Knights of the Couch - Part X - The Barons Heart - Chapter 4

My Little Red Dragon

The rest of the company had left for Garrotten a few hours earlier.
Aksel was sitting at the table in the farmhouse, preparing what would be needed to craft some items. He was going to use the scales they had appropriated from the green dragon they had killed at the monolith and the little red dragon they defeated on their way back to Restenford. They had removed the dragon’s carcass from the bag of holding, and Martan had taken it up on the hillside to bury it.
As Aksel was working, Cyclone entered the cottage and walked over to where he was sitting. “What is it? Aksel said looked up.
“I’ve, uh, just received a message from my family back in Lukescros”, the dragoon said. “Something’s come up and…I really should be heading back there.”
“Very well,” Aksel replied. He was obviously preoccupied with his crafting preparations. “Hope whatever it is works out for the best.”
“Thanks,” said Cyclone. He went around the house gathering his gear and when he was all packed stood by the door.
“Good luck finding the Baron’s heart,” Cyclone said. Then the dragoon walked out the door.

A few hours later, there was a knock at the door. Aksel was still busy crafting, so he yelled, “It’s open!”
The door opened and a voice said, “Is that any way to treat an old friend?”
Aksel knew that voice. He stood up and turned around. Standing in the doorway was Seth! “Seth!” the cleric cried. He ran over and grabbed the halfling hugging him tightly.
“I didn’t say…you had to…squeeze the life…out of me!” the ninja gasped.
“Oops, sorry,” Aksel apologized as he let go of the halfling.
Seth brushed himself off and said, “When I got your message, I was down in Lukescros. Only a few hours ride. So I grabbed a dog and headed on up here. Where are the others?”
“It’s just me and Martan,” the cleric replied. “We had another companion, a dragoon if you would believe, but he had to leave. Funny thing is he headed to Lukescros as you were heading here.”
“What about Glo, and Lloyd and Elvisda?” Seth asked.
“Off on a fool’s errand if you ask me,” Aksel said. He sat down with Seth and told him everything that had happened since the ninja had left the party.
“I can’t believe you guys slew a green dragon!” Seth said. “And jumped off an airship? That must have been something!”
“Yeah, we’ve done some crazy things,” Aksel replied. “But for now, we really need you to go into town and see if you can make contact with anyone in the Assassin’s Guild.”
“Just let me unpack my things and I’ll head right out,” the ninja replied.

Seth went into town and returned a few hours later. He had made some contacts and had managed to set up a meeting with a representative of the Assassin’s Guild for the following day. Now the halfling and the gnome sat quietly in the farmhouse. Aksel was busily preparing to craft armor from the dragon scales. Both the green and red scales were laid out on the table in front of him. Seth sat next to the fireplace, busily repairing his cloak of invisibility. Aksel had held onto it for the ninja and had just given it back to him when he returned.
A sudden knock on the door made both the ninja and the cleric jump. Aksel immediately turned himself invisible. Seth dove behind the couch.
“Why’d you turn invisible?” Seth whispered to Aksel.
“Because you just talked to somebody in the Assassin’s Guild,” Aksel whispered back. “It made me nervous. Why’d you dive behind the couch?”
“Because you turned invisible you idiot!” Seth whispered back.
“Hello? Anybody home?” a man’s voice cried from the outside.
Then the door swung open and Barley, the former farmer, now foreman, stepped inside. The gnome and Halfling were about to let out a sigh of relief, when a woman stepped in beside the man, and not just any woman. She was a strikingly tall, red haired woman, with a cool beauty about her.
Barley turned to the woman and said, “I guess they’re not here.”
But she wasn’t paying any attention to him. Instead she had walked in and over to the table where Aksel had just been crafting a few moments ago. She stopped for a minute, and then scooped up all the red dragon scales, turned around and began heading for the door.
Barley looked like he was about to say something, but the woman turned her head towards him, and suddenly shrank away from her.
“Hey,” Aksel whispered to Seth as he started to cast a spell “Those are our dragon scales she just took.”

Aksel reached into his a pouch on his belt, took out some ingredients and started to cast a spell.
Ok, Seth thought, she is very tall red haired woman and is taking the dragon scales. But how did she find them?
Then it came to him. Of course, locate object, but why just the red dragon scales…
“Aksel she’s a red dragon!” Seth whispered. He took out his knife and snuck up behind the woman, dagger in hand.
As he closed in, Aksel finished his spell. A dire badger appeared in front of the doorway where the woman headed. She snarled at the dire badger and began to change form. She grew upwards, sprouted two huge bat-like wings, her neck elongated and her face shaped into a long snout with long wicked teeth. Behind her a long serpent like tailed stretched out.
She was so enormous that the cottage could not contain her. The roof gave way first as she grew taller than the ceiling. Then the walls fell outward. The whole cottage came down.
The dragon reached down with one claw, grabbed the dire badger, and threw it over the tree tops.
Barley, who still stood amid the wreckage of his former house, squealed in fright.
The dragon heard him, and twirled around, back-handing him with her claw, crushing him.
Aksel and Seth were alone now facing a huge young adult red dragon.
Seth continued sneaking up on the dragon. He got close enough and attempted to stab it. It was no good. The dragon’s hide was too tough. His dagger bounced off.
“What do we have here?” the dragon sneered. It reached around and caught the little halfling in a huge claw.
“Just a halfling,” Seth replied. “Not much threat to a dragon such as yourself.
“Ha,” the dragon bellowed. It launched itself into the air, carrying Seth with it.
“And where are the rest of your friends?” the dragon continued.
“They’ve gone off to Dunwynn,” the Seth lied quickly.
“Well,” the dragon bellowed, “I want you to give them a message for me. Tell them I am coming for them.”
Then the mighty red dragon flew out over the lake and dropped Seth in the water.
Seth, popped back up in a few seconds, and caught a glimpse of the dragon flying towards the top of the hill. He cried as loud as he could, “Run Martan!” And then dove back under the water and swam for shore.

Seth pulled himself out of the lake. He was dripping wet, but at least he was alive. His ribs would be sore for the next few days though.
He saw no sign of the red dragon except for a fire on the hill top however.
He walked back up to the cottage; correction, what used to be the cottage. Everything was in ruins.
He started to search around the perimeter of the building. Not too far from where he began, he found the hole. It was too large for an animal to have made. It must have been a gnome hole.
He put his head up to it and called inside, “Aksel? Are you in there?”
A voice called back, “Seth is that you? You’re still alive?”
“No thanks to you!” Seth retorted.
“Guess that really is you,” Aksel replied. “What happened to the dragon?”
“Gone,” Seth said. “I sent it on a wild goose chase to Dunwynn.”
“You what?” Aksel exclaimed, popping his head out of the hole. “Get in here and tell me exactly what happened.”
After the dragon had taken off, Aksel contacted Martan via a sending warning him about the monster and telling him to hide. He then ran “outside” and saw the dragon drop Seth into the lake. At that point he decided his best bet was to dig a hole for them to hide in incase the dragon circled around and came back.
When they finished swapping stories, Seth said, “That poor farmer. I feel bad that he got himself killed on our account.”
Aksel looked surprised. “You Seth? Showing remorse?”
Seth looked hurt. “I’m not heartless!” he chided.
Aksel, suddenly sorry, said, “I didn’t mean to offend you. You just caught me off guard. In fact this whole day has caught me off guard. Most of the party suddenly heading off for Restenford…then Cyclone leaving…you suddenly reappear…and to top it off a red dragon attack…it doesn’t get much more eventful than that!” the cleric said.
“Well…when you put it that way…” Seth replied. “Never mind then. I’m going to take the farmer’s remains to town to see if they’ll resurrect him at the church.”
Aksel said, “Go ahead. I’ll round up the dogs and see if I can find Martan. Hopefully he escaped that dragon’s wrath as well. You know, this might take me awhile. Maybe you should see if you can follow up on any leads you might have about the Assassin’s Guild. With that red dragon roaming around, I want to get back with the rest of the party as soon as possible.”
“Yeah,” Seth said. “Sounds like a good idea.”

When Seth got to town, he went directly to the temple. He tried to convince the clerics there that the farmer had been his father and that his family had no money for resurrection. He was going to continue the charade, but too many people were starting to gather around.
Seth quietly backed away as they examined the remains and slipped through the crowd.

Knights of the Couch – Part X – The Barons Heart – Chapter 5

Knights of the Couch - Part X - The Barons Heart - Chapter 4

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