The Brazen Bollocks Mercenary Co.

Episode 7: Drums in the Marsh

*Throstugrael slept. He had come to this place in the Twilight Marsh from his lair in the sunken temple. Rumors of  the existence of a tree where powerful dragons had laired throughout the ages. It was also thought that the tree may contain the lost remains of the ancient and once powerful Black dragon, Chardansearavitriol, also known as Ebondeath. Legend says that he died in 1202 DR and that the remains of his body were never found. Throstugrael’s recent contact with the Cult of the Dragon had also sparked interest in the rumors, so it was sought out by Throstugrael and the Cult over the past months.

As he slept Throstugrael could hear the whispers from the darkness of the tree. Other legends recounting the death of Ebondeath stated that the disembodied spirit of the dragon still haunted the remains and if that were so, Ebondeath was a Dracolich in spirit form and Throstugrael thought perhaps he could learn the secrets of lichdom from the whispers…

The Bollocks were spending a quiet night at the Tea Kettle. The rain on this evening was nothing more than a gentle mist and the people of Phlan were taking advantage of the fairer weather to revel and exchange good tidings in the streets of the city. A grim half-orc named Thark, entered the Tea Kettle and approached the Bollocks with a proposal.

The Welcomers had been acting as protectors of the city for months; working against the tyranny of the Black Fist and keeping tabs on the streets of the city trying to root out the plots of the Cult of the Dragon. Tonight, they wanted to chase down the Black dragon they believed to be residing in the Twilight Marsh and kill it. The Welcomers had recently heard from travelers that Lizardfolk had been attacking settlements near the marsh. They feared that the encroachment of the Lizardfolk into civilized territory and the threat of an actual dragon so near the city need to be dealt with. Thark asked the Bollocks to join forces with the Welcomers to search out the dragon in its lair, tonight. The Bollocks related their recent experience with the dragon Rynthrax, and expressed their regret at not having killed the dragon.

The Bollocks joined many Welcomers and some other adventuring parties to form a 40 person search team to blanket an area of the swamp where the lair was believed to be and work in a grid formation to search the marsh thoroughly. The Bollocks formed their own team and set into the marsh in search of a dragon.

The Bollocks encountered some creatures in the marsh, but they also discovered and trailed a party if Lizardfolk marshalling a raft of prisoners through the dense terrain of the area. The Bollocks followed along until a conflict erupted on the prisoner raft. The Bollocks took action to eliminate the gards and free the prisoners. A captured Lizardfolk and freed dwarven merchant, named Rolk, explained what had been occurring. The lizardfolk tries had been spurred to action after a Balck dragon attacked and killed the tribal leader of the Lizardfolk a few weeks ago. The dragon had destroyed a large village of Lizardfolk and they had all relocated to the Ringcurrent Islands just off the coast of the Moonsea. Approximately 150 Lizardfolk had gathered and about as many prisoners had been taken to offer as tribute to the dragon. The Bollocks decided that a an assault on the gathered Lizardfolk tribe would most likely result in their deaths, so they opted to deliver information regarding the events and continue their search for the dragon.

The signaling spell was triggered by another party and the Bollocks followed the beacon deep into the marsh. The gathered parties stood in the ruins of an ancient stone circle on a patch of high ground in the marsh. Hundreds of thorny branches tangled together to form a covered walkway into the area where the dragon was lairing. Approaching the lair the Bollocks saw a massive Mangrove tree surrounded by a wall of branches and plants about the size of a stadium. A large moat of swampy ground and water stood between the parties and the Mangrove tree where they had seen the dragon Rynthrax enter a large cave at the root of the tree.

Rando scouted the area and found a safe way into the lair and up to the large patch of land raised in the center of the lair. The groups rallied together and entered the lair. They successfully navigated the swamp and as they arrived on the island, Rynthrax was emerging from the cave. The Bollocks went into action and killed the beast in about six seconds. Considering how frightened they had been of the beast, they were surprised how easily it had been slain. It was then that Rando, hidden in the shelter of the tree roots, felt a large object move next to him. Looking up he saw the enormous form of an Adult Black dragon awakening and dislodging itself from the Mangrove Tree.

Throstugrael greeted the parties and derided them for bringing a group of 40 humanoids to kill one tiny dragon. As he fully dislodged himself from the massive Mangrove, he spoke of his need to leave and deal with the selection of a new chief from the assembled Lizardfolk tribes at the Ringcurrent Islands. Throstugrael turned his head to show where the skin had been burned from his skull and left the bone exposed. A  green light flickered in the ruined eye socket and stared down the assembled group before taking flight and leaving the lair via an opening in the top of the wooded canopy.

The Bollocks and assembled companions looted the lair and made their way back to Phlan as fast as they could. They took the body of slain Rynthrax with them and stowed it in a shed outside of town.

The threat of Rynthrax had been displaced by the emergence of Throstugrael onto the scene of troubled Phlan.

*Rynthrax spoke into the Sending Stone and waited for Sharrak to respond from the other end. Rynthrax had just returned from delivering orders to Narle Shieldbiter, Chieftain of the Burning Banner Orc Clan. The chieftain had made a pact with the Cult of the Dragon and they would soon attack the troublesome Claws of Tiamat and eliminate their mad leader, Jeralla. He spoke openly despite the presence of the Imp floating invisibly nearby. It would seem that visitors had arrived. He did hope it was someone he could eat, he had flown a long way to arrive at this lair and he was hungry. He knew for certain that if Throstugrael awoke, he would have nothing to eat, so he changed from his elven form back into dragon form and stepped from the cave. He did not expect to see the Dragon cultist Frost and her companions, especially not in this place. How did they get here and what exactly did they want? The crossbow bolt that struck Rynthrax in the neck, mortally wounding him, gave all the answer he would need to know..

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