With the others looking on warily, Zerion attempts to use his magics to clear a path through the kobold traps. Hiding from the cover of the swamp, the kobolds begin taunting and screaming at him. Soon their taunts turn in raucous cries. At the peak of their crescendo they all fall suddenly silent. Distracted by the display, our heroes see the diving swamp drake too late and in a flash it’s flying away at top speed, Eliana struggling to escape its jaws. But there’s no time to mount a rescue, a second drake is just finishing its dive.
Confronted by a wall of swords and magic, this drake can’t simply snatch someone up and escape, so it lands. In doing so, its wings whip up a great deal of the muck that comprises the ground, blinding the group. Sancero recovers first and is immediately greatful for the new armor he took from the ship. Calling on the Raven Queen, he marks the beast to give his blinded comrads time to recover. The drake focuses its attacks on him, but its powerful jaws prove unable to pierce the enchanted steel. The drake keeps flining mud as well, but eventually the group can see again and they concentrate a withering onslaught on the wounded beast. Desperate to escape with a prize, the drake bites down on Sancero’s arm. It still can’t penetrate the steel, but it gets a solid grip and takes to the sky. The drake tries to ascend outside of the groups range, but before it can it’s brought down by a flurry of magic and javelins. The drake and Sancero crash to the ground and everyone breathes a sigh of relief as only Sancero gets up (albeit limping).
But there’s no time for rest! That first drake is back to see what’s taking his mate so long. You killed her! You savages! It charges in, all vengeful and such. But this time you’re ready for it and just about bloody it before it even touches down, due largely to a ridiculously powerful blast from Veralisse. Similar to the first one, it spends a couple turns gnawing on Sancero’s armor before just pick him up and trying to fly off. This one gets just out of range with its prize, but Veiden manages to throw Zerion high enough that he can get a shot off and Veralisse climbs on Veiden’s shoulders to similar effect. See all three of its remaining enemies in a nice vertical stack, the drake tries to throw his several-hundred pound victem back down to crush them all, but fortunately Sancero had wrapped his arms around the drake’s neck and wasn’t going anywhere. (As an aside, this probably saved the party. I don’t think the PHB has rules for calculating damage when a plate-mail clad paladin lands on you after a 60-foot drop, but I’m sure you wouldn’t like the result.) Sancero’s joy is short-lived however. The poison that Veralisse administered reaches the drake’s heart and it plummets. The earth shakes from the impact and Sancero ends up several inches in the earth between the two dead drakes. This time he doesn’t get out. His friends rush to his aid and by the time they have him stabilized the island is surrounded by approaching kobolds, a mix of anger and disbelief on their faces.
In no condition to fight an entire tribe, Veiden screams at them to back off. They’re intimidated, but a trio of leaders in the back try to spur them onwards. The brief skirmish that ensues starts with Zerion unleashing a blast of frost on the leaders, severly injuring them and killing several of their minions. Then there’s a brief exchange as the leaders try to organize their troops. Many of the kobolds flee (including one of the leaders), but the rest slip back into tall grass and approach by stealth. Again, Zerion freezes them, this time catching several with their faces below the swamp’s surface, effectively suffocating them when the swamp turned to ice. Their forces battered, the kobolds make a final desperate charge. The ensuing fight was pretty tense. The leaders pinned Veiden down and cut him up pretty badly while the three remaining goons tried to stop the wizard and warlock from using their ranged powers. Zerion’s Thunderwave solved that problem though, giving Veralisse the freeom she needed to blast one of the leaders harrying Veiden.
The last kobold sees that Veiden is on the verge of collapse (3HP!), but he knows he can’t take the two spellcasters by himself, not with the warlocks curse already upon him. He uses his surprising agility to maneuver to the edge of the grass and charges off through the swamp. Veralisse attempts to persue, forgetting that the entire area has been trapped. A powerful bear trap clamping around her leg ends her ability and motivation to continue the chase.
As Sancero is waking back up, they discover that the kobold leader that Veralisse took down is still alive. They tie him and and force him to clear the traps. They then try to get him to lead them all the way to Seagate. He’d love to, but there’s a lot of swamp between here and there, controlled by several kobold tribes. If, however, the tall folk will help him and his brothers overthrough their father as tribe leader, then they would of course repay such a favor with a kobold vangaurd through the swamps.