While our heroes puzzle out the meaning behind the ominous letter they found on Father Ammon’s body last session, they hear an earth-shaking rumble and crash from the direction of Stonewreath Keep — followed by the roaring of a dragon.
When they arrive back at the keep they meet up with Lieutenant Cail Emmons and a handful of surviving soldiers. The kobolds were more than just nuisance in the mine: they’ve caused the ground beneath the bailey to collapse—killing nearly everyone who wasn’t out on patrol—and occupied the keep. Meanwhile, more kobolds poured out of the mine and swept through the village, with air support from a black dragon: Catamoros, the Hunter Beneath referred to in Ammon’s letter.
The party quickly devises a cunning plan to take back the keep and the village. While everyone else fights the kobolds and lizardfolk occupying the village, Llandrin Trawscoed magically disguises himself as a lizardman and tricks the guards into allowing him in the keep.
During the fight, Aenor receives a magical insight from The Three: Catamoros is not in charge here. The black dragon was injured while young, and is brain damaged and childlike. A young kobold named Zorila Twistback befriended him. She is the one actually leading the effort to take back “their” mines from the Empire, and has been dealing with Thurash in Catamoros’ name. Aenor asks whether Catamoros has to be killed – -can they save him instead? The Three tell her that she must do what she thinks is right.
In the keep, Llandrin finds the dragon, Zorila, and kobolds and lizardfolk in command. The dragon idly chews on the severed arm of Captain Glenna Obalda, who hangs unconscious by a chain from the rafters. Llandrin casts sleep, sending nearly all of the kobolds into magical slumber. When the rest of the party breaks in the odds are nearly even — especially since Catamoros instinctively dives in front of attacks on Zorila, absorbing as much of the damage as he can. When Zorila is killed, the dragon gives a roar of pain and grief and flies away, leaving the outcome of the battle in no doubt. After dispatching the remaining kobolds and lizardmen, the party frees Captain Obalda.
The heroes have triumphed, and order is restored. But Aenor grieves for the black dragon—a true innocent in all this—and mentally pleas with the Three to ensure his safety.