Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.3”
The trip back to the cave, while long, was not particularly arduous. The routes had been cleared by Theros and his party previously, and travel had improved as a result.
Theros stopped at the edge of the clearing leading to the cave in the mountain, remembering, very clearly, both the sight and smell of charred gnome flesh as Fizzle McWatson was instantly incinerated when approaching the cave last time.
The dragon was not in sight, but that didn’t stop the cautious approach. It was decided that Ashe would teleport as many of the party as possible into the cave, while Nugg and Arlen would transform into earth elementals and burrow their way there. This would leave Nugg’s wolf, finally named Gene (something about an unnaturally long tongue apparently!), back in the forest to care for itself for the few hours that the party was in the cave.
Needless to say, there was joy, expectation and questions raised while in the cave, but nothing showed anything amiss, so the party placed the gems into each of the pillars and watched as the elf, Porthos finally broke free of his shackles.
Porthos grabbed two of the gems and walked over to the mirror quickly and tapped it hard. As it began to crack, he repeated his promise to pay the group in the form of a powerful magical item. As each person began to recite what they felt was appropriate, Porthos kept looking at the mirror, professing that it seemed to be taking a long time to free the gnome.
Just as the mirror was about to break, Porthos transformed…into a mighty dragon! Theros could not control the fear that went coursing through his body and fled towards the far end of the cave, away from the now dragon. Only Ashe was able to hold the fear at bay and stand firm.
Porthos turned to Ashe.
“Thank you for freeing me. Your rewards shall be your lives.”
With that, he turned and left the cave, stopping only very briefly to swat Ashe with his tail, slamming the cleric into the wall, hard.
The mirror broke and out stepped, not a gnome, but Queen Ayla Maxamus instead. The leader of the once fabled Green City of Wonder looked at Theros, instantly remembering the group and remarking that she had felt there was something odd about them when they were in her audience chamber all those years ago.
Porthos had tricked them all!
The situation was explained, badly, to her and she held her head in her hands momentarily as the knowledge that one of the two world dragons, the evil one at that, had been released.
It was also discovered that the large red dragon was actually her husband, the King, Remulas, gone mad over such a long time in dragon form and pining for his lost Queen.
Queen Ayla was able to calm the dragon and force him to return to a sense of normalcy, allowing him to transform back into a humanoid form.
A plan was hatched. Theros and his party would traverse the realms once again, searching for those they had helped, asking for aid in defeating the evil dragon. They had only a short amount of time as Queen Ayla would only be able to track Porthos for a short period.
To help with this, King Remulas provided each of the party with the mark of his own dragon flights, the two of red and bronze. Theros looked at his chest after the King had touched him, and the searing pain had left a brand on his skin. This brand would allow he to call on either a red or bronze dragon as required for transport and they would also help as they were able.
With travel requirements substantially eased, Theros led the group towards Line, knowing that they still needed to deal with the troubles that were affecting that township. Knowing the troubles were most likely coming from the tower they had cleared in a previous existence, they headed straight for the tower.
The tower looked bigger than it had last time Theros saw it. Clearly something had been happening in their time away.
Guarding the entrance was two large spiders, easily bigger than a man, and a mounted skeleton was circling the building. Swooping down from the backs of the dragons, Theros and his party landed in front of the spiders. The familiar whoosh of air as Barney charged past into the nearest enemy prompted Theros to sing and cast his beneficial spells.
The battle was fierce, but proving short lived until two flying undead with bows started pelting the party from above. This was Theros’ time to shine, and with the assistance of a protective spell from Arlen, he sot them with impunity, turning them into undead pin cushions, nullifying their aerial advantage.
The entrance cleared, Theros pointed at the door, almost certain that worse awaited them inside.