30 Eleint, 1479, Year of the Ageless One
The sewers of Daggerford
Nightshade’s breath filled the tunnel with a cloud of acid that burned every inch of Gaerd De’Barronn’s body.
His eyes watering, he struck at the large black dragon’s exposed neck. Dark, thick blood flowed as his sword sliced deeply through thick muscles. However, he was barely able to see from the stinging effects of the dragon’s acidic breath. He therefore found it difficult to avoid the creature’s wicked claws that struck relentlessly at the cornered drow.
“After I kill you Gaerd De’Barronn,” Nightshade hissed in anger. “I will feast upon your flesh until there is nothing left to bring back from death!”
Gaerd caught his breath as pain threatened to engulf him into oblivion. Despite Nightshade suffering under his own attacks, Gaerd began to wonder if he could survive this deadly encounter with a black dragon."
“We’ve got to find a way to open this damned gate!” Gomorrah yelled to Carric, her voice sounding grave and urgent.
Sergeant Carric, of the Daggerford militia, was frantically looking for a means of opening the huge wooden gate that separated Gomorrah and him from Gaerd De’Barronn who was waging a deadly battle against a large black dragon. With the unguent of darkvision providing him with the ability to see in total darkness, Carric could see Gaerd and the black dragon locked in combat.
He and Gomorrah needed to get in there and help Gaerd, and soon!
“I’ve looked everywhere, and I can’t find any way of opening this gate!” Carric yelled back to Gomorrah. The female human fighter/rogue was also focused on looking for any way to open the gate that came down as soon as Gaerd entered the cavern on the other side. “Nightshade’s going to kill him!”
Moments earlier, both of them saw the dragon fly out of a large murky pool of sewage in the middle of the fungi-lit cavern. The dragon, easily bigger than a destrier, landed in front of a side tunnel where Gaerd had just slain the same female shadar-kai they saw earlier in the Coffer’s Secret. The dragon had roared in anger and proclaimed itself as Nightshade, daughter to the legendary black dragon, Nightwing.
Carric, like most of the people of Daggerford, knew well the history surrounding Nightwing. As the story went, Nightwing had magically transformed himself into a human cavalier who managed to gain the confidence of the then ruler of Daggerford, Duke Pwyll Greatshout, long before the Spellplague. There was much turmoil and chaos within the duke’s court as Nightwing’s poisoned words manipulated Duke Pwyll’s actions.
Fortunately, Gaerd De’Barronn and his brother, Zaachaeus—two unlikely drow heroes—arrived in Daggerford. Their actions would eventually uncover Nightwing’s evil plot as well as reveal the black dragon for what it really was. A mighty battle ensued near the river docks which ended in the death of Nightwing.
Both drows were proclaimed as heroes of Daggerford soon after.
That was over a century ago.
It seemed the great wyrm, Nightwing, had a daughter who was now looking to avenge the death of her father.
If anyone could survive a dragon attack, it would be Gaerd, Carric thought.
He had seen the drow fight since he ran into him and Gomorrah back in Golden Acres. He and three other soldiers, while on patrol, came upon Gaerd and Gomorrah fighting against a bullette, or land shark, as they were commonly called.
Against goblins and common street thugs, Carric felt that his skill with the short sword was adequate. But against the land shark…well, he may as well have been poking at the armored creature with a twig for all the good he did. However, Gaerd’s relentless attacks kept the creature at bay. At one point, the creature tried to escape only to have the drow kill it before it had the chance.
Even against the Oni which now lay dead, its body half submerged in the foul water, Gaerd had all but killed it singlehandedly.
The ogre-like creature had flown off in gaseous form after the drow had severely injured it. They then followed it to a sewer pipe with rusted bars that were easily broken.
Unfortunately, Ivan the sorcerer had to leave and recover from the injuries he sustained in the fight with the Oni and later, with a gelatinous cube.
Past the sewer pipe, the three followed a narrow tunnel that led farther into Daggerford’s sewer system. Rats and cockroaches were everywhere.
Gaerd led the way when three more shadar-kais tried to ambush them. After a short fight, the three shadar-kais lay dead. Clearly getting closer to where the shadar-kai’s hideout might be, the group pressed on.
They then came upon the cavern.
Sewage water flowed into the cavern where it gathered in a large, foul-smelling pool in the cavern’s center. Knee-high mushrooms grew in large patches near the pool’s edge.
While he and Gomorrah stayed back, Gaerd went in alone to investigate the cavern, knowing that the Oni could be hiding anywhere. Carric wasn’t sure what happened next, but he saw Gaerd leap through the air farther into the cavern. The drow landed near a patch of mushrooms which exploded in reaction to his landing. A thick cloud of gas and spores burst out of the fungi but didn’t seem to affect Gaerd in the least.
Carric and Gomorrah quickly moved to follow Gaerd but were suddenly cut off by a huge wooden gate that came crashing down in front of them. To make matters worse, a large gaseous cloud flew towards them both, flowing through the bars to solidify into the Oni. Fortunately, the Oni was missing its deadly morningstar which Gaerd had disarmed from him when they first fought.
With only its fists to fight with, the Oni desperately tried to fight off Carric and Gomorrah. Although having healed itself slightly, the Oni was clearly still wounded and had not fully recovered from its last battle.
Within several breaths, Gomorrah and Carric were able to slay the Oni.
With the Oni dead, Carric and Gomorrah turned their attention to the gate blocking their way. Both hoped that they could find a way to open it so they can help Gaerd in his battle against the black dragon, Nightshade.
To be continued in “Revenge of the Dragon”