Ancient Black Dragon

Hello friends. Let me tell you a story. Four souls left the Cove on a dreary, rainy day. Our leader, Scorch, the Shardsworn took us down the southern road where we overnighted at a mine entrance.

The next morning we began our journey into the swamps. The going was hard and slow, but our new companion Perric and the trusty half-Orc Paladin managed to get us through. We made camp roped off in trees to avoid the damp and various denizens of the putrid mire.

Things continued in this manner for a few days. Sleeping in trees, avoiding dinosaurs, and looking for “fog.” I seem to remember someone mentioned being bored. Ah, hindsight… Eventually, we heard what sounded like a group of humanoids passing through the undergrowth. In the morning I determined the tracks belonged to kobolds, but with no ability to track the others took on that job. We decided to follow and eventually caught up and were able to “talk” with them. They offered us jerky and I believe one of the others gave them some gold which excited the kobolds a great deal. The kobolds beckoned us to follow them out of the fog and into their settlement. They led us through the main area and into a box canyon with dozens of other kobolds looking on from the ledges. Scorch said their leader was named Grimace; an odd name I thought. As we were led further into the canyon the kobolds began to chitter excitedly amongst themselves. The “jerky vendor” whom received the gold ran up to a large depression filled with bones holding the gold above his head.

“Ah guys?” I said. “What has kobold servants, likes to sit on giant piles of things and loves gold?…” They responded,”Dragons?”. I nodded as a huge ancient dragon strode forth from the mist, looked down at his erstwhile kobold minion and swallowed him whole! The others decided this would be a good time to give them more gold. “Guys, don’t show them we have more valuables!”, I said, facepalming myself.

Soon the dragon rose to his full height and said we were to “entertain” him. He hoped we would be more fun than the last “batch”. Scorch decided he meant parlor tricks and started juggling fire. “No, that’s not what he means.” I looked directly into the eyes of the scaled horror and proclaimed, “Your magnificence, please challenge us with your champions. We promise you’ll not be disappointed.” The kobolds went quiet as the great wyrm spoke and then they erupted in a chaotic rush to be chosen.

We arrayed ourselves for battle and easily dispatched the first couple waves. Things got more interesting after that. The following wave included more hardened troops and what I can only describe as a kobold alchemist. It threw a poison bomb at Thorg, who bravely fought through the cloud to engage the foe. The alchemist continued his chemical attacks while Scorch peppered the enemies with magic missiles and fire spells. Perric valiantly held his own surrounded by a throng of warriors. In the midst of the chaos I stood with my bow made of shadows plucking off one enemy after another, simply stating, “next,” after sending each to their maker. Magic and might can only carry the day for so long though; and as wave after endless wave crashed against us one by one my allies fell.

Finally, I stood alone surrounded by the bodies of friend and foe alike. “Are you not entertained?!”, I bellowed as the last few kobolds circled me. I fought as hard as I could even managing to scare them away for awhile, but the fear of their overlord was greater. They fell upon me once more and the world turned black.

I woke up hours later hearing a familiar voice through my pain addled senses. Scorch! He was still alive. But no, he was screaming in agony! I turned my head slightly, struggling to breathe or even move. I was naked, discarded in the bone pile, my ribs crushed and my calf muscles literally torn from right leg, but I had it easy. My eyes lit on Scorch. Some kind of giant dragon-dog hybrid was tearing him apart and eating him alive. The kobolds looked on at the scene, but also were looking above me in the pile. Floating above the bone pile, I noticed a familiar purple glow. The shard had abandoned Scorch and the kobolds looked on in awe.

There was no time to contemplate. I knew what must be done. Clawing my way out, I climbed to the top of the pile. I must have seemed like the risen dead. “Behold! This belongs to the powerful! Not sniveling weaklings. This, belongs to ME!”, and I reached out claiming the shard. Its power slammed into me and I felt I may die anyway, but I stood through the pain as a voice echoed from the shard.

Shard: See this champion, true power surges through his blood, slaying half your lair by himself, he will walk my path.

Most of the kobolds backed away in fear, but one thought to be brave. I smote him down with the hellish frost power of my ancestors and casually dodged a boulder thrown my way. Reaching the edge of the mist I heard, nay felt the dragon’s roar of rage. I abandoned my bravado and began a harrowing trek back to town. Suffice it to say, I made it back. You are after all reading this. I limped back into town, covered in mud with a rib extending from my chest. I fell forward and before I lost consciousness again I said, “Kobolds. are. NOT. friends…”.