- Flying in the sky keeping an eye on the city, Gvados notices the Corumurian army breach the city gates after the pillar of flame went out. With the tide of the siege changing, Gvados swoops down into the open ceiling of Pelor’s temple to rejoin his companions.
- Inside the temple, with the chaos subsided, the adventurers notice Landen in dire condition. Sapphira comes to his aid and magically heals him; the ravaging poison had run its full course and Sapphira’s healing successfully countered its effects… just in time. She detects a few outsiders remaining in the wings of the temple, but the presence is so weak there must only be a few stragglers deciding if they should flee.
- As the party moves to clear the temple wings, Durgyn realizes he will not fit in the temple’s man sized hallways, so he posts on the front steps to keep an eye for enemy reinforcements.
- They clear the west wing of the temple, finding some treasure, but mostly signs of the demons destruction of the temple. They kill a couple infernal clerics in the library. The clerics were reviewing a pair of books from a stack they had brought along to make the library their own. Two were recognizable to Landen and Sapphira, reminiscent of the selection found at the reality wrinkle: “Of Alein Worlds”. Landen and Hillfort find another book that catches their interest: “Pacts with the Infernal”.
- Outside, Corumur soldiers march past. They notice the large minotaur standing watch on the temple’s steps, and their squad leader steps forward to speak. He briefs Durgyn of their situation in the city: ground is being gained and the demons are putting up a fight… but losing. He also states there is a warrant for the Baron; he is to be placed under arrest to stand trial for his part in Brindonford’s siege.
- While clearing the upper level of the west wing, they find the head priest’s quarters. Inside, a tiefling, half-fiend with large ram-like horns, the rectangular pupils of a goat’s eyes, and goat-like legs ending in cloven hooves sits at the desk with his feet kicked up. His black half-plate armor bears the symbol of Hextor, and modifications have been made to the priest of Pelor’s quarters to make them his own. “Well, you must be the pests that have stormed my gate.” He drops his feet to the floor and arrogantly says, “I am Daros Hellseeker. You’ve found who you’re looking for, I am in command of this invasion. You’ve had your fun, I’ll be showing you the door now.” He stands and the ball of his heavy flail thuds onto the desk, tendrils of electricity spark out onto the wood around it.
The battle is fierce, and all received wounds in one way or another. Balls of lighting whip around Hellseeker. The tiefling hops around the room deftly. His weapon is taken from his hands by a spell cast from Gvados, but that doesn’t stop his fury. He strikes out with magical touch attacks. One lands on Sapphira, and she severely falls ill, her entire body weakens. In retaliation, Landen lands a series of blows on the tiefling commander, the last cleaving one of the horns from his head. Covered in his own black blood, Daros sees his horn on the ground and laughs. He casts a spell, shattering all glass in the room. Daros Hellseeker levitates off the ground and flies out the broken windows. Franz lets and arrow fly after him and hits his mark. Gvados, fighting the battle in the form of an air elemental, chases after Daros. Durgyn from his post at the entrance sees the tiefling fly from the temple, then fall from the sky. Gvados looks below and spots Hellseeker crashed to the ground in an alley. He yells in rage, and hellhounds from all directions gather around him. He looks up at Gvados and suddenly light seems to bend around him; Hellseeker plane shifts, escaping the battlefield.
- They search Hellseeker’s quarters, and a certain item catches Landen’s interest. A mug sits on the desk, a dried, clawed hand of a demon grasps the vessel and serves as the handle. A small amount of liquid remains in the mug, and Landen takes a sniff. He smells pungent alcohol and pours it into an empty water skin, saving the mug as well in his pack.
- Gvados flies around the city to take another look at the status of the battle. Soldiers, human and demon alike, fight for ground at the center of the city. He can tell the humans have gained control of most of Silver Hill and West Hill. They’re gaining ground on the path to the baron’s keep, but it has not yet been reached.
- With Pelor’s temple reclaimed and the demon commander dispatched, the party decides their next course of action is to reach the baron’s keep before the army. They debate if it should be an all out attack on the keep or if they should try to capture the baron. All agree the keep needs to be investigated before the front lines of the battle reach its walls, and that the baron should be captured alive. The group comes to a consensus to expect the unknown, as all have the suspicion Baron Euphemes is not himself. As Landen describes, “the baron’s mind-jacked!”
- Gvados acts as a guide to keep the adventurers out of the battle’s fray, directing them through the city as he watches from above. They reach the baron’s keep, witnessing some stay areas of combat down an alley or two and successfully moving past. They see an osyluth battling a detachment of troops, and the shrill screech of another in the distance. Once they reach the walls of the baron’s keep, Landen spider climbs to the top and fastens a rope for his companions.
- Inside the keep is a small town of its own, where the nobles and positions of government reside. All the streets and buildings are eerily silent. No demons patrol these streets to enforce their martial law. As the adventurers walk towards the baron’s manor, they spot nobles in a couple windows peeking out at them. At first they appeared fearful and downtrodden, but when they realized that these strangers were not the evil enforcers of martial law, they looked hopeful. They reach the baron’s manor and Gvados makes a suggestion. “My dire lion can charge those doors down.” Sapphira looks unhumored and replies, “perhaps we can try knocking first?”. All seemed quiet and the manor was not guarded. They step onto the entry stoop and knock; a small servant girl answers the door. “What is your business?”
“We must get the baron out of the city,” Sapphira says diplomatically. “We must get him to safety.” The servant girl, uneasy, bids them to enter. “He will see you, come with me.” Landen hangs at the end of the group, and unseen, he climbs the outside of the baron’s manor instead of entering.
- The servant girl walks them through the grand entry way to a staircase. At the top of the stairs she opens a double door into a luxurious lounge, a balcony opens above the entry below. Landen peers into the lounge from outside a window. Baron Euphemes sits in a chair in front of the fireplace. “Baron,” Sapphira states. “Please come with us, we can take you to safety.”
In a dull, lifeless drone of a voice, the baron replies. “I will not leave my city.”
“The flame has been vanquished,” Sapphira insists. “The demons are falling.”
“No matter,” the baron’s voice shows no emotion for the state of his city. “The Speaker in Dreams has told me…” His voice trails.
Sapphira leans forward, “told you what?”
Baron Euphemes looks directly at Sapphira with his empty eyes. “The city will be his.”
A figure in the darkest midnight blue cloak emerges from the shadows near the balcony railing. The cloaks hood covers his face in darkness, obscuring it from vision. Durgyn, the minotaur, has dark vision however. Through the shadow of the cloak’s hood he sees four tentacles writhing from a alien creature’s face: an illithid. “Kill the beast!!” Durgyn shouts.
- Drawing their weapons, the mind flayer is quicker and makes the first move. Psychic energy blasts forth, throwing his hood back, revealing his face for all to see and stunning their minds. All brace their minds against it… each holds strong except for Franz. He stands in a daze, unable to move, think, or speak. Then the illithid slowly rises from the ground, levitating before the party. Landen Cale is struck, in fear that the robe figure is actually the Blessed, returned from death when they last faced him at the Reality Wrinkle. The disturbing flashback leaves him and he sees the purple face tangling with tentacles for what it really is.
“I am Ghaerleth Axom,” the mind flayer announces. “You will not interfere with the birth of my empire!”
The party tries to attack but the alien creature hovers off the balcony, out of reach, floating high above the grand entry below. Hillfort casts a spell on Durgyn, enlarging him to huge size. The minotaur already a large creature is now monstrously menacing. Hillfort follows it up with another spell, spider climb, allowing Durgyn to climb out on the walls over the entry to chase after the flying illithid. Durgyn’s massive size makes it so no place in the room’s space will be out of his reach. The minotaur climbs out on the wall, bashing the illithid in mid air. He shifts further back and mind blasts the party again… this time Landen is dazed; his mind surrendered to the illithid. Gavados sends magic spells after the illithid, but the creature’s magic is strong enough to resist his, or his movements deft enough to dodge it. Then the ugly creature looks at Gvados, the wild changeling, and overpowers his mind. Suddenly, Gvados is convinced Axom isn’t so bad… that he’d like to be friends and they should probably let him be. Then Axom’s voice enters his head, “I am prisoner of the baron’s will. Kill him and I shall be free to leave.”
Gvados looks to the baron, slouched in his chair by the fire again, seemingly oblivious to the battle taking place in his sitting room. Thinking the baron is the true menace, hiding there for all to see, he lighting strikes the once regal man right where he sits. The baron screams and twists in the tendrils of electricity. He rises from his chair in rage and draws his longsword for battle.
Axom continues to dodge attacks, skirting himself from Durgyn’s reach as the minotaur climbs out on the walls after him, swinging wide into the air with his weapon. The illithid gradually wears on the party’s minds while also wearing on them physically with magic attacks.
The baron strikes at Gvados, and dodging his blow the wildling counters. The baron bleeds, groans, and drops to the ground. Gvados’ mind snaps free of Axom’s charm, and the truth comes into view, fueling his rage against the beast even further.
Noticing the critically wounded baron, and some weakened members of her party, Sapphira casts a mass healing spell. Friends are mended, and the baron regains consciousness. Just the bolster of confidence everyone needed. The baron however comes to, and sees Sapphira looking towards him. Brindonford’s governing lord still seems void of mind, and as he regains his feet his eyes are locked onto the female cleric.
“You!” the baron says with madness, straight to Sapphira. “You cannot take my city!!”
Just then Durgyn strikes at the flying mind flayer. He hones his focus for a vital strike and scores a critical hit. Axom is batted through the air and flies into the wall across the room. The illithid’s body plummets to the entryway floor below, landing in a bloody heap; Durgyn’s strike bringing forth the alien’s black blood from a huge rend in its side. Landen and Franz are no longer dazed by Axom’s powerful mind.
The baron, focused on attacking Sapphira, regains his senses. His void eyes seem to snap back to witnessing reality. His voice when he speaks, full of character and richness. “What have I? … How?” He looks around the room, then back at Sapphira. “I feel like I’ve been dreaming.”
Sapphira walks to the baron’s side. “Come to the window. See what has become of your city.” As Baron Euphemes looks out the window in dismay and Sapphira stands by his side, Gvados walks to the balcony railing. He sees Axom’s corpse crumpled on the floor below, and with a disgruntled look on his face casts a decompose corpse spell, ensuring he never has to see that beast again.
Speaker in Dreams
The Speaker is silenced
The menace behind Brindonford's troubles is found