Before turning in for the night Beetle finds a quiet spot.....
"Tyr.....you have watched over us, guided us, and granted us your blessing as we brought vengeance to your foes....please continue to guide us and keep us safe. This coming battle will be one of our toughest yet and we will need your help. Continue to bless us with your courage and give me the strength to continue suppressing the darkness that swells inside me."
Syna sees his normally calm mentor reaction to the Dragon and worries about what has befallen him. "Peace. To attack a dragon is not a trivial matter, no matter its age. And if it has made allies or has acquired minions, such a task may be insurmountable by this band without careful preparation. We must proceed with all caution and stealth. Let us rest the night here and consider plans."
Serak: Nodding in agreement with the others, Serak prepares his bedroll for the night.
OOC: I'm not sure when Dragons sleep, so we might have to wait until the following evening. We still need to finish clearing the town, so we can do that in the morning while keeping an eye out for the Dragon.
Settling in for a night in the abandoned farmhouse, the party each find themselves an empty space to rest. Taking the entrance room, Beetle meditates quietly, praying to his lord. The door creaks open gently behind him. Arkhan steps loudly into the room, propping himself into a quiet corner. Closing his eyes, he casts his mind back to his youth, searching for clues that may aid them in their assault tomorrow.
As a young dragonborn, Arkhan had been told the tales of his ancestors by the family elders. Great Golden dragons who dwelt in huge stone castles and caves along the warmer southern areas of The Sword Coast. Dodred, Gezyt the Wise and Imog - each legendary dragons in their own right - had a reputation for preferring to intimidate rather than fight. If required, they were fearsome in battle, finding advantages against their foes, relying heavily on powerful fire based magic. When it came to sleeping however, Arkhan can't seem to remember anything of much use. He vaguely remembers being told that while some older dragons slept for years at a time, the younger ones would sleep sporadically - as and when it suited them or particularly after a long days hunting. A sudden memory suddenly comes to the dragonborns mind. An old wise voice traversing through time, reciting an old rhyme he had all but forgotten from his youth, "Let sleeping Wyrms lie. Be wary or die."
Growling to himself, the dragonborn closes his eyes, reciting the words to himself as he had done all those years ago.
Despite the regular loud snores of the old monk, the village is quiet and relatively peaceful, allowing the party to rest easily through the few remaining hours of darkness. When the sun finally rises, bringing another morning to the abandoned town, the group are awoken by a deafening roar just above them, fading quickly to the north.
Glad to be given a task, and an important one at that, Brots springs into action, “Of course! Yes!” Cautiously skipping outside, keeping one eye on the sky, the gnome whistles quietly for his blood hawk, closing the door gently behind him.
After a few minutes he returns. A delighted grin lighting up his face. “He won’t be long I’m sure..... he’s quite good at staying out of sight.”
Quietly preparing themselves for the day ahead, the party members busy themselves in all corners of the old farmhouse. Brots prepares a small breakfast with the limited rations he has remaining - a simple affair, dried meats and nuts with a small jug of milk left by the cultists. Beetle, Zyltris and Arkhan sharpen their longswords, eyeing up each others blades, comparing it to their own. Sitting on the bunk in the corner, Dayereth is deep in thought. Beside him, Jelenneth and his young graduate, Syna. Having taken himself to the side to go through his plan in more detail, Serak stands propped against a boarded up window - a crack in the wood allowing him a glimpse of the outside. Another sunny Eleasis day. The strong winds have returned but that's to be expected so close to the sea. Another few weeks and winter will be upon them once more.
Completely engrossed in thoughts of the tower, the bard barely notices when a light knocking begins at the door beside him. He draws his sword, as have the others around him and cracks open the door. Lucas sits proudly on the doorstep, pruning his wings. A dead mouse at his feet. Shrieking its thanks to the bemused Serak, the blood hawk hops inside without need for invitation, making its way over to Brots.
After a few minutes of squawking and chirping between the two of them, Brots turns away from his companion, relaying the information to the others. "So.... Lucas here has had a look around." Shaking itself, the blood hawk coos before making a start on its mousy breakfast, "Seems there's not much left of the town at all. The huge stone man he mentioned last night is still there in the square.... likely a statue of some sort I reckon. A fort of some sort too, it still has its roof so he couldn't really see inside. Couple more buildings around the square but they're empty, dilapidated. That's really all there is to the north...."
Clearing his throat, the gnome takes a deep breath before continuing, "The tower then.... well.... it's a little tricky. There's a long windy path that leads through the forest to the tower at the top of the hill. It's got an adjoining cottage, with a front door and back, which looks like its the only way into the tower from the ground. Both buildings are in good condition. Except for the towers roof. Lucas says that a big portion of the towers roof is missing.... likely where the dragon's getting in and out. Its about 40 foot high and there's no real way to get up there from the outside.... what else?...." Brot's pauses for a moment and glances at the hawk, who pauses his meal with a chirp, "Oh yes.... spiders. Two spiders outside.... but looks as if they've been chewed up or something..." Pleased with himself, Brots pats the bird on the head, stroking its red feathers gently.
Serak: Smiling down warmly at Brots and Lucas, the bard asks, "Very useful indeed, thank you my friends. Can either of you sense if the Dragon is still nearby? Stomping through the town may draw its attention."
Glad to be of use, the short statured gnome returns the smile. “Well... see Lucas is only really useful for spotting things in front of him.... let me try...” Closing his eyes in concentration, Brots falls silent for a moment. “Yes.... I sense zombies..... and yes the dragon is nearby. I can’t tell where exactly it is but he’s landed somewhere.....” Squinting his eyes tightly together, the gnomes face reddens, shaking with effort, “he’s.... he’s.... urgh I’m sorry Serak I just can’t focus on him properly. He’s definitely within a mile of us here though.”
"Hmmm, that may cause small problems...espically if we want to take him by surprise." Beetle thinks a moment..."Also you said there are zombies near...that could also mean another necromancer like the one we took on a few days ago."
Syna frowns, thinking. "The Dragon will know we are here soon, no matter what we do. If we can take the town and the fort, it will give us a stronger place to plan from and to retreat to, if needed. Unless there is already an alliance, the Dragon is not likely to come to the aid of the Cultist. But, desiring an alliance, i would stand to reason the Cultist would respond to a threat to the Dragon. I favor the fort."
Serak: Serak checks his blades and bows as he says, "Alright, let us finish clearing the town. Brots, can you ask Lucas to keep an eye on the Tower and warn us if the Dragon stirs? Once the town is clear, we can make camp a mile from the Tower and wait for an opportunity to strike."
Serak thinks a moment, trying to remember if Dragons are nocturnal predators.
"You can do that.... right Lucas?" Brots rubs the hawks head, ruffling up its feathers. Squawking happily, the bird hops its way back to the door and takes off towards the north, taking its half eaten breakfast with it. The gnome watches him disappear before returning to finish preparing his own breakfasts. As the others prepare their equipment, Serak returns to his boarded up window, searching desperately for any more information that may help them.
The bard recalls as many songs and tales of dragons as he can. With so many to choose from, the task is relatively easy. The difficulty is separating the fact from the fiction. Aglaraerose - the dragon that never died, swallowed a Thayan wizard and inherited his powers over life, Klauth/Old Snarl - an old evil hearted dragon who terrorized the orc horde in the north, Irklathagra - a great blue dragon who gathered one of the largest hoards of all dragons.... all favourites of his to tell but surely there must be a pattern to their behaviour.
Serak stares through the old wooden boardings and concentrates on a small patch of grass in the field beyond, the tales flicking through his mind. Dragons have great darkvision. Though that doesn't necessarily mean they are nocturnal... From what he can remember, each dragon lives largely as it pleases. Hunting when they are hungry, sleeping when they are tired and admiring their hoard at all times in between. No two are the same... in fact there have been cases where dragons have slept for years on end, exhausted from gathering gold and treasures for themselves and tormenting the smallfolk. Hmm... from the stories it's clear that a dragon is a worthy adversary and must be treated as such.
Serak: Cautiously exiting the rear of the farmhouse, Serak keeps a watchful eye on the sky as he creeps out into the early morning. He begins by searching the ruined building to the north for treasure before next searching the building to the west for danger.
Without so much as a word to the others, Serak steps out into the fresh morning air of the ruined village. Keeping under the cover of trees where he can, he keeps an eye trained on the sky, ever watching for the dragon. The strong winds have returned today, dragging dark heavy blankets of cloud down the mountain side towards the sea - summer is nearly over it seems. Sticking to the treeline, the bard clambers over a low wall before entering the first of the ruined buildings on the outskirts of the town square. Nothing. In it's time this would have been a fairly small building, possibly a store of some sort. Now though it lies rotting and empty. The crumbling walls covered in a mixture of writhing weeds and ash.
Darting across the narrow road to the next building, Serak gets his first glimpse of the town square - a naturally wide space where the towns roads mingle and intertwine. On each side, a ruined building. Serak crouches beside the doorway to the southern building, surveying the scene before heading inside. In the centre of the square stands a weathered stone statue. A warrior clutching a spear and shield, leaning slightly to one side. Behind the statue to the north, a fortified structure that appears to have lasted the years better than most of the other buildings in the village. A simple battlement lines its rooftop. It's walls stone with arrow slits dotted at regular intervals, making it impossible to see inside. A small enough keep for a village this size, though likely never used for its intended purpose.
Turning his attention back to the ruin beside him, Serak turns carefully and steps inside. The ceiling of this building has long collapsed, allowing ash to gather in small drifts between the rotting rafters. In one corner, an old loom lies smashed beneath a heavy wooden beam, entrapped in thick green vines. Again the bard finds nothing. These buildings have been picked clean.