With the passing of the twisted kobold priest and the shrinking of the breach to The Shadowfell, the party could feel the corruption of the Nemesis fade from the room, though not so much that it returned to the full potency of The Blessed Lands. Less interested in the energy of the space than the treasure, most of the party clamored their way up to the dragon’s horde to investigate it’s scope and contents.
There was quite a lot of coin to be counted, though most of it was copper and silver, leaving some of the party somewhat disappointed, as they’d imagined a dragon’s horde (irrespective of the magnitude of dragon) to entail heaps and mountains of loose coin. Still, the haul was substantial, and included both a valuable cask of peppercorns, and a strange, ragged, shadow-infused shawl left behind with the remains of the kobold zealot.
More importantly, the party found themselves face-to-face with an old mummified dwarf, seated on a traditional dwarven burial throne, grasping a somehow both crude and formidable seeming longspear. Several of the party members were deeply enthralled by this odd discovery, and between them, were able to determine the following:
The runes and carvings on the throne suggested that the mummy was the legendary dwarven dragonslayer Boston Lotch, who was said to have slain the terrible Blue Wyrm of Sochor, Ajymestigalix sometime near the beginning of The Blood Wars, which would suggest that the spear it clutched was the equally legendary Spear of Urrok. Knowing that Lotch had died in distant Marukah, and judging by the other clues found on and around the throne, Caelythanya and Fate determined that, sometime after Lotch was interred, someone or something had stolen not only his mummified corpse and famous spear, but his monolithic burial throne as well, and brought it all the thousands of miles here, to the Storm Isles, where it had been left to dwell in what had most likely been the home of Lotch’s greatest foe: Ajymestigalix.
The Spear of Urrok, gave a shudder at Jornel’s grasp. The would be ‘leader’ felt a wave of emotion wash over him from the spear; dissatisfaction, followed by sullen resignation. Whatever, it was a great spear, and Jornel meant to be great. He and the spear would find their way together.
While Jornel was getting acquainted with his new weaponry, Cael and Fate shoved Boston Lotch’s corpse into the eledrin’s magic sack, hoping to curry favor with the dwarven nation. When Talise noticed, and mentioned, that the crack in the ceiling, which, suspiciously, had seemed to show daylight, was suddenly shadowed, the party paused and fearfully followed her gaze. Just as suddenly, the shadow disappeared, leaving the clear impression of something moving away from the crack itself. Te party quickly turned to shoveling coins and peppercorns in after the dwarven mummy.
Whatever cast that shadow was already here however, and Talise pointed out that they were exhausted, so plunging right into another unknown, likely fight, didn’t seem wise, maybe a good rest would be better?
Fate, having successfully named his new kobold servitor Hapishi after mishearing his actual name (to which the pathetic creature eagerly agreed), asked if it could show them to a place in the caves safe and suitable for them to rest. The kobold was almost unpleasantly delighted to be able to help Fate and lead them back the way they had come, then off through the tunnels to the cavern where the kobolds had been camping. Hapishi was able to scramble with great ease through the caves, but the hand and foot holds he uses were mostly too small and wrongly spaced to be of much use to the big folk.
As they move through the tunnels, the group notices the caves seem nicer now, with crystals here and there sparkling from the light of Jenna’s lamp and the soft many colored glows of luminescent fungi that hadn’t been apparent before.
This change is explained when, after the party had installed itself in the kobolds’ camp, several other kobolds come haltingly up to them, to thank them for ridding the caves of the darkness that had invaded after the dragon was gone. Most of the group is happy to be thanked by the kobolds, who now seem non-threatening, if not quite safe. They also appreciate that they are about to take over the kobolds’ sleeping cavern. Jornel however, refuses to sleep with any kobolds other than Hapeeshi in the room with them, even coming to a contest of wills with Fate over it, waking and baffling the rest of the party with his irritable shouting.
Cranky with exhaustion, the group sets up a watch schedule, and those who can, sleep.
Some hours later, while Talise is on watch, there is a gust of cooler air, probably from outside. It feels unlike natural weather, and even out of place for the Storm Isles, and Talise notices a smell the group has become rather familiar with recently: ozone, as might accompany the lightning made by a large, blue dragon…
As there seems to be nothing to do about it at the moment, she waits until the end of their rest to tell everyone else.
Becoming more sure that they would benefit from knowing as much as they could on the subject, Fate asks Hapeeshi to help him find the other Kobolds so he can ask them for information about dragons—despite the ‘invitation’ from Jornel to sleep outside in the corridor, the other kobolds are no longer about. Fate and Hapishi walk for a while through the tunnels and come across a terrible room, inhabited at some time, but now mostly just covered in blood and yuck, but no kobolds. They return to the rest of the party.
After Talise tells the party about the strange wind she sensed earlier in the day, a brief strategy session has most of the group planning to return to the cave mouths they came in. Talise, in unobtrusive otter form, will go back down the falls and take a look around. She’ll send a bird back to the group with information about what she sees.
This is a lovely plan, but it falls apart the moment Jenna approaches the cave mouths, and sees, sitting out front, on one of the rock plinths in the valley that lately held the thunder lizards, is a huge, ancient blue dragon. She sees it, and it turns it’s head towards her, just in time to not quite see an otter shooting out over the falls.
Jenna creeps back to the party, and they hold a discussion as to which blue dragon it might be. They want to know all about it: did she see it’s horn? Could she please describe it in great detail. This annoys Jenna, as she doesn’t quite see how determining which enormous dragon is about to electrocute and devour them is all that important. Their Discussion is cut short however, by the dragon itself, who, as it is huge, and old, and a dragon, it is also quite smart, and has spectacular hearing, and has been listening to them for some time now.
It tells them to come out. It also says “You’re not an otter, assume your true form. It’s rude to come disguised; I did not.” At which Talise turns back into a girl, looks up at the enormous blue towering over her and says simply, “They are both my true form.” Which seems to both amuse and please the great wyrm.
The rest of the party had come out into the cave mouth. Jornel carrying his old spear, rather than the flagrantly powerful Spear of Urrok. As they had crept towards the cave mouth, Jornel had felt the spear again, and it both knew it was approaching an impossible fight, and was gearing up for such a battle, so he’d stowed it away, hopefully safely.
The dragon looked them up and down then asked Jornel “Where is the spear?” Jornel answered shortly, “Safe.” The dragon smirked a bit and asked, “Do you think?” To which Jornel replied with some bravado, “I try to.”
Switching subjects swiftly, the dragon addressed the whole party, “Where is Dzor’saazh?” The adventurers heard “Ol’Slosh,” and responded accordingly. In short, “He could be anywhere…”
The dragon mused, half to himself, that he had not seen “Dzor’saazh” in decades…
“Where is the spear?” It suddenly asked them again; “Where is it’s bearer?” Their shuffling silence spoke volumes , and the dragon asked Jornel, “Has it taken to you?”
Jornel answered honestly, “It remains to be seen.”
It went on then, for a time, calling Jornel a “son of Lorn,” and saying something about what an old meddler Lorn was, and how he never could keep to his own business. Increasingly, the party felt as though they were quite incidental to the dragon’s discourse.
The dragon surprised them again by saying, “I will allow it. It has suffered, and has work to do. The Queen of Lies is busying herself, the world is best with that spear in it. But if you ever use the Spear of Urrok on any of my kin, I will know it, and I swear you will regret it.”
He asks again about Dzorsaazh, but this time Caelythanya asks for clarification. Does it mean their sometime companion, the old man? The drunkard? The dragon is surprised, muttering to itself about mortals and their broken hearts. “Old man,” it muses, “Drunkard? Perhaps.”
Fate respectfully asks the dragon it’s name. The dragon will not say, so Fate guesses, making some comment about Kestrivexatal, the known mate of Ajymestigalix. The dragon chuckles, saying ’My father is long dead. He died before my mother."
At this clue, Caelythanya declares the dragon to be Jymwilkestrix, one of the scions of Ajymestigalix. The dragon is impressed, a bit, and goes on to insist that, when then next see Dzorsaazh, they must tell him that the dragon is looking for him, and needs to speak with him.
At which Caelythania shocked the whole party more than anything else had in a while by cursing aloud, “Oh fuck! You’re Sapphire Jim!”
The dragon smirks again. “That name is not mine now, another is using it.” Cael responds that the dragon is more impressive than him. The dragon chides her with a simple, “Him?”
Which ends that line of speculation.
The dragon, clearly growing impatient to be on it’s way, begins to stir itself, saying, “I have not yet burned your ship, and I may not, but I will require something in return for my forbearance.” He turns his attention to Fate, and declares that if Fate succeeds in unifying the Six Kingdoms, Jymwilkestrix will one day come to him and ask a boon, of value no greater than the pirate ship and crew he spared. If Fate will swear to honor the dragon’s request, then the ship, and her crew, will go untouched.
Fate, wary of making a bargain with a dragon, but seeing no good alternative, worded his agreement as nobly and carefully as he can.
“Well then! I’ll leave you to be betrayed by pirates,” Jymwilkestrix says, seeming quite cheerful, going so far as to tell the party, “I like you. I will fly past the pirates on my way. You may tell them you drove me off.” This seems to disturb most of them, but has Talise unquestioningly pleased.
And the dragon spread it’s wings and, with a few mighty downbeats that leave the party clutching for support lest they be driven to the ground, circles once over his mother’s island grave, and departs northeast back towards the mainland.