Having returned to Tradegate the group now splits up. Master Pizarro tells people he has found that Ioun’s library in Hestavar likely contains useful information of the creatures from the Far Realm that are attacking the PTC. Njalla immediately heads out to look into it for him, Alruna accompanies her as a guide and guard.
Meanwhile Sioned and Rook depart for Sum of All after informing Master Trader Duncam of the possible deal regarding shields, Rigus, and Havelek. He agrees to pass the information on to Melina, who will find a way to make the trade route work if it’s possible. Sioned then buys herself and Rook passage on a ship coasting along the shore line anti-spinward.
A few days travel has them departing the ship in the town of Darel Sun, and the mouth of the River Ma’at. Three days of relatively uneventful barging up the Ma’at have them reaching the mouth of the river at the sea of Tir Fo Thuinn. From there it’s a quick sacrifice to Mananan Mac Lir and the peope who live under the waves of Tir Fo Thuinn to the other side, and then a quick hike over hills to the city Sum of All.
In Sum of All Sioned seeks out an expert on draconic matters to help her with the approach to Varsivoraax. Kalika is a tall and dark-skinned human, and an expert on dragons. He tells her and Rook the tale of “Lord Io and the Seeds of Evil” and how the Spire was created in the early days of the world. He explains how the dragon kingdom is at the base of the spire as a result of this story. Somewhat more informed Sioned and Rook set out from Sum of All, heading In towards the Spire and the kingdom of the dragons.
Several days pass as they navigate The Land and approach the Spire. A few days away from the Spire they first encounter sign of the Dragon Kingdom in the form of a patrol of kobolds that they handily avoid. However overflights of dragons spot them and direct another patrol towards them.
The next day a patrol of 15 dragonborn stop Sioned and Rook. They explain their purpose, and Charask (the leader of the patrol) agrees to take them in to the “city” of Sivariss, though he believes their mission impossible. As everyone beds down that evening Rook and some of the dragonborn spar, Rook does fairly well and impresses the patrol with his skills.
In Sivariss they are brought before Charask’s master, a young red dragon named Altair. Altair outright forbids Sioned or Rook to even approach Varsivoraax. Sioned and Rook assert that they will speak with the ancient dragon and that Altair has no place in things. (assertions, not negotiations, seem to be the way of the dragons) Altair and Sioned agree that neither is going to back down and arrange a duel to resolve the conflict.
The duel is setting up in the great Speaking Bowl (a huge open meadow in a low valley which the dragons use like an auditorium) when a huge silver dragon named Nicosidia lands and forbids the duel. He says that today is a holy day and no blood may be spilled in this manner in Sivariss. He forces the duelists and spectators through a gate to a lightly wooded meadow where they can fight and not offend tradition.
The duel is over quickly. Altair, while bigger than both other combatants combined, lacks the skill and experience needed to even land a shot regularly. He gets in a lucky hit, but is quickly bloodied and forced to withdraw from the challenge.
Nicosidia steps forward, metaphorically, and objects to Sioned waking Varsivoraax. His objections lie in prophecy, not pride, it is said that Varsivoraax will wake but twice more before he rises a third time at the end of the world. Sioned isn’t thrilled at the apocalyptic news but sticks to her guns. Another duel is fought, this time between a golem created by Nicosidia and the pair of “man-things”. This fight is much harder, even Nicosidia’s proxy (the golem) is tough. Sioned is dropped in the fight and nearly dies, though Nicosidia heals her with a prayer to Bahamut as soon as Rook finishes off the golem.
He then flies them both up the spire some distance and into the mouth of a gigantic cave. The stench of dragon fills the air. Nicosidia bows out of going further into the great dragon’s lair and curls up at the entrance to await whatever happens to Sioned and Rook. They both begin to enter the lair.
Varsivoraax’s lair is another test of greed for those who enter it. Scattered across the floor are piles of gold and silver, magic items are strewn about, and lying atop it all (with hindquarters luxuriating in the heat of a lava pool) is a massive red dragon. When Sioned approaches Varsivoraax scents the air, and wakes.
Varsivoraax seems to believe himself indebted to Sioned, and readily agrees to give her the Heart Bone as a down payment on that debt. He tells her he doesn’t have it himself though, three hags snuck in and stole it decades ago, he followed their scent to the Well of the Moon, but has not yet reclaimed it. He says he’s pleased to see Sioned one more time before the world ends, and then goes back to sleep.
Nicosidia doesn’t seem surprised when the two emerge, clearly he’s heard everything that went on inside. He flies the pair down the Spire and into Sivariss. In the great Speaking Bowl he orders Altair to fly the two to the Well of the Moon and help retrieve the Heart Bone.
You would think that the journey would make a story of it’s own, but when a flight of dragons (Altair doesn’t really trust Sioned and Rook not to kill him if he flies them out alone) drop a pair of adventurers (paragons of their professions no less) even a trio of magical hags will readily give up a not-so-prized possession rather than risk their lives (and prophecy) in battle.
Sioned and Rook return to Tradegate to return the Heart Bone to Estevan.
Thus endeth the story.