In which the Party Hasn’t Claimed Possession of an Artifact for Five Freaking Minutes Before They’re Being Attacked Again, a Warrior Falls and Rises, Knowledge is Gained, and the Kids Really Do Seem to Do All Right for a Change
Godsday, 25 Sunsebb, CY 595 (continued)
As Riddle accepts possession of the powerfully aligned artifact and Jane dispels the sensor, a heavy silence befalls the party. It is almost immediately broken by the appearance of four bone devils materializing in the room. Taking advantage of their ambush tactics, the devils anchor Riddle, Jane, Scar-Eater and Tyrrell to this dimension in green cocoons of ooginess. Then two barbed devils appear in the midst of the group, one of them hissing orders to Riddle to hand over the Rod in the name of Visciannix and maybe the devils will let some of them live.
Never ones to let the terrorists win, the party springs into full combat mode. The bone devils all vanish, foiling Jane’s attempt to flame strike them. Archie soon learns of their complete immunity to fire and very good damage resistance as his arrows pelt off barbs and bone alike. Tyrrell majestically draws the Lightning Sword, scoring a critical sneak attack on his very first attempt! And not even inflicted upon himself! Long Fist gets all smitey, and Riddle moves as far away as he can under the restraints of the dimensional anchor in order to protect the Rod. The party quickly realizes they are particularly ill-equipped to damage these guys, especially since moving in to attack face to face will get you stung, grappled, impaled or some scintillating combination thereof. Scar-Eater unleashes doom scarabs and shocking grasps and Jane, laying on the ground and casting defensively as her life force ebbs away, suddenly stalagmites one of them, but as usual, the real difference of the day is Riddle’s dismissal spell. Oh, and the breath of life scroll he uses to revive Long Fist when the half-ogre is, valiantly, grappled to death by a barbed devil. Jane refocuses her efforts to healing folks and keeping them in the fight until they can whittle away enough enemies that the remaining devils decide to teleport away.
As they recover, Long Fist informs the others that Visciannix is a pit fiend who is believed to be a high-ranking duke in service to Asmodeus, Lord of Hell. Nice. Maybe Asmodeus already has the other six pieces of the Rod and maybe he wouldn’t mind letting the party borrow them in order to destroy the hordes of Chaos.
Jane uses a lay of the land spell to try to understand the tomb’s location in relation to the rest of the world (particularly Diamond Lake and the Great Rift Canyon). She determines that they are about 60 miles south of the central part of the Rift, but about 120 miles from Illthain’s treasure (according to their map) at the western end of the Rift. They are also about 70 miles north of her other two preciouses on the north shore of the Nyr Dyv. Those two spots seems to be in or around Alhaster, an independent city-state rumored to be protected by devils or demons and such, under the rule of Prince Zeech.
Riddle teleports the group a few at a time, back to their mining shack hideaway in the Cairn Hills, where they pass a blissfully uneventful night.
Waterday, 26 Sunsebb CY 595
The party heads to Diamond Lake, and are humbled by the devastation wrought upon the town by Illthain. They go to the garrison and find two green boys on guard duty, who are quick to inform them that they have absolutely no idea what’s happening. No one that has been sent out since the attack has returned unless they were being dropped into the Keep from above by the dragon. They confirm that Allustan is still alive, though the tide of town sentiment seems to be against him. The Mayor was eaten in front of the town, and Smenk is still running his mines. Neither Dourstone’s mine nor the silver mine is currently operational. They don’t know what to do, or if Greyhawk even knows what’s happened.
Riddle and Archie reassure the boys that the party will do everything they can to restore some order to the devastation, while Tyrrell intimidates them into making sure that no one attempts to exact revenge on Allustan for what happened here. Before heading into the town, Archie tells the boys to make sure the garrison is ready to accept any homeless refugees that can make their way there.
The party finds Allustan organizing what he can of his remaining possessions out of the rubble that used to be his house. He is in his usual self-abusing state of mind, and though he is relieved to learn that Illthain has been defeated, he worries for the immediate future of Diamond Lake. They are disorganized and leaderless.
Riddle uses a magically-enhanced whisper to call the survivors of Diamond Lake to the garrison at sunset, and the party spends the afternoon doing everything they can to make sure those who show up are receptive to Riddle’s plan for putting Allustan in charge of the reconstruction of the town. Riddle talks to people individually while Tyrrell scopes the lay of the land; Scar-Eater and Archie bully folks into a change in attitude; Jane and Long Fist focus their efforts on gathering food and restoring some semblance of normalcy to the refugees.
As Riddle prepares to speak to the crowd, his friends continue doing all they can to aid him. Jane tends the wounds of those who show up. Archie entertains the crowd with his heretofore unrevealed penchant for gymnastics. Long Fist touches the spiritual side of the community. Tyrrell reminds people that Allustan was essential in helping the party defeat Illthain.
Riddle’s address is truly a speech to be remembered through the Ages. By the end of it, the entire town accepts Allustan as their leader and once again…a brief parting of the clouds above lets the party know they have managed to make a difference for the better in the churning of the Ages.
Riddle sends an appraisal and update of the Diamond Lake situation to Ermaldon Webb in Greyhawk, who replies, ”Garrison should remain. Reinforcements on their way along with support units. Neff will suffice until elections are appropriate.”
And thus endeth the day.