The three roars echoed as a massive beast shot up from behind the ruined buildings of Drezen and swooped down on the party. It was the mythic chimera Soltengrebbe, the Beast of Drezen. From forty feet above, three heads blasted out ice and snow over the party. Bendak turned into a massive quetzalcoatlus pterosaur, larger than the chimera, and tried to ram Soltengrebbe out of the air but was knocked halfway to the ground by his claws. Tane hasted all his allies as Poonisher fired some arrows. None found the throat though.
Soltengrebbe tackled Bendak out of the air and slammed to the earth atop him. As soon as he was on the ground, Wase charged and put his sword to work. Hook latched onto the beast’s side and struggled vainly to dig her claws and teeth in through his fiendishly reinforced hide. Bendak also stabbed desperately with his sharp beak. Hopes sank as Soltengrebbe weathered or shrugged off all the blows. With supernatural quickness he left Bendak torn and dying while nearly carving a claw through Wase’s armor. As the chimera chewed on Wase, Poonisher flew in close and revived Bendak with a curing rod. Soltengrebbe reared up to lethally pounce upon Wase. Bendak intercepted a claw, holding back the arm with a talon.
The monster was knocked slightly off course, allowing Wase an opening. The paladin drove his sword into the chimera’s exposed elbow and bolstered his own strength with divine power. He still fell beneath the many claws and bites. Poonisher saw him drop and realized he needed to grab the creature’s attention or in another moment Wase and Bendak would be little more than a few chunks of canned meat and a side of wings. His arrows had been bouncing off its hide, so he spoke to it in Draconic. “Hey you, the walking menagerie!” he said with a rude gesture. The creature looked up and huffed at him in cruel amusement. Poonisher continued in the dragon tongue:
“Sunvaar Los Pook!”
This horrid statement has been left untranslated for the protection of innocent readers. Soltengrebbe knew what it meant. Infuriated, he forgot his victims and focused on Poonisher. Capitalizing on the chimera’s distraction, Tane hit him in the face with blinding glitterdust. Bendak used the opening to become an allosaurus. Poonisher shot one of Soltengrebbe’s throats and revived Wase with the rod. Thrashing blindly, Soltengrebbe breathed a blizzard at Poonisher and slashed at Wase as the paladin stabbed into another opening Bendak provided. Hook switched her target from the side and climbed up to claw at the dragon head’s eyes. The chimera heaved back to try and dislodge the raptor. Once Soltengrebbe’s heads were back, Bendak shoved them together with his claws, opened his jaws wide and chomped. The saurian fangs sheared open three necks at once. Bleeding a river from a trio of jugulars, Soltengrebbe took a step onto the ground, choked on what was meant to be a roar and thudded to the dust.
This trial had pushed the whole party to their limits and beyond. The power they had inherited from the Wardstones had permanently increased. They set about applying it. Tane discovered a new ritual that would allow him to attract a more powerful creature to be his familiar. However, he was only able to have one at a time. His fox was a little hurt to hear this, but relieved to no longer have to spend any time in dungeons. Tane spent a few hours with his fox, playing and giving it extra treats. When the time came, he severed their bond. The fox would still accompany the Knights of Kenebraes, but was no longer a familiar.
Now that he was able, Tane made a little summoning circle and played a cheery tune on a blessed set of pipes. High above, the smoggy clouds above Drezen parted for a moment to let a ray of starlight through. In the circle, the light solidified into a tiny naked woman, standing three feet high and bearing butterfly wings on her back. Remnants of the light remained in the form of subtle rainbows and sparkling lights. She looked about her, scowling in disappointment at the defiled urban wreck all around. With a curtsy she introduced herself. “Name’s Fialonitariadyranticelquine the Lyrakien Azata, oracle and servant of Desna, goddess of beautiful starlit skies! But, you can call me Fee.”
Meanwhile, Bendak also made a friend. After much pestering, Tane had got around to putting some wisdom enchantments on Bendak’s raptor skull mask. Now that it was bolstered by the arcane energies, Bendak was able to try an idea he had without fear of destroying the mask. Accompanied by Swoop and Hook and iIn his by now rarely seen human form, Bendak removed the mask. With an effort of will, he channeled a part of his mythic gift into the item. At first it glowed, then it hummed. Then the bone jaws flexed on their own. The animated skull tested it’s movement and then looked up at its creator. It spoke in a spectral hiss. “Why..do…I…exist?” Bendak held the skull at eye level. “I serve the dinosaurs and all that walks in scales, great and small. I live for this purpose. I awakened you to help me, if you are willing.” The mask paused for a long while. “It…is…why…I…exist.” “So be it. You shall be called Fossil.” Bendak threw back his head and celebrated with a ululating howl. The two animals joined in, followed by the skull. Poonisher walked by with an arched eyebrow.
The other two party members reacted to their improved power in less dramatic ways. Wase just became a bit better at smiting evil and Poonisher seemed to be holding his power in store.
The next day the party went to attack Citadel Drezen, where the Sword(banner) of Valor was being kept. The party entered through the front gate. After a quick mission for Poonisher to scout, the gate was bashed in by Allosaur Bendak and a pair of brimorak demons went down with sword wounds and throat arrows. The party went through a garden of macabre statuary. To no surprise of Poonisher’s, a quartet of gargoyles swooped in. Poonisher snapped off a throatshot. A gargoyle attacked Tane and was snapped up in Bendak’s jaws. Tane dodged a reaching claw and hasted all his allies. After a few more seconds of violence, the dinosaurs finished them off.
The next room had more arrow slits. On Poonisher’s advice, Bendak shaped them shut. Bendak also switched forms to a sparrow sized compsognathus once the allosaur could not fit.
In another area, arrow slits waited behind a wall of rubble. A portcullis was also visible on the far side, and a shape passed by. Wase tried to walk over the rubble and vanished without a trace. At the same time, half-orc cultists began firing arrows at Poonisher. In reality, Wase had simply fallen into a pit covered by an illusion. Poonisher wasn’t fooled for a moment and threw a rope to help him out. The dinosaurs charged across at the slits, attempting to avoid the spot where Wase had vanished. Fee hopped onto Bendak’s back and imagined herself a warrior queen on a mighty charger. Hook failed to dodge and fell into the pit with Wase. She climbed out easily enough. Bendak had intended to leap through the arrow slits since his current form was narrow enough to fit. Once he got there, he realized the flaw in the plan. While he was thin enough, he couldn’t reach the slits from the floor. He turned to Fee. “Throw me.” The fairylike azata found it a bit embarrassing but managed to lift the druid/snake/bird from the floor and, as daintly as possible, toss him in. An unfortunate cultist took an unexpectedly hard bite to the nose. The rest of the party began looking for another way around and went into a hall. They were greeted by a eight foot tall vulture.