A vengeful orphan


Red, scaly, sharp fangs and claws. Nasty tail. Breathes fire! Lots of feats and skills; keen senses; magic items stolen from the dwarves; multiple attacks; arcane spells.


Swarven was hatched over an open firepit, as is normal for his kind. His young father, having satisfied his duty to guard the egg until it hatched, gave a satisfied growl, spread his wings and shot into the sky, headed eastward, towards his home. No need to leave a message for Clytemptra. She would find the hatchling soon enough. Swarven never saw him again. No matter. Toddling out of the fire pit and over the rough cave floor, he scrambled, slithered and walked up the grade until he saw the light and smelled the cooler outside air. Something made him want to get out: he was hungry. It was a pleasant feeling of anticipation. He would find something to satisfy his hunger; it would be… fun! Moving more confidently now towards the light, Swarven reached the cave mouth and looked out over the valley far below and to the East. He stood in shadow, as the afternoon sun was blocked by the peak of the mountain behind him. Instinctively, he spread his wings, feeling the lift as he experimentally flexed them.

Ahead, against the blue sky, his keen eyesight easily spotted it. A big red hawk, lazily wheeling in the updrafts along the mountain. That was what he wanted. The flying animal would serve to moderate his hunger. Swarven pushed off the ledge. Gliding for a moment, he gained speed. The air against his face was exhilarating. He flapped his strong wings, turning the dive in to a climb. Still in shadow, the hawk did not notice the small red dragon. Swarven could go fast! He gained quickly on the bird. But as he got close, the hawk heard the wyrmling’s delighted squeal. Panicked, the hawk took evasive action. He was a far better flyer than Swarven and easily evaded the dragon’s outstretched claws. Turning sharply, the hawk dove in a new direction. Swarven banked, turning to follow his quarry. Again he gained quickly on the fleeing hawk. The hunger in his belly felt warm, and the warm feeling came up into Swarven’s throat. As he got close to the hawk this time, Swarven again acted on instinct. He breathed in, and then out again: A scathing cone of fire. Caught in the unimaginable heat, the hawk burst into flame, its feathers almost immediately consumed by the dragonbreath. The hawk’s roasted carcass began to drop like a rock. Swarven easily swooped down and grabbed it in his talons. Returning quickly to the ledge, he tore the carcass apart with his fangs and claws, gorging himself on the hawk. Good! Returning to the firepit, he settled in for a siesta.

When Clytemptra returned, she saw the hatchling. Her son still had the evidence of his first meal smeared sloppily all over his his maw. Proudly, she nudged the little dragon awake….

Swarven was still a “very young” dragon when Clytemptra was killed by the dwarves and their humanoid defenders. The fierce dragon’s plans had gone wrong, and she was surprised by a far more powerful force than she had anticipated. Impotent in his grief and rage, Swarven well knew that he was too small to take his revenge. Oh, yes, whenever he saw a dwarf or one of the other accursed humanoids alone, he would kill it. Painfully! But this was not enough. He waited, and the years passed slowly. He knew he would need help to destroy the hated dwarves’ fortress. He knew that Clytemptra had failed despite her large force of mountain peoples. Swarven began to negotiate with the tribes of fire giants. He was charming, oh yes he was, and the greedy giants were easily manipulated by small gifts from Clytemptra’s great treasure and the promise of more in the future. Swarven had only one focus: building the biggest army of giants and mountain peoples ever seen. But he was still too young to command them. He waited for more than a dozen long years, brewing and cultivating his hatred, and encouraging the giants to breed! Finally, he passed his 25th year and deemed himself big enough, and his spells potent enough. He was certainly receiving more respect from the fire giant leaders. Just a couple more years, and his army was ready. He would leave nothing but rubble. The older giants remembered the defeat at the hands of the dwarves. Swarven’s plans made sense, but they worried that it was too soon to move. Perhaps they should wait a generation until their numbers increased more and the dragon had even more awesome power. But Swarven was finished waiting. It was time!

Swarven and his army attacked the dwarven citadel Southeast of Melvaunt. The army of fire giants, accompanied by numerous ettins, trolls, and hellhounds has destroyed the citadel, but the attack did not go well, and the army of giants was almost totally destroyed…. Only nine adult giants survived. The giants brought the massive treasures of the Citadel to Swarven, as he had demanded.

The giants are afraid of Swarven, but they are angry that he sent their people to their deaths, and they resent having to take care of a large number of dwarven captives. They grumble about the portion of the dwarven treasures that Swarven has shared out to the giants.

Unfortunately for Swarven, he had not reconed on either Father Neil’s party or the Cloud Giants returning to attack his much-weakened forces. First, Father Neil’s party snuck into the cave and surreptitiously killed four of the remaining adult giants. The next day they returned but, this time, together with the Cloud Giants family. The combined attacking force killed the remaining adult fire giants and some of the teen fire giants.

Enraged, Swarven flew into the cave from behind Father Neil’s party. After several passes at the party, breathing dragonfire, Swarven managed to kill Marielle and her familiar, Copernicus, as well as the youngest Cloud giant, Seeda. Nearly every member of Father Neil’s party and all the Cloud Giants took heavy damage. But the attackers rallied and pelted Swarven with rocks and missile fire every time he approached. Despite all of his magical protections, the party eventually brought him down and killed him. The dragon could easily have escaped, but his insane thirst for vengeance, coupled with his ego and vanity, allowed the party to finish him off.

This is the story of Swarven. Born in flame, raised by a Queen of destruction, his impatience, vanity and rage caused his early downfall.

Rest in Peace, Swarven.


Rufusreich ClementDivine