"We need your brave Kobold warr-"
"HAHAHAHAHA!" — Salazar and Ab'Arrak
In which (most of) our heroes attempt to recruit the kobolds to their cause; discover that they have come under the control of the young green dragon Ab'Arrak who has formed an agreement with the Hags; fight and slay Ab'Arrak after a desperate battle and return to Latro victorious; Songs buys some rope.
With a few short days remaining before the new moon and the last chance for our heroes to stop the ritual to bind the Ghulthias tree, the time to marshal forces and form plans is rapidly coming to an end. Two issues took priority: the necessity of obtaining some fireproof rope or chains with which to suspend the bowl containing the Bealtaine Fire, allowing it to be carried by one person; and recruiting the kobolds previously encountered to fight against the Hags.
Songs elected to find the rope while the others left to recruit the kobolds. Through careful investigation he found that Ogier-sung rope would serve the purpose adequately; however the Ogier are extremely shy and pacifistic, and were not likely to trade with Songs directly. The centaurs trade with the Ogier regularly, and Songs managed to barter for a length of rope in exchange for the enchanted dagger carried by Randall.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party traveled to the kobold half a day away. They were expecting a hero's welcome, as Salazar had established himself as an envoy of Tiamat last time they met. However, their greeting was much more reserved as a change in leadership had taken place. When our heroes were brought to the kobold tribe leader, he revealed that they had been "blessed" by Tiamat, and that the dragon Ab'Arrak had come to lead them to glory. Before there was a chance for our heroes to react, a loud thud signalled Ab'Arrak's return, and the party ventured out to confront him.
Ab'Arrak was a young green dragon, on the cusp of adulthood: not yet come into his own, but large and dangerous nonetheless. He assumed command of the kobolds only a few days ago, having been given their location by the Hags. Despite this, and his supposed loyalty to the Hags, he was unaware of exactly what they were planning, and attempted to worm out the details of their plans concerning the Ghulthias tree during the conversation with Salazar: particularly, he wanted to know if he could control the tree's power somehow. Unfortunately, when our heroes could provide no sure way that he could benefit from betraying the Hags and the odds seemingly stacked in their favour, he attacked the party.
A long and desperate battle ensued: the dragon's poison breath immediately incapacitated some of our heroes and hindered their attempts to flee: while the tree line was not far away, constant attacks by the dragon and the necessity of healing and reviving wounded party members slowed progress. All-in-all, the battle was ferocious, and hard won – as Salazar and Ron attempted to damage the dragon with spells, they earned his ire and frequently went down under his attacks, forcing Aliah to spend much of the battle running back and forth across the battle field to heal her comrades. After many fortuitous dice rolls in favour of the party (and a mild cardio workout for Barbara, who somehow avoided engaging Ab'Arrak directly) the dragon was finally felled, at a great cost: all of the party members (except Barbara) went down at least once, with several going down multiple times.
With Ab'Arrak dead, the kobolds were easily subdued, shocked and demoralised by the sudden death of their overlord. Many trophies were taken from Ab'Arrak, including fangs, claws, scales and an entire foot, as well as scales for armour. His head was borne back to Latro's Cottage as a trophy. With this new threat neutralised before anyone knew it existed, the party's forces have the advantage of surprise when engaging the Hags, as at least one of their allies will not answer their summons. In the morning, our heroes and Latro will gather their forces and set out for battle to decide the fate of the Forest, and possibly the entire continent…