At the yell of Razor I mounted Goliath and looked to the skies. Two flame drakes swooped down. The smaller one broken off towards the camps’ gate while the larger one headed straight towards the caves’ entrance. Kara darted over to guard the cave’s entrance knowing within are the defenseless families of the rebel fighters. I positioned myself alongside her and stared down the winged beast. I could tell by its yellow eyes and sharp jawline this was the flame drake we encounter on the road to Merikesh and later learned was called Razor. The other drake set aflame the gate. This was not the actions of a hungry beast seeking food, it was carrying out a strategic plan.
I put two and two together and told Kara that enemy forces must be awaiting to enter once the gate is down and that I’ll handle Razor if she can defend the gate. She leapt aback a horse and led half a dozen Jeh’an warriors to the gate. Wasting no time Arenwe sunk arrow after arrow into Razor gaining its wrath. A gout of flame blasted at the elven archer but his reflexes were quick enough to duck behind a stonewall. A few warriors were not so lucky. I dug my heels in and Goliath carried me to Razor with my sword Dragon’s Bane drawn.
Following repeated stings of my sword Razor’s head reared back telegraphing enough that I raised my shield Dragon’s Scale up in time to block the torrent of flame. Andrew Rowe ran too close to the dragon and was pounced upon. I feared the worst, but when Razor moved to bite at me Andrew rolled over got to his feet and kept moving towards the now destroyed gate. After several more arrows from Arenwe and slashes from my blade Razor began to panic and bellowed for help. The smaller one swooped to its aide. The Cleric Faelwyn got the attention of the smaller one at least till I cut clean through Razor’s throat unleashing an eruption of flame. He was dead before his body hit the ground. The last Drake fought in frenzy, but he ultimately was vanquished by a holy touch from Faelwyn. The flame drake seems to have been filled with a burning light desperately trying to escape. First from its wounds, but when that wasn’t enough it burst out from its eyes and mouth. I was temporally blinded by the light and forced to turn away. When I looked again the small drake was as still as death.
With both drakes defeated I turned my attention to the gates. Andrew and the few surviving Jeh’an where battling a dozen soldiers. Kara had an odd creature half man, half dragon on his back and executed a coup de grace. With all of us joining the battle it took only moments to dispatch the soldiers. Both Kara and Andrew appeared to be badly wounded. I went outside the gates to ensure no more forces laid in wait. I traveled to several hidden Jeh’an sentry points and discovered them all dead. There is no other explanation other than someone revealed our potion to the enemy.
When I returned Princess Anneka and general Joshua were mustering the warriors. I explained about the sentries and that this camp is no longer safe to remain at. Further examination of the smaller drake revealed it was in fact a adolescence and too small to have caused the destruction reported elsewhere. At least one more Drake is still out there.
In private Andrew explained that Aden Kell is likely the traitor and that we should speak with him. When confronted Aden admitted to sending his personal guard to parley with Draco for the safe surrender of the rebels if their lives would be spared. He did offer up some help in the form of a chest. I escorted Aden to the command tent while the others reviewed the contents of the chest. Along the way Aden admitted how far he had fallen and all he wanted was to remain as the savior of the people. Aden’s confession was devastating to the Princess, such betrayal hurt her more than any blade or dragon’s claw. The others returned with the chest containing surveillance reports on a half dozen Drakes in the mountains. It seemed Aden had known their location for over a month, but was waiting to stop the drakes himself and continue his hero status. Just when the Princess was about to order his execution General Joshua proposed Aden be sent with the heroes to put a final end to the flame drake threat. Aden agreed and we made plans to leave in just a few hours.
Plans were made for moving the camp to an alternate location and soon after preparations for an assault on Merikesh. The Princess asked me to stay following the war council. In private she thanked me once again for my aide and I reassured her that the worst must certainly be behind us now. This intelligence on the Drakes will be the final nail in Draco’s coffin. She wished me a hasty return and we shared a kiss. For me it was like a bolt of lightning dancing across my lips. It left me more winded following her embrace then from battling Razor. I tried my best to collect my wits and bid a nonchalant goodbye. As I strode down the hall I had to check twice that my feet where sill in contact with the ground. I was yanked back to the material plane by a vicious argument between Faelwyn and the others. Something about Faelwyn calling Kara a harlot. Both Andrew and Arenwe had hands on their hilts. Attempting to mediate before blood was shed I implored upon their good sense that enough death was dealt today and these people need us. I spoke to Faelwyn in private. He was furious that Kara had turned her back on the Church and is foretelling doom and defeat of the maker. I shared with him the little knowledge I have of Kara and that perhaps Faelwyn through kindness and understanding could rebuild her faith. Only time will tell if he does so.
After two quiet days of travel we reached the nesting mountain of the Drakes. We waited till the fall of night to cross the plains to the base of the mountain. Just before setting off we spied a large Drake fly overhead and away from the mountain. Along the way Arenwe found a pile of distorted body parts. Apparently failed magical experiments of shaping a man into a dragon-man. This explains the unnatural dragon-man Kara slew at the rebel camp. On the backside of the mountain set into the stone we found two massive iron doors with a small perch above. Arenwe volunteered to go have a look. After a few minutes we heard a shout from within, but it was still moments later when the door opened. Arenwe looked exhausted. He had killed four guards. We moved upward through tunnels finally reaching a drake spawning room inhabited by two young drakes, three hatchlings and a ten-foot tall orc.
Although small the flame drakes where still vicious and deadly, but not nearly has dangerous as the Orc nurse maid. With his giant length of spikd chain he just about took Kara, Andrew and my head off in a single swing. With considerable effort we slew the barbarous orc and dispatched the drakes. The spawning pit held around thirty drake eggs. At best a female drake could lay four or five, but this number is certainly unnatural. Andrew wished to take an egg and raise it as a pet. I explained that they are too vicious of creatures to tame in a conventional way. Andrew started destroying the eggs, but was interrupted quickly by Arenwe who petitioned that they were innocent beasts and can’t be slaughtered. I explained that this number of Drakes in one area would be a plague on the land. Arenwe proposed we spread them out across the land. I don’t see how we’d have the time to do so, also we planned on killing the mother and they’d likely perish anyways. Unable to come upon an agreement we decided to move and on to the greater threat first.
Following trails of blood and gore stains we reached a carved out chamber with three tables containing horribly mutilated experiments. Inside was a dark wizard named Phoulkanus. He seemed most proud of his terrible work and admitted success with the dragon-man we barely stopped at the rebel camp. He called forth three lesser dragon-men armed with shields and axes who appeared to be detached from the world obeying his every word. Then with a gleeful smile he called forth two red-scaled women duel wielding short swords. Aden horrified recognized them as his former personal guard he sent to Draco for parley. Phoulkanus announced how easy it was for him to rip the rebel camp location from their minds and ordered them to attack us.
Kara squared off against the two-twisted Jeh’an women, while Arenwe went after the dark wizard leaving Aden, Faelwyn, Andrew and myself to dispatch the red dragon-men. Andrew broke away to help Arenwe once a hand of lightning captured him. With two of the three dragon-men down I went over to assist Kara who was still fighting one of the two women. I tried to reach the Jeh’an inside of her, but she was too far-gone. Andrew and Arenwe had the wizard cornered and he suddenly surrendered. Furious Arenwe and Andrew looked poised to kill him where he stands. Phoulkanus pleaded that if they kill him then the Princess dies. With a devilish grin he stated that she was captured at their new camp. Arenwe, Andrew & Faelwyn believing it to be lies ready their weapons for a strike. Both Kara and I yelled out at them to stay their hands till we can learn if it is true or not. A few tense moments pasted before they begrudgingly lowered their weapons, for the moment.