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Last Breath of the Dragon Queen

Almost There!!

After a bit of a rest and some downtime, Bahamut meets you outside the gates to the Former City of Brass….

Hail, heroes, Bahamut intones. Though the cost was high, together we’ve dealt the Dragon Queen a grievous blow. Yet she lurks in Tytherion, and Tiamat will certainly rise again. Unless . . .Unless you can perform one final deed for me, for our army, and indeed, for all those who reject evil.

My draconic children favor elegant turns of phrase, but I’ll be blunt: I want you to kill Tiamat. Not her aspect, not her avatar, but the deity herself. Too long has her evil spread through the universe. Too long have she and I fought each other to a standstill. I believe I can get you to the vicinity of her lair. And there is such power within you . . . If anyone can defeat Tiamat in lethal battle, it is you. After a pause, Bahamut continues. As you know, I’m acutely aware of what it takes to kill a god. Among those who answered our call here in the City of Brass, no one matches your power. Look at the army you see before you. Other than you, no one here would be more than a momentary annoyance to Tiamat. Only a small group can reach Tiamat at this crucial moment. Her forces are in disarray, fleeing the Dragon Queen’s wrath and fighting one another. She has lost control of most of her followers. But look at my army. It’s in no shape to close ranks and march on Tytherion, either. It would take a miracle for us to recover, reorganize, and reequip for another battle. Miracles are what I do, but even if you assume that miracle, then you have a shining army marching on Tiamat’s lair. And when we march, Tiamat’s dispersed, distracted forces will have a common foe to unite against.

You see where I’m leading this?

I ask you to do what my army cannot—what I myself cannot. Meet my agent in Tytherion, travel to Tiamat’s Lair, and slay her utterly. Her stronghold is being looted by her own rapacious dragons, and you should have little difficulty assailing what would otherwise be an impregnable fortress. Carve your way through what remains of Tiamat’s guards however you must. Slay her on the spot—and let her know that the world will be better off for her demise.

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When asked a few questions, Bahamut says, I can send you to Tytherion to the general area of Tiamat’s Lair. I do not know details of her demesne, the Caverns of Fiery Splendor. That’s where Berath comes in.

Berath . . . a ghost who haunts the caverns of Tytherion and is as loyal to me beyond the grave as he was in life. He can guide you through the Caverns of Fiery Splendor and to the very gates of Tiamat’s inner lair. I’ve contacted him, and he’s expecting you to meet him at the main entrance to the Caverns of Fiery Splendor.

But recently—perhaps because of Tiamat’s current troubles and largely thanks to the Raven Queen—Berath’s ghost contacted me. I see the doubt on your faces, but I’m sure it’s him and he’s still loyal. There are certain bonds between faithful worshipper and god that cannot be subverted. Berath took great joy when he learned that you would be finishing the job that he started.

It’s possible and quite likely that Tiamat has safeguarded against utter death much like I did. She’s adept—perhaps more adept than I—at coordinating multiple plans and improvising new evils on the spot. And since her last play was thousands of years in the making… But this WILL give me the breathing room I need to fully recover, for we have merely won a decisive battle, not the war. We must press home our advantage while her forces are in disaray.

Tiamat risked much when she came here, stripping her stronghold of most of its armed might. Few of those dragons survived the battle, much less returned to Tytherion. Of the remainder, we have reliable reports—including from Berath—that Tiamat’s tendency of rule through fear and avarice doesn’t work when her lackeys doubt her power and her ability to pay. Many simply fled, waiting to see which way the proverbial wind is blowing. Others used the crisis as an opportunity to settle old scores with one another, to advance in the ranks by killing their superiors, or simply to loot Tiamat’s treasury. Because Tiamat is the goddess of greed, I imagine it’s quite a treasury.

Undoubtedly there are those who remain loyal to Tiamat and those who cannot escape her watchful eyes. If they were numerous or powerful, we wouldn’t be seeing this sort of upheaval among Tiamat’s followers—upheaval that’s spreading across all planes.

If you need to make a tactical retreat, you can come back here or to a citadel of your choosing. Berath may have scouted out a temporary shelter. Do not tarry overlong before pressing onward, however. Every hour you delay is an hour Tiamat will use to marshal her remaining force and persuade her followers that she’s as powerful as ever.

If you must take time to prepare, so be it. You are uniquely suited to this task, and I can’t call on anyone else with your potence. But know this: Each of Tiamat’s five heads is whispering, threatening, browbeating, pleading, and bargaining with her far-flung followers and allies to come to her aid. The more you delay, the stronger she grows.

Last Breath of the Dragon Queen
Rochelle

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