The party began rushing to the Mayor’s residence to help Keen, although Levani, aware of the fact that they were running headlong into a burning building with a dragon inside, followed at a distance.
In the foyer of the mansion, Keen tentatively approached the laughing, wild-eyed dragon, stepping over the blackened corpse of the Hobgoblin Overlord and moving slowly up the grand staircase. He gingerly booped the dragon on the nose in a gesture of friendship, but narrowly avoided losing his arm as the dragon snapped at him with massive jaws. It twitched, laughed and babbled incoherently about food, and gave every indication that it was stricken with some form of madness.
Keen backed away, pulling with him the charred and bloody form of Jules, the dwarven rogue who had taken the dragon’s breath weapon full force just moments ago. Performing hurried ministrations, Keen was able to stabilize Jules so at least her breathing steadied, though she remained unconscious. As he did so he continued to try to calm the dragon with words, conversing in draconic (though he seemed not to realize it).
The dragon lept from the top of the grand staircase and landed over the body of the Hobgoblin Overlord, from which it tore the steel breast plate and consumed it in several quick, powerful bites.
Keen, thinking to gain the dragon’s trust, produced the scimitar he had recently lifted from a goblin and lobbed it at the wyrm like a treat. The dragon caught it, swallowed it, and turned its full attention on Keen, demanding more food, almost playfully, like a massive, burnished copper puppy. The playfulness did not last, though; overcome by mania the dragon reared up to unleash a torrent of fire but found it was unable to and instead was briefly overcome by a fit of coughing. Keen looked around for more metal to feed it, ignoring Levani’s telepathic suggestion to offer the ten foot pole he carried in the bag of holding (“It’s a really nice pole!”). Instead, he pulled a pauldron off the Hobgoblin and tossed it to the dragon.
Ara arrived in the foyer of the burning building just in time to see the crazed dragon try again to unleash a gout of fire, and this time it was successful, but aimed not at the party but at the ceiling. It then launched into the air and burst its way through the ceiling up into the second floor, sending burning, blasted timbers raining down on them Ara and Keen both leapt to safety, but a large wooden beam, blacked and splintered, landed on the unconscious Jules.
Magnus and Yuna arrived at that moment, and Magnus was able to lift the beam off Jules, who Ara then healed with a quiet prayer to Rillifane. Jules returned to consciousness but was unable to stand on her mangled foot. Yuna revealed her divine form, angelic wings bursting forth from her shoulders and dazzling the room in radiant light, and flew up to the hole in the ceiling where the dragon was still attempting to climb through. With calm, careful words she convinced the dragon that they could remove the residium lodged in its breast, and the dragon dropped back through the hole to the ground floor.
Magnus used magic to numb the flesh of the dragon around the crystal, and with magical assistance from Levani was able to carve the crystal free using a series of strokes from a silvered handaxe. With each stroke the dragon howled in pain, swiping its mighty talons at Keen, at Magnus, and unleashing a final blast of fire that caught Yuna who was still floating near the ceiling. But Magnus was successful, and stashing the large chunk in his pack he quickly exited the collapsing building followed by the rest of the party and then the dragon itself, bursting through the timbers of the front of the building.
As the building collapsed into burning rubble behind them, the party spoke with the dragon as it slowly regained its senses. Between the dragon and Jules it was revealed that the kobolds who had taken over Greencrack Copper Mine had done so in an attempt to find enough metal to feed the dragon, whose egg they had found in the Underdark, and who they had attempted to raise, worshipping it as a god. But the kobolds succumbed to sickness and madness, and were overrun by the hobgoblin hordes. When to their surprise they discovered the kobold’s secret, the hobgoblins attempted to merge the infant dragon with a hobgoblin. The process was unsuccessful, but left a large chunk of residium embedded in the wyrmling’s flesh. The residium poisoned its mind, inhibiting its development, and the hobgoblins found that for a time they were able to control it, and had intended to use it in a renewed attack on Whitebridge.
The dragon announced that it would remain in Whitebridge and rule, and instructed Jules to bring him servants. Magnus attempted to suggest that it should instead live with the dragonborne tribe they had met high in the mountains at the Temple of the Moon, but Jules convinced them that it should remain as a protector of the town. The dragon agreed, though it seemed unclear on the distinction between “ruler” and “protector.” It named himself Whibraxus, and as it sat back on its haunches and preened, Keen realized too late that this dragon was little more than a child, and though its mind and genetic memory were slowly returning, its bravado was false and it was as surprised as rest of them that they agreed to allow it to stay.
Exhausted, burned, and bloodied, Keen and Jules retired to the Hanged Man’s Wink, dragging a confused Ambriel with them. The dragon launched itself into the air to survey its new dominion, and spent the rest of the night rooting out and slaying any remaining goblinoids. The rest of the party followed Jules and Keen at some remove, and there followed a long rest. During her watch Levani could not shake the feeling that she was being watched, though could find no indication of why.
In the late morning, the party, together with Jules and Ambriel, broke their fast and discussed their next moves. With the danger from goblins passed and their new ally (however mercurial) in place to stand watch it seemed at last that the town of Whitedbridge was safe, and Jules and Ambriel made ready to return to Long Drop and inform the townsfolk that they could go home.
Whibraxus arrived, having taken on the form of a humanoid, he said “so as to fit in and move undetected among you,” though the form was a jumbled mix of physical characteristics from each of them, resembling Magnus but with horns, one pointed ear, half a long red beard and one white eye. He seemed more poised, and vibrant, and with a twinkle in his eye announced that the blood memory had recalled jokes, and demanded jokes be brought to him. The party obliged, as best they could.
Jules and Ambriel took their leave, and the party collected their gear and made ready to take up the pursuit of the thief who had stolen the Dragonhead coin days earlier.
Party Deaths: Amazingly, Zero
Party Luck: Extraordinary
Jokes Told: 3
Towns Liberated: 1
RP Rating: Awesome!