A dragon on wing—I cannot think of a more terrifying sight. The silhouette against the sun. The shadow racing across the ground. The mind-numbing fear that overwhelms reason. The fire. The fury. The death.
Daughter of Talanthe Truesilver
Year of Rogue Dragons
The red dragon was hunting along the northern face of the Greypeak Mountains, killing trappers and herders. Even worse, the Order of the Jade Blade brought back intelligence from their raid on the dungeon of the Hark that the Zhentarim were interested in taming the creature and bending it to their will. High Lord Kalahar Twohands would brook no threat to his town and decided to rid the countryside of the beast before the Zhentarim captured it. So he summoned the Order of the Jade Blade and sent them on a quest to slay the dragon.
The Jade Blade went north to the halfling village of Shining Falls, which is the closest settlement to where the dragon was hunting. Mere days before our heroes arrived in the village, the dragon had attacked the settlement, killing a half-dozen villagers. The halflings gave the adventurers food, well-wishes and warning that another large group of adventurers, led by a wizard, had headed north in search of the dragon.
The Jade Blade left the Shining Falls behind and entered a region of the Delimbiyr Vale called the Fallen Lands, because it used to be ruled by Hellgate Keep. Even now with that stronghold of fiends torn down, it is a wild land with many dangerous monsters. The unofficial border is Fool’s Finger, a large obelisk of rock that glows with a rosy red color said to be an artifact of ancient Netheril.
Past Fool’s Finger, our heroes entered a vale dominated by a plinth of stone that soared over the lands around it. Shortly thereafter, they found a cave, where the wizard Bezlul was hiding. He was the sole remaining survivor of the force that the Zhentarim sent to capture the dragon. Bazlul was near delirious when the Jade Blade found him. He was injured and suffering from some sort of wasting disease. He ranted that the Zhentarim were on the verge of allying themselves with an ancient draconic power called the Green King that would soon control the entire Delimbiyr Vale.
Bezlel recovered with the help of the Jade Blade but he refused to say more about the Green King until he was brought before High Lord Kalahar. Instead, Bezlel told them what befell his group. They suspected that the dragon laired in the great plinth, but before they could explore it his force was overwhelmed by troglodytes who were riding some kind of dragon-kin. The soldiers were killed, while the troglodytes captured Bezlul and the clerics of Bane.
The troglodytes sacrificed the clerics to their hideous demon god, but Bezlul was able to escape by jumping into an underground stream and swimming out of the plinth. He agreed to accompany the heroes back to Loudwater, but he would not take one step toward the plinth.
And it was for good reason that Bezlul had no desire to go back. The plinth is riddled with caves and serves as an outpost of a realm of troglodytes beneath the ground. The foul creatures nested in the plinth, sallying forth on occasion to hunt for exotic meats and treasure.
The Jade Blade boldly entered the front door of the troglodytes’ warren. They encountered numerous troglodytes and their reptilian mounts, which were a type of dinosaur, not dragon-kin. The alarm was raised, and our heroes found them pressed by wave after wave of troglodytes. Only when the troglodyte chief fell to adventurers’ swords did the attacks cease, but the cost was high. One of their band was killed when a dinosaur pounced on him from above.
Pressing deeper, the Jade Blade found the chamber where the troglodytes sacrificed the Zhents to their foul god. A carving of a massive and terrifying lizard framed the passageway out and it was guarded by the priestess of the troglodytes. The Jade Blade surged forward to meet her and an ochre jelly oozed out of the carving’s mouth down onto the adventures. The slime surprised the adventures but they quickly recovered and destroyed it and the priestess.
The heroes climbed higher into the plinth and found a torch that burned with negative energy and radiated cold. Curious as to the purpose of the torch, they took it with them. In the next cave, they were attacked by a troglodyte wraith who commanded troglodyte zombies. The creature was desperate to get the black flame torch returned, but the Jade Blade ended his tainted presence in our world.
Finally, the Jade Blade reached the plinth top where they found a firepit filled with iridescent black rocks that were chillingly cold. They discovered the purpose of the black flame torch, as the stones burst into cold flames when the negative energy torch was touched to them. The dark light fire burned high. The darkness was a beacon in the summer afternoon, and the fire summoned the dragon that our heroes sought.
The dragon was not at all pleased to see the Jade Blade and attacked. The dragon flew about the plinth and breathed repeatedly on the adventurers. His breath weapon burned one of our heroes to a cinder before arrow fire drove the dragon to the ground. Once it was on the ground, the Jade Blade and the dragon engaged in a ferocious melee that ended in the death of the red dragon as well as another of the adventurers.
With the dragon dead, the Jade Blade returned to Loudwater. Their fallen were restored to life through the power Lathander by Prior Athosar at the Houses of Morning. Bezlul never got his chance to testify to High Lord Kalahar. He was slain in the night with a gaping hole burned through his head. Efforts to speak with the dead or restore him to life have failed.