Walking out onto the street after talking to the priests in Arvoria, Poppy brushed the hair out of her eyes and readjusted her hat. The gray parrot on her shoulder ruffles his feather, “Don’t trust them.”
Shaking her head, “I have to try to do this for Kalardash.”
Amaranth raised from his spot next to the steps, and she hopped up on him, “Let’s get to the stables. I am not going to be taking you this time.” His ears drooped as if he was not very happy about this plan.
She jumped down from him as they came to the stable, and she gave the stable boy the money he asked for and a few more gold. “Keep them safe, and keep them here. They might try to follow me.”
Pollock flapped his wings and nearly knocked her hat off her head, “Not leaving me.” She rolled her eyes, “You are staying here. I don’t know what I am going to find, and I rather just look after myself.” He flew off her shoulder and perched on top of Amaranth’s head. He was not amused. “I’ll watch the f*cking dog.”
“Watch your mouth, Pollock!”
Amaranth let a large breath out of his nose and turned around to walk away from her. She knew they were both not pleased with her.
Polly made her way to the place the priests had told her about. In exchange for information, she was asked to retrieve an artifact. It was essential to the city, as it was used to keep their crops flourishing so close to the desert. A black dragon had it, and to use it, they had to pay tribute to him. The envoys they had sent had never returned.
They wanted to send her instead of more of their people. She could see the usefulness in not losing more of their own and risking an outsider. Arvoria used to own the talisman, but the black dragon stole it in order to continue getting tribute from the city. It was his move when they eventually stopped, thinking he was not really a threat. He sure showed them.
She made it to where the envoys were to meet the dragon. Poppy saw the carts of money before she saw all of the dead. Taking a moment, she looked around to make sure she was alone and checked the bodies. No one was alive. She then walked to the cart and shoved some gold into her bag before going to the edge of the water.
Tightening her bag up, she dove under the water. Swimming further in, she found a cave entrance, and then she swam up. Retrieving her item to detect traps, she started walking down the path. It was dark, so she used her hand against the wall to guide her way. She disabled all of the traps and came to an opening. She found the dragon’s horde and made her way to it.
Digging through it, she started to hear moaning and shuffling. She barely had a moment to react before she saw all of the undead coming into the cave. She began cursing under her breath. She watched them as they were going around, and she snatched a few more handfuls of gold before moving forward, where she grabbed a vial of blood that one of them had dropped.
That was when she heard the fighting. She saw the black dragon being attacked by a group of vampires along with the undead. They eventually placed a collar on it, and the dragon began thrashing around as the collar grew brighter and brighter, and it ultimately collapsed on the ground. Poppy found herself a little worried about her plan to stay alive, may have a few hiccups. If they could take down a dragon with such ease, what would stop them from taking down a 3ft tall halfling?
Poppy saw the pool of blood coming out of the dragon, and then the undead and vampires advanced and started harvesting some of the scales and meat from the dragon. Witnessing this luckily from a safe distance, she felt confident they might not find her for a while. She saw the undead start to take the horde, and that was when she saw the talisman she had been sent to retrieve.
Cursing under her breath, she felt someone touch her. She spun around, pulling her rapier, and noticed two men with their hands up. One of them spoke, “We do not want to harm you, but we would like to help you get out of here.”
Poppy nodded as she knew there were few options for getting out at this point and hoped their plan was better. They teleported her out, and she ended up in a room. The men inform her they are at the Council of Wyrms and that she is a valuable witness to what has been going on. No one else has seen those things before.
Before she knows it, there is a group of different races and kinds of people entering the room. One of them is naked with just a hat over his manhood. Poppy raises an eyebrow as she approaches, “Remidore Cain, it is a pleasure to meet you.” She just kind of looks at him for a moment, “That is a nice trick you have there.” He smiles wide, “It is a magic hat.”
Everyone just talks, and Poppy tries to listen. She does not precisely catch any more names that she could put to the faces yet. Next thing Poppy knows, they ask her if she will take them to the cave, and she agrees. Wishing she had Amaranthe and Pollock with her, but she will have to join this group of strangers in hopes of retrieving her talisman. She knows they have to move quickly.
Feeling a similar sensation to earlier, she finds herself with this new group by the edge of the lake she was at earlier. She passes the wagons again and throws a few more fist fulls in her bag. Not wanting it to go to waste, it might just sit there. Once retrieving the talisman, she would let the priests know the gold was still there. She knew they were in a bad way since being unable to use the talisman to keep their crops growing. The desert had started to overtake them.
She hears someone calling to the one in front, Sandaare, she believed was his name. He was knee-deep in the water, which would be waist-deep to Poppy. He yelled out, and the next thing she knew, three serpent heads appeared above the water. She had seen them plenty of times, Water Orms.
It was interesting to see everyone fight. They were exceptionally skilled, and she was happy to be with them. The one she met that was naked earlier was luckily clothed now. He didn’t join the battle until he had put many handfuls of gold in his pouch and was even annoyed he had to pull himself away.
Not unlike something Poppy would do, but the safety of her crew always was first on her mind before gold. Many times, they had changed plans on the treasure they were trying to find if she thought lives were at risk. The deal was always to be safe and attack only when you had to. The Salty Dogs were a fearsome crew, but they were not a bloodthirsty one.
She would even stop where they docked to give money to the poor or leave money with honorable clerics to continue to feed the poor long after she was gone. This dwindled her funds, but she hoped it gave people hope. Sometimes that is all you need.
Once the battle was over, two were dead, and one disappeared. Poppy witnessed them preserve one of the corpses and then cut it up. She found this rather bizarre, and she would not eat one if she did not have to. To each their own, and she was just happy to be alive.
They eventually made their way into the underwater cave and headed down the corridor. Since she had already disarmed all of the traps, it was much quicker to get into the actual cave. As they rounded the corner, they could hear some movement. Poppy knew the sound of shuffling footsteps; the closer they got, the louder it became.
This was a campaign for a Dungeons & Dragons character I played