Chapter 3: Nagafen

Loral was hunting the vile Spectral minions of Trakanon's Teeth when he got the word.

"You can go." was all that was said, but those three words changed Loral's life. He would have the ability to represent the Healers United at their first raid on Lord Nagafen, the great red wyrm of Norrath. Since he was a wee lad he had dreamed of facing the dragon, as did every child who ever picked up a wooden sword, but very few ever got the opportunity. Loral, it seemed, would be one of these few.

He immediately let his group know what was happening and they all rejoiced for him. Being only of the 43rd circle of Tunare meant he was one of the youngest members going. He first was going to have to get to the 44th circle as fast as he can, then begin to collect as much fire protection equipment as he would be able to get.

Desjardins the long time friend and hunting partner of Loral helped him reach the 44th circle and receive his newest line of spells in a short period of time. Then Azile, the arch-wizard only smiled and shook her head when hearing about the event, then handed Loral a purse of two thousand platinum and sent him on his way to the ever running bazaar of Ro.

Within a matter of hours, Loral was suited up with new armor and stood among some of the roughest and toughest mercenaries in all of Norrath. They had come from all over Norrath, it seemed, to hunt Lord Nagafen. Some came for the promise of riches, some for the thrill of the hunt. Some had experience hunting the great beast before, but all of them were nervous, this they all shared.

The initial raiding parties were put together and began to march on Nagafen's lair. The three Giant Slayers, mighty warriors who were trained and bred to destroy the nasty Fire Giants that stood in the way of the great beast, headed in first. The other teams went in second. I was picked as the leader of one of these teams.

The teams began pouring into the entrance to the dragon's lair, slaying the greater Kobolds and heading to the Stone Spider room, a large room about half way to Nagafen's lair. Here we listened to the clashing of steel and the stomping of boots as the giant slayers stormed the front doors of the Fire Giant Citadel. We waited with nervous anticipation, each one of us wondering whether we would be able to slay the beast.

Then we were called up, the door guards were killed and we could begin to make our way forward. As we moved through the Giants lair, eventually into the throne room of their king, the giant slayers would pull in one or two of the beasts and the groups of soldiers would drop it to the ground. As soon as battle would be engaged, Loral would watch the health of the three warriors, the mage and the bard in his group, but aside from some minor singes, they were never hurt.

Finally, the last giant, a mage named Rokyl, was slain and Wail gave the orders to begin preparing for battle. The groups began to disband, and everyone dropped their preparation spells for the final set to be cast on them. First four weaker protection spells were cast one each member, and then sets of much more powerful protection spells were cast over every member of the group. Once completed, the member would lie down and a magical sleep was laid over them. Once all were ready, all would be awakened simultaneously and the battle would rage.

An induced dream entered the minds of every soldier in the raid. The orders were implanted into the very sub concous of every man and woman in there. The attack groups were laid out, the plans set fourth. Nagafen would be attacked in two waves. The warrior heavy battle group would be sent in a piece at a time, never giving Nagafen a chance to prepare for the next group. Wizards would blast, druids would call upon the natural surroundings and warriors would hack at the beast until it lies dead.

Loral was to stay back outside the entrance and heal as it was required of him. He had only one spell needed, a complete heal spell that removed all damage from his party members. He was to cast this on each member as needed until he was able to cast it no more.

Then the battle horn was called. All the warriors at once were brought back from their sleep. The scared faces now looked like those of a machine, ready to perform their simple operation until they were able to perform it no more. The final groups were put together and the waves were set up.

With a final silent moment, the raiding party stood outside the stone head that led into the lair of the ancient dragon. Then the order was given.

"Wave one, charge!"

With a chorus of shouts, the first team rushed in. Loral and his warriors stood ready for their order. Then it came.

"Wave two, charge!"

Loral's fighters rushed up the stairs, with Loral in tow, past the corner and into the mouth of the tunnel. Loral got a sight of the dragon, one of the most deadly creatures in all of Norrath, and began preparing his spells. A blast wave like none he had ever seen hit the group, sending Tynulaver to his knees and the others back on their heels. Then a wave of fear hit them. Loral stood aside as a stream of the battlers, unable to control their own movements, ran past him and into the hall behind. Loral began casting his heal on the mortally wounded Tynulaver but it was too late for him, the dragon had him. Loral instead cast on Lindadar, the next warrior in his path. This spell sank in and he was completely healed and ready for another battle. Another prayer left his lips and Lindadar was healed, but soon fell dead a few seconds later.

Then the terror of the mighty dragon set in. Watching two of his members fall in a matter of seconds, plus a look at the mighty creature was too much for Loral and he felt himself running back into the throne room. Behind him another blast sent people sprawling out into the hall. Loral regained himself and rushed back in to help his comrades, but his mana was spent and he could do nothing but watch as another of his comrades fell. Then a final blast tore the life from Loral's body and dropped him to the floor unconscious.

Loral awoke in the sleep chamber, only a short ways away from the battle. Two of his party still battled on, and he could still help them. He sat and memorized his complete heal prayer from his book and rushed back into the fray. This time, no fear sunk in and no blast pushed him back out. The mighty dragon was beginning to soften. Loral cast heal after heal until his mana had been depleted. He could do nothing now but watch. Again the piles of bodies forced him into a run back to the safety of the outside hall, but he forced himself back in again.

Then with a mighty roar, Nagafen fell.

A hush fell over those remaining. The dragon's enormous body laid out in front of them was almost surreal. Only one of Loral's fighters remained alive. The other four had fallen during the fight. Loral managed to scramble over the body and see the true carnage of the fight. Corpses littered the stairway of the great beast's lair, blood rushed in rivers into the steaming lava on both sides. A group of the survivors was forming inside the main hall of Nagafen's lair. Loral made his way into the room and collapsed. He attempted to search for his friends, Desjardins, who had made it. Nitzerebb, a fellow healer, who had also joined in the hunt was sitting there. They smiled at each other and let their exhaustion take over.

The high level clerics worked to help restore life to the fallen bodies. Soon all the original warriors sat in the hall and cheered. Tails of the battle were being sung and written by the bards. Loot was handed out to those lucky enough to receive it. The rest simply enjoyed the moment of serenity in this mouth of darkness. Then groups started to teleport away, led by the druids and wizards of the group. There was another danger of this place. It was very easy in such a crowd to become left behind, unable to escape the clutches of even the now dead wyrm. Luckily an kind soul helped Loral and the remaining members leave the dangerous place and they soon found themselves on the rocks of a druid circle a few kilometers away.

The battle was a success. Nagafen had fallen.