The Dragonborn should have known better than to walk with the female Human.
Among the Unshackled it is often said that "Warriors cannot fight enemies and themselves at the same time," and that "Females are the supreme adversary."
Rhomaug carried on a desultory conversation with the wizardess, Alundra, as the morning ripened and the party retrod the trail from Baldur's Gate to [Hotel Goblinfornia]. When the taciturn woman fell silent, the bladesman pondered the aromas and visual signals from the female, trying to learn if the Human was friend or foe. Humans were not strangers to Rhomaug, but he had never had prolonged exposure to one, or any as friends.
The witchsword also reflected on his unseemly ways in relation to his race. Unlike most of his brethren he was interested in language and writing, and in matters of the mind as much as of the flesh. He also had a growing appreciation for the females of other species. It occurred to the just-past-adolescent male that Dragonborn are an awkward hybrid of dragon and human, and so it only made sense on one level for there to be a fascination — and dread — concerning other sorts of being.
The Human, like her male relative, Eldarion, was spare with her words, and yet in her face Rhomaug thought he saw traces of….
Rhomaug noticed with annoyance and alarm that Eldarion, who had been walking point with the enamored Halfling, had suddenly broken from the trail and run back to some rocks the Dragonborn and Human were just now passing. `Maug felt a sinking sensation as he realized he had not been paying nearly enough attention to the tactical situation.
With that much warning, the Halfling shrilled a cry of shock and pain and a bristling, leggy brown spider larger than she was upon her, biting at her.
In a blink there was another spider and Rhomaug, furious with himself, ran into the fray. The Halfling was gashed and stabbed and bleeding profusely, staggering, trying weakly to defend but obviously having trouble. Snarling, the Unshackled began swinging the recently-acquired enchanted blade at the first attacker, but a third monster sprang from nowhere and landed right next to the falling comrade, Nibbles. Rhomaug summoned the power of his training and exchanged places with the stricken Halfling, facing her with one opponent and placing himself in the very fangs of two chittering fiends. They were very fast and large and their poision chilled the Dragoborn's heart.
Preparing to unleash a lightning charge through his blade, Rhomaug's heart faltered and his vision dimmed, flickered, and then he saw nothing, heard the distant sounds of a muffled battle, and felt death washing about his insides like dead gray fish in a darkening, warm pond….
Then Rhomaug's lips burned and his gut twisted as if a small fire had been kindled inside. He opened his eyes and above him was the human, Alundra, gazing into his focusing eyes, her own blinking and going from some unreadable expression to one Rhomaug was very familiar with … anger.
As he struggled to his feet, shrugging off the carcass of the largest of the spiders which had died on top of the Dragonborn, the Wyrm-man saw Alundra standing next to the Drow female (who had moved up from her "drag" position and was emitting a disturbing vibratin that seemed to repel the monsters), both sending horrible, wonderful forces of arcane might at the spiders. Rhomaug shook his head to bring the tripled images close enough to one for him to make out that the Halfling was down and far, far too still.
Like the savage bite of orc-peppers in a stew, Rhomaug had come to enjoy the runtish little female who, when the need was great, proved to be a worthy comrade in battle. To see her lively face twisted in the memory of pain, if breathing at all, too shallowly to be seen, angered the witchsword. He knealt beside the ridiculously small person and found her worst injuries and pinched them shut fiercely, slowing the loss of her blood. When her rosey complexion began to return and oust the sickening gray-green palor of the spider poison, Rhomaug stepped back to the side of the arcane women and sent his blade to support their attacks, but they had little need of his feeble assistance, and in an instant more the spiders were dead, Eldarion's own body lying near death right next to one eight-legged corpse.
Rhomaug's mind thawed slowly from the fog of near-death, the jangling alarm of a potion and the ebbing tide of filthy poison, and the party revived Eldarion and made camp.
Uxia, the Drow princess, was giddy with the acquisition of provender apparently more to her liking than trail rations. His own health slowly returning, and a perverse sense of justice sparking him, Rhomaug asked to sample a leg. Perhaps the Drow knew something of exotic food he might find enjoyable. In fact, the flavor was palatable enough, if bland, but he liked the crunch of the chitenous exoskeleton on the leg followed by the pulping of the tender meat inside….