Hoard of the Dragon Queen!

Dralmora Borngrey reveals to us that Pharblax stole something from the Hoard (yeah, right) and needs to be punished. So she orders us to kill him, but specifies that this conversation never happened. Agreeing that this would be best done in the morning, while most bullywugs are still asleep, the four heroes continue their search of the castle, clockwise obviously.

At the end of the hallway they enter the mage tower, where they suspect to find Suncaller’s staff, being investigated by the Cult mages. On ground level they find a barred door, with weird zombie noises coming from behind. Q will later plant explosive pod seeds in the crates to free the groaning creatures if need be. There are stairs leading into the basement, but the searching order demands to go upstairs first.

On the second level they find 5 beddings with trunks, similar to their own room. (What else was on this floor?) On the third floor there are six more beds, clearly for more important people as they sport some kind of mattresses. Behind a door, the heroes can make out some kind of chanting. Sheranya knocks on the door, after Osred tries without success to identify the song. A mage opens the door and lets us in after Osred demands the staff for further investigation, on Dralmora’s order.

In the room there are 6 mages, arms covered in intricate tattoos – and one with tattoos also covering his neck and face, performing some kind of blood ritual with an unconscious man. Asking about their progress with the staff the mage points to papers on the table that show star constellations with nouns associated with them, and that we’re free to take them. Not wanting to bother any longer, the heroes leave the room, after detailed investigation of its walls and door. Hiding the staff among Galuzard’s javelins, the four make their way back to their room, storing the staff and continuing the castle search.

The court next to the keep has three aggressive drakes that attack immediately. Before any fighting ensues, three cultists come to our help and calm the drakes, explaining that they don’t recognize our scent yet, but that they will not attack us again. Q gratefully hands over a bit of his owlbear musk to one of the cultists, in hopes that having this smell associated with the handler may help them later. The Red Wizard comes out of his chambers in the keep and explains that the drakes are there to protect him. Luckily he doesn’t recognize us from the caravan.

Inquiring further about the castles hidden dangers, they tell us that the last tower we haven’t visited yet is their trash can, and that it is haunted. Encouraged by this information, the four go over to find a room without floor, but with chest high muck and a staircase leading up. Trying to jump the gap to the stairs, Q is deftly caught by a tentacle, and just as deftly wriggles himself out of it again. Enter 2T, a horrid creature with two tentacles, and really bad breath. Q swiftly gets up and makes minced meat out of the creature with a legendary hack and slash that generations from now will still sing about. Apparently lacking any internal organs that could have been damaged, the creature is still standing and goes for Sheranya, trying to crush and drown her. She just curses and hellish rebukes it, wriggles free as well, and burns it some more. Even taking an arrow from Galuzard doesn’t seem to bother it very much. Only when Osred gets out his flute and pretends to play, the creature topples over and is dead. (Chronological order might be incorrect.)

After the fight, Sheranya jumps back into the muck and stabs the (already dead) creature furiously (as if she has been deprived of chocolate…), and then falling still, looking somewhat out of it. Q moves on and, after some slipping and cursing, gets a chest from the second floor down to Galuzard. It merely contains (adjective?) earrings that she puts on, and a handful of silver. On the third floor Q finds a mirror and asks Sheranya to check if it is magical. She is rather interested in her own reflection, still acting strange. Osred comes to help, and casts identify on her. Waiting for the ritual to do its work, Q explores further and finds a trapdoor to the floor up, approaching which makes him incredibly sad.

Joining Osred again, Q finally succeeds in breaking the spell on Sheranya by convincing her with his charisma (yes, Q’s charisma! probably his ale didn’t hurt…), that she is real. Sheranya doesn’t remember anything. All together they approach the trapdoor despite any cautionary reason, Osred and Galuzard breaking down in tears first, but collecting themselves again soon. Upon opening the door, three incorporeal figures approach from what looks like long dead bodies on the floor. After a spell and magic arrow heavy fight, with Q munching popcorn in the corner, the last form strikes down Sheranya, but shatters in a flash of light emanating from where it hit Sheranya’s left arm. Osred quickly gets her up on her feet again and asks: “What next?”

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