The Enemy of my Enemy…
Kelvor and his allies took in the captives in the jail cell and they were amazed by their appearance – the three women appeared to be smaller and frailer than most on Athas, with paler skin (one of the captives was exceptionally pale) and their clothing had an exceptional amount of metal. The weary party was unsure what the next best course of action was when the extremely pale one suggested that they be set free.
The captives spoke with strange accents, talked of places unknown and claimed to have been imprisoned for nothing more than being outsiders in this strange land. They were ignorant of many things the party took for granted making it clear that they were outsiders in this shadow Kalidnay. The party, naturally being skeptical, was somewhat reluctant to trust them, but the sounds of approaching creatures pushed them into action. The extremely pale woman, who was called Kazandra, removed a slender metal pin and deftly unlocked the cell. Morg moved into action breaking open a cell with his axe while the third woman was freed from her cell by the other party members.
Just as the captive women had recovered their gear, several ghosts entered the jail through the walls, while a pair of devils entered through the doorway. Gwyn and her allies quickly adapted to fighting alongside Melantha and her allies, but the combination of the devils weakening aura and the ghosts ability to resist damage made if very difficult to overcome their foes.
Melantha had spotted what might have been a secret door leading out of the jail, but it was forgotten about in the heat of combat. The devils tried to focus on Morg, but Kelvor was able to keep them occupied for most of the fight. The ghosts began shrieking so powerfully that they pushed the two groups back and immobilized some with fear. They appeared motivated to slay the heroes as they had been slain by Thakok-An. Eventually Kazandra realized the futility of the combat and activated the secret door, fleeing outside the pyramid before more opponents entered the combat.
Slowly the party made a strategic withdrawal from the ziggurat with Melantha and Jarvix staying behind. The devils moved to pursue Morg, who was still carrying the head of Kalid-Ma. Hoping to stall any pursuit, Kazandra grabbed the head from Morg and tossed it to the devils, who gleefully picked it up. Jarvix was the last in the jail and closed the secret door sealing himself in. He made one attempt to use the Way to retrieve the head, but the devils had too tight a hold on it. He then disappeared, teleporting through the wall to his friends on the other side.
Going to Ground
The large group found themselves in a deserted section of the city, and had brief moment to discuss their next move. The Melantha and Kira appeared to be searching for a friend that they were travelling with, who they had lost contact with during their capture (something that they blamed Kazandra for). Kazandra claimed to know how to find their friend, a wizard by the name of Evan.
Kelvor wanted to locate safe location where they could form a long-term plan. He thought that there might be an area of abandoned warehouses that would serve them well. Other options and concerns were discussed but none of the other plans appeared viable at the time. Fed up with the debate, and returning with some stolen clothes, a less-pale Kazandra started out in the same general direction that Kelvor wanted to go, saying that they could follow her and live or stay and be captured again. They all decided to follow her.
For three difficult hours they made their way through the city, without attracting attention from any guard patrols, attempting to throw off any pursuers by climbing walls and muscling around the many impediments. The makeshift disguises they were able to piece together from the stolen clothes helped them blend in when they were spotted by locals. Although they were mostly successful, the group’s luck eventually ran out and they stumbled into a group of well armed individuals.
Fearing another combat, Jarvix and Gwyn were relieved to see one of the individuals make a sign of the Veiled Alliance. When they reciprocated, they were escorted into an abandoned villa and asked to wait. The party noticed a number of tattered banners with a black diamond on them, the symbol of House Vordon. After a small wait, an undead creature, who looked to have once been a human female came out of one of the buildings. Seeing the resemblance to Yarnath, they prepared for a fight.
The undead bowed to them, introduced herself as Laylon-Ka, and invited them into a building for rest and discussion. Unsure of her true intentions, the party was eventually convinced that she might not be out to kill them, having appeared to taken great offense at the accusation that she might practice defiling magic. They entered what appeared to be a meeting hall and found several individuals seated around a long table eating and discussing. Kira and Melantha recognized one of them as their friend Evan.
Answers and Questions
Pleased at being reunited with their friend, Evan explained how, during their capture, he was pushed aside by Kazandra so that he wasn’t captured. He had been found by Laylon-Ka and only recently had he been strong enough to start planning a rescue. When asked how they had come to be in Kalidnay, he told of his discovery of an powerful magic object that hinted at being of great power. He was searching for the power to break free from the grips of a powerful wizard in his own lands. He produced an obsidian orb from beneath his cloak – an Orb of Kalid-Ma.
Elleandra was very interested in acquiring the orb and eventually a deal was struck – Evan would give the orb over to her, in exchange for the tomes recovered from the Ziggurat. Although reluctant to hand over such information to a stranger, Jarvix was convinced that he had no intention of becoming a sorcerer-king, even if the books contained enough information to do so. Evan also offered to help send the party back to Athas, although he wasn’t exactly sure how to accomplish it.
They all took a much needed rest and learned a bit of the events that transpired in Kalidnay. Laylon-Ka, was a member of the Veiled Alliance and House Vordon, 200 years ago, when Kalidnay shifted into the Gray. It was because of the actions of his high Templar, Thakok-An, that the sorcerer-kings transformation into a Dragon failed. She had no knowledge of the other sorcerer-kings marching on the city, nor was there an explanation in the apparent differences between the passage of time, for on Athas it is believed that Kalidnay was destroyed some 1200 years ago.
The rest and discussions were interrupted by a commotion in the courtyard, apparently the forces of Thakok-An had breached the defenses and begun an attack. Everyone rushed to the courtyard, except Evan, who’s magic was useless in this land. A massive army surrounded the templar who appeared quite pleased. Neither side wasted time with with false pleasantries.
Jarvix hoped to used his skills with the Way to ensnare many of the weaker soldiers found that Thakok-An’s own templars were projecting auras that blocked him. While the others made subtle maneuvers to get into an optimal position, Morg charged in towards Thakok-An. Her half-giant guards intercepted him and quickly knocked him down, barely alive. Thakok-An moved over him and jabbed her spear into his chest, calling out…
“Accept this sacrifice and aid me as you have in the past, destroy my enemies and feast upon their souls!”
A cloud of black smoke gathered around Morg’s lifeless body and a terrible demon emerged. Looking hungrily at his enemies, he waded into battle quickly reaching the larger group. They threw weapons and spells at the beast and slowly began to weaken it, but it gave as good as it got and severely wounded many of those in combat, including some of its allies. Kira finally defeated the foul creature as she assumed the form of a large tiger and decapitated it with a savage bite.
Melantha and Kazandra skirted the main fight and worked their way around to try and attack Thakok-An from behind. Their strategy proved very effective, but Thakok-An dominated Melantha’s mind with her own, forcing her out of position, attacking her friends instead. Eventually the Melantha was able to break free of the domination and she and Kazandra, who had once again become pale and bore fangs, were finally able to strike at Thakok-An, who somehow managed to stay on her feet.
Vinara was efficiently dispatching the defilers and their guards during the fight with her spear. She also managed to get Morg up onto his feet and back into the fray before he truly died. Gwyn magic was strong and she wrapped her enemies in fiery serpents, binding them together, while her dragon scales help her resist the attacks of the soldiers.
Thakok-An finally fell as Kira transformed into her human form again and hurled a radiant ball of energy, striking the templar squarely in the chest. As she fell a strange transformation of the land began to occur with mists rising up from the sand. Kira, Elleandra and Vinara felt a disturbing sensation as if the land itself was being erased. Not only the land, but also many of the inhabitants themselves were consumed by the Mists. When it was over only a few dozen people remained around Vinara and her allies.