((For this adventure, Sin (Sintera Barona)’s player was able to listen in, but not play due to illness)).
((NOTE: This version of this article is being written without the assistance of my session notes atm. I will make revisions when I have access to them again if necessary.))
As the Skystrider approaches Bahest, Claudia Aspiria receives a curious message from an unknown dragonborn, demanding that she speak to Norlan Donaaran. Once Norlan uses Claudia’s tools to speak to her, dragonborn reveals that she is Kulia Silverspear. She warns that the deva Phosta should not be trusted with the The Arcanist’s Compass, as she spotted him consulting with agents of the Order of the Forgotten Fang. She wishes to seek a meeting with the party so that she can arrange a way for them to see Gahzrital without having to go through Phosta. The party sees no reason to trust her at first, and Caelestis Nailo devises a plan to intentionally meet both parties and make them have it out, rather than possibly be manipulated by either. Her plan falls through a little bit when Kulia arrives long before Phosta does, and the dragonborn bejudgingly admits that she is a member of Ghazrital’s The Draconic Guard, a position that earns her some credibility with the party. Still, they decide it is best to hide the compass by embedding it into Ten’s armor – a move that proves fortuitous later.
During their trek to see the gold dragon they are intercepted by Phosta and several hooded figures. At first, the group plays nice, claiming they are only providing escort on their journey, until one of the hooded figures attempts to steal the compass from Ten, becoming dismayed when he realizes a slight of hand will not be sufficient to take it. Ten notices the failed attempt and the party engages in combat with Phosta and his Forgotten Fan thugs. During the combat Phosta reveals himself to be the enigmatic “M”, leader of the fang, and that he has been playing the dragons as a double agent for several incarnations. Despite his arrogance and Invoker powers, Phosta is brought down and our heroes deliver the compass safely, and Calestis claimed several heads by her blade, taking Phosta’s specifically to present to Ghazrital.
Our heroes are brought into a special council meeting with Ghazrital, during which he assumes a Dragonborn form to be less intimidating to those present. Our heroes arrive as the prince of Eursia is finished thanking the dragon for providing his people refuge from the Black Dragon Brood’s assault. The prince promises that the Desert Wind will assist in the event that the dragons attempt to assault Bahest.
As the prince leaves, Captain Kenneth Raptor is called forth, and our heroes take their place in the center of the chamber. While Norlan and several members of Raptor’s original crew bow in respect, Caelstis and Ash stand and speak out of turn when they feel it necessary, making the captain a little nervous. This nervousness was escalated when Ghazrital asked why they weren’t presented by Phosta and Caestlist provided his severed head. Still, despite their outbursts, the compass is delivered, and the crew is rewarded handsomely, all except the captain himself. His reward was special – the dragon had a special team dispatched to search for the true long-lost heir to the Raptor lands, and succeeded in finding a kidnapped boy in the Shadowfell. Happy to see this quest completed, the captain handed over command of his ship to the boy, Augustus Raptor, to much protesting from the crew, especially from Letharyis Skyedge and Hadron Rook. He then followed that up by proposing to Claudia. Though at first flummoxed that she isn’t ready to “settle down,” she accepts. The two happily dismiss themselves from the chambers, while Ghazrital requests that the party remains – he may have work for them.
Things then proceeded to the next order of business: General Bronzescale gave his assessment of the enemy. He said the Black Dragons pose a threat to Bahest, but not one that couldn’t be countered. He then introduced Soleron Skyblade, a General of Everspire and Letharyis’ father. Soleron promised the assistance of his forces in the defense of the city, though during General Bronzescale’s briefing he mentioned a “plan to minimize causalities” that he was unaware of, and asked to for more information about. Bronzescale chose to allow the one who came up with the plan to explain – an elven avenger named Ashia Treme, the same Ashia from Ten’s past.
Ashia explains that she suspects the attack on the Dry March and Bahest is a distraction to allow the chromatic dragons to safely move a relic called the Scale of Io. She believes that with this relic, the dragons can make Tiamat manifest in the world again. At first the council dismisses this theory as rubbish, stating the primal spirits banished the gods from the world long ago. Ashia insists that the Dry March itself represents a weakening of the Primal Spirit’s power in the world, and one need only travel through the Chaos-scape to see that proof. She then explains her plan to use the Arcanist’ Compass to intercept the scale before it can reach the brood masters, and destroy it. She then asks for volunteers, something our heroes quickly jump at. Ten is as overjoyed at the concept of working with Ashia again a Warforged can be, and Caelstis is eager to meet the Avenger that Ten so very looks up to. Norlan gladly seizes this opportunity to bring glory to his clan and Ash and Eve jump at the chance to end this dragon threat before it gets worse.
Caelestis then leads a failed attempt to secure the Skystrider as their ride to intercept the Scale. Her efforts to track down Rook fail, though she does find “Ruin” about to drown himself in drink and succeed in dragging him along. ‘Rys seems eager to aid as well. When they find the ship however, the former-captain Ken is already helping Augustus move in and move the old crew’s stuff out. Their efforts to convince him to retake the ship one last time fail, as the captain already feels that he’s doing the right thing by returning the ship to it’s rightful owners-the true Raptor family. Annoyed, the party makes their meeting with Ashia and the others.
At the meeting the Arcanist’ Compass is used in combination with other Techno-magically relics to allow the party and Ghazrital to track down the Scale of Io and choose an ideal interception point – an abandoned fortress claimed by the Dry March. They use the Linked Portal ritual to travel there and prepare to ambush the group transporting the scale. The caravan moves a little slower than expected, and our heroes end up spending the night in the most stable structure near the fortress. In the night they are attacked by undead, but dispatch them quickly and handily.
The following morning the caravan arrives, protected by Kobolds, dragonborn, and two dragons, one young and one adult. Most of the caravan’s defenders are no match for the party until the adult dragon takes a stake in the fight. After a long and grueling battle, which included some seriously amazing dragonslaying on the part of Ten, the scale was claimed by our heroes. Unable to destroy it, they decided to take it back with them to Bahest to see if Ghazrital could do anything with it.
When our heroes returned Bahest was under attack, but not just by Black Dragons – they had some how aligned the Red Dragon Brood to assist in their assault. Ashia grew immediately worried and rushed off, promising to see the party again soon. ‘Rys declared that this was the last straw and whether Ken liked it or not, she was stealing back the Skystrider and doing something about this, a motion that the heroes more or less jumped on immediately. When they arrived they saw Ken and Claudia already conspiring to do something similar, and Ken shared that Hadron was already at work creating a new weapon using the Arcane Balista and extra Skyjammer core our heroes secured in previous adventures. Using diplomacy and intimidation, our heroes re-secured the Skystrider from Augustus, picked up Hadron and his new weapon, and set out into the sky to assist in the fight. The new arcane ballista was twice it’s previous size and fired a devastating lighting bolt that froze dragons in mid air. While this alone was not enough to slay a dragon, it did hold it in place for Bahest’s allies, especially the cannons of the Desert Wind to tear it to shreds. This eventually drew enough ire from their enemies that a young red dragon took it upon himself to assault the Skystrider directly. Our party quickly immobilized the beast in their own way and set to trying to knock it off the ship. They eventually succeeded (with Claudia’s help) and dragon plummeted to its death on the world below.
Our heroes’ stolen Ballista then helped Ghazrital defeat the elder red dragon leading the assault. With their old leader dead, the dragons retreated and city was successfully defended. Our heroes were part of the victory parade the following day and became known throughout Bahest as important heroes in the defense of the city.
In the days that followed, Ken and Claudia made plans to return to Coreta for now, and the Skystrider was returned to Augustus Raptor, who made plans to confront Duke Horace Fiddler and retake his family’s stolen lands. Norlan was awarded a medal for his service to his clan and his brother, now fully healed, resumed leadership. Ten and Calestis got to spend more time catching up with Ashia, learning what she’d been up to for the last 100 years and what happened after Ten was shut down in their final assault against Brandis. Claudia then got pay back on Caelestis while she was having a private meeting with Rook, and Rook decided to not follow Augustus back to Acktavia, in the hopes that while he’s continuing his studies in Bahest she can come visit him. Ash and Eve received word from Doroga that their tribe was visited by imperial officials from the Hikone Empire and found irrefutable evidence of the WeiShu Clan’s treachery. In exchange the empire handed over Serpent Fang Fortress to the Gargant Tribe and offered them a place in the empire. Doroga wanted Ash and Eve’s opinion on the matter, and they agreed it’d be great for a group of shifters to have political agency anywhere for once and accepted, becoming the tribe’s representatives to the Imperial City.
As the dust settled on Bahest and the chromatic dragons retreated however, a far greater, more dangerous threat began to stir in the depths of the Dry March. . .