As the Talons explore the ruined town of Thundertree, they hear a thunderous beating of winds. The dragon Venomfang soars down from on high, landing with imperious grace in the main street as our heroes scamper for cover. Rather than devour them, or blast them with his poisonous breath, Venomfang instead requests a parlay. His voice booms across Thundertree, inviting the Talons to audience at his residence, the half-destroyed tower that overlooks the town.
The dragon departs, and the Talons slip from their hiding places. Though none of them relishes the prospect of entering a dragon’s lair, Grey points out that if the creature wished to kill them he would surely have attacked them there and then. Perhaps a deal can be met.
After preparing their spells and blades, the Talons march to the tower, leaving a nervous Reidoth behind. The heroes enter a small cottage beneath the tower, the stench of roasted meat, ash and brimstone filling their nostrils. A small room filled with timeworn furniture and tattered books leads to another doorway, which in turn opens into the base of the tower In the corner of the ground floor lies a pile of coin and discarded equipment, while broken rafters, ledge and loops of rope stretch upwards to the roof of the structure, the very top hidden in shadow. A voice bids them welcome from the darkness, and with serpentine grace the mighty Venomfang slides down from on high, dropping to the floor and stretching his wings imperiously.
He bids the Talons welcome, and prowls towards them. The adventurers and the dragon circle each other warily while Venomfang outlines his offer. He will leave Thundertree if the Talons hunt and kill his sister. Raising a claw the size of a dagger, he beckons the heroes over to a pile of parchments, innocently suggesting they come over so he can show them a map with her location marked upon it. Grey and Tarlach cautiously approach. Adaven holds back, spotting an worrying glint in the beast’s eye.
Venomfang begins to chuckle, an evil sound that turns into a terrible rasping roar as he spins around and breathes a torrent of toxic green mist across Tarlach and Grey. Grey barely raises his shield in time, and feels an awful burn as the poisonous vapour eats away at his scales. Tarlach leaps to the side, but not quick enough to be similarly marked by the foul breath.
Adaven, his caution rewarded, scampers across the room and leaps onto a hanging rope, shimmying up to a rafter just above the dragon’s head. He brings his crossbow to bear and begins to send bolts down at Venomfang’s head. Grey and Tarlach scramble to their feet, rolling to avoid a flurry of bites and claw strikes from the dragon, and scoring blows in return with their blades. The Talons have never fought a foe such as this, and the dragon’s sheer strength batters down Grey’s stalwart defenses and finds a way past Tarlach’s expert swordplay. Both warriors are smashed aside by mighty raking swipes.
But the heroes are not so helpless as the dragon imagined. Grey leads with his shield, the ancient blade of the Tresendar family biting deep into Venomfang’s flank as the dragonborn fighter blocks a descending claw and stabs forward. Venomfang roars, and roars all the louder as Tarlach summons a mighty, rolling blast of thunder to batter him backwards. The dragon’s bulk is thrown into the wall of the tower, and the weakened structure groans under the blow. Masonry and shattered flooring topples from the roof above, as an entire section of the wall falls upon the dragon.
Adaven rolls underneath a tumbling rafter and comes to his feet, arcane focus in hand. He summons an orb of coruscating flame, which bursts across Venomfang’s back, causing the monster to howl in pain and outrage. Grey charges in, roaring almost as loudly as the dragon as batters into its hide with his sword, tearing bloody chunks.
Despite the Talons’ heroics, however, Venomfang is no bugbear chieftain or petty bandit. Once again the mighty foe blasts the heroes with poisonous vapour, and the toxic mist strikes Tarlach on the left side of his face, searing the flesh from his bones and dropping him screaming to the floor. Grey can barely stand, and the dragon begins to laugh once more, certain of his triumph.
Suddenly the ground beneath Venomfang erupts, huge vines and twisting roots reaching up to claw at the dragon’s face and wrap around its bulk. Adaven spots a hunched, decrepit looking figure crossing the field towards the tower. It’s the mad old druid, Reidoth!
With the dragon distracted momentarily, Grey rushes to Tarlach’s side, administering a healing potion that cannot repair the gruesome damage to the bard’s face, but does bring him back to consciousness. From the ground, Tarlach once more smashes Venomfang with a peal of thunder, blasting him into another portion of the tower wall. Once again it crumbles, and this time both the dragon and Adaven are battered by the increasing volume of falling debris. Rain begins to pour through the widening hole in the roof, a squall that falls so heavily that the heroes can barely see the town and grounds past the shattered wall of the tower.
Clambering gingerly to his feet, however, Adaven does spot a new threat approaching through the mist and the deluge. A band of rogues dressed in black leathers and cloaks is sprinting towards the tower, drawn by the cacophony. A leader strides behind them, a distinctive horned mask covering his face. Adaven hears his cries, ordering his troops to defend the dragon and defeat its enemies. Interesting, if clearly bad news.
Inside, the dragon wavers between flame blasts from the druid Reidoth and a renewed counterattack from Grey and Tarlach, who despite reeling from a dozen deep wounds, refuse to give in. Tarlach strikes the beast with the last of his spells, hurling the dragon clear outside the tower. Grey charges in, and Adaven draws two daggers and leaps at the creature’s back, raking it deeply as it struggles to stand.
The cultists, presumably the same band that Reidoth had described earlier, charge in to attack Adaven and the druid. Reidoth summons another patch of vines, which entangles them and impedes their progress. Adaven takes the opportunity to dispatch one with a bolt of flame.
Roaring in fury, Venomfang spits a curse at the Talons, and attempts to fly upwards awaay from the chaos. Grey leaps into the air, striking the beast’s wing and causing it to drop back to earth with a crash. Tarlach moves into the fray, slashing with his blade, but despite the bard and Grey’s best efforts, they cannot quite finish the beast off. Once more it beats its massive wings, and this time Grey is powerless to prevent the dragon from climbing into the air. Blood pours from the dragon’s grievous wounds, mixing with the rain and turning the churning mud a deep red. Venomfang roars a final curse at the Talons as he departs into the mists, swearing that he will have his vengeance.
With the dragon gone, the leader of the cultists raises his hand and barks a command. His band lower their weapons, and the cultist leader says that with Venomfang safely departed, there is no cause for further violence. Grey wishes to dispute that claim, but the others manage to calm the dragon born down – none of them are in the shape for any more fighting. The cultist leader nods to the group, and he and his men disappear into the mist. The Talons sink to the floor, thoroughly exhausted. They have fought and defeated a dragon.