Breath of Zehir
Breath of Zehir and Empress of the Emerald Peak.
During the last days of her rule over Emerald Peak in 1099, the green dragon Ghuladonkaranamis received word that all of the other dragons of the mountain had fallen. Cursing the name of Tiamat, goddess of chromatic dragons, Ghuladon instead pledged herself to Zehir, god of poisons, and offered up her eternal servitude if only she was spared. Though slain, and her corpse dumped in the Boneyard with her bretheren, Ghuladon nonetheless survived as a tortured, disembodied spirit, enslaved to Zehir.
As centuries passed Ghuladon gathered her strength. She watched and waited, and exerted her influence in small ways and in small areas. After two hundred fifty years, she was strong enough to coalesce as a green mist, and finally made her presence known to the Poisonscale lizardfolk tribe in Thar. In the name of Zehir she promised their chieftan, Thrasher, supreme power and glory for his people if he would worship the dark god and do his bidding. Granting him the powers and title of Souldrinker, the poisonscale tribe savagely attacked the pilgrims on their way to the Martyr’s Mount and severely disrupted the church of Kord, both financially and morally. Meanwhile, Ghuladon herself poisoned the mind of the poor abbot Rhogan Barefoot, driving him insane. In 1364 the abbey closed and the Poisonscale tribe took residence.
Only a few years later, the tribe was driven out by a new church, that of Pelor, that came to the Mount and sought to establish an asylum on the site. Led by Helios the Gold, the church took in Abbot Barefoot and chronicled the events on the site. Between 1393 and 1394, Ghuladon found a new tribe of lizardfolk and invested their leader, Blackscale, with the same Souldrinker powers and commanded him to retake the mount. Soon the abbey was again abandoned, and Ghuladon installed herself once again as its ruler.
Using the church’s extensive library, Ghuladon devised a ritual that would return her to corporeal form and full strength. This ritual would create a new body for her on the Prime Material Plane and fully empower her status as a demigod on the Astral Plane. With the defeat of his current exarch, the Herald of Zehir, on the plane of Toril, Ghuladon was promised an ascendancy to that position if she could complete this ritual.
Ghuladon lured the Brothers of Bahamut to the mountain and consumed the souls of four of them, possessing the body of their leader, Brahm the Shining. With the fifth sacrifice unwittingly made by Aranis, she now has enough power to incarnate herself. While her temporary host on the Mount has been defeated by the adventuring party, she has nonetheless taken five paladin souls, completed the first part of her ritual, and escaped to parts unknown.- – -
A few months after the players returned to Erathis Watch and reestablished themselves, stories begin trickling in of a horrifying skeletal dragon blighting crops and poisoning water supplies across the land. The well at Orspring, in particular, has been completely ruined, and the area risks riots and plague if the situation is not dealt with. This was all clearly the reborn Ghuladon’s doing.
Our heroes investigate the town of Orspring and find that Ghuladon has been sieging the town to force an old enemy into the open. Abbot Helios the Gold was once the caretaker of the Martyr’s Mount, but escaped with most of the monks, priests, and pilgrims when her undead and lizardfolk conquered the island. She knows Helios is in hiding somewhere in the city, and that it is only a matter of time before he either surrenders to end the sufferin gthe the townsfolk, or the guards uncover him and turn him over to placate her wrath.
The adventuring party now known as the EDGE (for its founding members: eladrin, dwarf, genasi, and elf) met Ghuladon at the befouled swamp that was once the golden spring that gave the town its name. There they met her in mortal combat… and were slain to the last man. The skeletal dragon tore a bloody swath of destruction through the party where none survived. However, this was not the end for our heroes.
Less than a week later, the members of the EDGE awoke in the attic of a farm outside of town, where they had been resurrected by Helios. He knew not how they got there, only that he had been told that this moment would come by a mysterious visitor in the past. After the slaughter Ghuladon had vanished, her whereabouts unknown, but clearly still posing a dire threat. Drawing upon his knowledge of the region’s history, Helios found a way to defeat the draconic vampire: the Dragonshards. Fragments of an ancient artifact, one piece was given to each of the Titans that took the mountains, and ward them from dragons. Only weapons or implements imbued with the Dragonshards could deal her regenerating body with lethal damage.
After conquering the five mountains, the EDGE hunted Ghuladon to her redoubt in the Shadowfell. They defeated her most powerful guardian, the Angel of Zehir known as the Slithering Idol, and invaded the snaketongue cultists’ hometown of Noctus. From gorging on souls, Ghuladon has grown into a more powerful form—a true fusion of dragon and vampire, cloaked in scales and feasting on blood. The epic battle raged through the Shadowfell darklands, the EDGE triumphing over yuan-ti, medusas, dinosaurs, bodaks, wraiths, wights, and even undead earth and trees created by Ghuladon’s necromatic powers. Finally they tracked her to her lair and confronted the death knights created from their dear friends.
Deep within her subterranean lair, at long last, Ghuladonkaranamis fell under the assault of blade and spell enchanted by the same artifacts that slew her mortal body centuries ago. The EDGE has claimed her heart, and the threat that the dragon posed is no more. But with her last breath, Ghuladon whispered a curse: “This is not the end…”