Alert: Contains spoilers for the adventure “Into the Fire”
We set out…just like old times. Everyone armed and ringed and prayed up. Except nothing could have fully prepared us for this.
The tunnel headed basically due west – straight and square and eerily smooth. Mikael had Schakka out to check the walls, while Agnar checked the floor out in front – but the portcullis didn’t come from the walls or the floor. It dropped down from the ceiling, right on top of Ezekiel and Sirion – trapping all of us behind it except Agnar, who rolled forward out of the way.
With one magic gauntlet gripping the portcullis, keeping it from crushing his shoulder, Ezekiel paused to splash holy water around. Mikael and Raven were just grabbing the portcullis to help lift it off of Sirion when the second mechanism moved.
I was watching our rear, in case anything snuck up behind us. The floor beneath us levered down, dropping us into a pit about ten feet deep.
Raven was caught hanging from the portcullis, but he dropped down and ran across the pit to help lift people out. We had barely started that when a jet of flame washed over the top of the pit – I thought for a moment even my hair was catching fire – and when we looked up Ezekiel and Sirion were curled-up piles of charred flesh.
But Mikael has learned to never say die. He leapt up and slapped Ezekiel’s arm with a Cure spell, and Ezekiel started coughing and moving.
Lydia was already standing on Raven’s hand, ready to climb out of the pit. With a wave of her staff, she levitated to the east edge of the pit, and threw her hand out toward the west with some commanding words. As Ezekiel and Agnar shoved the portcullis back into the ceiling, something just beyond them started glowing. I tossed a rope of climbing onto the bottom edge of the grate, and climbed up beside Ezekiel, who was busy casting protection from fire spells (better late than never??).
Beyond where they stood – beyond Lydia’s glowing wall of force – stood a dragon. Not like those skinny white ones that went down like punks. Not like the caustic black ones that melted Heiron before we figured out how to get behind them. No, this was a huge, glowing, red dragon, snarling at us through the gleaming magic barrier and nearly filling the entire tunnel (which was forty feet across if it was an inch).
I did what preparing I could. I hid behind Ezekiel and belted on the sword of Lyons – knowing the dragon was super intelligent, yes, and knowing it probably saw me turning invisible, yes, but it’s what I could do.
About this time, we found Sirion wasn’t completely dead – so we helped him up and Ezekiel lent him a ring of fire resistance before he shifted through an animal form to heal up. I’m sure the rest of his hair will come back eventually.
Lydia built a wall of stone behind us while Ezekiel and Mikael passed around protection spells. Raven and Heiron hid in the pit, Raven holding a potion bottle. And then –
Bellow! Someone big and unhappy thumped at the other side of the stone wall – but it held. While the dragon was distracted trying to flank us, I thought it might be a good time to move forward into his room, so we weren’t like so many flies in a bottle. Lydia took down the wall of force, and we felt our way forward again, Agnar checking for traps. I followed him, Tressarian in my hand. The rope of climbing twitched as Raven and Heiron climbed up it, invisible. Mikael threw his elephant statuette, and it swelled to full size, flapping its trunk a little as it found its footing.
Ezekiel raised the gem of seeing to his eye (he says he was kicking himself for not using it earlier) and yelped, “It’s right in front of us!”
Almost at the same moment he cried out, the huge head of the dragon materialized before us, biting into Mikael’s elephant.
As the elephant’s bellow shook the tunnel, Heiron, Sirion, Agnar, and I pounced with our swords – almost in synchronized timing. The dragon roared, and sucked in a breath, but Lydia flipped open a scroll and read some words I’ve never heard before.
The dragon gave a croak, and flopped on the floor, its eyes turning glassy. Yes, just like monsters can kill us in one moment – sometimes heroes can kill monsters in one moment. Just like when we were brand new kids, fighting goblins. Oh well at least it’s fair.
That left us all panting and staring at the hulking body of the dragon, which even in death almost scraped the ceiling with his wings. The clamor had barely died down when everyone was poking me to – you guessed it – ask Tressarian what magic stuff the dragon had.
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