"Remember, you're blessed!"
—Alyndra, played by Jen Kretchmer, Heroes of the Vale, Episode 7
Watch Heroes of the Vale – Episode 7: Wing and a Prayer
Our heroes are 5th-level characters known as:
- Keen, Eladrin Eldritch Knight Fighter played by TJ Storm
- Briv, Half-Orc Cavalier Fighter played by Adam Bradford
- Orkira, Dragonborn Light Domain Cleric played by Lauren Urban
- Penelope, Halfling Circle of Land Druid played by Hope LaVelle
- Alyndra Alexandria Garanahil Sarrbarand, Lorekeeper of Rime Spiro, Kinscribe of Clan Monkeymouse, High ElfCleric / Wizard played by Jen Kretchmer
A horrible dracolich stands in the center of Stormherald. It gazes upon the city's cowering inhabitants, and demanding in an undead growl, “Give us the tree!"
Orkira lays unconscious, bitten and burnt, the rest of the Heroes refuse to give in. They rush forward and engage the dragon!
Keen shifts into his Autumn form, intent on protecting his family, and makes a beeline for Orkira. Once he reaches her, he pulls her away from danger. His rescue provokes an opportunity attack from the dragon, but he grits his teeth and bears it; he would do anything to defend his friends. Alyndra whispers a healing word to Orkira and awakens her, but the dracolich breathes again, gravely wounding her again and casting her back into unconsciousness. Keen stands strong and absorbs some of the green flame. Alyndra casts toll the dead, but the spell has little effect. She scowls as the creature manages to avoid most of the damage – something below it’s scales shifts and moves as if trying to avoid being attacked. She can also feel the Spire she has been using shudder and loose power as it is out of charges for the day.
Penelope sees Orkira fall unconscious, and is shocked out of her fear. “No one messes with my friends!” she roars, and calls lightning down from the sky. Briv taunts the dragon, shouting, “Mayhaps thou dost desire a more appropriate foe!” and slashes into the now marked monster. His blade cuts into the monster's flesh, and a strange red slime spurts out from beneath its scales, latching latching onto Briv’s sword and attacking him. Alyndra demands the creature reveal who it serves, but the creature only repeats itself: “Give us the tree.” The horde of undead below it echo: "Give us the tree."
The bite from earlier starts to infect Orkira, causing her to convulse with the dragon’s poison. Keen pulls Orkira around a wall which provides cover from the dragon but is directly on the edge of the flying castle. Alyndra gives Kalasar the controls to keep flying Stormherald towards the light, then rushes down from the tower to once again heal Orkira. She returns to consciousness but feels unwell, like something is wrong.
Penelope calls more lightning down on the dracolich, and screams at it in anger and sadness: “STOP IT!” The dracolich's head slams into the ground from her attack, and Keen follows it up by leaping out from behind the wall and using his glaive to pin the dragon’s jaw to the ground! Briv uses his Unwavering Mark to lay into the dracolich and try to hold it’s attention away from his friends. He then scrapes the red ooze off of his arm, and hears the slime scream in pain.
Orkira sends some healing Keen’s way, then notices in the distance more unfriendly creatures flying towards Stormherald. With fresh health Keen leaps onto the back of the dracolich, focusing on the red ooze under it’s scales. Worried about more creatures arriving, Alyndra attacks the dracolich trying to finish it quickly. The dragon screams and collapses into a pile of bones, but the red ooze remains—and crawls towards Briv! Penelope parts the clouds, calling a moonbeam down on the remaining ooze and cooking it with radiant moonlight. Briv wants this disgusting ooze off Stormherald so he grapples it, drags it to the edge of the fortress, and manages to toss it off the edge!
The dragon's bones clatter downward, and the sounds of battle are momentarily quieted. Briv announces they need to leave. Now. But before they can do so, a fell sensation passes over Orkira. Her eyes begin to glow, claws grow from her hands, and spines burst from her back. Every second of her transformation changes her into a bestial, primordial dragonborn. The others notice her transformation just moments too late, and loses control of herself. Orkira, deep in the throes of her transformation, flies into a rage! She attacks Briv, but he is able to hold her off as her panicked friends try to figure out what to do. Alyndra levitates Orkira off the ground to keep her out of harm's way while Penelope digs a hole to bury and restrain her. Briv pulls out rope, intending to lasso Orkira, but fumbles in the attempt. Something about his actions helps Orkira snap out of her anger for a moment, and she feels the corruption surging through her body. It takes only a moment for her to put two and two together—the ooze from the dracolich is causing this transformation, and this blind rage! She casts lesser restoration upon herself and expels the ooze from her body. She shouts a warning to stay away from the ooze – it's still alive!
Briv jumps into action once again, and grabs the ooze! He throws it off the edge of Stormherald and turns about to face his friends with a wide grin. "I will now be known as Briv the Bouncer!” he declares. But his celebration is cut short: the ooze snaps out a red tentacle, which encircles Briv’s head and pulls him off the edge as well! He tosses his rope up towards his friends as Alyndra casts feather fall. Penelope dives forward to grab the rope, Keen grabs hold of Penelope, and between the two of them they are able to haul Briv back onto Stormherald before he can plunge into the sea of undead below!
Orkira feels one final bout of extreme pain from the bite wound on her back as the former infection finishes the transformation. From her back erupt a pair of dragon wings! Everyone is surprised and startled by her new transformation but she seems to be in her right mind again and calls out that they need to leave before more creatures arrive. As Alyndra dashes back to the tower, Orkira approaches Briv; she can tell he was infected by the ooze as well, and casts a spell of restoration to cure him before it can take hold.
Stormherald flies into the sunlight, and the army of undead flees before the morning's splendor. They escaped!
Keen claims the dragon's skull as another trophy for his room. Then he carefully gathers some of the inert red ooze into a bottle and brings Orkira to the elders of the town. He instructs them on what to look out for, in case more of the slimy creature survived, and Orkira describes her experiences and explains how she cured it. Uncomfortable and awkward in her new, more intimidating body, Orkira finds it hard to navigate around without accidentally bumping into things and people.
Flo the Flumph arrives and tells Briv she has found a griffon! They rush out into the courtyard, Briv using his horn to call out to the creature. The mist surrounding Stormherald are parted by the massive wings of a giant flying ostrich! With expert animal handling Briv calms the ostrich, using his rope to form a bridle, and then mounts the creature to fly up into the sky! “I will patrol the skies!” He flies over in glee, “I AM BRIV THE BIRD RIDER! HUZZAH!”
Alyndra takes some time to examine the Spire, figuring out that it only has three charges a day. It can be pushed one extra time, but that strain would then destroy the orb which empowers the Spire.
Penelope approaches the new tree they have saved, sitting down next to it to place a hand on the bark. She muses sadly to herself, “I don’t think I’m cut out to be a hero like in those stories.” The old, wizened dryad appears out of the tree and reassures her that she did well. Penelope, still wistful, shares with the dryad a story from her past. She tells of a dryad she used to know called Neverember who was her only friend in her hometown. But a fire swept through the forest and destroyed the tree, and all she has left is an acorn that she wears around her neck. She asks if the dryad will be her new friend, and the ancient dryad responds, "I would be honored."
Before their eyes the tree begins to grow, grass erupting around the area, vines and flowers appearing to reinforce Stormherald. A fairy ring appears around the tree and Keen feels his connection to the Feywild return. He thanks Penelope, “Today you are a hero. Well done, Penelope!” Penelope is grateful, “Thank you, I just need to be my own type of hero.”
The residents of Stormherald begin to relax, laughing and feeling hopeful again, for the first time in a long while.
For a moment there is peace, but what is next for our heroes? Find out on February 27th at 2pm PT for another exciting episode!
On a plane of beautiful foliage sits a golden city. An ancient man riding a golden mount and flanked by two angels soars over the city to land in front of the gates, where Avren is laying in the grass. He’s obviously annoyed, flicking rocks against the wall.
Pelor approaches Avren, “You said she was going to be here.”
Avren protests, claiming that he thought she would die and that it wasn’t up to him. “Do you think I’m not annoyed? I’ve been here for so long, and I hate your entire plane of existence!” Avren turns sharply away from the god of the sun, and storms off in anger.
Lauren "OboeCrazy" Urban is the Community Manager for D&D Beyond, as well as a professional classical musician on oboe and English Horn. When she's not playing a Bard in real life she's a prolific Dungeon Master and player on a variety of livestreams and podcasts. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband Luke where they spend their free time playing video games and drinking tea. The best way to keep up with Lauren's busy schedule is to follow her on Twitter at @OboeCrazy.