Council of Thieves

Summary: 22 ???
Chapter Four: The Infernal Syndrome

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Summary 21: I Have To Rest
Chapter Four: The Infernal Syndrome
 
Shamus: Ahhhh, my head, what the heck hit me? Hey Zaknafein WAKE UP!
 
Zaknafein: (Waking up) I'm not sleeping. Wait, what the hell? I was sleeping? I don't sleep! And who hit me on the head? Ghaahhh!!! For Zon-Kuthon's sake, SHUT THAT SUN OFF!!!!
 
Sunderhoff: Oi, me stomach is churning. That was one rough night wasn't it. Hey get up little Sarenraen and farmer friend.
 
Beatrix: Ow, so much pain must rest me head. I have to rest to recover from the pain.
 
Kwan: My memory is not stable at the moment, but I believe we just rested; twice. Wha
 
Sunderhoff: Bah, ye Thralls are weak in the contitution. But, ay, twas quite the night ta remember.
 
Zaknafein: You mean forget? I can't remember a thing from the last few hours.
 
Shamus: Nor I. At least we still have our cloths on.
 
Kwan: Speak for yourself (throwing on his robe)
 
Sunderhoff: Eh, Bee, yee got me crown on yer head!
 
Beatrix: Sorry. Oh my GOD!!! Shamus is covered in BLOOD!!! He must me mortally wounded. I shall use my powers to heal him.
 
Shamus: But I feel fine?! Maybe it's not… Hey Beatrix, stop it with the healing touches.
 
Beatrix: Oh dear, you are in shock. Tis why you can't remember anything. Here, more healing, maybe that will mend your brain.
 
Kwan: I can't remember anything either.
 
Zaknafein: Nor I. Perhaps the guardian cast a spell on us?
 
Shamus: What guardian?
 
Zakanfein: The one sitting at the round table about 20 feet away.
 
Shamus: (Looking at the Kolyarut Inevitable) Enemy of Iomadae!! Ye shall feel the might of my gods fiery wrath!!
 
Kwan: Umm, I do not think he is evil. If that were the case, we would have been slain in our sleep.
 
Shamus: Grrr, why don't I remember?
 
Sunderhoff: Musta been the ale.
 
Everyone: What ale?
 
Sunderhoff: Well, me brain is slightly less foggy. What I do remember is that Beatrix asked us to rest so she could recuperate spells. The vote was 3-1 in going on, but for some reason that I don't remember, she ended up winning. Anyway, to pass the time, I suggested we try out this new rakshasa ale I recently bought. Never had tried it meself.  Me thinks I won't be indulging in that again.
 
Beatrix: So, we are… hungover?
 
Sunderhoff: Aye.
 
Shamus: (picks up a warhammer and tries to throw it at Sunderhoff, only to realize he can't even lift it)
 
Zakanfein: Perhaps we can reconstruct a few bits of the previous eve.
 
Kwan: You mean the previous two eves. I too recall we have been here for at leat that must time.
 
Shamus: My strength is gone.
 
Sunderhoff: Eye, let me think what I can remember
 
Shamus: My strength is gone.
 
Beatrix: So hard with my head hurting. Strange I seem to recall meeting the guardian and him asking to see… the contract?
 
Zaknafein: Yes, yes!!! Your right, that's how we got past him. He suggested something to us as well.
 
Sunderhoff: Twas The Twin demon. Said we had ta weaken the cage ta put him back in right? Somethin like that.
 
Shamus: HEY!!!! MY STRENGTH IS GONE!!!
 
Zaknafein: How did that happen?
 
Shamus: Looks like I have a lot of small bite scars on me.
 
Zaknafein: Yes, those are snake bites.
 
Sunderhoff: I don't remember snakes.
 
Shamus/Zaknafein (facepalm in unison) THE MEDUSA!!!
 
Shamus: That's where all this blood came from. Just didn't clean it off. And I have in my memory some spells to heal my strength.
 
Sunderhoff: So do I. Musta prepared em fer yee. But I don't remember any snakes.
 
Kwan: That is because you were turned to stone from its gaze imediately. As was Beatrix.
 
Zaknafein: I seem to recall that you too Kwan were petrified. I now remember my meeting with a store owner in the middle of the night for some sort of powder to bring you all back to flesh.
 
Beatrix: Well, that explains why we rested one day. But why did we rest a second one?
 
Sunderhoff: And why did I memorize a comprehend languages?
 
Shamus: That damn door!
 
Sunderhoff: Oh, that's right! That's why we rested a second day, so that I could figure out what that damn door was sayin. An with nothin else ta do, I suggested we try out the ale.
 
Zaknafein: Then I suggest we get on with our mission.
 
(after several devil door riddles later)
 
Zaknafein: Well, that is odd. An empty cage with strange black globes around the room and chains supported the cage. I suppose we destroy the globes?
 
Shamus: Let's do it.
 
Kwan: (after shattering a glode, recoils from the spray). Watch out, it hurts the souls this liquid from the globes.
 
Shamus: I fear no globes (shattering another one)
 
Zaknafein: I do (shattering one from afar with his bow)
 
Shamus: Bah, this isn't doing anything. Let's bash the cage. Ahh! Look out, the chains are alive.
 
And after a furious battle with the chains, a great beast appears. Ladaga The Twin now stood before the Thralls, but sadly he did not at all seem weakened. In fact, he seemed stronger than ever. This would be the ultimate fight for them all. Live or die, Westcrown was now at the mercy of the Thralls of Larazod.
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Summary 20: MoltenGold
Chapter Four: The Infernal Syndrome
 
It seemed like the search for the Infernal Machine was lasting for weeks, rather than only a few days. The Thralls had been beat up, burned, and blasted time and time again but still they stood and were ready for all challenges. As they ventured forth, they came to a room with a pool of molten gold. Flanking the pool were several demonic mirrors depicting hellish planescapes. SUNDERHOFF led the way, but couldn't help and gaze into one of these windows. Some strange force tried to pull him towards the pool, but he resisted. He looked into the glass and saw himself being tortured by demonic fiends. As quickly as the image appeared, it vanished after resisting feelings of hopelessness. Floating in its place was a magical amulet which the dwarf took into his possession. There still remained more mirrors to look at and perhaps more magical items within, so SHAMUS went in and looked at the next glass. As he did so, he saw an endless dark sewer with himself lost within. After pushing aside a wave of despair, the image disappeared and he saw a bag floating in midair. Within the magical bag of holding was a nice fortune in coins. BEATRIXinsisted on looking at a window to  help her friends out. She saw a city of spires and knew that she was gazing upon Dis, the second level of hell. Magical energies tried to overwhelm her but she resisted and the image faded revealing a magical rod hovering in the air. BEATRIX went to the next mirror, suppressed its attack and acquired a hellish ring. Clearly, every mirror’s defense mechanism lacked potency. SUNDERHOFF then went to another one and was rewarded with a magical staff.  SHAMUS then continued on and revealed another magical ring. BEATRIX looked in another mirror and took out a trident.
 
ZAKNAFEIN thought perhaps the weapons might be needed to combat the pit fiend and KWAN suggested they talk to the head in the Crux. This was quite the surprise to BEATRIX as she had never seen the thing and it started to make her wonder about the goodness of the people she was adventuring with. Sadly KHAZRAE knew nothing, and so KWANdecided to keep the head out  for a while to give her some air. SHAMUSthen went to the last window of hell and  took out a rope from the alcove behind. SUNDERHOFF took one look at it and remembered the embarrassment such a thing had caused him not so long ago. BEATRIXsuggested they rest up as she was  out of spell power for the day. SUNDERHOFF had recently invested his studies in using magical items, and it would give him time to take a look at their recent findings.
 
During that time, SUNDERHOFF tested the items. The rod changed SUNDERHOFF's clothing into that of a king, complete with a golden grown and glowing cape. The Rod of Splendor would be a nice edition to SUNDERHOFF's stash. He then threw the trident, and a few seconds later, it returned to his hand. The amulet seemed useless and he didn't even try to test it. The other items, he couldn't make out what they did, save the Rope of Entanglement.
 
As the Thralls of Larazod slept, an unseen enemy summoned forth Lemures that tried to cut their throats. Luckily the wounds weren't too bad, and they all survived the first attack. KWAN jumped to his feet and chopped the Lemur closest to ZAKNAFEIN, stunning it and destroying it as the summoned creature vanished. SUNDERHOFF awoke and sent a wave of energy out, burning the infernal summoned creatures to oblivion. ZAKNAFEIN awoke next, a small cut on his throat, but there were no enemies to be found. SHAMUS, who had been awake the entire time, couldn't believe all that had just happened in the blink of an eye. He started Detecting Evil, and sensed the evil from their unseen foe. BEATRIX was the last to rise up, and feeling injured, decided to heal up those wounds. SUNDERHOFF commanded everyone to get near the pool as he prepared a blast from the MorrowfallZAKNAFEIN did just that, and the pool's magic enthralled the weak-minded Drow. ZAKNAFEIN suddenly started scooping molten gold into his hands, burning flesh to the bone. SUNDERHOFF threw the Sunburst blinding and burning the Gargoyles but missing the assassin who had teleported away. ZAKNAFEINmeanwhile dived into the molten gold as  the evil enchantment took even further hold upon his mind. As his skin burned however, the magical hold broke. SHAMUS ran to his friend and pulled the Drow out, while also healing some of those wounds with a magical touch. SUNDERHOFFused some more powerful healing spells to heal the rest of the burns. The Thralls decided to finish off the blind Gargoyles. They then decided to try to rest up one last time and this time no assassin arrived.
 
On the other side of the molten pool was a set of double doors. ZAKNAFEIN took a tentative step, and when the magic didn't take a hold, he advanced. KWAN however became fascinated by the molten gold and took a handful as he passed by. He fought the urge to jump in however, and followed his friend. The rest of the Thralls followed, going down a large corridor and into a strange place; a dessert. Off in the distance, titanic demons tormented slaves with whips. Strange dark clouds surrounded the prisoners, and fangs strung from their smoky depths to bite at them. Within the sand, metal thorn patches were scattered about. In the distance a cavern could be seen. What was strange was that the map they had made no mention of the dessert, and in fact showed a small room. ZAKNAFEIN's eyes pierced the veil of the illusion and saw that indeed the dessert was not truly there. The clouds and spikes however were real, although much closer than they appeared. The Drow warned his friends of what he truly saw. All of his friends saw the truth, save for SUNDERHOFF whose mind could not comprehend that the landscape before him was a fake.
 
The shadow chicken-like clouds ran past the stealthy Drow towards SHAMUSZAKNAFEIN sprang into action, his scimitar slashing the closest one. SUNDERHOFF Blessed everyone, inspiring them in combat. SHAMUS then moved in with his hammer and smashed the closest one. KWAN then hit the chicken nearest him, stunning it. BEATRIX took out her quarterstaff and moved in closer. She then Firebolted one, burning feathers. The large Devil chickens created a globe of darkness that enveloped the room. That darkness emanated a Confusion spell as well as burning the flesh of all within. Luckily, all the Thralls resisted the Confusion. Two chickens then clawed at BEATRIX who parried the claws. ZAKNAFEIN pulled out his frost bow but missed with an arrow. SUNDERHOFF then sent a Fireball into the fray, burning four of the shadow chickens badly.
 
SHAMUS flexed his muscles and put as much power as he could into his strikes. His first smash destroyed one chicken, while his second swing horribly wounded a second. KWAN went into the cloud to try to get close to a chicken, but the cloud's confusion found a chink in his mind's armor and suddenly KWAN was babbling incoherently. BEATRIX sent a Fireball into the chicken flock, roasting three to a simmering pile of meat. The last one was dropped by SHAMUS' hammer blow, and that opened the way to the next door. SUNDERHOFF walked very slowly towards the next door as for him the room was an endless dessert still in his mind. For the dwarf, he couldn't believe how fast his friends were moving through the sand. Eventually they all made it to the next door which led to a long cavern, with ZAKNAFEIN again scouting ahead.
 
The Drow found himself in a mining cavern, with many slaves and Demons working in various corners. Yet again, this did not appear on the map, and so ZAKNAFEIN was able to see through the illusion. Everything disappeared, save for a dragon-like creature that was guarding the way to a nearby staircase. This was a Behir, whose many arms and claws indicated a very deadly creature. ZAKNAFEIN also noticed a pair of picks nearby the Behir. SUNDERHOFF used his wand of Invisibility to hide everyone from sight. ZAKNAFEIN relied on his own skills of hiding in the shadows. BEATRIX then cast Silence on a coin and then went to get the picks. SHAMUS Detected Evil and surprisingly detected no such thing. From there, the Thralls unleashed hell upon the guardian as fireballs and steel struck the beast. SHAMUS' blade slashed in, cutting the Behir across the gut and spilling its innards all over the floor. With great pride, the paladin sheathed his new favorite blade as the Behir fell dead to the ground.
 
ZAKNAFEIN continued scouting ahead, going up the flight of stairs towards a light on the horizon. He came to a large forest, but the Drow could tell it was an illusion. What he did see was a pair of fiery pools in a much smaller room. A large fiery Minotaur guarded the way further in. ZAKNAFEIN took out his golem bane amulet and did indeed notice that the Minotaur was such a creature. He thus donned the token, giving him the ability to hit the creature. ZAKNAFEIN went back and let his friends know of his findings. SUNDERHOFF and KWAN remained invisible from the previous fight, thus giving them an edge in combat. SHAMUS put his own golem bane amulet on and prepared for another dispatch.
 

 

KWAN moved in back of SHAMUS and aided the paladin's defenses. SHAMUS then moved into the room and cracked the golem twice with his warhammer. BEATRIX moved closer to the action. The fire Golem then unleashed a column of fire, burning SHAMUS and ZAKNAFEIN.KWAN meanwhile jumped out of the flames, but found it odd that the forest around him wasn't catching fire. ZAKNAFEIN cut in with his glaive, hitting the golem once. SUNDERHOFF then sent a healing wave out, helping everyone out. KWAN again aided SHAMUS in his defense. SHAMUS smashed his hammer into the golem's face twice, hurting it badly. BEATRIX was finally in range to do something, and after analyzing the situation, decided to throw a Firebolt which was absorbed by the Golem. The Minotaur slammed ZAKNAFEIN and then that fist cleaved right into KWAN. That fist continued its circle, hitting SHAMUSon his armor. ZAKNAFEIN retaliated with a quick glaive hit. KWAN, now realizing the golem could see him, flurried with punches and kicks that dropped the Golem to the ground. With no sign of the Infernal Machine, the Thralls of Larazod continued onwards…
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Summary 19: Extinguishingthe Flames
Chapter Four: The Infernal Syndrome
 
The new love of KWAN approached the farmer and said to him to deal with BEATRIX. As KWAN held the poor woman, the Succubus caressed BEATRIX's cheek, and four claws gouging out the helpless woman's flesh. Coldness ripped through the Sarenranian's body and the Succubus seemed to take great pleasure as the negative energy seeped into her own soul. KWAN saw this and realized that something wasn't right about the situation. The jolt triggered his defensive Zen mind shields and suddenly he was no longer under the charm effect. He released his friend immediately. KWAN still offered to escort the Succubus, who revealed her name as JORIAVAHBEATRIX backed off, and ZAKNAFEIN stayed back after KWAN asked him to do so. SUNDERHOFF fired a beam of Searing Light at the Succubus, but missed. After the attack, JORIAVAHwas very angered and  disappeared. BEATRIX was quite happy the evil Demon was gone. KWAN continued to defend the Demon, saying she was in no ways evil, and that the decapitated heads all around were obviously the works of someone else. After a quick search, they came upon a rod; one of the elements the Council usurpers had been looking for.
 
Everyone went and joined SHAMUS in the corridor. Sadly a jet of steam shot out from a pipe and burned BEATRIXSUNDERHOFF quickly healed the burn as well as the cut on her face from the claws. SHAMUSthen opened a nearby door which revealed a room of equations on the walls. That got ZAKNAFEIN's mind to thinking about the map on the wall they had seen on the wall when they were attacked by the rogues. He drew out what he remembered and it indeed it was a map of what they had explored, minus the secret passage with the Succubus. That allowed them to orient themselves.
 
SHAMUS decided they should head back and explore some of the nearby rooms. KWAN led the way, jumping into the shadows and peeking into the next room which proved to be a huge silo. Down below, boiling dark waters roiled while in the air several small creatures flitted about. This was obviously one of the sources of the fiery columns above the surface. KWANnoticed a valve on the other side of the room, likely a control mechanism, as well as a door nearby. KWAN came back to his friends and let them know his discoveries. For the moment, the Thralls decided to leave the chamber and continue on further as the Steam Mephits would prove a challenge according to BEATRIX.
 
KWAN and ZAKNAFEIN, after having some disagreements as to who should lead, both headed to the next round silo. And they entered the room, the pressure in the chamber exploded, scorching their flesh and putting an end to their argument. SUNDERHOFF healed their wounds right away and then headed into the room towards the valve in the room. As he approached, he noticed there was a hollow end to turn the valve off. He thus tried their new found rod, and indeed that was what he needed. SUNDERHOFF thus began turning, while the pressure below continued until it exploded upwards, immolating the dwarf. He grunted the burns aside and continued turning the valve. After two more minutes of turning, and another silo fire blast, the pressure dissipated, and the silo was quiet.
 
From the sides of the walls, steam continued shooting out of pipes. KWANthought of the Thiefling room where there were many tables, and thought it would be a good idea to use them as shields. After a few minutes, the Thralls had their steam shields. ZAKNAFEIN was the only person not to take up one of them in hand as he was the scout. He went on ahead, and heard a voice cursing ahead. The speaker appeared in the darkness and as it spied the Drow, it screamed out that he would pay for what he had just done. ZAKNAFEIN ran back to his friends and announced that an undead thing was approaching, likely a vampire, and moved in back of SHAMUSSUNDERHOFF Blessed his allies. SHAMUS took up a defensive pose, and KWAN helped defend his friend. DARGENTU the Lich Shade appeared in the light and took a Lightning Bolt from SUNDERHOFF's wand. The Lich however seemed to reach out and grasp the spell, absorbing it in his own body for use later.
 
SHAMUS right next to the Lich and smashed it in the face. ZAKNAFEINsprung in with his glaive but it  bounced off the Lich's undead flesh. KWAN moved next to SHAMUS and grappled DARGENTU to the ground. The Lich clawed at KWAN's chest and two ribs were torn out. SUNDERHOFF sent a small Firebolt out to test the Lich's resistance to the element. And indeed the bolt did so some damage and brought a hiss of pain from the Lich. SHAMUS smashed the lich twice with his hammer, hurting the Lich further. ZAKNAFEIN looked at the battered Lich and remember that the Lich looked like the lost mayor of Westcrown as depicted in a tapestry at the Cornucopia. The Drow then sprung in and clipped the Lich with his glaive. KWAN then flipped DARGENTU over and into the Sharpshooter hold, pinning the Lich in place. BEATRIX placed a healing hand upon KWAN and healed all of his wounds.
 
DARGENTU couldn't believe the position he found himself in. He was in an inescapable position and simply could not get out of the half-naked man's hold. SHAMUS continued hammering the Lich. ZAKNAFEINtried to question the Lich, but he would give no answers unless he was released. As that was out of the question, KWAN continued the pressure and broke DARGENTU's spine. As he did so, the Lich exploded in a poisonous cloud of necrotic dust. Only ZAKNAFEIN and SUNDERHOFF escaped, while the rest of their friends choked on the undead stuff. A few spells healed up the burns and poison damage, and the Thralls were ready to move on.
 
Following the corridor, ZAKNAFEIN scouted ahead and came to yet another silo structure with another valve. He went through the room and opened the door on the other side. He then signaled the all clear. Unlike the previous room, there was no pressure buildup. SHAMUS followed his friend's words and entered the room. When he entered however, he noticed the vile water below start rising and forming into a monstrous Water Elemental with skulls inside. Its huge fist punched out, but SHAMUS ducked at the last second. SUNDERHOFF moved into the room but was hit by an Elemental fist that drained away some of the Dwarf’s life. The return pick attack just bounced off the Elemental. KWAN moved into the room and took on a full defensive stance. BEATRIX then created a magical gateway and tried to send the Elemental to the plane it came from. The magic encompassed the great beast and it was Dismissed. It was a great victory for the priestess. SUNDERHOFF used the Stygian Keyrodon the valve  and the boiling water below calmed.
 
One more silo was ahead of them, but with no monsters within, it was easy for SUNDERHOFF to turn it off. KWAN then suggested they go back outside to see if the fire columns were indeed extinguished. As they emerged from the tapestry doors, they did indeed notice the valves they had shut had indeed dissipated the flaming towers outside. It was still unclear as to whether shutting the valves off was a good thing, but the Thralls felt that big fires in the city that were not there to begin with, should indeed not be there. They thus went to the Steam Mephit silo and, after a quick battle, they turned the boiling water off. They moved on to the final silo, and turned it off after seeing no threats. All that remained now was finding the Infernal Machine.
 
ZAKNAFEIN scouting ahead further after the fifth silo and used the map as a guide to where they thought the machine might be. After passing through a set of iron doors, he walked down a set of steps to a vast room whose decor depicted a city of spires. Sitting at a hovering table, were Gargoyles eating body parts, while to the south was a wall of fire. At the head of the table, a throne hovered in the air. The Drow went back to his friends and let them know his findings, and then went back into the room. ZAKNAFEIN decided to sit directly on the throne to see what would happen. As he did do, two of the Gargoyles tossed a pair of hearts to the Drow and asked what the difference of between the heart of a virgin and the heart of a tramp was? He gave an answer that seemed to satisfy the Gargoyles. The Drow also recognized the hearts and body parts were illusions. ZAKNAFEIN then said that he and his friends had come down to repair the Infernal Machine and to see the pit fiend LIEBDAGA the Twin. The Gargoyles insisted that the repair team eat with them. At first the Thralls were hesitant, but KWAN and SUNDERHOFF participated in the Feast, while at the same time recognizing the food was an illusion. Both SHAMUS and BEATRIX refused to partake in the evil act and unleashed a potent dose of diplomacy to avoid the Gargoyles wrath. The firewall too was an illusion, and both SHAMUS and BEATRIX saw this when their other friends walked right through it.
 
The next room depicted a chapel with a set of stain glass doors. The image on the doors was the same as the great demonic figure they had seen after the explosion of the mayor's manor. LIEBDAGA the Twin of close at hand.
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Summary 18: Finish Him!
Chapter Four: The Infernal Syndrome
 
It was apparent that the fleeing enemies had pulled some sort of switch to block the way with a wall or that it had been conjured. SHAMUS moved in with his warhammer and began slamming it into the mortar, sending pieces flying. After a few smashes, part of the wall collapsed, making a five foot hole. As that last hammer struck however, the enemy on the other side was ready as a ray of black energy hit the paladin in the face and drained away some of his strength. ZAKNAFEIN moved towards the opening, but he quickly looked at a nearby pile of bodies and noticed a pair of rogues hidden there. He lashed out at them, but his scimitar got caught in a corpse. SHAMUS took note of the rogues, but didn't care as he charged the Halfling that just would not die. Metal crushed bone, bringing a cry of pain from the small caster. From above, an Imp emerged from the shadows and tried to sting SHAMUS, but the barb bounced off of plate. KWANmeanwhile went to an unopened door and defended it, thinking enemies would be coming from behind. The Halfling tried to cast a ray at SHAMUS, but the paladin kicked the hand high and the ray hit the ceiling. BEATRIX meanwhile moved closer as did SUNDERHOFF.
 
ZAKNAFEIN, his eyes now burning from SUNDERHOFF's stupid Morrowfall, went into his Dervish Dance, hitting one of the rogues, and then hitting the Halfling ABERTEN at the end with a blade. The rogues came out of their hiding place and moved up to SHAMUS, but their blades were turned aside. The big man turned around and smashed them both with his hammer. The Imp looked to the paladin and Suggested him to help his friends, but SHAMUS' power was such that no charm spells could affect him. KWAN, seeing no one behind, ran towards his friends. He saw the Imp and jumped up, tackling the flying thing to the ground. ABERTENagain Enervated SHAMUSBEATRIX blasted a rogue with fire from her Produce Flame spell, nearly downing him. SUNDERHOFF tried to pick the Imp, but missed.
 
The Drow slashed at the sorcerer, but the small man ducked both slashes. A reverse stab then cut one of the rogues dead. SHAMUS tried to hit the Halfling, but the hammer nearly fell from his grasp as the sorcerer’s blood oozed down the pommel. The Imp meanwhile was able to get out of KWAN's grasp and dodged all of the monk’s attacks. ABERTEN again cast an Enervation that brought SHAMUS dangerously closer to death. BEATRIX hit the Imp with small ball of fire, but it absorbed the damage. SUNDERHOFF moved up to SHAMUS and with a wave of a wand and returned all of SHAMUS' lost life force.
 
Three scimitar slashes by ZAKNAFEIN came back unbloodied as is seemed like the enemies were adjusting the tactics of the heroes. SHAMUS, now very mad at ABERTEN the Enervator, crushed the small man with two mighty hammer hits, yet still ABERTEN held on to a small ounce of life. The Imp cast Grease on SHAMUS' pommel, making it slippery to hold. KWAN flurried the Imp, but only hit his foe once. ABERTEN blasted everyone with a Lightning Bolt from his wand, hitting all but KWAN who somersaulted it at the last second. The remaining rogue backed into a corner and drank a potion to heal up some wounds. BEATRIX blasted the Halfling with fire, but it went through a Blurred image. SUNDERHOFF tried to pick the Halfling but missed.
 
ZAKNAFEIN was sure of his scimitar strikes, but they too hit shadowed images of the Halfling. The rogue then emerged from the shadows and shot the paladin in the back with a crossbow the barb bounced off of the armor. ABERTEN meanwhile started pleading for his life and offered SHAMUShis Wand of Lightning as an act of good will. The paladin broke ABERTEN's foot, rather than his head. A second backhand knocked ABERTEN out cold. BEATRIX wanted to burn something, and seeing the rogue still in the fight, burned the foe with a small ball of fire. SUNDERHOFF saw KWAN was having some trouble and decided to aid in grappling the Imp. The Imp quickly went into Invisibility just before KWAN could grab the Devil.
 
Now very mad over having to fight the same foe thrice, the Drow looked at ABERTEN and decided to finish him with a slash to the caster's throat. The rogue tried to tumble past the heroes in an attempt to escape. ZAKNAFEIN severed the rogues Achilles tendon in his escape, while KWAN's Belt of Teeth lashed out with a painful slash and KWAN tripped the man down. SHAMUS heard the Imp flying nearby and tried to strike the Imp, but missed. BEATRIX saw the rogue in front of her and shot the man in the face with fire, bringing a satisfying and sadistic scream from the man. SUNDERHOFF cast an Invisibility Purge revealing the Imp who was now right above KWAN.
 
ZAKNAFEIN took out his ice bow and with a perfect shot, hit the Imp in the spine. The Devil resisted some of the arrows damage, but it hurt. The rogue jumped to his feet, but took a pick hit from SUNDERHOFF for his efforts and fell to the ground thanks to a KWAN Sleet FootSHAMUStook out his new longsword and jumped  with a mighty swing, cutting the Imp. The small creature tried to sting KWAN, but missed. The farmer in turn grabbed the Imp by the foot and dragged him down where there it was pummeled by an endless flurry or kicks. After a few healing waves, everyone was ready to go. BEATRIX however said that her spells were already expended and that she needed some time to pray for spells or else be useless the next little while.
 
They decided to scout out the two rooms behind them. The first room they came too was a room filled with bodies. One of them was still alive. A few healing touches from SUNDERHOFF brought the JALKI to consciousness. The man said there was a woman commanding him and the troops and that she was trying to get to the Infernal Machine. It seemed the woman was looking for three things: a talisman, a key rod, and a contract. AVAHZI Serafian was the woman’s leader. The rogue said that EIRTEIN had sent the rogue to infiltrate AVAHZI's ranks as the Council of Thieves had been compromised. This Council was the secret body ruling Westcrown, a society thought to be a dead. AVAHZI wanted to reach LIEBDAGA the Twin to strike a deal with the pit fiend, to help them make a power play to take over the city. The keyrod meanwhile was called the Stygian Keyrod, and still remained hidden. As for the amulet, the rogue knew nothing about it. The contract, the Thralls of Larazod had it on them. Yet the grand leader of all of the carnage and anarchy was none other than CHAMMADY Drovenge, a woman the Thralls have encounter on two occasions thus far. She wanted Westcrown to be free of Thrune, free of the Hellknights and return the town to what it once was.
 
After letting JALKI go, the Thralls went back to where they had slain ABERTEN. There was a set of double doors there to go through. Fearing a surprise attack on the other side, ZAKNAFEIN impaled the Halfling body on his glaive then waved the body in the open passage. When no crossbow bolts launched out, the Drow released the corpse. Just before he headed into the passage though, ZAKNAFEIN's keen eyes spotted a pair of secret passages. He thus went there, blending with the shadows to scout ahead a passage leading up. He soon came to a large cave with a lot Tieflings, all of whom seemed to be laborers. ZAKNAFEIN thus came out of the shadows and tried to speak with them. The Tieflings were not at all in the talking mood, and attacked the Dervish by throwing anything they could find. ZAKNAFEIN quickly dodged a bucket, a broom, several rocks and a wet sponge before retreating and called out for a Fireball.
 
SHAMUS moved in to block the way of these poor souls from escaping the chamber. And as he deflected the several mundane projectiles, BEATRIXmoved closer and tried the diplomatic approach. ZAKNAFEIN looked at BEATRIX and reprimanded her for not listening to him. SUNDERHOFF moved closer to the cave and illuminated its interior with the MorrowfallKWAN then moved into the chamber and noticed a cave entrance that continued deeper and opted to investigate on his own. BEATRIX realized the situation was out of her control and after asking everyone to clear the way, she Fireballed the servants. KWAN continued down his southern passage, while SHAMUS started exploring a northern one.
 
As KWAN explored the darkness, he heard an enchanting voice saying how she was hopeful someone as nice as him would drop by. ZAKNAFEIN heard KWAN's voice, but opted to follow SHAMUS. He came to a wall, but easily found the secret passage that allowed for further exploration. SHAMUS went in and after a while and came to yet another wall. He too found a secret lever that opened up yet another passage. As he did so, he heard rumbling before him, while steam bursts shot out randomly from the wall. SUNDERHOFF then entered the room, but saw none of his friends. KWAN's hidden foe again tried to Charm KWANwhose mind resisted the  spell. He said that he didn't want to harm the woman, only to gaze upon her. The woman then asked the monk to disrobe. BEATRIX went to investigate the naughty chat that she was hearing from KWAN. As she did so, the speaker seemed very disappointed at the sudden interruption.
 
SUNDERHOFF came into view and sent a Daylight spell into the room with KWAN and the speaker who, in the light, turned out to be a beautiful woman. The goddess Suggested the monk to join her for the evening, but still his mind resisted. The decor meanwhile was quite seducing with dark candles, dark silky curtains and an intoxicating aroma. The only thing out of place was a longspear with an impaled head on the end, as well as a dozen polished skulls decorating the room. KWAN offered to escort the lady above and she accepted. Not knowing what to do, BEATRIX swung her mace at the woman, fearing her friend was charmed. But Justice hit nothing but air. The woman asked KWAN to withhold his friend, and this time KWAN's mind became lost in the lady's eyes. He grabbed BEATRIXin a Choke Lock, a maneuver the aged priestess was hopeless to get out of.
 
KWAN was now Charmed.
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Summary 17: Wall of Fire
Chapter Four: The Infernal Syndrome
 
Things were not looking too good for the Thralls of Larazod, as the battle had spread their ranks out. Those who were encumbered by armor and age were well back in the ranks. While those whom were fleet of foot had battle raging around them. There was the Morrowfall that was casting the brilliance of the sun all around, making it difficult for the dark man. ZAKNAFEIN was in terrible condition but did notice a small opening in the rogue’s ranks, and used the dance of Shelyn to quickly slash away, dropping one, wounding horribly a second one, and nicking a third one. He then retreated behind the far building, where he suspected the mage was hiding. Two of the rogues pursued, while the rest decided to go after the unarmed and injured KWANZAKNAFEIN readied his parrying glaive and yelled at BEATRIX to Fireball the enemies. KWAN then remarked that she was to slow on the trigger, to which the young woman in an old body confirmed.
 
KWAN took a rapier in the rib, but KWAN was able to turn at the last second, lessening the prick, but it was a painful one nonetheless. Three other rogues stabbed the farmer from behind, always finding those vital areas they were trained to aim for. ZAKNAFEIN meanwhile deflected his own attacker's blade. The Drow was quite relieved, until he spotted the caster Halfling in the shadows, cursing to himself. Still on his feet, KWAN heard the call of SUNDERHOFF to give him a few seconds while he channeled the Morrowfall's powers. SHAMUS charged in next to KWAN, his body still trailing smoke from the three magical blasts he had already taken. His hammer smashed the weaker rogue to paste. SUNDERHOFF contemplated using a Sunburst but then opted for a Fireball directly on KWAN, knowing he would dodge it aside. Unfortunately, only one of the rogues took the blast while the others jumped aside. The caster then took out a harrow deck and started throwing several cards to the ground. All three cards burned up, giving the caster added strength to his next spell. Both Scorching Rays flew at ZAKNAFEIN, but only one burned the Drow and all the Dervish wanted then was some magical healing.
 
Now it was BEATRIX's turn. Calling to Sarenrae, she produced a magical wall of fire that burned many of the rogues harassing KWAN, and singing the famers clothes and SHAMUS' armor as they were just on the outskirts. A small healing surge healed up some of SUNDERHOFF's wounds. One of the rogues dropped to ash, while another took some major damage. The Wall of Fire however also cut off KWAN from his friends as he found himself on the opposite side. KWAN kicked the rogue in front of him hard in the groin with a ki. On a follow-up kick however he stubbed his toe on side of the nearby building and hopped about for a few second in embarrassing pain. ZAKNAFEIN, still enraged over the loosing situation, slashed away with his glaive on each rogue, wounding them even more.
 
The remaining rogues flanking KWAN, both missed their strikes, while another one stabbed true. As the foe moved away however, KWAN's belt of teeth lathed out and bit the man in his retreat. Another rogue too tried to get away and so KWAN Drop-Toe-Holed the rogue into the flames. Another rogue got out of the fire and jabbed a small wound into the armpit of SHAMUS. Two other foes got out of the fire and drank potion that mended their wounds. SHAMUS crushed his foe's jaw dropping him down out of the fight. SUNDERHOFF Blessed his allies to inspire them in battle. The caster meanwhile wanted to drop the Drow and sent a hail of Magic Missiles along with three cards. Each missile blasted into the dark man, and sent him to one knee. BEATRIX's fires burned everyone around, including her friends. KWAN, now barely holding on, invited one of the rogues to attack him while he drank a potion to heal some of his wounds. The rogue was not baited however, but the monk felt a little better. He wanted to get on the other side of the fire wall for help, but he knew the flames would be his downfall.
 
ZAKNAFEIN meanwhile did the same thing on his end, and ran around the building to get to SUNDERHOFF's healing waves. As he rounded the bend, he noticed the fire wall and cursed the caster as now he was stuck between the caster and his two minions, and the ending flame. ZAKNAFEIN asked who in the nine hells had casted the spell. KWAN answered, his voice showing the agony he too was facing, and said the BEATRIX had trapped them. There were still four rogues left, three of which were unwounded thanks to potions. They in turn came upon ZAKNAFEIN, with one even going into the fire to get a better position. Rapiers stabbed in, and ZAKNAFEIN's body spun and dropped from the two massive wounds to the heart. SHAMUS ran up to BEATRIX who healed the paladin with a wand. After the magical touch, he drank a potion to heal up even more wounds. SUNDERHOFF ran towards his fallen friend, jumping through the fire wall.
 
The Halfling caster finally moved up on top of the building, making himself a target for the Thralls. KWAN, still critical, saw a brief beat of the heart of ZAKNAFEIN through the blood and gore, and knew that he was his only hope. He gave a potion to ZAKNAFEIN to stabilize his friend. All the rogues seem to be resisting the urge to attack, save one who stabbed out but missed. The potion was just enough to open the Drow's eyes, and he drank another potion after KWAN told him the rogues were holding back. Seeing as the enemies were not capitalizing on possible opportunistic attacks, he got to his feet. The rogues continued their attacks after that however, focusing on ZAKNAFEIN again. One of them tried to tumble pass, but a scimitar slashed him in the back. It was not enough to drop him however, and he stabbed ZAKNAFEIN again in the left ventricle, nearly dropping the ranger again. BEATRIX blasted the flying Halfling with a Fireball. Sadly, it was absorbed by a shielding spell. SHAMUS pulled a SUNDERHOFF and ran through the firewall to get to his friends. SUNDERHOFF then sent out a healing wave to help all of his friends.
 
From the shadows, emerged a dark figure who tore out BEATRIX's spleen. JERUSEN the Vampire then drained away some of the Sarenranian's energy. The Halfling above looked at SHAMUS and said how much he hated the paladin as he threw three harrow cards down to the ground. Their magic infused his spell as he threw two Scorching Rays at the tank, nearly toppling him over. KWAN went to punch a rogue, but the rogue suddenly tripped the farmer and although the monk regained his balance, it took all of his skill to not fall into the fire.
 
ZAKNAFEIN's Barbarian Rage finally subsided as the battle wore on. And with that, the fatigue and adrenaline subsided as well. There was nothing else to fight on however. Scimitars sliced the air, with the first cutting deep on the rogue’s leg, while the other sliced across the man's belly, sending the man vomiting. A quick third slash hit an artery on third foe, sending blood pouring out. SUNDERHOFF found himself flanked by a pair of rogues, but his armor deflected the blades. BEATRIX, now very wounded, ran through her own fire wall and screamed out that there was a Vampire on the field of battle. SUNDERHOFF then sent out a wave of healing of help all of his friends in their moments of pain. SHAMUS, now a little better, smashed another rogue.
 
The Halfling's hatred for SHAMUS continued to rage, and he blasted the paladin with another pair of Scorching Rays and dropped the tank to the ground. KWAN, now feeling a little better, punched one rogue's lights out with a one-two combo. ZAKNAFEIN, still dizzy from all of his wounds, stayed in the fight was able to cut the last rogue down to the ground. Now there remained only the Halfling and the hidden Vampire. BEATRIX used her own healing wave to help her friends out, which brought a flickering to the eyes of SHAMUSSUNDERHOFF blasted the Halfling with a Searing Light from the MorrowfallSHAMUS then drank a potion to help himself out a little more. With the Thralls of Larazod still standing, and with the Halfling seemingly out of spells, the caster fled the scene, leaving the heroes to lick their wounds.
 
Looking at the rogues, each one of them had a bag of jewelry. At the moment, none of the Thralls thought anything of it, but it occurred to ZAKNAFEIN much later that the rogues were not at all dominated as they had thought, but rather paid guards. SHAMUS healed up the dark man and removed the fatigue brought on by the Rage in the process. The heroes then continued exploring the area after some more healing from the clerics.  They decided to explore a nearby building first. ZAKNAFEIN moved into the shadows and scouted ahead. They went room after room, finding previous signs of life that had only been recently extinguished by the Thralls themselves outside. Under a floor board, they did find a very nice mithril longsword that, from experience, was great against Demons. It was given to SHAMUS immediately as a backup weapon.
 
After going down a corridor, ZAKNAFEIN opened yet another door and screamed out "Shadows!" The Drow and the rest of the Thralls hated shadows given their previous encounters. KWAN ran to his friend's side, tonfa readied in a defensive stance. He struck one between the eyes, and hurt the undead. SHAMUS activated the flame on his weapon and moved in. SUNDERHOFF sent a Sunburst into the shadows from the Morrowfall and obliterated all of the undead in a sudden blast of light. With all doors explored, there remained the tapestry door. ZAKNAFEIN used one of the mayor’s keys to open the doors. As he did so, a wave of sonic energy crushed the Thralls back, breaking bones. Despite the lock opening, the door refused to budge. All five of the Thralls smashed at the door in unison and the door fell open. SUNDERHOFF used another healing wave to bring everyone to full health. With spells low, and charges spent, the heroes decided to rest up a little while and pray for their holy powers. So it was back to the safehouse where there they would be able to get some of their magical gear identified.
 
The next day the Thralls returned to the shimmering portal. They noticed the door was ajar, and feared the glyph again active. SUNDERHOFF protected himself from sonic energy, and indeed, as he opened the door, the blast hit him right in the face. Luckily his spell did protect himself from the damage. The dwarf then led the way, his bright amulet shining the way down the stairs before them. They soon came to set of Thrune banners and upon one of the walls was a plaque depicting a map. Behind the banners, rogues jumped out and surrounded SUNDERHOFF. Two of them punctured his left lung, but luckily he had a second one, and easily stood. KWAN was first into the room, stunning the nearest rogue and causing him to drop his rapier. SUNDERHOFF tried to hit the same rogue, but missed. With little room to move, he knew that SHAMUS needed to get into the room and so he left the room on KWAN's order. That left the monk surrounded, by the rogues. One of the rogues blocked the way into the room while the rest attacked, with only one hitting for a minor cut. ZAKNAFEIN then lunged in with his glaive, but missed, while BEATRIX waited for a moment to strike.
 
KWAN stunned another rogue, and then kicked a second one in the face. SUNDERHOFF used his ring of the ram to try to blast the rogue in front of him back into the room, opening the way. SUNDERHOFF then asked BEATRIX for a Fireball, while praying that his god would protect him from most of the burns. KWAN jumped out of the way, but none of the rogues did as they were burned to ash. Behind two of the banners were a pair of doors, one of which was opened. There, ZAKNAFEIN noticed a lot of floor traffic and so took the lead yet again. His purple eyes scouted ahead for dangers along the way. He soon came to a room where there he saw a swarm of what looked like rogues, as well as the Halfling caster and an Elven woman. ZAKNAFEIN signaled for another Fireball and he got what he asked for from BEATRIX. She always seemed the most joyous from barbecuing flesh.
 
KWAN ran into the room and helped ZAKNAFEIN in his defense. BEATRIX, meanwhile already had her finger on fire as she sent a wall of fire into the room, scorching flesh even more and blocking a nearby doorway. The Halfling caster sent a Lightening Bolt out, striking all the Thralls. The mages image was always slightly blurred and his feet were hovering off the ground. All the rogues were in rough shape, and one of them tried to move up, but was blocked by the shadow of ZAKNAFEIN. Surprised, it took a swing at the hidden Drow, but missed. SHAMUS, his crossbow already loaded, shot the flying Halfling, but missed. ZAKNAFEIN then came out of the shadows, scissored the rogues head off in front of him with a pair of slashes, then backed up to allow for his friends to go in. BEATRIX's fire wall burned the enemies nearby, while she herself bonked herself with a curing wand.
 
The enemy Elf in the corner of the room cast a hellish Flamestrike on the Thralls. All of them were horribly burned. The Halfling caster meanwhile looked at SHAMUS and blasted his favored foe with Scorching RaysSHAMUS healed up some of his wounds, while BEATRIX sent a healing wave out to help everyone out. ZAKNAFEIN then charged in towards the Elven cleric. She told the Drow that she had awaited the time when she would finally sent him back to the underdark where he came from. KWAN tumbled into the room, past the now dead rogue bodies and right next to the cleric. SUNDERHOFF Searing Lighted the Halfling in the chest, and it burned a hole right through the sorcerer.
 
The cleric sent a wave of Unholy Blight out, sickening everyone and burning skin. The Halfling sent out another Lightening Bolt from his wand, hurting SUNDERHOFF even more. SHAMUS, still injured, stayed out of sight and healed himself up with his own magic. BEATRIX sent a Silence on KWAN, negating any spells by the casters. The monk then hit the Elf one with a punch. SUNDERHOFF tried to blast the Halfling with a Searing Light but this time missed, he then backed off, in need of healing. The Elf meanwhile backed off from the Silence radius and into the Wall of Fire and into the other chamber. KWAN and BEATRIX took yet another Lightning Bolt from the sorcerer who simply would not die. SHAMUS healed up SUNDERHOFF who was in the worst of shape. BEATRIX healed all of her allies with a wave, helping everyone out a little bit.
 
ZAKNAFEIN, now feeling a little better, rejoined the battle and tried to glaive the Halfling but he ducked the swing. KWAN then kied and punched and kicked the Halfling hard, while still taking burning pain from the nearby fire wall. SUNDERHOFF sent a Searing Light blasting out from his own finger tip and hurt the caster even more. Still standing, the Halfling blasted everyone with his wand yet again, hurting everyone with blinding electricity. Luckily for ZAKNAFEIN his minor resistance to magic turned it aside. The Halfling then fled through the wall of fire, taking a kick to the back by KWAN to speed his way. Yet the caster remained alive again, and there was no way through the fire without risking further injuries. ZAKNAFEIN however did indeed do just that as he wanted to finish the fight. He took the burns, but when he arrived on the other side, he saw that an actual wall had formed to block the way further down.
 
And so, the Halfling escaped with his life for the moment, but it would be short-lived.
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Summary 16: Devil Hunt
Chapter Four: The Infernal Syndrome
 
The Thralls of Larazod were in rough shape after their recent battles. SUNDERHOFF sent out a few waves to heal the most grievous, while BEATRIX used some of her remaining powers to heal her own wounds, and ZAKNAFEIN used his wand to heal up the rest. BEATRIX then voiced her desire to rest so that she could pray for spells. For the moment, that idea was put to the side, as they had much to do, and had also just rested an hour ago.
 
First off, they went to one of the fire columns to see if they were in fact dangerous. They tied a piece of wood to a rope and tested each column, with each producing disintegrated kindling each time. Thus, the columns were indeed deadly and not a good idea to go near. As the Thralls passed near one building, ZAKNAFEIN heard the cries of people from inside. BEATRIX again pleaded for a rest, and the Drow granted it to her. He and the Thralls however would investigate, with the ranger leading the way. Which meant that poor BEATRIX had no choice but to follow.
 
The doorway belonged to a guard post that had somehow survived most of the initial blast. After the Drow tested the door to see that it was indeed locked, KWAN decided to perform a courteous gesture and knocked politely. The only response was people asking for help. SHAMUS thus took his warhammer in hand and smashed through the door. As he did so, he noticed a pair of Lemures, but four times the size of the ones they had previously faced. ZAKNAFEIN took out his mithril scimitar and moved into the fray. As he did so, he noticed that there were two more giant Lemures in the room. His blade slashed through devil flesh, bringing a scream of pain. BEATRIX said from afar that she would stay back and help anyone in need. KWAN, decided to stay his ground to see what the Lemures would do (and watch someone else take the initial pain for once). SHAMUS however was as brave as an avatar and moved into the devils embrace, his hammer crushing the bones of one Lemure. The Lemures finally recovered from their initial shock of intruders and clawed at both warriors. ZAKNAFEIN took a pair of glancing blows. SHAMUS' plate armor deflected the claws. For a split second, SHAMUS saw an opening in a Lemure's defense, and capitalized by kicking it in the gut. That Lemure as it happened was suffering from the flu that day, and that simple kick sent its stomach heaving. SUNDERHOFF then moved in and Alignedone of ZAKNAFEIN's scimitars. BEATRIX sent out a wave of healing to help out ZAKNAFEINKWAN then decided to wade into the melee, dodging claws. He was able to trip one of the Lemures, and then Panther-Chopped that same one in the throat.
 
ZAKNAFEIN embraced the Dervish Dance, and his scimitars flashed in the darkness, wounding three devils. As he finished his flurry, he heard a scream of pain from outside. He turned to see BEATRIX with a bone stinger protruding from her stomach as a Bone Devil attacked her from Invisibility. And suddenly, the Devil disappeared. SHAMUS quickly left the battle, and ran to his new friend’s side. He tossed her a ring, and casted a Shield Other spell, little did he know, a potent poison had installed itself. The one Lemure on the ground got to its feet, and another scimitar slash. It slashed at KWAN, as did another one, bringing more blood to the battle. The other two missed the Drow. SUNDERHOFF prayed to his god, and sent a wave of harming energy that only melted Devil flesh. BEATRIX tried to Align SHAMUS' weapon, but the pain was too great and she lost her concentration. KWAN moved through the Devil ranks, inviting them to hit him and countered two outstretched claws, sending their possessors to the ground. He then tried to punch one in the face, but missed.
 
ZAKNAFEIN took out his other scimitar that cut in a keenly fashion, and hit three Lemures with his blades. SHAMUS continued looking around for the Bone Devil, and found him as it impaled the mighty Paladin with its poisonous stinger. It then quickly disappeared again. Not knowing what do, SHAMUS moved back in with the Lemures. As he did so, the Bone Devil appeared and stung him again. SHAMUS continued his walk into the room and smashed a Lemure on the ground. The Lemure then got to his feet, and avoided the hammer, then clawed at KWAN. Another Lemure also clawed at KWANZAKNAFEIN took a minor claw hit as well. SUNDERHOFF saw everyone wounded and sent a wave of healing out, helping his friends out. Now weak and frail, BEATRIX moved closer to her friends, and away from the immediate threat. KWAN, who was still very injured, stayed in the fight with a flurry of punches and kicks upon the closest Lemure. After a final circle kick that broke the Devil's neck, it fell dead to the ground. As it fell, it opened up the next room, where a pile of townsfolk were unmoving, but calling out for help.
 
The Dervish Dance continued for the Drow, his blades continued inflicting minor wounds that continued piling up. SUNDERHOFF was attacked by the Bone Devil, but the holy dwarf ducked the stinger. The devil then disappeared. SHAMUS fought off the poison and smashed a Lemure, this time putting all his frustration in not being able to hit the Bone Devil. His hammer arm listened to the call as it crushed the Lemure before him to paste. The Lemure next to him clawed him across the face. ZAKNAFEINtoo, took another claw  from one of the survivors. SUNDERHOFF then cast Align Weapon on ZAKNAFEIN's other scimitar. BEATRIX, was feeling the pain as the poison from the initial sting was coursing through her veins to the point where she could now barely move. KWAN, noticed his new friend in peril, but there was little she could do for the Thralls of Larazod's latest cannon fodder. He thus punched out at the nearest Lemure, and stunned its body with a kick to the temple. He continued the assault with a pair of punches and head-butt.
 
ZAKNAFEIN meanwhile began casting a spell, readying a Faerie Fire for when he saw the Bone Devil. And indeed he did see it as it stung him. The Drow's spell went off, but it failed to pierce the Devil's innate resistance. SHAMUS' god power however could not be resisted as he smashed the Devil with his smiting hammer. The Lemures seemed to be going for everyone, and this time they clawed at SUNDERHOFF. The Dwarf moved right next to BEATRIX and used his Wand of Restoration to give her all her strength back. That enabled her to get back into the fight, but with no spells, there was little she could do. She did send out a wave of healing energy. Sadly, KWAN was just out of range. The monk kied, pummeling a Lemure to death.
 
ZAKNAFEIN's scimitars slashed into the Bone Devil, but the aura of panic emanating from the Devil enveloped the Drow. The Devil then stung and clawed at SHAMUS, shredding armor and exposing ribs. SHAMUSretaliated with his warhammer, which smashed through the Bone Devil's ribs, and right to its spine. KWAN still had a Lemure to deal with, and he felt his world spin as two claws slashed him yet again. SUNDERHOFFmeanwhile was running  out of spells. He cast a Dimensional Anchorhoping to keep the Bone Devil  in place. The Devil's resistance however cast the effects aside. BEATRIX, could see blood pooling at the door’s entrance and knew it was KWAN's. She screamed to the monk to go to her, but he ignored the call, wanting the finish the fight. Another flurry of punches nearly dropped the Devil.
 
The infernal panic enveloped the Drow, and he ran off. The Bone Devil then clawed at the paladin, hurting him more. The paladin retaliated with a much greater hammer punch, again smashing bones to the ground. The remaining Lemure clawed at KWAN yet again, bringing the farmer to the edge of unconsciousness. SUNDERHOFF called to the Morrowfall and sent a beam of Searing Light that absolutely obliterated the Bone Devil's head and dropped it. BEATRIX sent forth her remaining wave of healing, helping KWAN a little bit and giving him the strength to uppercut the remaining Lemure dead.
 
The Thralls of Larazod now went to the group of people. SUNDERHOFFused his Touch of Healing to bring them all to consciousness. BEATRIXclearly saw that they were all  meant to become a sacrifice to some greater Devil. The Thralls carried the strengthless survivors to the nearest guard post to recover. They then went to the Safehouse to recover strength and pray for spells. After a few hours, they decided to go back to the blast site. It seemed that things had gotten worse as now lighting was seen arcing down to the ground from the clouds above.
 
After lingering around another building, ZAKNAFEIN's footfalls disturbed a swarm of bats. He backed off, and let BEATRIX throw her Fireball into the fray. Before she could do so, both KWAN and BEATRIXwere encompassed by the swarm. They  quickly backed off, opening the way as the Fireball burned the swarms away. The explosion did alert a couple of nearby Dominated Dottari. They ran in and attacked, and ZAKNAFEINquickly took out the mayor's contract,  not immediately recognizing this fact. They in turn said they were there to protect the place from all intruders. These charmed souls had been encountered before, and so ZAKNAFEIN stayed his blades and let his friends handle the situation. BEATRIX moved towards the Dottari and cast a Circle to Protection from Evil to hedge out the charm effects upon their minds. Soon enough, all four of the soldiers were mellow. One of them asked a Dottari named Roger, "What's goin on dude?" Roger responded by saying that some beastly fellow kept going to a hole in the back and it was him who had charmed them. It seemed that this master had gone in search of the bastard who had the Morrowfall. After dumping the Dottari in a cell in the meantime, the Thralls returned to the hole that had been guarded. They decided to dig a little into the rich soil, but they found nothing.
 
They soon came to a wall where the ballroom had been from the mayoral ball. As they looked upon it though, they noticed that the painting upon it was flickering in and out of existence, revealing a door. Hidden in the shadows, SHAMUS and ZAKNAFEIN spotted several figures hidden in the shadows with crossbows ready. To the left of the group was yet another group of reinforcements. ZAKNAFEIN moved towards this group, ready to deflect any incoming bolts. SHAMUS meanwhile ran towards the first group. Two of the figures left the shadows and spoke to ZAKNAFEIN, asking him to move along. ZAKNAFEIN responded by saying they were looking for the infernal machine, but the men said there was no such thing. From the shadows, men emerged with crossbows ready. The Drow then pulled out his own crossbow and as he fired, he ordered BEATRIX to Fireball KWAN who had moved into the fray.
 
In the air, haunting pipe music filled the air and the rogues in the shadows seemed inspired by the sound. ZAKNAFEIN's bolt hit home. Flying above, a robed Halfling suddenly appeared and commanded the rogues. KWAN found himself peppered by two bolts that deflated his left lung. He was able to deflect a third bolt going for his throat. ZAKNAFEIN found himself impaled with two rapier punctures, one to the neck, and the other in a vital muscle on the leg. SHAMUS ran up as fast as his armor would allow, but he was still outside the battle. The rogue caster above blasted SHAMUS with two Scorching Rays. One of the rays seemed to hurt the paladin much more. BEATRIX abandoned the Fireball and sent a silence at the caster, but he avoided it. KWAN then moved through the rogues, smashing one across the face.
 
The image of the Hellknight branding the Drow ran through ZAKNAFEIN's mind and that brought rage to the dark man. He threw down his crossbow and brought out his scimitars and allowed them to Dance. The first blade cut one of the rogue's spine in two. The man screamed in pain and then collapsed in a heap, begging for someone to end his suffering. Two other rogues each took a slash across their sword arms. SUNDERHOFF used a Searing Light from the Morrowfall to burn the Halfling. One of the rogues dropped his crossbow and took out his rapier, taking a scimitar slash for his efforts across the ribs. The Halfling above commanded the spineless rogue to move towards the monk. The farmer simply looked at the pathetic rogue and punched his brains in. Another rogue tried to tumble past and was tripped for his efforts. ZAKNAFEINtried to parry the five  rapiers, but three plunged through vital organs. SHAMUS used his Crown to blast the Halfling with the light of the sun. The caster cursed, not knowing what to do and so pulled out his wand of Lightening Bolt and fired it to burn KWANSHAMUS, and SUNDERHOFF.  Meanwhile, BEATRIX found her mind assaulted by a voice that commanded her to destroy the Dwarf, but her Circle of Protection stopped her from doing so. She thus blasted six of the rogues with flames, but only two were not able to duck from the fiery wrath.
 
And the battle continued on…
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Summary 15: Shinra
Chapter Four: The Infernal Syndrome
 
SUNDERHOFF quickly ran to ZAKNAFEIN and restored his strength through the power of a precious wand. The Dwarf then healed the Drow's and his own wounds. All around, people were panicking as the mushroom cloud in the south billowed up and seemed to form the outline of a demonic face. A quick analysis put the explosion near the Safehouse, putting speed into the Thralls movements. SUNDERHOFF took a few seconds to cast an Air Walk spell while his friends moved through the crowd in Gaseous Form. As they floated, they heard people screaming that the demon will soon escape. Near the explosion area, columns of flame could be seen rising to the heavens. The bright sky darkened to eternal twilight as the smoke blocked out the sun. Anarchy was everywhere, as was the destruction of building, shattered glass and screaming people. 
 
Arriving at the Safehouse, the Children could be seen gathering the wounded into the no-longer-secret hideout. Somehow the building had survived the blast, and in the time of tragedy, had become a beacon of hope for Westcrown. Every once and a while a wave of healing energy would come out from someone, and SUNDERHOFF joined in as he was blessed with many such powers. 
 
Through the chaos, a pair of blank eyes looked upon the strange heroes that had just walked in. She was new to the town, but the reputation of the Thralls of Larazod was never far from Wiscrani lips. Her dark complexion was as a stark contrast to most of the people around her and she couldn't help but gaze upon the bright artifact upon SUNDERHOFF's neck, glowing as bright as the sun of her own God Sarenrae. SUNDERHOFFtoo noticed her holy symbol and  went to her. They discussed where to better place the people in order for them to heal as many as possible.  
 
The old woman's God reflected SUNDERHOFF's and so she confided in the cleric that the explosion was indeed an indication that something had just escaped and she planned on putting it back in its place. SUNDERHOFF said that the solution may be in finding the Totemrixand joining it with the Morrowfall to complete the Aohl. He called to his friends and introduced his fellow Thralls of Larazod. They would all go to the source of the explosion, which seemed to come from the mayor's home and investigate. As it happened, a pair of Dottari came to unload several wounded citizens and one of them approached ZAKNAFEIN. She asked Larazod and his fellow Thralls to meet with the mayor at the Westcrown Depository. And so the four Thralls, and they're new companion BEATRIX headed out. 
 
As soon as they arrived, the mayor greeted them and stated that his estate was gone. He said that when he took office, he was told that something below the estate powered everything within. It seemed there was maintenance to be done, but he neglected it as he didn't want anything to do with it, particularly since it had to do with a captured Pit Fiend by the name of LIEBDAGA the Twin. The mayor also said that his Majordomo CROSAEL was snooping around, looking for the contract which held the beast in place. The Infernal Machine was the Devil’s prison, and it was likely this that was malfunctioning. BEATRIX read the contract in the mayor’s possession and it stated that the Infernal Duke was to serve the machine for a hundred years.  The mayor promised anything left of the manor was there's to keep. ZAKNAFEIN was quick to pull out a completed contract for the mayor to sign. 
 
The Thralls decided to rest a few hours at the Songbird Revelry. There they gathered their spells for the mission ahead. During the time of rest, SUNDERHOFF asked the gods for aid in finding the Totemrix. Shelyn was unfamiliar with the name Totemrix but was able to confirm ILNERIK‘s presence within Westcrown below the surface, but the Thralls assumed ILNERIK had the evil artifact. Once everyone was ready to go, they headed south to the explosion sight. 
 
Arriving at the place, they were shown to ground zero by one of the Dottari. The columns of fire, though menacing, didn't generate any heat. The Thralls decided to head into the pit, with BEATRIX having a little trouble navigating the crater. Yet after the tumultuous descent, there was simply nothing at the bottom what so ever. As they contemplated going back up, a strange creature appeared in the sky, her bow ready to fire and her wings keeping her aloft. KWAN took out his evil Bastard Token, and ZAKNAFEIN palm slapped himself in the face. He explained to the farmer that it was a Thrune token and was of no use. KWAN thus looked at the Devil and gave it the evil eye. BEATRIX searched her memory and remembered the Devil to be an Erinyes. She recalled the fallen angel was resistant to acid and cold and was a spellcaster. The priestess then sent a huge Fireball the Devil’s way which dissipated over the Devil’s innate resistance to magic. SHAMUS shot her with his Crown of Blasting, the holy light sending a hole right through her chest.  ZAKNAFEIN took out his crossbow but missed his target. SUNDERHOFF then used his new ring and an invisible ram's head slammed into her. The Erinyes decided to move off into the fire pillar, disappearing from sight. 
 
With nothing else to do, the Thralls began climbing back up. KWANquickly led the way, his nimble toes easily finding outcroppings to make it up one of the four levels. BEATRIX decided to stay and wait for a rope. SHAMUS tried following KWAN, but his armor weighted him down, as did SUNDERHOFF and ZAKNAFEINKWAN then noticed on either side of him, two Bearded Devils appearing from the rock and ready to attack. The Devils slashed with their glaives, with one grazing the monk’s thigh. As the blood flowed, it became darker and viler. 
 
KWAN Kied and took on a defensive pose while moving around the Devils. As an opportunistic glaive strike came in, KWAN countered with a punch to its jaw. The glaive however did cut deep in KWAN's ribs. KWAN activated his belt, letting it lash out at one Devil and drawing blood. KWAN's fist then connected again, breaking bone. SHAMUS tried to get to his friend, but couldn't, nor could the Drow as they both slipped on the rocks. BEATRIX threw a Firebolt into the fray forcing KWAN to duck the errant blast. SUNDERHOFF threw his own Firebolt that hit one of the Devils in the eye, but it was evident that these creatures were immune to fire after it laughed. 
 
KWAN was again glaived badly, creating more vile wounds and leaving him light in the head and heavy in the pain. The Erinyes suddenly appeared above SUNDERHOFF and dropped a rope on him. The Dwarf however dodged it aside as it tried to wrap around him. That gave him an idea. In the meantime his friends did all they could. KWAN jumped down to his friends, ducking the attacks reaching to him. SHAMUS channeled the energy of his God and healed up the monk’s wounds. As he did so, there seemed to be some resistance to the magic, as though something was pushing his healing magic back. ZAKNAFEIN again fired at the Devil above, but missed with the crossbow. BEATRIX fired another Fireball in the sky, and this time flames blanketed the Erinyes. And when the blast subsided, the fallen angel laughed as she was immune. Some of that magic however entered KWAN, healing some of his wounds. SUNDERHOFF called upon the Morrowfall and sent a beam of light shooting forth. His target however ducked. 
 
The Erinyes sent out an Unholy Blight that sickened ZAKNAFEIN and wounded everyone with unholy energy. She then said that they would all make great sacrifices. KWAN, now nearly dead, drank a Mage Armorpotion, increasing further his defenses. SHAMUS tried to heal KWAN, but the infernal wounds still spewed forth black goo. ZAKNAFEIN's bolt fired again, and again it missed. BEATRIX then went to her most powerful spells and cast a Dismissal to send the Erinyes back to her home plane. Her innate resistance however again pushed aside the spell. SUNDERHOFF then sent a healing wave out, bringing relief to him and his friends. His power was so great that he was able to heal some of KWAN's evil wounds. SUNDERHOFF then activated his plan and put his boot upon the evil rope at his feet. He then cursed himself as that same rope coiled up and entangled his entire body. 
 
The Erinyes then shot three fire arrows at SUNDERHOFF, with only one punching through his mighty platemail. KWAN grabbed SHAMUS' leg, and after a questioning look from the paladin, realized the monk was trying to help him up to the second level. SHAMUS did his best, but he couldn't climb up. ZAKNAFEIN grabbed the rope around SUNDERHOFF and started pulling. BEATRIX, cast a Magic Circle Against Evil to hedge out summoned creatures. SUNDERHOFF tried to get out of the rope, but even with the Drow's aid, he couldn't get out. Another flaming arrow hit SUNDERHOFF again before the Devil flew back up. SHAMUS stepped on KWAN's nose and this time he was able to get to the second level and right by the summoned creatures. After another miss by ZAKNAFEIN,BEATRIX healed much of SUNDERHOFF's wounds. Stories of those who fell while adventuring with the Thralls of Larazod echoed in her mind as the so-called heroes weren't doing a lot of heroics. SUNDERHOFF, still entangled, summoned the power of the Morrowfall and blasted the Erinyes with the power of the sun. That hurt the bitch, and also blinded ZAKNAFEIN. The power of the Sunbeam lingered in SUNDERHOFF's fingers.
 
The summoned Devils charged at SHAMUS but the paladin didn't even move, having confidence in his own armor, and rightly so as the glaives bounced away. The Erinyes let fly three arrows, this time sending two of the burning spears into SUNDERHOFF's back. KWAN gave ZAKNAFEINa boost to help get the Drow up. SHAMUS finally felt the glory of his hammer striking flesh as he was able to smash into Devil bone and heard the sickening, pleasant crack. He then quickly struck the second Devil, with his hammer that brought a grunt of pain. ZAKNAFEIN meanwhile finally got to the second level thanks to KWAN's boost. BEATRIX then finished her spell she had started a few seconds ago and conjured a Celestial Eagle to harass the Erinyes. She then took out her Rod of Cancelation and touched the rope around SUNDERHOFF, destroying the magic and freeing the Dwarf. Now free, SUNDERHOFF fired another Sunbeam and struck the Erinyes. 
 
KWAN jumped up to his friends on the second level. He tried to grab a glaive that swiped at him, but at the last moment had to dodge it or risk decapitation. SHAMUS again struck the weak Bearded Devil, and smashed the second one again. ZAKNAFEIN still aimed at the now fleeing Erinyes, but missed. BEATRIX sent her Eagle flying at the Erinyes, but the Eagle seemed to have trouble as it was swapped aside by an errant longbow strike and began spinning to the ground in confusion. SUNDERHOFF realized that his last Sunbeam had indeed blinded the Erinyes and so he blasted her yet again, burning her and sending her retreating with a "Take that bitch," from the holy Dwarf. Now that the fight was over, the Thralls started searching the crater yet again, searching level after level. From out of nowhere, SUNDERHOFF was attacked by a cloaked figure and her two cold-tipped arrows. They both got a grunt of annoyance from the dwarf before he fell dying to the ground. The Morrowfall's light continued to glow, revealing the Elven features of the attacker. 
 
SHINRA had finally arrived! 
 
BEATRIX again went to her trusted spell and blasted the Elf with a Fireball. Those flames however were absorbed by a Protection from Energy spell she had on herself. Some healing energy however did enter SUNDERHOFF, stopping his bleeding. SHAMUS used the now non-magical rope and climbed up one level. ZAKNAFEIN too, climbed up, getting closer to the assassin that had plagued him time upon time on the surface world. SHINRA pulled out a potion and after drinking it, turned invisible. The Thralls of Larazod continued their climb to the top, with the exception of BEATRIX who knew she would not be able to climb, even with the rope. 
 
Suddenly, after a few rounds of hide and seek, BEATRIX noticed SHINRA appear right beside her and fired off three cold arrows. Each one thudded into the priestess of Sarenrae, making her fumble the Fireball on her lips. BEATRIX did notice that the confidence on the Elf’s face had suddenly changed to one of confusion. She sent a Firebolt at the Elf, with the damage again eating away at SHINRA's protection spell. What no one knew was that the assassin was now in the radius of BEATRIX's Protection from Evil spell, thus suppressing a powerful Domination spell. She then pointed at ZAKNAFEIN and said he had to die, and that all darkness was his fault. SHINRA then went on to say that ZAKNAFEINfailed to bring down a star upon  Golarion and that he was evil, wicked, and she should have slain him when she had the chance. ZAKNAFEIN was a plague and was not allowed to exist. 
 
BEATRIX looked into the woman's eyes and tried to convince the confused woman to lay down her desire of destruction and let the Thralls go in peace. SHINRA said she had no desire to hurt anyone else. She insisted that ZAKNAFEIN had come to destroy the city, and indeed that the explosion was his doing. The Drow came to his own defense, asking her why he would want to destroy Westcrown when he had done so much to save it. SHINRA responded that the Drow were master manipulators and that everything ZAKNAFEIN had done was a lie, or perhaps to mask a darker plot. SHAMUS meanwhile didn't want to take any chance and unleashed a Shield Other upon ZAKNAFEINKWAN then jumped down to join his friends.  
 
Now surrounded, SHINRA started backing off. BEATRIX touched her cloak with her Rod of Cancelation, destroying its magic, and suddenly SHINRA disappeared thanks to a Potion of InvisibilitySHAMUS healed SUNDERHOFF, whose eyes finally opened. The Dwarf, still very wounded, asked if the battle was over. When his friends said that the enemy had turned invisible, he used his newest prayer to purge the invisibility from the field, revealing SHINRA's location. KWAN activated his Belt of Teeth as it lashed out at SHINRAKWAN then grabbed SHINRA's arms and held her in place. In desperation, the assassin said that ZAKNAFEIN could not be trusted. She also said that she had run into someone who had "convinced" her to take the Morrowfall and to throw it in one of the hellish pillars.
 
ZAKNAFEIN began taking away SHINRA's items, particularly the potions. She then asked where ZAKNAFEIN had gotten his green lantern. ZAKNAFEIN responded with the truth. It had been given to him by Ruil, a surface Elf who was a member of the Shin'Rakorath (The Green Lanterns in the Common Tongue). They had become friends, and the lantern was a token of that friendship to light the way to salvation. ZAKNAFEIN said he was tired of looking over his shoulder for assassin arrows. He and his friends had bigger things at hand. He offered SHINRAtwo choices: try to kill him now in a fair fight or leave her quest behind. SHINRA, despite her beauty, was obviously scarred from many battles and was ready to accept her fate in death. SHAMUS detected no evil in the woman's soul and he and BEATRIX declared they would not kill her. KWAN suggested smashing her hands, but ZAKNAFEIN put that idea down. SHINRA said that ZAKNAFEIN would betray them. ZAKNAFEIN said that if the Elf let the matter rest, then ZAKNAFEINwould go with her to her home town and accept the judgment of her town. SHAMUS used his Break Enchantment wand to dispel the suspected DominationZAKNAFEIN then left a scimitar at SHINRA's feet and KWAN let the Elf go. SHINRA refused the Drow’s weapon. She began climbing up and looked to ZAKNAFEIN with tears in her eyes and said: 
 
"This isn't over!"
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Summary 14: Broken Fangs
Chapter Three: What Lies in Dust
 
The Thralls of Larazod were still within Delvehaven, searching for the ever illusive ILNERIK. No one knew their dark companion was under a Vampire’s spell of Domination. That same companion had been decimated by burning light spells and SUNDERHOFF began to cast healing spells to heal those wounds. SHAMUS meanwhile prepared to go into the room he sensed the evil presence from. KWAN looked to ZAKNAFEIN and told him he shouldn't have gone down the corridor, to which ZAKresponded that the light was hurting his eyes and he had to put it out. He then said he had a mission to attend to and had to leave them. 
 
Suddenly from the darkness, a large bolt thudded into SUNDERHOFF's back, spinning him around. The Thralls quickly looked into the darkness to find the source, and there they saw the Vampire; a pair of magical stakes in her hand. KWAN took on a defensive, offensive stance and too charged at the Vampire. He palm struck the pale Elf in the armpit, weakening her muscles. He missed a stomp to the foot in the darkness however. From that same gloom came a large snake and KWAN ducked the bite just in time. SHAMUS broke his prayer and instead charged this new foe. His warhammer ignited into holy might, but the Vampire ducked the cross sweep. The stake Vampire stabbed at SUNDERHOFF, with one getting through the dwarves armor, a bloody trail following. SUNDERHOFFpushed aside the pain and blasted  the Vampires with a Searing Light, burning it badly. ZAKNAFEIN meanwhile went up the stairs to his destination. In his mind, the only thing that could destroy the artifact was one of the landmines. 
 
KWAN tried to stun the snake, wounding the scaled thing, but it resisted the vibrations in his muscles. He then punched the stake girl in the head. From the darkness came a second Vampire clad in Hellknight armor. He tried to Blind the KWAN but the farmer resisted the enchantment. SHAMUS again attacked Stake, and this time he hit her hard with holy might. Stake however decided to attack the farmer, elbowing him in the head and draining him of a lot of soul energy. That energy circled the vampire and healed some of her wounds. SUNDERHOFF tried to touch the Vampire with a Cure Critical Wounds spell but he fumbled with his holy symbol in the darkness. 
 
KWAN Kied and adopted a defensive stance, taking an elbow for his trouble and feeling his life force drained. The Vampire however received a kick to the knee that shattered bone. The armored Vampire cast a Dispel Magic and annulled the spell on SUNDERHOFF's hand. SHAMUS then smashed the pale Elf twice, his holy weapon passing easily through the undead’s innate resistance to weapons and dropped her. SUNDERHOFFblasted the remaining  Vampire with a Fireball but still the Vampire stood. KWAN then decapitated the vampire on the ground, destroying it for good. 
 
The other Vampire walked up the wall and sent out a wave of negative energy that burned the Thralls. SHAMUS blasted the Vampire with his Helm of Blasting and the Vampire screamed in pain. KWAN saw the Vampire and noticed that he could feasibly superman punch the Vampire, but he gave himself a mere 5% success rate, so he instead Kied to heal a few of his wounds. The Vampire again sent a wave of energy out, hurting everyone. SUNDERHOFF fired his crossbow but the bolt bounced off of the Vampire’s armor. SHAMUS used his Boots of Levitation to move up to his foe and KWAN grabbed onto his feet to direct him. It was that moment that ZAKNAFEIN entered the room. His friends asked him if his mission was successful. He explained that he had the strange sensation of wanting to destroy the artifact which he now took from his bag. The object emanated Daylight and blinded the Drow, on the other hand, the Vampire began to panic. SHAMUS struck the Vampire once with his hammer, hurting it badly. The Vampire tried to Dominate KWAN, but he resisted. The farmer suggested to ZAKNAFEIN to put the artifact back on the pedestal where he found it, but the Drow had something else in mind. The words of power from the artifact echoed in his mind and he sent a Sunbeamat  the Vampire, but the Vampire ducked the blast leaving the Drow sightless once again. KWAN continued to hold SHAMUS in place, allowing the paladin to connect twice with his warhammer. That was enough to back the Vampire up. SUNDERHOFF sent a wave of healing out, helping his allies. KWAN ran up to the Vampire, trailing SHAMUS. And with hammer raised in the light of Iomadae, she used SHAMUS as a tool to bring forth godly might upon the Vampire's skull and destroying it. 
 
ZAKNAFEIN quickly handed over the artifact that went against all he had lived for. Sunlight made him blind after all, and it was as though he was holding the hated globe in the sky. SUNDERHOFF took the offering with honor, and made a necklace out of it. They took the time to gather up all the magical items before moving on. SUNDERHOFF restored KWAN's lost energy with a Restoration and then healed everyone’s wounds. After searching the basement, there was no sign of the bat artifact that would complete the Aohl. They thus went all the way back up to the courtyard. 
 
When they arrived, they noticed a raised platform made of polished blue stone. A path led to a door on the other side of the building and the Thralls followed. They unlocked the door to a council chamber with a lamp lighting the surroundings. Stairs led to a second balcony, so they continued their march above. KWAN was the first to notice the light in the lantern rise up and disappear. A few seconds later, that light reappeared and stung ZAKNAFEIN with lighting. The Will-o-Wisp took great pleasure in stinging is prey. KWAN punched the ball of light, and hit something physical so the Thralls knew it was a hittable creature. The light recoiled and flew up and out of reach. ZAKNAFEIN fired a crossbow bolt but the ball nimbly dodged aside. SHAMUS started cranking his large crossbow. SUNDERHOFF used the power of the Morrowfall and tried to Blind the light but nothing happened. 
 
KWAN thought outside the box and pulled out the screaming head from the Crux. After a scream, KHAZRAE, the head, said she had been here before. The Thralls palm-slapped themselves for not thinking of it sooner as the "head" was a local resident of Delvehaven. She was filled with advice on the pathfinder lodge and it would have made things a lot easier up to that point. The Will-o-Wisp meanwhile flew off and hid in a corner. ZAKNAFEIN did see the creature and immolated it in Faerie Fire. The light decided to go invisible, but SHAMUS, who had been detecting evil, followed its flight as much as his spell would allow. 
 
ZAKNAFEIN again felt the sting as the Will-o-Wisp appeared behind him. The Drow raged, and then went into his Dervish Dance, taking a second sting as he danced around. One scimitar connected solidly, drawing a long line of blood. SHAMUS and SUNDERHOFF both charged in, with the Dwarf missing, but SHAMUS smashed true. KWANsaw the light staggering, and he jump kicked it, destroying its remaining life. SUNDERHOFF used another healing wave and healed the remaining burns on ZAKNAFEIN.
 
As the Thralls of Larazod walked along the bridge above, it collapsed under them. ZAKNAFEIN, who was staying well behind SUNDERHOFF saw his friends fall to the blue stone below and disappear. SHAMUS had his ring of Feather Falling but that only delayed his own disappearance. KWAN took out the head and she said the stone they had fallen upon granted Greater Invisibility to those who touched it. Everyone, including ZAKNAFEIN heard the voice and so the Thralls knew what was going on. The four decided that perhaps the stone could be brought along. After taking off a piece, it was clear that the magic could not be brought along. 
 
There still remained the problem of getting to the other side of the bridge now that it was out. Using bookshelves, they were able to do just that. Other than finding a lot of chambers filled with blood, they found nothing of interest. The Thralls decided to scour the rest of Delvehaven with the talking head to get any useful information, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. It seemed there was nothing left in Delvehaven, and so they left and went back to recuperate at the Safehouse. 
 
The next day, word came that the Arena had found a challenger for ZAKNAFEIN. It was part of the contract the Thralls had signed in order to obtain the stone bust they had spoken to. Preparations were made, including SHAMUS lending his Helm of BlastingZAKNAFEINassumed his opponent would be SHINRA, the assassin who had been stalking him.
 
As ZAKNAFEIN entered the arena, he noticed the cloaked challenger high above in a cage. ZAKNAFEIN's friends were behind bars, watching close in case they were forced to intervene. SUNDERHOFF cast a Shield Other to take some of the damage the Drow might receive during the fight. Sorceress DAEMODUS , summoned an advanced Shadow and ZAKNAFEIN's jaw dropped at the sight; all feared the Shadows. The fighter used SHAMUS's gift and blasted the Shadow with bright light, burning a hole through its torso. The Shadow charged, and ZAKNAFEINquickly glaive struck it. However black  claws ripped through his flesh and drained away strength. As ZAKNAFEIN, danced around the Shadow, he took yet another dire hit, nearly dropping the Drow. A pair of glaive hits hurt the shadow more and then the dark Elf raged to the heavens. 
 
In the sky, three Shadow Air Elementals appeared and swooped down to try to hit the Drow, but he ducked them all. The Shadow moved in, taking a glaive hit, but there was no strength behind the blow. He hit the Shadow twice more, bringing it closer to its death. One of the Elementals clawed at ZAKNAFEIN. Suddenly, a cloud of bats then appeared, but ZAKNAFEIN believed to be an illusionary Shadow Conjuration. Nevertheless, he still felt bites. He countered with a pair of glaive hits and took yet another Shadow claw hit for his efforts. More claws came down, striking at flesh. The Shadow was the main threat however, and it still stood. It clawed again at ZAKNAFEIN and now the dark man was on one knee, barely standing. 
 
ZAKNAFEIN knew he was approaching is limitations. He drank a potion to restore some of his strength, but it was minimal. The Shadow moved in, and took another glaive strike for minimal damage. The Drow then slumped over, helpless. As he did so, the sorceress pulled back her cowl and took out a crossbow, clearly violating the rules, but not seeming to care. The woman obviously wanted ZAKNAFEIN dead. As for the identity of the sorceress, it was not the assassin, but rather SIAN who the Thralls had battled in the Knot. 
 
SUNDERHOFF took the Potion of Reduce Person from SHAMUS and downed it in the blink of an eye. SIAN shot ZAKNAFEIN with two bolts, each one piecing a separate kidney. The crowd began cursing SIAN for her defilement of Larazod, with many cutting their wrists in the hope that their sacrifice would bring their beloved hero back to his feet. ZAKNAFEIN, though hurt, was still alive and shouted to the people not to worry for him. SHAMUS shot the Shadow Dancer with a large crossbow bolt, hurting her badly. KWAN drank his Potion of Gaseous Form and began making his way towards her cage. 
 
SUNDERHOFF sent a Searing Light at SIAN, but she moved away from the ray and blasted ZAKNAFEIN with more lethal crossbow bolts. The bats meanwhile continued their biting. SHAMUS then drank his own Gaseous Form Potion to get out of his cage. SUNDERHOFF sent a wave of healing energy to help him and his friend who was not looking to good. SIAN then looked at ZAKNAFEIN and prepared to strike him again. Before she pulled the trigger though, the arena was rocked by a huge explosion. Its source was somewhere in the south, and the crowd began panicking. SIAN simply teleported away, leaving the Thralls of Larazod to wonder what just happened…
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Summary 13: Eyes of Night
Chapter Three: What Lies in Dust
 
There were many ways to go for the Thralls, and so they began scouting out the corners of the basement. ZAKNAFEIN led the way to a nearby door and unlocked it. Inside was a skeleton slumped on a couch, as well as two others on the floor. The torchlight flickered off of several valuables scattered about the room, but also illuminated a warning message on the wall saying not to take anything, or die. The equipment on the skeleton slumped on the couch matched that of one of the figured in a painting on the first floor, the one depicting the slaying of the triceratops; that of Donatalus BISBY. This was one of the Pathfinders mentioned in the Cruxnote, and he was said to have knowledge on the artifact that  might have caused the shadow beasts. The Thralls thus used one of their precious grave candles to try to talk to the spirit.
 
As SUNDERHOFF advanced with the lit candle, BISBY's skull head turned and screamed "Thieves, THIEVES, THIEVES!!!" Shadows rose up from the two skeletons on the floor; the favored enemy of the Thralls.  The BISBY skull looked at SUNDERHOFF and all of a sudden, the Dwarf saw himself marrying the paraplegic sister to the second cousin of King Janderhoff. The shock sent a wave of pain through his mind. The shadows then attacked the Dwarf, with one reaching into his soul plucking out a piece. He sent out a small wave of positive energy, wounding the three undead slightly. ZAKNAFEIN screamed to the gods, and then entered a Dervish Dance, his scimitars dancing, while avoiding outstretched shadowy fingers. Each undead creature took a scimitar slash. SHAMUSthen moved in with his  hammer, and smashed the two shadows, his hammer ignited in holy smiting radiance. KWAN then weaved into the crowded room and punched a shadow, sending it back to the afterlife.
 
The skull turned on SUNDERHOFF and again screamed "THIEF!!!" This time, the marriage image he saw in his head was obviously not real and he pushed aside the Phantasmal Killer. The remaining shadow slashed at the Dwarf and drained away more life force. The cleric turned and tried to touch the shadow with a healing blast, but the nimble undead moved away from the hand. ZAKNAFEIN again continued his dance, his scimitar again hitting the undead. The Drow slipped on a femur bone and nearly tripped. SHAMUS however was there to smash the shadow to death. As he did so, the skull fell to the couch again. The skull then suddenly spoke out, even though the grave candle was no longer lit. BISBY's voice came forth, and said that he sensed that much time had passed. He asked if the Thralls had found the Totemrix as he sensed its presence nearby. BISBY sensed that his old friend ILNERIK had succumbed to the Totemrix’ vile magics. He also said the Morrowfall was safe down below in the Amber Arca, the lodge’s secret vault. That could only mean the second part of the statue which, when united, would end the curse of Delvehaven. KWAN then asked how one exited Delvehaven. BISBY said that you simply had to use the doors, assuming you did not exit them alone. The spirit said that to get to the lower vaults, one must go to the Amber Arca doors and enter the password: “Behold the Amber Arca” and a passage would appear. He also said to be wary of the desk in the room. After that, the skull went inert. The Thralls quickly looted the room, and exited.
 
The Thralls continued exploring, opening the doors to an almost unbearable bright room. The light seemed to be coming from crystal lanterns on the ceiling. In the eastern part of the door, was a large red door. It seemed they had already stumbled upon the Arca. Within the center of the room was a summoning circle. This was not where the Thralls wanted to go yet, and so they continued their exploration of other doors.
 
The next room they came to was decorated like a tavern, obviously a social gathering place for the ancient Pathfinders. This was the place that ZAKNAFEIN had seen a fiendish hound patrolling. SHAMUS, who was in the lead, heard some giggling coming from the corner. He advanced closer and noticed some strange animated dolls. A dragon, a teddy bear, a scarecrow, a baby doll and an Amazon doll, all of which seemed very happy to have someone to play with. SHAMUS called back to his friends as to what he saw, and KWAN took no chances. He walked into the room and kicked the baby doll. He crushed the plaster face it and it started crying. ZAKNAFEIN then moved in, his glaive slashing through the straw doll. The baby doll looked at KWAN and tried to convince him that she was no threat, but to no effect. The straw doll then tried to get at ZAKNAFEIN, and the Drow was quick to cut it again, while KWAN tripped it as it walked by. Baby doll then tried to walk past, and she too was tripped. The Amazon moved in and stabbed ZAKNAFEIN with an evil looking, poison coated blade. Teddy then tried to get by his toys, but he too was tripped by KWAN. Dragon was next into the fray, going in front of SHAMUS and spouting forth a small gout of fire. SUNDERHOFF smashed his pick into the dragon’s head, drawing a squeak of pain. SHAMUS then smashed the dragon even harder, bringing a scream of pain.
 
KWAN kied and kicked the scarecrow, punched the baby doll to paste, head butted teddy, and tried to grapple the Amazon. Somehow though it avoided the grapple, and that pissed the monk off. All he wanted to do was destroy the Amazon until the little critter was dead. ZAKNAFEIN took out his scimitars, slashing scarecrow once and knocking it down. A second slash hit the bear. It retaliated, but its claws were hit aside, and countered with a scimitar slash to its head. The Amazon then stabbed at KWAN, but it missed. After a few more seconds of weapons and screaming dolls, the fight was over with the Thralls barely scarred. After a quick search, several potions and expensive bottles of wine were discovered as well as a secret passage.
 
SHAMUS led the way to another room, filled with beds and couches, as well as an exercise area. Obviously it was a place of comfort and so they decided to relax. A Pre-Chelish banner on the wall would make a great inspiration piece for the Children of Westcrown. A Detect Magic revealed several arcane scrolls, as well as a hideous looking, moldy suit of hide armor. And so they took some time to pray for spells and relax tired battle muscles.
 
After a few minutes, the four continued exploring. They came to a new room with a variety of bottles whose contents contained small ships. SHAMUS detected evil and felt a presence within. SUNDERHOFFmeanwhile detected magic from a sail of one of the ships. Fearing another haunt, SHAMUS braved the room before anyone else as he was more resilient to such things. Sure enough, after a few seconds, the paladin smelted salty air in the room. He felt the floor sway and suddenly he was on a ship on a stormy night. He saw BISBY and ILNERIK arguing on the bow of the ship over their latest adventure. Soon the image faded, and SHAMUS was back in the room. He signaled the all clear to his friends who entered. SUNDERHOFF took the sail in hand and noticed golden letters appear upon it. It was a Breath of Life spell.
 
KWAN suggested taking a few couches from the living area and bringing them to the Arca room, where there they assumed they would be safe from the vampire that was ILNERIK whom they knew was somewhere. As they started relaxing, they noticed the letters on the door start becoming a light blue. Fearing some sort of magic, the Thralls left and went to sleep in the living area, now devoid of comfortable cushions. ZAKNAFEIN kept watch while his friends slept. As the hours wore on, the vampire capitalized. Its eyes looked upon ZAKNAFEIN and tried to Dominate the week-willed Elf. In that moment, the Drow used all of his will to push out the voice that suggested to slay his sleeping friends; and succeeded. ZAKNAFEIN however decided to try to pull a fast one on the vampire, and told him that he would obey. The vampire didn't fall for the ruse and transformed into a mist and made her way out of the room. ZAKNAFEINwoke everyone up, and the Thralls  followed her, where she disappeared in the Arca room, through a crack in the floor.
 
They debated how to follow the vampire, and in the end, opted to start smashing the floor with hammer and pick. That was enough to trigger the summoning circle in the middle of the room. From it, came forth some sort of invisible force. This was a Hellcat, and it clawed at KWAN. It then tried to trip the monk whose ability kept his footing. Although invisible, both ZAKNAFEIN and SHAMUS saw the slight outline of the beast due to their perceptive eyes. And so ZAKNAFEIN Fairy Fired the devilish beast, making it visible to all and a much easier target. Despite the illumination, SUNDERHOFF missed with his pick. KWAN then backed up and drank a potion to heal up his own wounds. SHAMUS smashed the Hellcat twice with his holy hammer. It retaliated with claws and a bite, all of which ricocheted off of plate armor.
 
ZAKNAFEIN slashed with his glaive, bringing more pain. SUNDERHOFF again picked the Hellcat successfully. KWAN then tumbled around the Hellcat, inviting the devil to hit the monk. Both combatants missed their attacks. SHAMUS however hit heavily with yet another hammer blow, bringing it closer to death. The Hellcat managed a lucky bite on SHAMUS' calf as it tore away muscle. ZAKNAFEIN then went into his Dervish Dance, but each scimitar was parried aside. Again SUNDERHOFF connected with his pick, barely scratching the beast. KWAN then went into a flurry of attacks, with a kick, knee, and then a palm strike to the Hellcat's jaw. SHAMUS' next hammer simply bounced off. Now the Hellcat's attention was on KWAN who took a claw across the ribs.
 
ZAKNAFEIN continued his dance, but bumped into SUNDERHOFF's immovable form, and that stopped his movement. SUNDERHOFF didn't even notice, picking apart the Hellcat with yet another weapon strike. KWAN continued his massive attack, smashing the devil twice with two head-butts. SHAMUS got in another small hit, but the Hellcat stayed fighting. It clawed at KWAN who punched out at the same time. That punch struck claws that shattered in the air. ZAKNAFEIN finally connected with a pair of scimitar attacks, bringing it even closer to death. SUNDERHOFF moved closer to KWAN, but the Hellcat bit him very hard. The Dwarf hit the cat but the weapon bounced off of hellish armor. KWAN was still reeling from the solidity his fist on claws, and the pain took him a few seconds to get over. SHAMUS smashed the Hellcat twice, yet still it stood. It clawed only once and bit at KWAN, hurting the farmer very bad. ZAKNAFEIN's scimitars found a soft spot in the Hellcat, getting in another paper cut.
 
SUNDERHOFF placed a healing hand upon KWAN, giving wonderful relief as wounds closed. KWAN wanted to finish the fight, but this time the Hellcat dodged all the incoming punches. SHAMUS too missed his attacks. The Hellcat clawed at SUNDERHOFF and bit ZAKNAFEIN. That threw the Drow off of his dance for a few seconds. After a flurry of misses by SUNDERHOFF and KWAN, it was up to SHAMUS whose hammer nearly caved in the hellcats head. SUNDERHOFF took a claw and bite that nearly downed the poor cleric. ZAKNAFEIN yet again hit, but this time the blades bounced off. SUNDERHOFF then Channeled a wave of energy, healing all of his allies, including himself. KWANchanneled his inner monkness  and Stunned the Hellcat with a mighty punch. A follow-up punch and elbow brought the Hellcat to the brink of annihilation. SHAMUS' hammer finally finished off the beast.
 
Wounded, and with little resources, the Thralls decided to leave Delvehaven as a group. This time they were able to get out of the lodge successfully. The Thralls dared the night and went all the way to the safe house, where there they relaxed and slept in peace. They soon got their equipment identified. ZAKNAFEIN suggested getting potions of Silver Sheen which would make their weapon silver for a limited time and thus be able to hit the vampires. The items they had found were all identified and divided out to the ones that needed them the most, while the rest was sold off. ZAKNAFEIN and SHAMUS diced for a particular ring. Oddly, they seemed to tie with each roll until finally SHAMUS beat the Dark Elf.
 
Soon enough, the Thralls were back at Delvehaven. They thought about going after the vampire below but it was decided to open the Amber Arca, and SUNDERHOFF called to his god for a Comprehend Languages spell. After seeing the symbols in his proper language, he entered the password and the passageway where the vampire fled opened to a basement below. Flickering lights gave a faint illumination as the four walked down the stairs to their goal. ZAKNAFEIN led the way as his sight would warn his friends of trouble.
 
They came to a long corridor with doors at various sections, each one destroyed. At the end of the corridors was where the light was coming from. To the left and right were other corridors. To the left, ZAKNAFEINnoticed a pair of red glowing eyes  lurking in the darkness while to the right four vampire spawn jumped out, two of which were decorated in Hellknight armor. SUNDERHOFF was quick on the trigger, and blasted the undead with a ball of fire. ZAKNAFEIN jumped into his Dervish Dance, his blades like stars in the night as he injured a spawn further. The vampire eyes to the right looked upon ZAKNAFEIN and he sent a Dominationspell that easily destroyed the Drow’s metal  defenses. SHAMUS was next into the melee, calling to Iomadae for the Right to Smite. His hammer crushed the skull of one spawn. KWAN seemed to be strategizing before he finally moved into melee. He kicked, punched, and elbowed three spawn, finally downing one.
 
SUNDERHOFF smashed his pick into the nearest vampire spawn but it seemed to absorb the damage. ZAKNAFEIN continued his Dance, cutting again at undead flesh. The vampire spawn retaliated but the Thralls avoided their strikes. SHAMUS moved to the nearest undead but his hammer bounced off its armor. KWAN again tumbled through the undead ranks, countering their reaching claws and injuring them further. SUNDERHOFF then sent a small wave of energy out, damaging the undead and bring them both down, ending the fight. The eyes in the night, that no one saw, sent a silent command to ZAKNAFEIN and he obeyed.
 
None of the Thralls seemed to give ZAKNAFEIN a though has he walked into the corridor with the light as they seemed to be examining the vampire spawn. The Drow was suddenly hit by a Sunbeam, severely blistering his dark skin and temporarily blinding him, but did not slow him down in his quest. The light at the end then began flickering faster. SHAMUS noticed a doorway to the right and he went to investigate. He began concentrating on his Detect Evil to see if there were evil forces on the other side. ZAKNAFEIN meanwhile continued walking, even in his blinded state. He came to a wall and followed it to his destination. From the lights, another Sunbeam shot out as the Drow instinctively dodged it partially. Yet the spell hurt badly, very badly, and still the Drow continued.
 
SHAMUS finally finished his spell and detected great evil. KWAN and SUNDERHOFF continued to observe their dark friend curiously, but not daring to follow in his path. They did call after him to come back, but he heeded them naught. ZAKNAFEIN ran on and the light grew brighter. It sent forth a Sunburst but which he was able to dodge aside. The blast did blind him yet again, but he was finally at his goal. He reach out and found the object he had been commanded to find…, and destroy. ZAKNAFEINstarted hacking at the object, but to not avail. He thus came up with another idea: he would place the object in the Haversack and throw it on one of the land mines outside. That seemed to be the most obvious way to destroy the Morrowfall after all.
 
His eyes adjusted to the brightness and as another blast of nearly burned his soul to whips. ZAKNAFEIN started making the walk back down the corridor, with only destruction in his mind to carry forth.
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