The Shields decided to spend the night at Urtugga Fort to recover, gain intel. and catch up with Mal.
Saran spent the night in prayer to her great lady but received no response. She felt a hollowness within, where once she had been filled with purpose and vengeance.
In the morning Shanna went out ranging to the east whilst Flea went outside the walls to see the effects of the death-plague on nature itself.
Mal gathered the fort’s inhabitants and brought them all together in the main courtyard where Victoria cast divine healing magic to remove the death-plague inside the fort.
Shanna was returning west to the the fort and noticed a red cloud heading towards them from over the ocean. She looked closer and perceived the red cloud to be a swarm of Dragons. The swarm numbered in the thousands and was made up of red dragons of all sizes. The majority of the reds were the size of bisons and were mounted by Dragonborn soldiers armed with lances. The swarm was definitely going to pass the fort. Shanna began to run back to the fort all the while screaming “Dragons, Dragons to the west”.
The healing ceremony had concluded and the townsfolk were giving thanks to Victoria and the Shields when the faint sound of Shanna’s yells reached them. Mal and the Shields raced toward the western ramparts to behold the sight of the approaching dragonswarm.
Shanna and Flea made their way inside as most of the fort’s residents succumbed to the supernatural tension of massed dragonfear locking themselves indoors.
The swarms outriders buzzed the fort and headed inlands while the majority of the swarm circled the fort, except for smaller squadrons which peeled off from the horde to head north-east and south-east.
The largest Red Dragon that the Shields had ever seen, easily half the size of the fort, wheeled down to a landing in front of Fortress walls. Several smaller, but no less impressive, Red Dragons landed at her flanks. Berradin recognised her as Crimson…tiamatus, an ancient dragon from the far southern continents, rumoured to be the daughter of Tiamat herself.
The Dragon addresses the wall’s defenders, offering the Shields an alliance against the Gorgon King, Tharizdun and their forces. The dragons would cleanse this continent of the spreading death-plague and take down the threat of Modeus Inferna before Tharizdun could be released to destroy this reality.
The Shields through, their spokesman Berradin, wanted assurances that only the undead would be targeted by the Dragons. The Dragons did not seem too concerned about the possibility of collateral damage in their stated campaign. Crimson told Berradin that she would follow her orders, Berradin argued that her orders had to be changed. Crimson then invited Berradin to come outside and make his case to she who had issued the commands.
Berradin exited the fort while Crimson burnt a circle on the ground with her breath. She asked Berradin to enter the circle and then completely incinerated him with her breath. All that was left in the circle was Berradin’s staff and ash. Saran felt the renewing energies of her Dark Reaping activate as the flames washed over Berradin.
The Shields were horrified and, at Saran’s acknowledgement of Berradin being burned, they sprung into action, drawing weapons and launching themselves at Crimson’. Their weapons scraped over her metal hide and she stood there watching them attempt to damage her. She told the Shields that it was part of the planar travelling ritual that injury occurred to the participant and that Berradin was indeed with Tiamat. Flea confirmed that she spoke the truth and the Shields stood down, deciding to wait for Berradin’s return.
Meanwhile Berradin arrived, singed but alive, in a vast throneroom and in front of him was the vast majestic form of Tiamat. His mind could barely encompass her vastness and fear, beyond any he had ever felt before, washed over him making his legs jelly, his stomach tight and a cold fire ran down his spine.
Berradin regained his poise and , perhaps with a breaking voice, beseeched Tiamat to change her plans to lay waste to Karkoth.
“NO” she simply replied.
Berradin used every diplomatic tool at his disposal to change her mind but she would not heed his words.
She finally offered to change her plans if Berradin would offer his father over, Corellon Larethian. Berradin declined. She then grinned, a terrible, dangerous smile and offered to modify her plans if Berradin would give her a year’s service in twenty years, this service would be to do as she wished, no questions asked, for the whole year. Berradin realised the trap laid before him and sadly declined. Tiamat then sent him back to the mortal plane with all five of her breaths.
It was sunset when what was once Berradin finally appeared in Crimson’s planar circle. Victoria laid her gentle hand upon his acid-scared brow, whispered some quiet supernal words, and healed the physical damage that Berradin had suffered.
Berradin and the Shields decided to agree to the alliance with the Dragons as it was obvious that the Dragons would go ahead anyway.
Dinnan rode upon the back of Crimson, who had been most impressed with Dinnan’s acrobatic display when he vaulted onto her back to stab her. The other Shields were given an assortment of Red Dragons by their Dragonborn riders, except Berradin who was chosen by an elderly Red Dragon.
The Shields mounted up and rested on their mounts as they flew through the night towards the Fortress of the Gorgon King. In the dark night they could see fires burning ahead of them, to the north and all the way to the south. They passed burning wooden communities, testament to Dragon Fire cleansing the Death-Plague.
Near Dawn, as they neared the Gorgon King’s Fortress, they began to make out waves of undead troops that stretched out from the fortress for more than 10 leagues. The only empty space was the road of bleached skulls that lead to the fortress.
The Dragons laid waste in front of them as they flew in, but devils and demons among the undead took to the air and faced off against the Dragons and their dragonborn riders.
From the fortress itself, Ballista bolts the size of flagpoles were fired at the invaders, driving through Dragonsteel armour and hurtling Dragons to the ground in fiery death-rolls. Fortress wall mounted trebuchets fired wagon-sized boulders at the dragon army, shattering wings and causing smaller dragons to plummet to the ground.
The Shields’ Dragons were surrounded by a swarm of smaller Dragons who ran interference for them and allowed them a clear run at the Fortress.
Crimson flew over the Fortress Walls and rammed into the Main Keep’s Front Doors. Berradin’s Dragon flew in and continued up the main corridor while the other Dragons stopped to allow the Shields to dismount, then they assisted Crimson in burning the demons, devils and undead inside the fortress walls.
Berradin’s Dragon eventually stopped at a crossroads and warned Berradin that the devil in their party might not be trusted when they breached the throne room. Berradin wanted to know what the Dragon was talking about. The Dragon stated that the one who looked like an elven archer was a devil in disguise and would not be able to name himself Shanna if asked directly.
The Dragon headed down a side corridor to make further distraction within the fortress whilst Berradin waited for the other Shields to catch up with him.
Berradin tried to trick Shanna into revealing herself as something else but was too subtle for his own good.
The corridor that the Shields were on lead to stairs leading up to the main hall, broken up by many landings. Shanna spotted some devils coming down to drive off the Shields.
The Shields fought a Marilith [ a 6-armed female devil with a snake tail who was a dervish with many blades], a Warlock devil, and a pack of hell hounds. They destroyed the defenders and now were at last in front of the great double doors that lead into the Gorgon King’s throne room.
to be continued next session