23 Mirtul 1367 DR
“So, we slice it up then,” said Lyr. “It will make transport easier.”
Dexter thought for a moment. “But it is only book knowledge, remember. Properly dissecting a dragon into its constituent parts is only something I’ve read about.”
And thus the discussion began as the five heroes stood over the body of the black dragon.
“There is something to be said about strolling into Waterdeep with the intact corpse of a dragon we’ve slain suspended between us,” Karn said as the discussion began to carry on too long for his likening.
Lyr’s eyes lit up as he imagined that scene. “Yes! The people will speak of us and spread stories of our heroics. And I will sing the tale at the Sloshing Boot!” The bard fumbled excitedly for his new mandolin as if to begin preparing the song at that moment.
“Not now,” Dona said, annoyance painting her face. “Let’s just drag this damned thing out of here and get moving. This whole trip was a side trek. I’ve got more important things to do.”
Dunkle nodded to this as he finished buckling his new rapier, Bleeder, to his sword belt. “And we wouldn’t want to screw it up. Destroying magical dragon parts worth thousands of gold would be irresponsible.”
Fortunately, it had been a rather young dragon, as dragons go, so its bulk was manageable. The heroes carried the dragon up and out of the ancient ruins, carefully stepping around the heaped corpses of kobolds and trolls that littered various rooms on the route out – those minions had been… annoying.
Once they emerged into the swamp, they set about constructing a raft out of fallen trees. Dona, being the resident expert on such things, directed them to choice logs for the matter. However, as their raft came together, it began to quietly sink into the murky waters under its own weight.
“It would appear,” said Dexter after examining the logs Dona had selected, “that old rotted logs were not the best choice.”
Dunkle smirked. This crew that he had recently joined up with had not the least inkling of how to build a simple raft. Incompetents.
“What do I flaming know about building rafts?” Dona said, bringing her halberd down on the rotted logs. “You all asked me to find the logs, but I’ve told you before I’m best at just bloody killing stuff.” The barbarian glared at her comrades, especially the rogue. He had better wipe that look off his face before I do!
“Why doesn’t the new guy figure it out?” She gestured angrily at Dunkle with her halberd which still had flecks of flesh and blood on it from slaying the dragon.
“As you wish,” Dunkle said.
Guided under the expertise of a former sailor, the work on the next raft proceeded quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, effectively. In the end, the heroes had a raft that not only floated under its own weight, but supported the corpse of the dragon. With that done, they all climbed into their own boat and set off north for the lizardfolk village, the raft in tow.
Several hours crawled by with half of the group rowing, and all of them peering cautiously about them at the rank waters of the swamp. More than once had creatures risen from those waters to attack them on their trek through the swamp and to the ruins.
Finally, the heroes could see Clan Gnashtooth’s village, Pavok, off in the distance. It was situated on a mound of dry ground and surrounded by a forbidding barrier of sharpened spikes angled outward. Inside the curtain of spikes stood nearly a dozen large huts made of wood and vegetation.
As they approached the village, lizardfolk watchmen posted in the guard towers spotted them and called out to the rest of the village in Draconic, “The Smooth Skins have returned! And they bear the body of a lizard god!” At this, lizardfolk began to move toward the village entrance, some emerging from their huts.
A crowd of lizardfolk met the heroes on the bank, but the crowd quickly gave way as the heroes exited their craft. Whispers of “god slayers” spread about the lizardfolk as they looked alternatingly between the heroes and the dragon’s corpse.
“They believe we have slain a god,” Dexter translated to his companions, as he was the only one who spoke Draconic.
“Hopefully it wasn’t their god,” muttered Dunkle.
“Yes!” proclaimed Karn loudly, striding forward. “This was the creature that threatened your southern border and has slain so many of your village. And yet he stood not a chance against Torm’s righteous might! Thus it lies shattered at our feet, and your people are free from its oppression!” The paladin took a breath and looked to the wizard to translate.
“The dragon is dead. Your village is safe,” Dexter told the lizardfolk in Draconic. “We would like to talk to Krokavoc, your shaman, now.”
Karn narrowed his eyes slightly at the wizard, but said nothing. Perhaps Draconic was more efficient than Common. He would give his companion the benefit of the doubt.
After the clan’s shaman pushed forward through the crowd, the heroes explained to him – with Dexter translating – of King Mogavon’s betrayal and how he was planning to lead the clan under the authority of the dragon. In fact, Mogavon had been sending lizardfolk loyal to the shaman to the south for some time so that the dragon’s forces might destroy them.
The lizardfolk and Shaman Krokavoc in particular were disturbed by this news, but not surprised. It turns out that many of them did not like the king anyway.
“We thank you for what you have done for our clan,” intoned the shaman. “And now we will fulfill our part of the bargain. We will spread word to the other clans, and together we will find this trinket that you seek.”
“Actually,” said Dona as she reached into her shirt and pulled out the Amulet of Mraphadyr that hung about her neck, “that won’t be necessary. You see, we’ve already found it.”
The shaman stared blankly at her for several moments. “Then Clan Gnashtooth is in your debt, and that debt must be paid. Please wait.” The shaman left for his hut and returned a minute later displaying a large ceremonial spear adorned with feathers and gold tokens. “This spear designates its bearers as allies of Clan Gnashtooth. No lizardfolk in our domain will trouble you so long as you bear it. Please accept this as a token of our gratitude.”
The heroes accepted the spear with Dona exclaiming that it was quite beautiful.
The shaman explained to them that several hours ago the lizardfolk saw dozens of winged creatures – the heroes recognized these as remnants of the kobolds from the dragon lair – fleeing to the north. Shortly after the creatures flew overhead, King Mogavon left the village with several of his elite warriors.
“You owe us nothing further, of course,” the shaman told them. “However, should you come across Mogavon on your way home… Well, all of Clan Gnashtooth would be most grateful to never see him return.”
As the heroes departed the village, dragon raft in tow, they assured the shaman and the rest of the lizardfolk that should they run into Mogavon, their former king would not live to regret it.