The Dread Palace
With a look of satisfaction Li-Am took Kalid-Ma’s hand and accepted his offer, revealing his true intentions to continue serving as the sorcerer-king’s templar. The rest of the party was shocked at his betrayal, although there was little time to ponder this, as the battle continued.
Kira switched from Absalom and attacked Li-Am, wounding him greatly, but he still found the strength to stand. Kalid-Ma swept the room with his claws and then began to draw the life out of his enemies. Elleandra was overwhelmed, fell unconscious and then died. Although blinded by Kalid-Ma’s attacks, Jarvix sprinted out of the room, as if answering a call that only he heard.
Iorskan and Morg continued to attack Absalom, eager to finish what they had started. To everyone’s surprise, Elleandra rose from death, an odd light about her. Completely restored to health by a lingering blessing from her time holding the Crystal of Ebon Flame, she tried to attack Kalid-Ma, but found herself unable to break through his defenses with her magic.
Li-Am turned on his former allies and attacked them with his spectral weapon and magic. He wounded Kira, Iorsakn and Morg, and killed Absalom with his combined attacks. Kalid-Ma continued to attack, biting into Iorskan and Morg, and knocking Iorskan to the floor. Only Morg’s incredible toughness allowed him to keep fighting.
The room rumbled and the main doors opened to reveal another massive dragon, whose decaying form could only be that of Dregoth. He let loose with a blast of necrotic energy aimed at Kalid-Ma, but that was large enough to injure most everyone in the room. Li-Am fell to the ground, unable to keep standing with his injuries.
The party was on the verge of despair, when a large portal opened in the room and they could see Jarvix on the other side, concentrating hard, but motioning them towards him. Not wanting to die again, Elleandra used her magic to become insubstantial and slip past the few remaining dray guards. Along the way she stopped by the unconscious Li-Am and grabbed the Skull of Dorag Thel.
Morg, having seen too many foes return from the dead, moved over to Li-Am and proceeded to hack at him with his Axe. Satisfied that he was truly dead, he grabbed the Shadowstaff and moved through the gate dragging the unconscious Iorskan with him.
The party found themselves in a large room with walls covered in bookshelves overflowing with books and scrolls. One wall was dominated with the large ornate mirror through which they had just stepped. Jarvix appeared to be in contact with the mirror and began to concentrate to try and change the mirror’s focus. Kira grabbed several nearby books, having learned the potential value of the information contained within them. Before Jarvix could complete his work, Dregoth stepped through the portal squeezing his massive form into the library.
Dregoth let loose a blast of defiling magic and the entire party doubled over in pain as their life energy was drained from them. Unwilling to risk further attacks by the undead sorcerer-king, the party joined hands and jumped through the portal, which was flashing seemingly random locations that they had visited. With a scream of rage, they left Dregoth behind and hoped that he would not be able to follow them.
The adventurers opened their eyes and looked around, immediately recognizing their location – they were in the central plaza within Rafernard’s Forest. It looked much as it had when they had left it following Abalach-Re’s transformation over a month ago. The land surrounding the skull tower was still defiled and there were remains of hundreds of corpses.
They quickly retreated into the forested areas and found that food and water were still abundant. After tending to their wounds, taking stock of their gear and getting some much needed rest, they started out towards Altaruk, where they hoped to find friends and get information on what had been happening in this part of Athas since they left.
Their rest was not interrupted and their journey across the hot desert between the forest and Altaruk was dusty but otherwise uneventful. When they reached Altaruk, they found that it had changed significantly. The walls were badly damaged and instead of the usual guards, the Legions of Balic now stood watch. Elleandra used her magic to charm one of the guard captains and learned some of what had happened here.
According to the guard captain, Abalach-Re had attacked the fort and was driven away, although when she attacked again the defenders fell. The vast majority of the guards were slain in her attacks as were several prominent leaders. The guards also told how Abalach-Re was defeated by the combined efforts of Andropinis of Balic, Lalali-Puy of Gulg and the Shadow King of Nibenay. Lastly the party learned that they were wanted by Andropinis for breaking into The Ivory Dungeon several weeks back. Fortunately Elleandra’s charms prevented these guards from turning them in, but they decided to not linger and headed out on the road to Tyr.