Having recovered from their hurried flight out of the Gold Dragon’s Lair, the heroes of Sandpoint gave thought to leaving that seaside city. Now armed with the knowledge of how to defeat the magical ward protecting his lair, the Dragonbusters knew they must soon give a thought to ending the threat of Black Fang once and for all. In preparation for this, Zephus sought a place to stow the group’s new charge: Ansafarilonyxia’s egg. He sought the advice of Father Zantus, Cleric of Tymora. He examined the egg and informed Zephus that the wyrmling inside had already imprinted on his aura of law and goodness, and would not be able to grow if not in close proximity to the paladin. The Father generously provided Zephus with a custom made dragon egg baby holder and wished him well on his journey.
Awaiting the rest of the group in the Rusty Dragon, Elsbeth and Gargantuon were fast becoming drinking buddies. Luckily, Kiba returned from hunting nuts and berries in time to interrupt their binge before they became unconscious. Zephus entered the tavern not long after, and the group quickly discussed what to do. All of them were eager to see the vile dragon slain, and they left without delay (and without Iseri, who was still mucking about in Calimport).
Reaching the swamp within which lay the dragon’s lair, the Dragonbusters cautiously approached a clearing. Not cautiously enough, however, as most of them were surprised by a group of Marsh Giants who were hanging about! The combined show of might from Gargantuon and Zephus soon had two of the enemy fleeing for their lives, while the third and last fell to their deadly weapons. With his masters slain or fled, the Giants’ pet Hodag scuttled off into the marsh. The group continued on.
Next they reached an overgrown hut, nestled into the vines and weeds of the swamp. Inside they met a cowardly Hag, who seemed nervous at the sight of the adventurers. She told them that a certain drow had enlisted the hag and her coven to waylay the adventurers, but that the hag in her divinings had discovered the dark elf was not even close to trustworthy. She advised them to leave before the coven arrived, and certainly not to brave the fearsome Acid Swamp!
The Dragonbusters of course made straight for the Acid Swamp, where they were met by two eerily glowing female apparitions. These turned out to be Witchfires, the rest of the hag’s coven! They attempted to slay the party with their evil fire, but all they succeeded in doing was to singe poor Gargantuon’s tunic and give him some slight indigestion. He responded by discorporating the evil …witches with his axe! The hag appeared after the ghost girls had fallen, informing them that the Witchfires had usurped her coven.
Impressed by the group’s prowess, the hag offered some information on their foe. She told them that the drow dwelt in a tower that overshadowed a land of peace and plenty. Furthermore, this particular drow had both betrayed and been betrayed, greatly influencing her current behavior and untrustworthiness. Finally, the drow had apparently come to some sort of philosophical crossroads, at which she had taken a dreadful path but not without some regret at those she had not.
Turning these new pieces of information around in their minds, the party entered the Acid Swamp. Kiba and Gargantuon’s natural survival instincts led them fairly well through the dangerous swamp, with help from Zephus’ keen eye and Elsbeth’s endless light. Despite Gargantuon taking a facefull of Acid Spout, Kiba narrowly avoiding the Lightning Water, and following a swamp rabbit’s trail into a dead end, the Dragonbusters emerged from the Acid Swamp having only encountered 2 of the fabled 3 Dangers. Now they had come to the object of their pursuit…
The Lair of Black Fang! A purplish energy barrier blocked their way, and after some debate Elsbeth used one of the two Dragon’s Tears to dissolve it. A foreboding mountain rose out of the swampwater here, daring the adventurers to delve its secrets. Elsbeth whipped out her scroll of Water Breathing, and a well lit Dave led the party under the water and into the mountain’s caverns.
Inside, they were briefly sidetracked by some ho-hum skeletons, evidently past victims of the dragon. Other, more recent bodies lay soaking in stagnant pools. The Busters continued through the caves until they found a large room gleaming with treasure. The hoard of Black Fang! Helping themselves to the loot, they found several belts which enhanced their physical abilities. Elsbeth found a headband that made her wiser and feel more attractive, in addition to a rod that would improve her spellcasting. Kiba found a hood that would allow him to strike from stealth, while Gargantuon found two ancient orcish runes that strengthened his already formidable axe. They also shoved a large amount of gold into their bag of holding.
Now to deal with the dragon! They decided to lure the dragon farther into the cave by leaving a trail of coins. Dave would stay by the treasure to watch for the dragon. He soon returned, carrying a limp figure in one massive claw. He immediately noticed that his treasure had been handled, and also that the heroes had neglected to put out the braziers they had lit earlier! Dave did not escape his notice either, and after failing to turn the loyal reptile from his cause, nearly melted the poor snake with his acid breath. After this he laughed, mocked the Dragonbusters’ attempt to lure the huge dragon through a passage obviously too large for his bulk, and dared them to follow him outside if they wished the return of his captive, whom Dave had recognized as Shalelu, ranger of Sandpoint.
Growling with rage, the heroes were determined to meet the dragon’s challenge. Elsbeth used her final scroll of New Life to get Dave back on his … scales, and the party then swam back up out of the cavern. Outside, they finally came face to face with Black Fang! He seemed to have gotten bigger since last they met, odd considering the lifespan of a dragon. The Dragonbusters attempted to earn their name by rushing at the dragon, however the brackish water made that difficult. Black Fang started out strong by breathing another acid gout at the party, nearly felling the cleric Elsbeth.
Gargantuon roared with anger and scored a few nasty hits on the dragon’s scaly hide while Zephus struggled to get within reach. Kiba stayed out of sight, waiting for a better opportunity to strike, and Elsbeth diligently called upon the light of Lathander to keep herself and her comrades in the fight.
Zephus and Gargantuon succeeded in capturing the dragon’s attention, taking some hideous wounds from his teeth and claws in the process. Kiba found a soft spot with an arrow before succumbing to Black Fang’s fearsome presence, fleeing despite his hatred for the beast that had nearly killed his closest friend. Elsbeth came to her friends’ rescue, magically Commanding the dragon to kneel before her! Cursing the half-elf who had twice before used this same tactic, Black Fang could not resist her divine power and complied. Seizing their chance, the group hacked away at the monster. Elsbeth herself finished the vile creature off with a powerful Flame Strike, but not before eating another acid breath that nearly killed her and Zephus both.
Harvesting some teeth and scales from their defeated foe, the triumphant and now properly named Dragonbusters returned to Sandpoint. They mayor, Kendra Deverin, quickly organized a parade through the town for the heroes, but their true calling soon found the group once again inside the Rusty Dragon, this time with enough scratch to buy the entire town a round! It was after the third such round that Iseri returned from her adventures in the south, and everyone was still sober enough to tell her the tale of their exploits. She listened intently to their trials with the Acid Swamp and the Black Dragon, and when it was through she had just one comment…
“How come you didn’t prepare Resist Energy before you left?”