The dank dungeon was lit only by a few scattered torches making it hard for the small band of adventurers to see. Said band consisted of Teliko (Level 2 Female Wood Elf Thief/Dancer), Niela (Level 30 Female Half-Orc Thief/Battle Mage), Tulsmoc (Level 70 Male Human Wizard), and Galadriel (Level 20 Female Succubus Paladin). Teliko sneaking cautiously ahead of the group scouting as Tulsmoc held a ball of flame in one hand, giving them extra light.
"I don't like this, our levels are too spread out and I'm the mentor lead, everything here is +5," Galadriel said cautiously.
"We'll be fine,” Niela comforted her, “Teliko has a Cloak of Shadows and Expert Lock Picks, if we can hold agro she should be able to get to the treasury and disable the lock without us having to take the long way." Niela said confidently, moving slightly ahead of the Galadriel.
"Still...I don't like it." Galadriel commented.
"Neither do I, but I think we will be fi..." Tulsmoc started to say just before a spear narrowly missed him.
With no time to argue a swarm of lizard men surged into the room, each one carrying primitive weapons. Niela charged forward, vanishing into the shadow, erupting out of them to take one one with a well placed back stab as Galadriel and Tulsmoc moved in next. Galadriel cut deep with her blade as Tulsmoc began to hurl fire balls at the lizard men toward the outside of the attack group.
"Go! Go! Go!" Galadriel said, waving her hand at Teliko who stumbled a moment and then scurried down the hall.
"Stick to the shadows and watch your step!" Niela cautioned.
Teliko froze as she slipped past the fight, a bead of sweat working down her brow. She pressed herself against the wall, her cloak making it easier for her to blend in, and then she inched forward, her pace slow and deliberate. A patrol of the lizard men exited a tunnel just ahead of her, and then looked down the way, her way. Her heart stopped a moment as she closed her eyes. Trying everything she could to avoid detection. Thankfully the lizard men moved on past her without a word, and she let her heart beat again. Even more cautious now then before she moved ever closer to the large doors at the end of the chamber. Avoiding another patrol en-route to fight her friends. Once at the door she fumbled for the pouch at her belt, removing the set of lock picks, and then slowly, carefully began to work the lock, her acute elfin ears listing closely as the tumblers shifted into place. With an anxious breath the lock released and Teliko slipped into the anti chamber, it was huge and strew with bone and broken armor, broken weapons were strewn about and the smell of sulfur hung in the air.
"Sarah? You here?" Teliko called out, her voice a bit unsure.
The wall shook a moment as she looked around, moving to the bodies and inspecting them, "Sarah it's me, Ryan...I just want to talk."
Twin doors at the back of the chamber opened, and IT lumbered in, as large as several men with wings larger and more powerful than a compact sedan, the crimson dragon, Azriel. It had a dark look on it's face, a twisted malevolent grin that made Teliko's knees quiver as sulfur escape the dragon's noes and small motes of flame licked the edges of it's mouth as it opened it's maw.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here? A little elf come to slay the big bad dragon eh?"
"No," Teliko tried to sound confident, even as she slowly moved backward, toward the exit, "It's me Ryan, I just want to spend time with my girlfriend."
"Ryan?" The dragon said amused, "Well you're a player, and I'm a monster, the only games we can play have...lethal results."
"Oh come on Sarah just change to a normal character, then you, me and Nick can just just have fun."
The dragon reached out with a talon, running it playfully down the elf's cheek, "But I am having fun. Player races are so boring, and so tasty."
Teliko shivered a moment, memories of her stint as a Drider flooding back, it didn't help Sarah was a dragon back then too. "I-I..." a sly grin began to spread, "Come on, let me slay you, I could use the levels and besides you owe me for the last time you were a dragon."
Azriel paused a moment as Teliko stumbled back, falling into a pit blasted into the ground by some recent fight, "I think it's fair to say you own me for that stunt, you're the one who tried to consume the world."
Teliko cursed under her breath as Azriel held her down with one hand, "Come on Sarah, let me up," she struggled, closing her eyes a moment, "Awe crap," she thought then focused her mind,
Party> Ni...Niela little help here? Sarah is going to eat me!
"I have not had such a young elf in a long time, this will be quite a treat," Azriel hissed, "Thank you lover."
Niela> We are on our way, just delay him...somehow.
"W...wait," Teliko stammered, "You can't eat me, I'm all sweaty and gamy, I'd taste terrible."
Azriel only smiled wider, licking his lips as embers sparked off, "On the contrary, your fear will only make you taste even more delectable to my dragon's pallet."
Teliko tried to move, but Azriel still held her pinned, "I'll let you kill me later, just let me get some levels off you first now, won't a level 25 elf taste better?"
Azriel paused a moment, puling back his hand, giving Teliko just enough time to scramble out of the pit before Azriel's wing blocked her path, "No...while it is true the meat will be more...filling, later you will loose all the flavor by coming in, expecting the die, the seasons of your terror more then make up for your...meager..portions. Besides while you players re-spawn immediately after death we monster have a timer before we can re-spawn, so I make it a point not to die just for the convenience of my friends."
Teliko swallowed hard, tears streaming down her face, "Come on Sarah...don't do this!"
The dragon Azriel lifted his head, mouth open wide, "This is just the way of things, my love."
The sudden explosion of fire against the dragon maw made him bellow out with a blood curdling howl, wing spreading out to the side as Teliko broke past, swinging around behind Azriel as Niela and the others charged in, engaging the dragon.
"Remember try to keep the physical damage to a minimum and I could be able to turn Azriel's hide into armor and other items."
Azriel roared, "Not likely meat, I will not fall to a band of lucky fools with delusions of dragon slaying like you!" His mouth wide as a massive ball of flame shot forth toward the trio.
Galadriel shoved the Niela aside, leaping into the flames, the heat singed her hair and blackened her skin a bit as she threw up her arms in defense to block the flames, "Is that the best you got Azriel? Necroth hit harder then you and he's five levels your junior!"
Azriel roared, "Necroth is a black dragon, with the element of Death, his breath corrodes all that lives. Of course he hit's harder then a fire drake," the dragon roared as he swiped a claw at Galadriel, she threw up her shield to block, holding the dragon's arm but her kneels trembled with the effort as sweat beaded her brow as Tulsmoc and Niela go into flanking positions, the later vanishing into the shadows like Teliko moments before.
Teliko watched from behind, standing in the shadows of the doors Azriel had emerged from, Galadriel retaliated with her sword while Tulsmoc continued to throw fire balls and a few lightning attacks. Azriel blanketed the area with a flamethrower from his maw while Niela burst from the shadows, the power of her sneak attack cracking scales where and when it hit. Azriel spun his neck to blast at the half-orc thief at his back before sweeping the fight with his massive tail, and for the first time since the fight started in earnest he saw Teliko again, a dark grin spreading over his maw, "Ahhh the tasty little elf, I had forgotten about you."
"The fight is over here ugly," Galadriel proclaimed, giving Teliko a moment's break as Azriel turned his head over his shoulder to spit a fire ball at the demoness, by the time he had turned back around Teliko was gone though.
"Bah," Ariel hissed turning back around to the main fight, "You made me lose my perfectly seasoned snack!"
"Chew on this!" Niela shouted as she dropped from the sky, dagger at the ready and aiming for the head of the dragon.
Teliko held a hand to her chest as her heart pounded, her back bracing the thick double doors where the battle raged on just behind her. Slowly she regained control of herself and began to open her eyes. A wide gazed sweep the room where several bits of silver and assorted items sat on pillars and tables that framed the dragon Azriel's private chambers. And upon a pedestal at the center of the room hovered an orb of light, and Teliko found herself drawn to it.
"Rare Item," she whispered, somehow knowing what the strange light was on pure instinct, "My Rare Item."
She approached it cautiously, her hand trembling as she reached for the light, and suddenly the voice that had helped guide the creation of her character spoke into her mind.
'You must pick a form, what will this item look like?'
Images flashed though her head, until one caught her mind's eye, "Those golden earrings!" she shouted.
'Very well now choose two traits.'
Teliko thought a moment, Charm was something she could always use more of, and was an easy choice to make, however Willpower was a trait she desperately needed less she repeat the last night's events and so she spoke, "Willpower and Charm."
A blinding light filled the room, forcing her to shut her eyes, but as the light faded a weight on her ears lead her hands there, and lo she found a pair of golden ring adorning her ears. But after a moment passed she frowned, and a quick mental check confirmed her suspicions The earrings had indeed increased her willpower, boosting it massively but she half the same amount in charm, effectively negating the effects of her silver necklace, or a good portion of tattoo's effects.
A moment later the doors opened, and she froze, her heart beat again as she saw the Galadriel and Tulsmoc enter the chamber, Niela still outside crouched by Azriel's slain form with a small knife and some bottles and pounces in her hands.
Without thinking Teliko ran over to Niela, a look of horror in her eyes, "What are you doing to my girlfriend!"
Niela paused a moment, "Relax she's got booted as soon as we beat Azriel, this is just the corpse, and I'm seeing what I can salvage alchemically."
Teliko froze, and then looked away from the dragon's body, "Too weird." Slipping back to the private chamber she found a corner of the room and sat down, closing her eyes, "Just let me know when we can go."
Digging her knife into the neck of the dragon Nala soon removed an odd leather like sack, "Hey Tulsmoc," she called out, getting the attention of the wizard. As he looked up she tossed the sack to him. "eat that!"
He looked down at the organ a bit confused then back to Niela, "W-why?"
"It's a dragon's flame organ, you should get either a permanent fire resist bonus or fire damage bonus."
The wizard blinked, smiling but tossed it back, “Keep it, I came for the fun of the team not the negative 45 level loot.”
“Fair enough,” Niela comments as she catches it and tosses it over to Galadriel.
Galadriel also tossed to back, “Demons are immune to fire, might wind up wasted if that's the effect that takes.”
Niela tossed it back, “So? IF it pushes you over 100 you'll get HEALED by fire then.”
Galadriel smiled and caught it, this time popped the sack in her mouth, face turning green as she grimaced, "Ugh, tastes like bad meatloaf."
Niela laughed, "I never said it would taste good."
Teliko finally stood and made her way over to the others, looking around at the riches around them. “Wow we hit the jackpot didn't we. There's a fortune of gold in here!”
Galadriel laughed, “To bad it's mostly large items, their going to take up so many inventory slots we'll be lucky if we can carry out a quarter of the stuff.”
Teliko scowled, “So not fair.”
“I dunno,” Tulsmoc mused, “They could have done it like other games when it's all decorative. At least you can loot the place. Besides most of this stuff is gear from failed parties trying to slay Azriel so at least it's Battletested, might even luck out and find something with some nice enchants.”
The others nodded as they started to sort through the gear, “Right on the money there Tully,” Niela chuckles as she pulls out a battered looking leather tunic, “Never thought I'd luck out on finding a piece of the Master Thief Jenkins set here,” but her smile quickly turned to a scowl, “But it's gonna cost most of my gold here just to repair it.”
“Well that sucks.” Galadriel frowns. “But hey at least it's a good gear upgrade.”
Rummaging about for the next ten minutes the group are interrupted as they hear the roar of something in the main chamber.
“Sarah?” Teliko said hopefully.
“Tulsmoc warp us the hell out of here, I do not want to fight him all over again!” Galadriel says quickly.
“Agreed! We're leaving Teliko!”
“You want her to try and eat you again?!”
“Get us the fuck out of here now!” Teliko said quickly as her eyes grew wide.
In a flash of magic the team was gone, appearing just outside the cave entrance moment later.
“That was way too close,” Galadriel takes a deep breath, heading off. “Well I'm gonna head off, sell, repair. Keep in touch Niela.”
“Hold up,” Niela jumps in, “Days still young, we could do a couple other things after we sell.”
“Well I got level 70 stuff to do,” Tulsmoc says as he wanders off, “Have fun girls.”
“See you around Tully.” Niela waves.
“So what else you girls got on the radar?”
Tulsmoc takes out a key and enters into a private home, several figures in blue robes with floating crowns looking to him as he enters, the GMs. His robe vanishing a moment to be replaced by similar one to the GMs as his own crown appears as his name rearranges it's letters, forming CM Lotus.
“Welcome Lotus, how'd the dungeon run go? Find out anything useful from the players?”
Lotus joins the others at the large round table, “Still cheesed off about the inventory system when it come to dragon looting. But they didn't take much convincing. I think for the most part people are happy with how loot is handled. Everyone always wants to carry more loot and be rich but at least they can pick out what they want instead of it all being a visual gimmick.”
“I heard your team was pretty mixed level, how'd that work out?” another asked as he passed Lotus a mug of ale.