Excerpts from the Memoirs of Balothron Shieldbrow, Dragonslayer…
(detailing the events of 14-16 Dravgo 999 YK)
Betrayal! The dragon who remained on the island, supposedly to keep an eye on us, had finally allowed Bree to ride it, but, as it flew, we realized that it would not return. We simply could not allow that to happen – we could not trust it to defend her. For all we knew, it was in league with the Rakshasa itself.
We dashed after it on our griffins’ backs, with me leading the group. In the final stretch, I pushed my griffin to the brink of its strength, charging with the combined might of my griffin’s wings and my own arms. After my comrades arrived, I realized what must be done. I jumped upon the dragon’s back and stabbed into its shoulder. My comrades, however, lacked the courage to join me.
Realizing this, I made a tactical withdrawal, jumping from its back and onto my griffin below. Oddly, many of my comrades jumped from their griffins as well, away from the dragon. Dolph, Adric, and Bree were all saved by the griffins, while Tethys fell into Mel’s arms – much to his delight, he told me later. I charged our foe once again, helping my friends find the courage to do the tactically sound thing and take the fight to the dragon. Tethys and Adric got on its back and hacked away at it, and eventually its back was slick and cold with its blood.
Something strange then happened – as I was maneuvering for a better position, I blacked out. I must have turned too hard and been flung from my griffin because, when I awoke, I found myself grasped in its claws. The others were struggling to get back on their griffins as well, and Bree was baiting the dragon back to the island and its trees (good tactics on her part, I might add).
When I had almost caught up with the dragon, a tree branch struck me from nowhere – some gnomes must have been in league with the dragon and set up a trap. I caught the branch and watched as all seemed to fail. I watched as the dragon swallowed Bree whole and delivered a terrible beating to Tethys and Adric. When my griffin returned, I pushed it as hard as I could towards the dragon, but I was quite far.
Then, screaming out of the woods on the back of a griffin, came Bael, a legendary dragonslayer. He jumped, grabbing the dragon’s foot and forcing the blade of his axe into its leg. This dragon, however, proved to be a greater foe than even he was accustomed to, striking him harder than he could shake off and leaving him drenched in his own blood. Even worse, he slashed with his claws at Tethys and Adric, sending them both falling unconscious to the ground below.
When I came close, though, I saw an opening. I leapt from my griffin and, with a thunderous roar, plunged my glaive deep into the dragon’s skull, slaying the beast. The sheer ferocity of my roar jolted my friends back to consciousness and granted Bree the resolve to force open the dragon’s jaws and escape.
When we had all escaped from the plummeting hulk on our griffins, we went down to its corpse. I slowly strode towards it, sliced into its chest, and pulled out its still-cold heart. That first bite of the raw heart of the greatest foe I had yet slain tasted like victory incarnate – cold, bloody, tough, and just a little bit sweet. Even Bael himself complimented me on my accomplishment.
After I skinned the dragon, we convened to decide what to do about the Rakshasa. I suggested that Bree, along with those of us who lacked dragonmarks, ride in the direction the dragon had started off in, thus duping the Rakshasa into believing that Bree was riding alone, presumably towards him, with the intent of turning back the moment any one of his potential hiding spots was seen. Though Tethys and Bree did not like this plan at first, Mel seemed to see its merit and proposed a few patently ridiculous plans, illustrating its strengths. He then raised the dragon, letting Bree ride its skinned corpse as its master and fulfill her dream.
Flanked by Darin and Bael and with me acting as her vanguard, Bree rode off into the evening. My plan worked – the Rakshasa fell for the ruse, and by the time he realized his error, it was too late to catch us. As the moon set, I heard its voice yelling my name in fury. We had saved Bree.
After butchering, cooking, and preserving the dragon’s meat, we waited for Arjhan. A scant two days later, we received a sending from him, asking where we were on the island. A short time after, we saw a ship on the horizon. When it arrived, a well armed and armored half-elf and some sort of aide came ashore. After being evasive about where Arjhan was, she said we were under arrest. Believing that my long-past crimes against House Tharashk may have been forgotten, I asked for a warrant so I could go free and help my comrades from the outside. When her aide presented a warrant detailing my past crimes, however, I decided that I should probably pay for my long-past desertion. I may have done the right thing that day, but I still betrayed my friend and captain.
I submitted to her authority and gave up my glaive – something that does not happen often (the only time was when I gave it to Adric for a ruse back in Dreadhold). Dolph took the opposite approach, throwing a knife at the woman, but to little effect, as is to be expected. In response, she called to her ship, causing archers to swarm the deck. Tethys then decided to surrender if she were allowed to see that Arjhan was with them. When I realized that Bree had not made the same condition, I looked and saw that she must have slipped away, unseen.
Upon seeing Arjhan – a bit battered, but alive – everyone but Mel decided to surrender. Mel decided to be foolish instead. Brave, but foolish. After he was caught and beaten to within an inch of his life, we were taken to the prison ship.