This wily old female black dragon has been the subject of many a tale and the objective of many an adventure — alas, most of the tales are full of wild speculation and most of the adventures came back empty handed if they have come back at all. Most of the solid information on Virulent was gained during her younger days. Legend claims that this dragon once resided very near to Sable itself. Some say that she even lived as close as Maelstrom's Fortress. Regardless, it is known that she once flaunted her power to all of the realm. Her lair was easily accessible and she seemed to revel in direct confrontation with her enemies. Some of the great heroes of old were sent to quick deaths by the evil wyrm. The obituaries of that period are frequently marked with mortals slain by Virulent. Gradually, death cries from Virulent's victims began to be heard less and less within the realm. Many thought that this was due to the would-be heroes finally realizing that Virulent was no easy foe. However, word soon spread that Virulent's lair was abandoned, and the vast treasures contained there were gone as well.

Gradually many of Sable's citizens forgot the existence of Virulent, and thought her little more than an old wive's tale told to children to keep them from straying too far from the city gates. And, so this history could very well end here, with one of the Realms great foes passing into the obscurity of myth. However, such was not to be, for just as it seemed that the Black Crone was gone forever, odd rumors began circulating. People told of hearing the flap of leathery wings on the night air and the roaring of some great beast exulting in triumph over a kill. Small bands of adventurer's returned to the Green Griffon bearing tales of mysterious caverns somewhere in the vicinity of Sable. Within these dank caverns, small tribes of a hitherto unknown race lived. These Jermlaine *(see footnote 1) — as they began to be called — bore totems of a black dragon and often whispered in their guttural, broken speech of the "Great Ebon Serpent." Many claimed the evil, little Jermlaine were only worshiping Set in a new manifestation, but those with longer memories feared that the "Great Ebon Serpent" could only refer to one entity. These fears were confirmed all too soon, as one fateful eve, a mighty roar was heard throughout the realm, followed by the distant thrumming of great wings. People rushed outside, only to be met with the hovering form of Virulent, spewing her acidic breath over the city of Sable. Many great heroes met Mortis that evening, and none even managed to scratch the monster. After gorging herself upon the corpses of hundreds of Sable's citizens, Virulent rose into the air and circled the city, all the while roaring "Send me your heroes, for I have many great treasures stocked up during my absence. I will enjoy feasting upon the greatest mortals of this realm." So saying, she spewed one final blast of acid on the Statue of King Borgia in the Center of Town and flew off to the north.

Since that night, many have gone in search of Virulent's lair. A few adventurers claim to have found it, and told tales of the Dragon worshiping Jermlaine pursuing them through deep, dark caverns, crying out in their hideous, screechy voices for the adventurers' blood. One mighty hero stated:

"It was the most horrifying experience of my life. Those caverns are impossibly convoluted. Filled with room after room of bands of Jermlaine and other creatures the likes of which I have never seen and can put no name to. Occasionally we heard a loud roar echo through the caverns and the stirrings of some large beast. After what seemed like an eternity within the caverns, I had no thoughts of Virulent's treasure, I only wanted to live to see the blessed light of Vishnu again."

And so, Virulent sits within her lair, awaiting the day that she will once again feast upon the flesh of Sable's mightiest heroes and roar her cry of victory.

Battle Strategy

Little is known about Virulent's power. It is fact that she can spew a horribly corrosive acid from her mouth with hideously destructive results. This acid eats through even the most resilient of armors, quickly seeking out the flesh underneath, sloughing it away only to reveal the victim's bones which quickly dissolve as well. Little else is known of her physical prowess. If any has come into close combat with Virulent, they have either not lived to tell about it, or were so traumatized by the experience that they refuse to speak of it. From her fearsomely huge claws, it is obvious that she could disembowel a large horse with ease. Her fangs, while not as large as Spark's (see Bestiary entry) are still quite formidable. All in all, it is obvious that she is one of the more formidable opponents that anyone could face within the realm.

A curious sidenote, which a great scholar of dragonlore, adds is that Virulent shows all the signs of a dragon that is past her prime. She no longer glories in direct combat with her opponents, but prefers to sit secure within her lair — surrounded by her treasure horde — waiting for worthy opponents to seek her out. The cult of the Jermlaine's give further support to this theory. It surely gratifies an ancient wyrm to be worshiped by an entire society, and have them serve her in fear and awe. The same scholar also theorizes that any adventurer's who enter Virulent's lair should be wary of many mystical traps and tests along the way to her inner sanctum. She has likely set up some type of proving gauntlet to weed out the lesser heroes from those who are truly 'worthy' to face her. While this is not technically true combat information, it is matters that one should be aware of when dealing with ancient wyrms. They will use every method at their disposal to trick you, and will likely take great pleasure in watching you fall to their traps.

Footnote 1: Little is known of the Jermlaine society at this point, but keep watching for future updates in the Bestiary on them.

Submitted by: Magnus
Edited and Retouched by: Grand Sable Librarian