Hey again everyone. As you might have guessed, its time to continue the epic saga of Onyxia, the black dragon. When we last left off, I had just managed to make a major breakthrough with my newly-adopted daughter, convincing her that despite our obvious differences, we were now officially family. I was feeling rather pleased with myself (despite my rocky start), and I was confident that things would go a lot smoother now that I had formed a proper connection with my precious little dragon.
Oh how wrong I was.
After spending another day in the barn, I finally decided to give Onyxia a tour of my lands, hoping to familiarize her with the animals and staff. At first, everything seemed to be going just fine, with Onyxia following closely at my heels and listening intently to everything I said. She still refused to let me hold her of course (which did wound me a bit), but I figured that for now, I needed to take baby steps. In the meantime, I wanted to make her feel as welcomed as possible, and I knew that exposing her to other people would be the best way to go.
Sadly, as I guided her around the farm, I noticed that Onyxia was acting very tense, and she would constantly hiss and growl at almost everything that moved. Bringing her around my animals quickly proved to be impossible, as most of them treated Onyxia with a mixture of fear and hostility. This didn’t seem to bother my dragon of course, since despite the fact that she was only the size of a house-cat, she basically approached everything with a rather fearless attitude (or, in other words, a complete lack of common sense). On one occasion, I literally had to use a handle animal check to keep one of my owlbears from attacking Onyxia (who was basically hissing at the beast the whole entire time while hiding behind my leg and quivering in fear). I knew this was just a by-product of a black dragon’s psychotic nature, but even so, I decided to keep her away from my animals for now.
Things didn’t go much better when I finally introduced Onyxia to my cohorts, as she basically stared at them with her cold blood-red eyes, as if silently debating if she could kill them now or not. Needless to say, none of my followers felt very comfortable around her, but I urged them to do their best and treat my daughter with respect (a suggestion that I also encouraged with Onyxia as well). After finishing up with the tour, I calmly walked Onyxia back to her barn and made sure to restock it with fresh water and supplies. I knew that once my downtime was over, I’d have to go out and start adventuring once again, which meant that I would be forced to leave my dragon all by herself.
Fearing that she might run away (or worse, go out and hurt someone), I briefly considering locking up the barn with Onyxia inside it. However, as soon as I suggested this idea to my DM, I immediately caught myself mid-sentence and dismissed it entirely, remembering the promise that I had made to my daughter: she wasn’t my pet, and she wasn’t my slave. She was my precious little girl, and I would treat her as such. I knew that if I broke my promise, or violated her trust, I’d lose any hope of leading Onyxia on the good and righteous path (and that was simply something that I could not afford).
And so, when it came time to head off with the party again, I left the barn unlocked and said my goodbyes, although not before reassuring my daughter that I’d be back in a couple of days. I’ll admit, leaving my little dragon alone was perhaps one of my most stressful moments in the campaign thus far, but nevertheless, I felt supremely confident that I was doing the right thing. I’d only be gone for a few days after all, and I was certain that when I returned, everything would be fine.
Of course, as you might have guessed, this wouldn’t be the case.
Now, I suppose at this point I could bore you all to death by recounting the exploits of my party’s adventure, but I think I’ll just skip ahead and get back to Onyxia. To sum things up though, our excursion into the wilderness proved profitable yet again, and as we continued to advance the plot of the campaign, our DM eventually gave us another break (along with two more weeks of downtime). Surprisingly enough, we were all very eager to get back to our businesses, and I was especially excited about seeing my dragon again.
However, as I arrived back on my farm, I was instantly greeted by one of my cohorts who informed me that we were currently suffering from a very serious problem. Apparently in my absence, my little Onyxia had finally learned how to fly, and ever since doing so, she had basically been on an unstoppable rampage. She had terrorized the staff and caused chaos wherever she went, and this all eventually culminated in Onyxia torturing and killing one of my owlbears by flying overhead and spraying acid at the beast until it inevitably dropped dead, succumbing to its wounds. My cohort went on to explain that it took Onyxia almost thirty minutes to kill the poor creature, and that she didn’t even bother to eat it at the end.
In other words, she had killed it just for fun.
I was furious and devastated all at the same time, and to make matters worse, the owlbear that she killed had been one of my mated pairs. For those of you who don’t know, when an owlbear finds a partner, they essentially mate for life (and they certainly do not take the death of their partners lightly). Knowing this information, I immediately asked my cohort to show me where the owlbear was, and as we approached the location were this tragedy took place, I soon began to hear the distinct sound of another grown owlbear crying out in grief.
When we finally arrived, I saw that the fallen owlbear’s body was covered with burn marks, and as it quietly laid still and lifeless upon the ground, its mate was slowly circling its body and howling toward the stars. Every now and then, the living owlbear desperately tried tapping on its mate’s body to try and get it to move, and each time it remained still, the owlbear simply wailed in pain before repeating the process again.
“Where is my daughter?!” I asked in a furious voice, to which my cohort promptly pointed me straight towards the barn.
I wasted no time in heading in that direction, and when I finally opened the doors and stepped inside, my eyes were instantly greeted by another horrifying sight. The barn was in sorry state from when I had last left it, with numerous scratch marks lining the walls and several wooden beams sporting freshly-made acid burns. In addition, the corpses of numerous half-eaten animals (mostly rabbits and such) decorated the ground in a sickly display, as Onyxia stood by the water trough (completely covered in blood) and was currently in the process of making holes in the wood.
“Onxyia, come here this instant!” I commanded, as the dragon calmly glared at me with a rather annoyed stare before moving away from the water trough and coming to stand beside me. “Why Onyxia? Why did you do it?”
“Do what?” the dragon asked, obviously confused.
“The owlbear. Why did you kill that owlbear? I know that you didn’t need it for food.”
“I am dragon,” she explained, as if that statement answered everything. “I do not need a reason to kill. I was just having fun.”
In that moment, it suddenly dawned on me that Onyxia had no idea what right and wrong truly meant. From her point of view, being a dragon basically allowed her to do whatever she wanted, and her natural urges constantly drove her to committing evil and violent acts. I knew that if this continued, there would be no way for me to change her current state of mind, and as such, I resolved to try and teach my daughter a lesson in humility.
“Come with me,” I said, before leading her out of the barn and heading back towards the dead owlbear.
As we approached the scene again, its mate was still wailing and howling out in grief, which didn’t seem to bother Onyxia in the slightest.
“Why we here?” my daughter asked impatiently.
“I want you to see this,” I said. “I want you to witness the tragedy that you caused.”
“So what? I killed it. It made me feel strong,” Onyxia declared proudly.
“Do you still feel strong now?” I asked, giving my daughter an incredulous look.
She considered this for a moment but did not answer right away, as the owlbear let out another long and anguished screech.
“That one is very noisy. I go kill it now,” Onyxia said, as I noticed that she purposely tried avoiding my question.
“You will do no such thing,” I said in response, which immediately caused my DM to ask for a diplomacy check.
As luck would have it, I rolled a 16 and Onyxia stayed put, listening to the horrid sounds of the broken-hearted owlbear grieving over its mate.
“This is not something to be proud of, my daughter,” I calmly explained. “Causing pain to others is not a sign of strength. You have acted dishonorably, and brought shame upon us both, and it is because of your actions that you have wounded me as well.”
For a long time, Onxyia said nothing as she gazed at the owlbear, listening to its mate wail away in pain. She still seemed indifferent to the misery that she had caused, but after waiting in silence for a little over a minute, I noticed that her body was starting to shake and shiver with rage.
“I…I do not like this,” she said suddenly, as her tail began to twitch in obvious annoyance. “Make it stop. I do not like. Make the noises stop!”
Again, the owlbear howled and pawed at its dead mate.
“Why…why you do this? Why you make me look at this?!” she asked, before turning her head to gaze at me with dark accusing eyes. “I was proud! I felt good! But now I no feel good at all?! I hate you! You trick me! You take away my fun!”
Her words cut deeply, but I did not let it show, and before I could manage to give a response, Onyxia suddenly turned and ran back towards the barn. I followed behind her slowly, wanting to give her a little space, yet when I finally arrived back in the barn, the little dragon was in the process of ‘rampaging’ once again. She was scratching at the walls and hissing at the air, while scurrying about the room in obvious distress.
“I hate you! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” she screamed, as I stood there waiting patiently and never saying a word.
When she finally calmed down, I told Onyxia that tomorrow I’d help her clean up the barn, for I would not tolerate my daughter living in her ‘lair’ with a bunch of half-eaten corpses. She didn’t bother answering me, but she didn’t refuse me either, yet when I offered to give her a bath to try and clean her up, Onyxia purposely moved away and started shaking her head.
“You’re covered in blood,” I pointed out. “Let me give you a bath.”
“I do not need one,” she started to say, but when she noticed my disapproving stare, she finally relented. “I do it myself.”
After that, I decided to devote the rest of my downtime to teaching my little dragon about right and wrong (although admittedly, we didn’t exactly make very much progress). I could tell that the lessons didn’t really interest her, but on the plus side, I no longer had any issues with Onyxia killing the animals or harassing my staff. Instead, she basically treated everyone with a cold indifference, sneering at my followers while avoiding the livestock. She still possessed a terrible temper and treated everyone (aside from me) like ants, but at least she wasn’t disrupting our work or causing any more harm.
In addition, after cleaning up and fixing the barn, Onyxia actually began taking good care of her lair, as she purposely avoided scratching it up while at the same time making sure to dispose of corpses and bones properly. However, this certainly didn’t stop her from taking her anger out on trees, as she quickly made a habit of scratching and tearing up a lot of the surrounding plant-life. Realizing that I needed to help her blow off some steam, I decided to take my daughter out hunting with me, and as I soon discovered, this probably the best idea that I’d ever had thus far.
Onyxia loved hunting, although admittedly this was probably because it finally allowed her to kill things without consequence. Still, I figured this was a great way to strengthen my connection with her, and it also provided the perfect outlet to properly channel her anger. However, with the end of my downtime swiftly approaching, I decided to do something special before I went off adventuring again.
After picking a secluded spot somewhere in the woods, I invited Onyxia to play a little game of ‘hide and seek’, explaining to her that I had hidden about a hundred gold coins somewhere in the area, and told her that if she could find them, she could keep them for her lair. Now, if any of you are wondering why I did this, keep in mind that all dragons are drawn to treasure in one form or another, and as such, they typically enjoy hoarding such treasure and keeping it in their homes. Up until this point, I knew that Onyxia didn’t have a treasure-hoard of her own, and I felt that it was finally time to correct that mistake.
Needless to say, my little black dragon greatly enjoyed the game, and as we made our way back to the barn with her hundred gold coins in tow, I explained to her that from now on, those coins belonged to her.
“I will never steal from you,” I reassured her softly. “Whatever treasures you collect belong to you alone. All I ask is that you do not go around stealing or obtaining treasures through treachery, for I promise that wealth acquired in such a way will only tarnish the value of both your collection and yourself.”
Onyxia did not speak for the longest time, yet when we finally reached the barn house and she prepared to step inside, my daughter slowly turned to me and spoke two simple words.
“Thank you,” she said, before turning on her heels and disappearing into the barn.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the very first time my daughter thanked me for anything.