Cloudchaser

Flush from their victory over the vampire, our heroes rushed down to Rezmir’s quarters to tell their friend the good news. Shouldering Azbara’s limp body, Keo followed his companions back up to the steering tower to let Blagothkus know. The giant congratulated them before asking what they planned to do next.

When the heroes explained that they’d like him to take them back to Waterdeep, along with the treasure, once they’d dealt with the remaining cultists and the dragon, Blagothkus gave them a mischievous grin. “Oh really?”

Roscoe quickly interjected with an offer to give the giant a cut of the treasure. Blagothkus confessed that he’d already been given some choice pieces by the cult, but if there was anything else that might look good adorning the walls of his castle – thus enhancing his status in the eyes of his fellow cloud giants – then he’d be happy to receive it as a gift from the small folk. [DM note: I ended up just giving him 10% of the total treasure value in art objects.]

When the heroes asked Blagothkus for aid, he replied that as much as he’d love to fight the dragon himself, he would unfortunately have to stay in the tower in order to guide and protect the castle. He was willing to lend them three of his ogre guards, however.

The Cultists
After a bit of discussion, the heroes devised a plan: they would handle the cultists in the barracks by having the three ogres enter as if they were going to relieve their fellows in the southern gate tower (which was only accessible via the barracks). Once inside, they would turn and attack the slumbering cultists at the far end of the room while the heroes charged in from the side door and attacked the ones at the table.

The assault went more or less to plan. One ogre died in the process, and both Roscoe and Skie came close to it, as the cultists had proved tougher than anticipated. Flint ended up having to drop a fireball in the middle of the room, incinerating several cultists and just about everything else that was flammable.

Feeling a bit worse for wear, the heroes decided to rest up before hunting the dragon Blagothkus graciously gave them leave to sleep in the human-sized guestroom in the keep.

The Dragon
The next morning, feeling fresh and ready to do battle, the heroes geared themselves up. Flint remembered the oil of sharpness Leosin had given them and handed it to Skie to put on her axe. The dwarf then pored over his spellbook to ensure he had the right selection of spells to deal with a white dragon. Keo, as well, carefully mulled over his spell selection during his morning preparations. Roscoe fidgeted impatiently, waiting for his companions to be ready.

As ready as they could be, the heroes went and collected their ogres and headed down into the caves within the iceberg’s core. Scouting ahead, Roscoe found the dragon clinging to the ceiling above the cult’s hoard, which was encased in a thin layer of ice. The cavern was split with an upper level that would bring them face-to-face with the dragon. Numerous tunnels wound their way up and down to both levels of the cavern. The heroes chose to place themselves in some of the tunnels on one side, while their ogre allies took up a position further along. Roscoe then stuck some frozen meat from the storeroom onto Flint’s grappling hook and threw it into the lower part of the cavern.

The heroes could hear (and feel) a thud as the dragon landed on the floor and made to devour the meat. Before it could, though, Roscoe yanked on the rope and pulled it up the main passage. The dragon followed, tucking its wings in as it squeezed into the tunnel. As its sleek white-scaled head came into view, the heroes made ready to attack … but the sight of the dragon was quite unsettling, and several of the heroes and both ogres lost their nerve.

Cloudchaser roared in anger upon realizing he’d been tricked. Lashing out with his tail, he smacked one of the ogres against the side of the tunnel. It then sucked in a deep breath and exhaled an icy blast that caught the heroes full blast. Roscoe was instantly turned into a popsicle. Flint was able to resist the worst of the blast thanks to the magic of his silver dragon scale amulet, however, and retaliated by conjuring up a storm sphere centered on Cloudchaser’s position.

Skie channelled her rage, shrugging off the old and the dragonfear, and tossed her axe at the dragon’s neck, while Keo conjure a wall of fire in the tunnel. Roaring in pain, Cloudchaser backed down the tunnel into the treasure cavern and started scrabbling up the wall towards the relative safety of the ceiling.

Flint raced up to the higher ledge and attempted to zap the dragon with a lightning bolt from his storm. The angles were a bit too difficult, though, and he ended up dismissing his spell in order to allow his allies more freedom of movement.

Skie and Keo followed the dwarf up onto the ledge only to have Cloudchaser breathe on them again. Both Flint and Keo succumbed to the cold, leaving Skie to face the angry dragon alone. She chucked her axe at it once, twice, thrice … and the extra-sharp blade bit deep each time. Cloudchaser let out a bone-shattering roar and fled up another passage. Skie made to chase after him, but stopped when she realized she’d lose him in the fog swirling around outside the castle. Instead, she turned to Keo and managed to pour a healing potion down his throat, reviving him.

With the druid back in action, they set about aiding their companions. Roscoe was somehow still alive but Flint was frozen stiff. There was nothing his friends could do for him except mourn.

Searching through the treasure hoard, the heroes found a number of magical treasures. Skie claimed a pair of bracers fashioned from fish scales and coral for herself. They would come in handy as a magical substitute for armor. Roscoe claimed a pair of boots that enabled him to move faster. They also found a potion filled with cloudstuff and a javelin that could turn into a bolt of lightning when thrown. Lastly, they found a slender wand of duskwood, which they set aside for Flint, should they find a way to restore him to life.
Choosing a few select art objects that they though would look good on Blagothkus’ walls, they took them up to the giant as an offering. Most impressed with their battle prowess, the giant congratulated them on having bested a fully-grown dragon. He agreed to fly them back to Waterdeep, a journey that would take a few days.

Epilogue
The people of Waterdeep didn’t quite know what to make of the sight of a flying castle landing on the fields outside their city, but the truth of the matter was soon revealed as the heroes sent word to Leosin and co that they had returned with the cult’s stolen treasure hoard. Blagothkus obligingly ordered his ogres to assist with extract the treasure from its icy blanket and carting it into the city, where Leosin’s helpers whisked it away somewhere. The heroes also handed Azbara Jos over to the Harpers and then headed for their safehouse for some much-needed rest.

As the heroes recuperated from their adventures, they were paid a visit by Lady Laeral. The regal archmage thanked them for all they’d done for the people of the Sword Coast. Without any fanfare, she then wished Flint back to life, restoring his lost arm in the process! In return, she asked for nothing but a promise from Flint and his companions that they would continue their fight against the Cult of the Dragon.

And thus we conclude our playthrough of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen! Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride. In fact, they are all eager to begin the next stage of the story, The Rise of Tiamat!

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