Lathander of course lets off a huge explosion almost killing everyone. Luckily I was a bit behind due my excursion in the vault and was therefore spared the ramifications of Lathander’s folly.
After the smoke had cleared Artemis is confronted by yet another swarm of spiders. I swear these followers have no originality or style. I suppose if they capture us they would sacrifice us and we would a death by maggots or some such. Truely uninspiring. In either case deciding there was nothing he could do, Artemis turns the corner, leaving the nest of spiders to us. He is rewarded by they sight of Tiefling fleeing around a corner.
Hearing of Artemis’s find we make our was into the hallway past the spiders. It is interesting to note the most affective of us against this swarm decided to completely ignore it. I am always surprise to find Lathander adept at something, but this quickly counterbalanced by his lack of wisdom to actually use his skills. Luckily for us the swarm proved to be only a minor annoyance at best.
Once we had all entered the hall we were quickly surrounded, coming from the north and south parts of the hall, by no less than 9 tieflings. Two appeared to some sort of Clerics to Deskari while another we identified as the alchemist from the Pathfinder lodge. The rest were nothing more than the garbage that comprise most of their kind.
Thinking quickly I conjure an explosive noise which stunned a large number of them providing us precious time to launch a counter strike. Unfortunately, for Artemis, the Alchemist decided to counter attack as well by blowing a hole in hid gut. Those guns as they call seem to much more potent than they appear. It was at this point one of the clerics decided to bathe the south part of the hall in darkness giving them the advantage.
Again thinking quickly I countered by conjuring mist to conceal us and even the playing field while my allies fought on. I had also hoped it would spare us from the Alchemist and his gun, which it did, but not the explosive fire he created instead. His fireball did little hurt us but succeeded in burning away my mist. Enjoying the game I summon more mist and conceal us once again. This may not have been wise as the fire he brought down upon us the second time was more potent. I dare say even Lucius felt its sting. I knew then I had to put an end to this game and requested the Alchemists aid with an offer he could not refuse. Not wanting to disappoint us he promptly turn and put a hole in his fellow clerics head.
It was during this exchange that Lucius finally decided to get into stride and painted the walls with tiefling blood. The spiders that have been ineffectual up until that point finally sink their fangs deep in Lucius skin and sap some of his strength. He does not let this distract him though as he sought to continue on with his genocide. However, with a blast of his gun our new friend finishes off the last of the clerics, ending the battle.
Battle done the others begin to search for what we seek. Not being a fool nor wanting to waste time I ask the Alchemist where the wardstone is being kept. He informs us the stone is under the protection of his lords chosen, Jeslyn, on the upper most floor of the building. Pointing to closest door he explains there are stairs which will take us to what we seek.
After some of his usual incompetence, Lathander finally unlocks the door. Of course the room is filled with more of those damned Vessels, but for whatever reason they do not seem to react to us, not even when Artemis dispatches one. He appears to becoming deadlier against these vessels and adapting quickly to new foes, a useful talent indeed. A point which he punctuates soon after as his arrows find and kill yet another vessel. The vessels had started to move forward and attack due to Lucius’s entrance into the room, but it mattered for not as Lucius kills the last.
Once the room is cleared we discover the stairs the Alchemist spoke of in the corner leading to the third floor. Filling some need I suppose the Alchemist warns us of our impending doom, like we don’t already know we are all dead men. We of course ignore it and Artemis starts to climb the stairs only to come face to groin with Teer’s brother. For the life of me I cannot remember the man’s name, but no matter because Artemis did the only reasonable thing and shot him the face. His face explodes as one would expect, but it was soon replaced by a vermlek’s maw.
While Artemis has his hands full with Teer’s brother, I convince the Alchemist to stay and loot the rest of the building for us and kill whatever may be left. I had feeling that he may have turned on us if I decided to press him and force him to join us up the stairs. He agreed and then promptly died as sword was slammed through his back and out his chest. It is then that most of our worst fears were realized as the hand holding the sword was none other than Faxium himself. With a condemnation to Othirubo, apparently the Alchemists name, Faxium jerked his sword free from the corpse and faced us.
Showing wisdom I did not know he possessed, not that pay to much attention to him and mostly forget he is even there, Milo promptly disappeared. Only to appear again behind Teer’s brother to finish him with two thrusts from his daggers. Perhaps what they say is somewhat true and is not always the size of the weapon. Either way he cleared our backs leaving us to focus on Faium and our impending doom as a man I had once know used to say.
Trampling over that man Lucius charges Faxium and shaken by the demons threats. Not to be undone Lucius threatens him Faxium starts to vomit. Needless to say it was very confusing and fierce battle. Milo I joined the fight flanking Faxium from either side as he dealt mortal wounds with his weapon. It was not long before Milo dropped and I soon followed. However, our attacks had made a difference and was weakened. Running out of time Faxium sought the reason for our visit and apparent suicides. Looking to Lathander for the answer, the fool had drawn to close healing the small one, Faxium demanded to know why were there. Amazingly Lathander told him perhaps a bit vaguely, but he told him none the less. I am still not sure why Lucius did not turn and the brazen fool then.
Not completely understanding, but knowing enough, Faxium decided to flee and teleportted away leaving us a bloody mess or so we thought. Turning to conceal his actions Lucius grabbed his sword in a two handed grip and spun to slam its edge into the hollow of Faxium’s neck with the momentum and force of his entire body. Faxium invisible form came back into view and the shock and horror of his death was written clearly on his face. However, I suppose he had the last surprise in the end. Just before his body fell completely to the ground and all life left him a scream from above splits the air like a thunder crack and Faxium is bathed in vile energy. Somehow we know his soul has been preserved and it is not the last we will see of him.
With no time to lose we heal our wounds and rush up the stairs. Bursting into the room we discover the once elegantly appointed room of Prelate Hulrun had been turned into a demonic trophy room. It was there sitting on a pedestal covered by a steel cage we found what we needed. In between us and our prize kneeling in a puddle of her own blood was the chosen of Deskari herself and she did not look pleased that we had just attempted to kill her son. Well I had made Faxium a promise during our battle below so decided to honor it. We moved in to kill the bitch and I was going to make sure she stayed dead.
She, as they always do, had other plans and started them off by permanently blinding Artemis. I suppose it could have been worse as Lathander could tell you. Weakened by the power needed to keep her sons soul from departing the battle did not last long. However, at one point she manifested a spell I am very familiar with and ordered us all to bow before her. What is incredible she was strong enough to force her will onto all of us. This is something I must learn as there are too many uses to let the knowledge go. Either way she died by our hand and surrounded the stone to complete geas.
Milo reaching the top before any of us attempted to use the rod on the wardstone with no success. Lathander pleaded for the rod like a spoiled child, but not being a fool I stepped up to take the rod myself. Milo and Lucius understood that opposites stand a stronger chance of destroying each other. Unlike other week fools I did not beg the Prince Darkness for aid, I touched the rod to the stone with willing infernal power and offered sacrifice if the wardstone and its soul…that is when all Hell broke loose.