In Which Archie Reminds Us What We’ve Been Missing All This Time
Waterday, 12 Reaping, CY 601
Necrozyte swoops in to shower the party with acid once more. Riddle’s wall is completely coated with acid but then begins to rebuild itself, which is very cool. The bit of bleed damage inflicted by Tyrrell a few moments earlier sets her up to plummet when Archie, back on solid ground again, pelts her with three more deadly dragonbane arrows. Long Claw dives after her corpse and manages to let gravity help him pluck the amulet of mighty fists +3 from around her neck as she falls.
Riddle opens the door and Scar-Eater enters, peering down a long hallway covered in swaths of dragonhide and other dragon trophies. There is a door to a parapet. It’s quiet in here. Scar-Eater waltzes around a corner and out of sight of the rest of the party, turning himself invisible. Jane shifts from Tempest to Fury and creeps after the duskblade. She spies two sixteen-foot-tall fire giants at the far end of the next hallway, both bearing carrior crawler heads, greatswords, and longbows. She pads back to the bulk of the party and pees a little to alert them to danger.
Tyrrell reactivates his invisibility with a Vanishing Trick and goes to the end of the corridor himself. He spies a giant-sized ladder in a short corridor, heading up. One of the fire giants at the end of the hall hurls a carrion crawler head where it last saw Scar-Eater while the other draws her longbow. Archie climbs up to the ceiling and moves into the corridor as Long Claw returns and lands beside Riddle, who wisely heals himself back to full and goes to the corner himself, drawing the readied arrow from the female fire giant like a moth to a flame. Scar-Eater sends his doom scarabs loose upon the fire giants as Jane shifts into her human form, moves to the end of the corridor and unleashes an ice storm upon them.
The male giant extracts himself from the now snowy terrain of the room at the far end of the corridor and draws his greatsword. He slashes Scar-Eater enough to seriously hurt him, and manages to dodge Archie’s arrow from the other end of the hall. Long Claw enters the Citadel and closes the doors behind him, hoping the party’s entrance has escaped the notice of the rest of the dragon army. Riddle heals Scar-Eater from afar as the female giant tumbles out of the icy room screaming, “ KAAAAAAGRO!” and Scar-Eater responds by attacking the crap out of the her with enervation channeled into his flail. Jane sends an empowered burst of nettles into both of the fire giants just as a third regal, badass fire giant comes sliding down the ladder. He doesn’t manage to do so without suffering a might sneak attack from the waiting (and invisible) Tyrrell, though. Riddle is charged, Archie continues to use the giants as pincushions, and Long Claw flaps his wings and snuffs all the torches in the hallway. Riddle sends several ¬_cold ice strikes_ at the enemies as Scar-Eater drains them with his vampiric touch. Tyrrell scores an AWESOME hit on Kagro, not only wounding him but draining him of strength as well. In a shocking move, Kagro grabs his cloak, twirls in a circle, disappears, and re-materializes behind the party!
The first fire giant attempts to escape by running down the stairs but he is thwarted by Scar-Eater, who trips and bashes him into unconsciousness. Archie disarms Kagro of his greatsword and then pelts him with more arrows on top of that. Long Claw charges Kagro and beyond bloodies him with a series of powerful blows, and just to add insult to injury, Riddle blinds him. Scar-Eater fells the remaining fire giant down the hall and Kagro growls, “Whaddaya want from me, dragonspawn?”
In the meantime, Tyrrell has scampered up the ladder to investigate (i.e., loot) Kagro’s private quarters.
Riddle demands that Kagro tell the party what awaits them lower in the castle (as Tyrrell uncovers a longsword fashioned from a dragon’s tooth upstairs). Kagro mentions a pyrohydra, traps, trained soldiers, kobolds, and a dining hall, but when it comes to discussing the vault where they believe the phylactery of Dragotha to be held, he insists he not only will not let anyone into the vault, but that he cannot. And while he is adamant about this, he does not appear to know what’s in there or why he must protect it. He also claims that he only has one of the keys needed to gain access, and that the other is in the Undercity, where Charlgar, ruler of the Rift Crawlers, must have taken it. He claims the vault lock is unpickable.
Long Claw attempts to remove whatever curse is keeping Kagro blindly protective of the vault, but it is far too powerful to touch, a leftover gift from the Order of the Storm. The party strips him of all his possessions, including his vault key, except one suit of plate mail, a greatsword, bow, and arrows, and Long Claw flies him to the bottom of the canyon so he will not get in the party’s way as they move through the Citadel. After dropping him off, Long Claw claims the ring of invisibility from Necrozyte’s corpse before rejoining his companions.