24 Mirtul 1367 DR
“What part of ‘This looks good on me.’ don’t you understand?” Dona asked Lyr, gesturing angrily at the Amulet of Mraphadyr that hung about her neck. “We’re not giving it to that bloody guild, and we are certainly not going to enter into a business relationship with them!” Besides, it protects me from diseases, and I do bathe in the blood of our enemies with satisfactory frequency.
“But imagine the potential of such an arrangement with the most powerful, wealthy, and influential guild in the city,” Lyr said as he helped row the boat. The trees in the stagnant water slowly crawled by them as they made their way north and out of the swamp.
Karn shook his scarred visage. “It would not be proper to ally with them. And I could not in good conscience enter into such a partnership. The Guild of Apothecaries and Physicians is a corrupt organization known for past crimes against the city. If anything we should be exposing that corruption and working against them, not allying with them!”
“But—“ began Lyr.
“No, it’s final,” Dona snarled. “Drop the bloody subject. We’re not giving them the flaming amulet, unless you plan to take it from me…” The barbarian glowered at the bard, and even seated in the boat seemed to loom over him.
“We could simply go to Magister Altadar about this,” Dexter said. “Tell him the gnomes were working for us. It was Katso’s fault, really. I’m sure he’ll understand.”
“I support honesty.” Karn nodded at the wizard.
“Um, guys, maybe we should—“ Dunkle said.
“Not now, new guy.” Dona cut him off and shot him a look. “We need to figure this out, and your opinion doesn’t count.”
“But theirs might,” the rogue returned, pointing ahead of the boat.
As one, the heroes looked ahead of their craft to see nearly a dozen lizardfolk standing waist-deep in the dark water, clubs in hand and spiked shields raised menacingly. One lizardfolk, larger than the others, had four arms. He held four flails – one in each hand – and began to whirl their spiked heads about him.
“Ah, Smooth Skins, we meet again,” the king hissed in rough Common. “This time, however, only one of us walks away. You think you can ruin all of my plans and simply stroll out of my domain with no repercussions?”
“Look, you bastard,” snarled Dona, standing in the boat, “we killed your flaming ‘god.’ Do you really think we can’t handle you?”
The rest of the heroes stood and readied their weapons. Lyr pulled his new mandolin off his back and began to strum a makeshift melody about dragging the king’s corpse through the entire swamp as a warning to all who would oppose them.
Dunkle winced and nearly covered his ears. “Oh, please stop. Don’t you need to tune that thing first?”
King Mogavon who moments ago seemed on the verge of rushing forward to attack, paused to consider Dona’s point. Finally, he said, “Yes, you are right, large one. Now, all of you, leave my swamp and do not come back!”
As the lizardfolk backed down and began to move away, King Mogavon turned to one of his warriors and whispered in Draconic, “It will be easier to return, kill Krokavoc , and take over the village anyway.”
Straining to hear, Dexter was just able to make it out. “He plans to return to the village, kill the shaman, and take over,” the wizard translated for his companions.
“Oh, damn it all!” Dona hefted her silver halberd. “Let’s just kill them then!”
As the battle broke out, the heroes quickly found their small craft surrounded and swarmed by lizardfolk. King Mogavon himself chose Karn as his first target, the paladin having taunted him.
Mogavon fell victim to well-placed paralyzing magic by Dexter, and most of the heroes focused fire on the king, dealing blow after devastating blow to the mutant lizardman. However, the king managed to shake off most of the blows and break free from the paralyzing magic.
Meanwhile, Lyr found himself beset by two lizardfolk who set on him with clubs and spiked shields. Next to the bard, Dunkle struggled against just one of the creatures, his hangover from the night before severely impeding his combat effectiveness.
While Karn and Dexter focused sharp glaive and lethal magic on King Mogavan, Dona slew lizardfolk after lizardfolk, reveling in the blood and gore that was being splattered over her body.
Finally, King Mogavon was mortally wounded as Dunkle drove his rapier, Bleeder, through the lizardman’s back and out his chest. A final ray of frost from Dexter brought the king low, dropping his corpse onto the deck of their small craft.
With his king dead and the rest of his kin slain, the lone remaining lizardman dove into the water and began to swim away from the deadly adventurers. Dona and Dunkle both jumped in after the creature, and the barbarian knocked it unconscious with her halberd.
With Dona restraining the lizardman, Karn healed it a bit and brought it around. Then, assisted by some mind-influencing magic from Lyr, the heroes convinced the lizardman to return to his village with the head of King Mogavon and tell his kin that the traitor has been dealt with.
The lizardman did so – Dexter sent his bat familiar to observe and make sure – and punctuated the tale by stabbing Mogavon’s head through a javelin and placing it on display from a guard tower.