Claire vs Dragonlance Part 4: Dragon of Despair

At the foot of the cauldron elevators the party looked around. The corridors – or were they in fact long ruined streets? – of the dungeon were dark and damp. Exploring around, they found more ruined rooms than whole. Coming upon a central plaza, they spied a black dragon and a draconian (the name they would soon learn to call the lizardmen they had been seeing) bossing around some gully dwarves and telling them to find a certain female prisoner.

Setting out to hopefully find the prisoner first, the heroes went north of the plaza and found the building that once was the Halls of Justice. In this they found several draconians. One group they had to fight, but in another room they found a drunk one who muttered about his captain being captured by gully dwarves! Behind the hall of justice they found two draconians with a kender prisoner, who the heroes freed.

Further north there was a broken tower, and doors in this teleported the protagonists up many levels to the treasury. In there they were attacked by ghosts who did not realise they were dead. Goldmoon tried to talk with one ghost to send him on his way peacefully, but she failed, and he had to be sent away violently.

Further west the heroes found the gully dwarf warrens. These were greatly defensible, but the foolish creatures hadn’t realised. They found the draconian captain who was taken prisoner, and a frustrating conversation ensued between Goldmoon and the very stupid guards. After questioning the captain about the dragon deeper in the dungeon, they moved on and found the ‘king’ or Highbulp of the gully dwarves. They gave him a gift of a monocle missing the glass (first thing found in Tasslehoff’s pockets) and he told them of a secret way to the dragon’s den.

The secret way was behind a waterfall and down through a sewer. Once they got through though, there was a magical darkness which they could not dispel. The dragon dispelled it just to mock them, and they came out to face the fearsome wyrm. While she monologued at them, Goldmoon heard Mischakal’s voice in her head telling her to have faith and strike the dragon with the staff. Goldmoon murmured to the others to find the Discs of Mischakal and she ran forward and thrust her staff at the dragon.

Goldmoon and the staff burst in blue, flaming light and the dragon screamed in pain. The whole dungeon began to crumble. While Sturm found the disks, Raistlin found something else which he hid from the others, and everyone had to pull a shocked Riverwind out of the room as the dungeon filled with water. They got to the vines next to one of the waterfalls and began to climb up, finding themselves outside the treasury again.

They began to look around for materials for a raft but then an ancient ghost showed them the way out back to the level where the cauldrons would come out. They ran up and out, and then, at the foot of the statue of Mischakal, they found the staff back in the goddess’s hands, and Goldmoon unharmed at her feet.

As they fled the sinking city, Goldmoon could feel new power inside her. She was a cleric of Mischakal now. Her joy was short-lived though, as that evening when they crested the mountains, they saw plumes of smoke coming from the direction of far-off Solace.

Clyde Caldwell - Dragons Of Despair (1)

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