August 10, 2020
The morning after liberating the nymph from Prince Cambion, the party left her earthberg and set forth to return to Agvazetum. When they spotted a volcano some hundred miles to the west, they decided to investigate it first and Aizza sent a magical message to the court of King Gyzil informing them that they had defeated Prince Cambion and were proceeding to the volcano.
An hour or two later, a magical message was sent back from the court telling Aizza to “collect the tribute” as fast as possible. She realized this was one of a series of “divine tributes” which would provide a boon to whichever side had it in the coming war. The appearance of a tribute coincides with what Saria had to say about seeing a military build-up in Battzistan. War is on the horizon.
With the party in the S.S. Seal, Sir Typye swooped ahead on Pegasus for a fly-by, spotting a fully crewed skyship under unknown colours and a flying skiff heading down from it into the caldera of the volcano where two red dragon wyrmlings were lounging on an island in the middle of the lake of lava. A dragonborn with four men in armour and two sacrificial victims were on board and Sir Typye flew back to his friends to report this before they all moved in aggressively.
The paladin and his mount flew down into the caldera to interrupt the exchange the Evil party was attempting, only to find himself under intense attack from the heavily armoured bodyguards of the dragonborn sorcerer. When the S.S. Seal sailed into view, taking shots from the skyship while firing on the bad guys below, the young dragons realized their easy lunch was being interrupted and they attacked the party’s flying boat.
Tharius, invisible, had bailed from the boat earlier so that he could cast his Tiny Hut over the poor girls, tied to stakes on either side of a chest of gold, while Sir Typye found himself in the fight of his life when his steed went down shortly after landing to fight the men. Shuni, fumbling her attempt to leap off the boat at a dragon in mid-air, came tumbling down the slope, upending one of Sir Typye’s opponents, while Scheff steered the craft to a crash landing with a red wyrmling on either end of the skyboat.
The battle around the lake of lava went back and forth with the party exhausted by the onslaught of the red wyrmlings and the dragonborn’s bodyguards. They got in as many shots as they could on their boss, but the sorcerer kept healing himself. Meanwhile, the crew of the skyship above remained curiously uninvolved.
With much blood and sweat, the party slowly overcame the enemy, including both of the red wyrmlings, but the dragonborn sorcerer managed one last trick by summoning a Fire Elemental to cover for him while he magically flew to the island and collected the tribute. He then turned invisible to avoid any further attacks, clearly also down to the last of his stamina. While the party finished off the last bodyguards and the elemental, the skyship began sailing away.
Despite winning the battle, the party had lost by having the villain slip away with the tribute. To add to the sting of defeat, both Shuni’s dog Bondeux and Sir Typye’s companion Pegasus lay slain. Still, the virgins had been saved and the party had a chest of gold for their trouble.
Sailing back to Agvazetum over the following days, Shuni told her adventuring companions that she had decided to leave. She was unhappy with suffering for Good goals all the time and her barbarian nature reeled at the idea of being an Agent of the Crown. The death of Bondeux was the last straw and she asked to be dropped off before reaching Agvazetum, thus avoiding having to report the party’s failure to the king.