Karameikos

Toe to toe with the dragon

Tol shoulders his long bow and fast draws his melee weapons and with a whirl of steel only manages to hit the dragon with Ackeris. However it is a veritable hit as the fury of his attack startles Volvagia, who, tripping over his tail, falls over. Switch seeing an opportunity to strike leaps after the dragon and sinks his sword into its now exposed underbelly, before swiftly retreating out of reach of the flashing talons.

I continue to climb the cliffs towards the final orb. Behind me Kathra leaps across the island and wades across to cover my back in case the dragon comes after me.

Volvagia in a flurry of wings and claws gets up and again flies up to the ceiling and bashes some more rocks down on, opening another vent of lava near Switch. It appears that this is something the dragon can control.

Memnnon in desperation at not being able to hurt the dragon at range, pulls out his alchemist acid and throws it at Volvagia. The missile whistles wide of the mark and smashes against the ceiling. Tol has better luck however as in another whirl of upper body movement, puts away his sword and axe, unshoulders his bow and commences to fire a volley of arrows at the winged beats above him.

I have finally reached the highest part of the island, where the final orb rests. “oh bollocks” there is a large keyhole which on closer inspection looks like it needs all four of the keys to unlock. I have one and the other three are all currently in the orbs around the room. Where is that Halfling rogue when you need him? Ozzie

Well, if Kathra can shut down a gate with his magical ability, then surely I can pick this lock….. hmmm, with my magical ability – that should be easy…… Owww. There is a sharp explosion in my mind as I try to trick the lock with one of the keys and the rest using prestidigitation – that hurt!

Switch has moved up the cliff. He draws his bow and sends a little arrow winging its way to the ceiling to sink itself into the dragon. Volvagia screams in pain and surprise, before falling back into the lava. Switch is jumping up and down like a lunatic, shouting “I got him I got him, I killed the dragon!”

Things aren’t so good for Memnnon and Tol, who have both been hit by the splash of lava, which has rapidly cooled and immobilised them where they are.

Switch is halfway through his victory dance when there the lava next to Memnnon begins to bubble and broil as Volvagia again bursts out of the lava and lands on the bridge next to them. Volvagia immediately goes on the attack, taking a large lump out of Tol with its teeth. Memnnon misses with his strike before retreating from the razor claws that are trying to pin him down. As he pulls back he shouts a healing word for Tol who recovers considerably from the dragon’s bite.Lava

Out of the corner of my eye I note that Volvagia is now a darker colour, has smaller and punier wings, but nastier teeth and claws. There is a sulphurous aura as well. The creature is also bloodied, which means that the lava isn’t healing him, or not much.

Tol is still a desperate whirl of upper body action and in a rare show of bravery is going toe to toe with the dragon! Although I do note that he is still stuck in the Lava.
I take the opportunity that Tol provides distracting the dragon to regroup my thoughts and quickly bind my wounds. I mutter to myself that I will need five goes to shut down the portal, once I have unlocked the gate. Kathra looks at me in alarm at the time it is going to take and suggests that I perhaps put that frozen hand, hovering around doing very little, to good use helping everyone else rather than trying to shut the gate, as otherwise there may be no one left to save. A reasonable comment, given that the vortex while expanding isn’t expanding very fast at the moment.
Volvagia3
This battle again stands on a knife edge, The flaming sparks go after all of us, but are particularly dangerous to Tol and Memnnon, as their red shirts have been rendered useless until they can redo them up. Kathra wails in frustration as her carefully aimed throw is disrupted and she drops her hammer into the lava. Volvagia hearing the wail, whips her head around and seems to notice us for the first time. Recognising that if I get the gate shut down he will be trapped again, takes to the skies and swoops across to attack Kathra and I. Kathra whacks the dragon as it goes past and lands on the island, getting a hefty smack in return for her trouble. Kathra is doing a sterling job keeping the dragon focused on her, but even her depths of reserves are starting to fail, as it takes another chunk out of her, covering her with a noxious blast of sulphurous gases.

I also don’t manage to avoid the swinging arm of the dragon which cuts deep into the side of my head and down the side of my body, shredding the red shirt – I too am now vulnerable to the fiery sparks. In retaliation I teleport the beast three squares away and into chilly grip of my frosty hand. The dragon is hovering over the lava, slowly shaking its head a bit over my attack. There is a fusillade of arrows and axes being launched from all sides by the team.

I am again burned by the fiery spark, hovering beside me. My yelp of pain alerts Tol who briefly changes the focus of his aim, fires and removes the fiery spark from next to my head before coolly recommencing the barrage against Volvagia. Thanks Tol!

I manoeuvre the frosty hand and grab the mighty dragon by the neck in a strong icy grasp, that should give it something to think about…..errrr probably me…. I quickly pull out a potion of healing and drink it as I may be about to receive some dragon attention.

Behind me there is a disturbing increase in the sound and psychic vibrations of the vortex. Briefly taking my eyes off the dragon I see that there is another issue to keep us busy. The vortex to the Elemental Plane of Fire is strengthening and starting to pull in the bridge, the fiery sparks and most disconcertingly the island I’m standing on… eeek.

Kathra also heals herself and then smites the dragon with her hammer as it wriggles free of the hand and shifts closer to try and punish me for my arcane mastery. Fortunately it misses. Memnnon hoots with devilish glee as his Lance of Faith takes Volvagia from behind. But this isn’t going to deter Volvagia from wizard canapé as his head again snakes over the top of mine in a snaky strike.

Switch has also now noticed the speed the vortex is now growing at and realising that I may need all the other keys sets off at a run to gather them.

I again send my Bigby’s frosty hand to grab the dragon around the neck. Connecting again I proceed to squeeze the life out of the dragon. It wriggles desperately, but I can see the area around the hands grasp is going from red and fiery to a pale pink and then white! I concentrate harder – thinking about cold things, roaring avalanches of snow, Thundering storms of ice. The whiteness spreads further over the dragon, in places I can see ice crystals forming, whilst in others there is steam coming off the dragon as the elements of ice and fire battle for supremacy. But this is a battle that cold will win, as with a final fiery groan Volvgia finally falls limp in the hands of my mighty frosty fist!

There is no time to celebrate, the very air around us is beginning to spin in a slow tornado as the vortex grows in strength every minute. I banish the frosty hand and refocus on the trial of will with the orb. I am bleeding profusely, but need to close the gate otherwise my comrades will perish. Memnnon starts heading around to help me, as does Tol who calls upon his deity to heal me. Many of my wounds heal, my head clears and I am much more confident that I may survive this final tussle. With refreshed concentration I apply my arcane strength to the lock mechanism, seeking to fool it with a combination of prestidigitation, bluff and a semblance of truth.

There is a clunk as I unlock the gate.

Meanwhile Switch has lithely leapt across rivers of lave to collect the keys and is on his way back. The speed of the vortex is increasing, as is the heat in the room.

Being so close to the vortex My hair is standing on end as the heat and power of the plane of fire start to sear my hair and eye brows. “Flee you fools” I cry above the roar of the vortex
The rest of the party start fleeing for the door. But Kathra has ignored me and is calmly cutting up the dragon as part of the trophy and hopefully for research purposes, sale and magic item creation…

Ozzie concentrate! – Control the portal..Concentrate…. Another clunk as I start gaining control of the portal….. clugunk –aaaaraaaarrgh! I scream in surprise and pain as I miscalculate part of the puzzle and receive a hefty blast of psychic damage. I won’t survive another of those.

Memnnon, hearing my scream of pain has turned around and is charging to the rescue. Tol too, suddenly realises he has a healing potion in his pocket and stops climbing the wall to safety, turns around and sprints to my aid, and possible death in the Elemental Plane of Fire.

Nothing like pain to focus the mind. I breathe deeply and move into a different zone….the vortex continues to grow and is starting to pull in the very fabric of our plane…. I can feel the psychic forces of the plane pulling at my consciousness…. I will be one with this spinning maelstrom…. clunk, another piece of the puzzle is mine….the tornado is tearing at the clothes of the heroes rushing to keep me alive…. the vortex is ripping away the very ground beneath me…. more haste less speed Ozzie comes the voice of my mentor through the whistling winds….Memnnon crosses over to the island to help and heal, dashing across the side of the fallen dragon….the searing heat of the Plane of Fire is starting to cause parts of my cloak to catch fire…… clunk.

I

now

have

the

portal

under

control. And bring it to a stable position.

View
The battle of the Gate Chamber

Switch runs past me handing over the key, with the dragon in pursuit, and continues over to the other orb in order to pick the lock ahead of me unlocking it.

Tol tries to draw the dragon’s attention away from me with a splintering shot Archer has I disarm the second gate and flee its wrath.

As I disarm the gate I can feel arcane cogs wheeling slowly into action as the gate to the plane of fire start to close. I can also feel that this action may enable me to recover some of spells as a by product of the activity. Good news! It appears that Volvagia can also feel the arcane powers starting to close the gate. His roar is one mixed with anger and pain.Gate chamber

Memnnon and Kathra are batting away at the annoying sparks of flame. Memnnon does notice however that when he wipes one out that Volvagia appears to strengthen and heal from the dismissal of this spark.

Kathra tires of batting the flames and with a very feminine leap crosses the gap from the orb island and rushes down to engage the dragon, which has turned around and struck Memnnon with its claw, removing his fire resistance. Kathra arrives just in time to be the recipient of its fiery breath attack along with Memnnon.

Then with the heavy beating of wings Volvagia takes to the air in pursuit of Switch again. It is during this flight that I notice that Volvagia is not a strong flier, for he lands again after a short hop.

Meanwhile Tol has taken advantage of the departure of the dragon to leg it across the bridge towards the fourth orb. As he does so he is pursued by the flaming sparks all the way up to the fourth orb-gate. Memnnon recovers from the shock of having his fireproofing stripped away from and goes off to assist Tol with the last gate.

Switch is quickly and calmly working on the lock of the third portal, as the dragon eyes him and me up. I shout at it that the mighty warrior wizard Tol is going to shut down the gate in an effort to distract Volvagia. I also fire a pitiful ray of frost at the beast both of which have no effect whatsoever.