seoni chided but then relented. “Then again, you’re still weak from earlier. This is a good find.”

“What is it?” Seelah asked.

“A new spell,” Seoni replied, not wanting to get into specifics. “Oh, I nearly forgot.” She unstrapped the shield she’d found and handed it over to Seelah.

“Excellent! My other shield was damaged. Now I don’t have to worry about repairing it.”

“Then I guess all I can say is, you’re welcome.”

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] is the play-by-play version of the previously posted story mode. When an Ancient Skeleton is encountered, everyone at that location encounters an Ancient […]

  2. […] Next Story Mode Episode: Black Fang’s Dungeon […]

  3. […] Previous Story Mode Episode: Black Fang’s Dungeon […]

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