DCCZ: Defenders of the Red Keep

Into Castle Whiterock: Level 4-Cinderallis, Mad Daughter of the Red Doom (Year 2, Month 6, Day 15)

Down a long winding, smoke-filled tunnel off of the worship chamber of Benthoc, Xoon and company find a demented red dragon with crippled wings sitting upon a pile of treasure and warming a clutch of eggs. Nearby sways the skeletal dragon the group had chased off during the previous night. Calling herself Cinderallis, the dragon tells the group that she is the wife of Benthoc and wants to know where her husband is. She seems confused. In a fit of honesty, the barbarian hero tells Cinderallis that they have slain her husband. The dragon doesn’t seem to be that bothered and repeatedly refers to Benthoc as an “idiot”. It’s only when she starts asking for her children, the red troglodytes of the cavern, that Xoon realizes the danger. He tries to exit the room but she grows more agitated, finally breathing fire on the group. La La, Dandalv and poor Oinker are caught full in the blast and are burnt to charred husks! Then Cinderallis cries out in a unknown language. As the dragon roars, Asefeh fires two arrows into the it’s smoking maw, causing the beast to choke and cough. Xoon charges the dragon, smashing it’s skull into pulp with the power of Mourngrummel!

At that moment, the mighty troglodyte champion Grzzlk appears in the tunnel behind the party to answer his mother’s call. The warrior brings a cadre of warriors with him. Seeing Cinderallis dead, the champion backs up and studies the heroes with cold reptillian eyes. Angry at being burned by the dragon, Kolash the Cave Bear charges and mortally wounds the trog. Asefeh puts the champion down with two well placed arrows, one for each eye. The band of troglodytes runs in fear. Meanwhile, Brother Jon heals Dandalv, Oinker and LaLa. The power of the Treemoot is mighty! The risen Dandalv hurls a terrible fireball at the fleeing trogs, incinerating them before they escaped.
In the dragon’s humble hoard, the party finds much gold, platinum and jewels, along with some magic harp strings (the Sorrowsong Harp!), a silver scroll tube containing the arcane runes of the spells of Ekim’s Mystical Mask, Consult Spirit, Magic Mouth, and a powerful incantation to communicate with the Demon Prince of Storms and Waste! Dandalv is intrigued; he has heard whispers about the power of Azi Dahaka.
Xoon severs the dragon’s head, a trophy for his keep. Then he takes the dragon’s heart, performs an ancient ritual he learned from his tribe, and eats it. In seconds, the barbarian’s faces contorts, growing huge teeth. His hands morph into terrifying red claws. He transforms into a bestial terror that can barely restrain itself from attack its allies.

The party explores another chamber, this one east of Benthoc’s great cave. This one is filled with webs and the bones and carcasses of unlucky victims. Dragon Xoon narrowly avoids a pit trap, leaping back into the tunnel he came from. La La uses her magic cape to teleport across the pit and explore, but she is immediately attacked by a giant spider. The halfling avoids the spider’s webbing and the battle is on! Xoon leaps at the creature, striking it a mighty blow with his dragon claws. Asefeh rendering one leg useless with a piercing arrow. The spider screeches in rage and retreats back up into its webs. A flying hammer, deadly arrows, and a magical fireball end the threat quickly. Amongst the bones and offal, La La finds a copper scroll tube with a dragonskin parchment inside containing the spell Control Fire. Meanwhile, Xoon returns to his normal, human form, much to the relief of his companions.
Next the party finds itself in a strange labyrinth filled with numerous cave eels attacking from their hidey holes. It takes awhile, but Asefeh and Xoon handle the problem with hammer and bow. They discover a long passage leading down into the next level of this endless dungeon.
The company decides to return to the Red Keep with its newfound treasure. Exiting the castle without incident, the company travels down the mountainside and into the forest. Brother Jon opens the pathway to the Green, and the party is instantly teleported to a tree near the Red Keep.



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