Kingdom of Aeristine

A Bit of How's Your Father

Hunting the White Patriarch

Before we could leave, the psionicist spoke through Stefan again. He must have accessed Stefan’s past memories, for he began to praise us for our prowess as dragonslayers. Along that train of thought, he came to mention that he knew where the last of the white dragon family – the father – was. Siegfried, as this papa dragon was known, roosted on the highest peak at the headwaters of the river we were on. We decided to go after him, both to finish off this malevolent family that had threatened Burke, and in the hopes that this dragon might actually have a hoard of treasure we could add to our funds. And he was clearly evil! What a relief to throw myself into a task with no moral qualms to worry about.

We set our horses free, and Kalli, still in black dragon form, flew us and our wagon as far West as she could before sunset. Then we made camp at a bend in the river, Blake polymorphed Kalli back to her normal self, and we slept the night.

Next day we began the slow hike upriver, coming to a fork at one point. My prayers of Divination revealed the correct route, and we continued, starting to plod uphill. By the end of that next day it was growing cold as our elevation increased. Blake conjured us up a Secure Shelter, a sort of well-appointed cabin, and we rested cozily inside. I filled the basin in the cabin with water and used it as a Magic Font to do a little scrying, scouting the way ahead and verifying the papa dragon’s location. Indeed, I could see him lounging in the crater of a dormant volcano some miles ahead.

Next day we continued upward, ever more steeply. It began to snow. Hrolf and I prayed for all of us to Endure Cold (few of us were equipped for an icy mountain expedition) and we slowly picked our way up the craggy, slippery rocks, using Stone Shape, Wind Column, Spider Climb, and other magical contrivances to facilitate our travel. We eventually stopped again when daylight gave out, and this time Blake conjured us a sturdy stone hut. I scryed the dragon again and we rested, the cabin’s Unseen Servant massaging our weary muscles by turn.

Finally we approached the summit – Siegfried’s lair. Blake Flew up to the lip of the crater and fastened some pitons there, tied a rope, and let it down to us. Stefan climbed up and then, one by one, hauled the rest of us up the last of the way. What a view! From the lip we could see down into a vast volcanic crater, the bowl of which was covered in thick ice and snow with a few trees poking out here and there. One edge of the lip was a sort of roofed-up ice shoal, and under the overhang could be seen the glint of gold, gems, and other treasures! We were in luck, if only we could defeat papa dragon.

And just as the thought crossed my mind, there was a great stir in the center of the crater. It was as if a massive sheet of snow trembled and began to rise… but then the snow fell off, revealing an enormous pale draconian form. Siegfried was impossibly huge – he dwarfed any of the other dragons we had encountered. He looked older, more venerable… apparently, mama dragon had a thing for older men!

At any rate, we now had to act fast. Kalli held up her shield and appeared to be calculating furiously whether she could “ski” down the bowl on it to charge the white dragon. But before she could, Siegfried’s wings rose up and violently beat down, launching the magnificent bastard high into the air over our heads! He banked around and came diving down at our neat little row of dragonslayers, perched precariously on the icy lip. I muttered a prayer to Resist Cold and, almost without thinking, I leapt forward and began tumbling down the snowy slope into the bowl. Raynard leapt after me, tumbling in my wake, and Hrolf quickly followed suit (though far less gracefully to be frank). Blake flew off to one side. Kalli drew her magic sword, Francis, and it launched itself into the air dragging her with it.

Only Stefan, the indomitable tank, stood his ground. He braced for an onslaught the likes of which had never been seen… and which never came. Instead, Siegfried redirected his angle of approach, whipping his tail out at Blake and bowling him, end-over-end, out high into the air over the mountain (home run!). Then Siegfried looked down and unleashed a devastating blast of frosty breath on us three tumblers! We were enveloped in impossibly cold frost, and if not for our prayers of cold resistance our flesh would’ve instantly shattered. As it was, Hrolf and I escaped the worst of it, but Raynard was frozen solid in a block of ice.

Kalli (and Francis the sword) darted up to the enormous wyrm and slashed at his side, over and over. He tried swatting her away but couldn’t connect, and her harrying drove him back down into the bowl. He landed in the center of the crater and glared at Kalli as she floated up near his face.

Hrolf waddled back up to where Raynard stood frozen, and began chipping away at the ice block around him. I came with, and started praying for any frost burns to be healed and for Raynard to revive. It seemed to be working, and luckily we were able to rescue our comrade free from further attack since the others now had Siegfried’s full attention. Blake had detonated a fireball on the dragon’s rear legs, distracting it for just a second and allowing Kalli to dart in and chop viciously at Siegfried’s face. It howled in pain – a fearsome echoing boom – and swiped out a claw at the raging warrioress, rending her armor and tearing through flesh. She staggered backward just as his jaws clamped down where she had just been.

Then it turned away from the wounded warrioress, leapt into the air once again, and this time dove down upon Stefan, charging up from behind. WHUMP – the whole mountain shook as Siegfried came down violently… and the shining knight could be seen skittering, rolling, skittering out from under it, miraculously unharmed! He must’ve been positioned in just such a way that there was a concave impression in the snow protecting him from the dragon’s crushing weight. As the dragon groped about for Stefan, Kalli staggered to her feet, gritted her teeth, and then strode up behind it and unceremoniously sliced it’s scaly throat wide open with a mighty strike of pure vengeance! The ancient dragon thrashed briefly, and bled to death without further ado.

We gathered our composure, Hrolf and I praying for everyone’s health, and began to sift through Siegfried’s underwhelming hoard. We discovered a few coins and gems, but mostly potions for some odd reason. Anyways, we had all survived, and added another dragon hashmark to our tally! Any dragon-fight you can walk away from, is a good dragon-fight.

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