After a day out adventuring with her friends, Tess returned home to find out that Loh has a guess. Heavy greaves sit by the door and a steel breastplate sit over a sturdy chair. From the next room, she could hear voices making their way over:
Loh: “You don’t know who or where then?”
Stranger: “This is just a stopover. I ride for Hlammach within the hour. If I can’t find the source or the target, I will try to protect as many people as I can.”
Loh: “Like old times.”
Stranger: “Like old times.”
Loh: “I will go with you.”
Stranger: “I was hoping you would say that, Loh. It’s been too long since I’ve fought by your side.”
Loh: “Tess will see to your squire when he arrives.” He voice raises, “You hear that, girl? When you are done easedropping you are to saddle my horse and prepare the guest room for Davrin Squire.”
So sure enough, after a hard night of riding, Davrin’s squire arrived, who turned out to be Cassie. She came seeking Davrin, with news that a sect of The Cult of the Dragon had plans to attack a church or temple in the area, and was close to Stonewynne.
Unfortunately, Davrin and Loh left many hours before, riding hard for Hlammach and it was unlikely the party could overtake them in time. But Cassie knew where the danger lay, and the party took it upon themselves to end the threat.
The Cult of the Dragon was held up in Yitsall, an abandoned iron mine. Entering, they found the cultists fought savagely, and alongside a iron wyrmling. They defeated it, however, along with the cultist leader. Deeper, however, they found the true threat: Thraesk. A young, but fat, iron dragon which fought the party viciously before at last a succession of blows brought him down.
After, it took a few days before Loh and Davrin returned from Hlammach. They arrived in the middle of the night, and Tess woke up to their arrival. Making her way to the den, she found the two adventurers looking worn down and weary from the ride.
“Well,” Loh starts as she saw Tess. “Word has is that you have been living up to your name while I wasn’t around.” Her look was a familiar one of disapproval, but there sems a glint of respect in her eyes. “It would seem I cannot seem to protect you from your foolhearty lust for danger. You leave me with me no choice then….” She takes a deep sigh. “Pack your things. You will leave with Davrin when he is ready to set out again. He is a paladin of Oghma and has survived decades of standing before the evils of the land. If you are to take up the sword, you may as well do so under the guidance of the very best.”
It is another day before Tess set out. Loh does her best to mask it, but it is clear she will miss her. When at last her packs are ready, Davrin is rested, and a horse is readied for her, Loh went to see Tess off. She gave her a last embrace and made her promise to visit when she can. “Take case of yourself, girl. Life on the road will change me, but as long as you stay strong and listen to the lessons it has to tell, you will be better for it.” She smiled weakly as Tess saddled up.
Soon Stonewynn disappears down the road behind her. Davrin began to tell Tess of how word reached Loh and him in Hlammach. “It was said that heroes slew a dragon in the hills north of Stonewynn. I knew at once it was you. Loh did as well, but part of her took some convincing to believe it.”
“This kind of life is a hard one, but it is in your blood and in your bones. It is you heritage, you one. Tess, slayer of Thraesk, champion against the darkness of the land. The people will always remember what you have done for them.”
DM’s Notes: This adventure put the party in conflict with the Cult of the Dragon much earlier than I’d intended, because one of the players was leaving. This was actually a good thing. Sometimes us DMs need a kick to drop one or two of the cards we’ve been holding to our chest. This allowed the party to dig into the main plot a bit. I tend to be reluctant about this because I know I don’t want them to take that path to the end already, but I don’t want to roadblock them too much either. It’s a delicate balance.