After getting back to the Inn that night, the heroes set up a cautious watch and slept and recuperated. The next morning they awoke and decided to shop for supplies. Tupaia split off with Ari and hung out outside the city. There she found herself a hawk companion. In the meantime, Vanoviel found a small shop where she was able to barter some items to get a better shield for Ari. Andrinor and Orianna stayed back at the Inn to wait for Jade.
When Jade arrived in the afternoon she was a little upset at the ruckus made by the party in town. It wasn't widely known that they were the assassins who pulled off the gig at the Goblin's Niche, but she knew it.
In any case, she said that they had better get a move on, but right at that instant, the heroes were attacked by a group of drangonari elves in the hallway.
The battle was fierce. Flaming spheres were exchanged, and a flamestrike nearly killed a few heroes. The drangonari elf monks that were there got killed fairly quickly, but not before doing some damage. At that point, the main cleric fled the scene and left his lackeys to die.
Immediately after, urban sprites appeared in the hallway out of nowhere. They had a human cleric of O'ma with them. They told the adventurers to come with them immediately because it was not safe for them here.
They retreated through the streets to an abandoned wearhouse. Inside the wearhouse where nearly 100 followers of O'ma ranging from templars, to clerics, and even rangers. The head cleric introduced himself as Sarmon, and he told the heroes that he had been in town for a couple weeks hiding out and gathering his forces for a strike on the temple of Valok. The urban sprites alerted him to the presence of Baatezu being summoned in the dungeon beneath the temple.
He told them that the lower levels of the temple had two entrances.... one was small and could be accessed from the sewers. The other was large, big enough to let a small army into. But it was barred heavily from the other side and there was a small magic dead area around it. Sarmon requested that the heroes make their way into the smaller entrance, cross the dungeon to the big door and let the army in. They agreed and after some healing they set out for the sewers led by some guides sent by Sarmon.
Upon entering the lower temple levels, they were immediately confronted with all sorts of minor to moderate Baatezu blocking their way. Some of them, such as the Lemurs, were easy enough, but the barbazu were a little bit more risky. Orianna scouted the area for traps after almost falling victim to a poison dart trap on one of the doors. Afterwards, the progress was slower but much safer. Eventually, the party fought their way across the dungeon and killed the barbazu guarding the big door. Removing the bar was easy enough, and on the other side of the door they were quickly reunited with their new friends who streamed in and down the stairs to the main summoning chambers.
The adventurers reasoned that if Mandaharuk were in the vicinity, he would probably be on a level somewhere above. So they went up while the army went down. That brought them into a large foyer with two small doors and a very very large set of iron double doors.
Jade spoke up at that point and said that it looked too easy. They must be expected. So she casted a few preparatory spells and asked the others to do the same. Once geared up, the party pushed through the double doors and found a fairly tranquil looking sanctuary to Valok.
Standing in the sanctuary were some familiar faces.... the saw the two generals, and the town official whom they just killed shortly before... as well as a couple of minor clerics, and standing in the back were Mandaharuk, and their friend Khalik... who has apparently betrayed them.
Mandaharuk gloated for a while about how they would not leave alive this time. Khalik said that after they were dead, he would work on displacing "the vortex" and bringing their lord and master, Valok, into the world. This puzzled the heroes, but they didn't have long to ponder it before the battle commenced.
Mandaharuk and Khalik were cautiously standing in a minor globe of invulnerability and holding their attacks while the generals dealt with the main fighting. The minor clerics were quickly dispatched with a lightning bolt from Andrinor and a flaming sphere from Tupaia. The enemies all seemed to be resistant to heat, arrows, and physical attacks which made things much harder.
After a while the generals where whittled down, and Khalik and Mandaharuk played a fairly minor role up to that point. Eventually they started in on the fighting too. Mandaharuk headed off a charge from Vanoviel with a blast from his ring of the ram. Khalik tried a few mind altering spells and failed miserably. Eventually the generals where dead, and Jade, aided by an illusion, snuck up on the globe and casted a cone of cold into it, severely hurting the two inside.
By that time the warriors had gotten to the enemy spellcasters and started to beat on them. Khalik, feeling badly hurt, used his ring on the pool of water nearby to open a portal to the Elemental Plane of Water. Running past the warriors, he took a few hits but managed to jump in and escape by the skin of his teeth. Mandaharuk wasn't so lucky. He stood and fought by dishing out a few flamestrikes. But as he took a very nasty hit from Ari's sword, so he decided to cast a sanctuary spell on himself and make a break for it. That worked against all except Vanoviel and Andrinor. As he was running out to get to the pool, Vanoviel hit him, and as he exited the globe Andrinor casted a lightning bolt that sizzled him to ashes and severley hurt Ari in the process.
The battle was won, and Mandaharuk was dead. But the greater danger, Khalik remained.
After looting, Jade found a bag of holding and said that they must all follow Khalik to the plane of water. The only entrance she knew of was located in the Nixie city of Qwandovia, which lies off the shores of Arvanos' lands about 380 miles to the north. She said that if she casted a fly spell on herself and aimed to teleport to some spot high off the ground, she could carry everyone in the bag of holding and they could traverse about 300 of those miles instantly.
The party agreed and after leaving Brekon to sort their treasure, they teleported to Arvanos' lands.
The End: Chapter 8
[Edited on 12/30/01 by Orleron]