Second Darkness

Epilogue
Epilogue
 
The Immortals scattered across Varisia after returning from the Land of Black Blood. It was clear that, after the epic battles they had been through; it was time for a break. And that meant that they would find lives separate of each other, as trouble always seemed to find them whenever they remained together. Only Ruil knew of his own destination as he began reforming the Winter Council, and indeed reforming all the elves to his vision. Queen Talandia and her corrupt advisor were both taken in chains, and locked away in the highest tower at Thorn End; the seat of the Winter Council. Changes were coming to the elven nation, and only Ruil knew what they would be.
 
The knowledge that had been left in Allevrah's wake pertaining  to the meteor was now locked away in another tower, where Ruil's newly summoned celestial's kept a constant guard. The books had been discovered in Allevrah's chambers at the Throne of Abraxus, along with a note by some mysterious figure named Alistraxia, addressed to the Immortals. There was no safer place for books and scrolls to be stored, except in the Winter Council libraries. And Ruil made sure everyone knew of this. For in fact, he knew of an even safer place for the knowledge and thus only he knew that all of Allevrah's notes in the library were currently fakes. The real books he decided to keep in an interdimensional pocket upon his own person where there he could forever protect them.
 
Citrine's footsteps brought her back to Riddleport, where there her father Saul was overjoyed to see his daughter. Yet Citrine had never seen a father figure in the one armed man, and Saul seemed to sense that. Thinking to mend bridges, he revealed that she in fact had a twin sister named Natalya. Yet this only further enraged Citrine, seeing it as yet another nail in his coffin. Saul didn't know much, only that her mother had run off with Natalya when she was a child. This line of conversation seemed to "stump" the old man as he suddenly realized that Citrine's mother had supposedly died giving birth to Citrine. The Sarenranian disavowed her relationship with Saul.
 
After going to the temple to Sarenrae and finally kicking Beltius Kreun out of the edifice, Citrine healed Father Patrick's blindness and gave to the church enough funding so that it could be rebuilt to the glory it should be. And indeed, Riddleport, City of Thieves soon found itself with a throng of Sarenranians at its doorstep, all to serve under Father Patrick.
 
As for Citrine, she found herself a new mission in life; family. Her twin sister she soon discovered in Magnimar. Yet such a reunion was not the wanting of Natalya. It was obvious that life had divided differently for the two sisters, as Natalya had become a delver; one who hunts for long lost treasures. She said she was currently working for Karzoug the Claimer, and that he would not take kindly to any interruptions in her current hunt. And so, Citrine bid her farewell, and began her own hunt to see if she could find her mother.
 
Gunderhoff and Corthana had started their epic journey together, and they decided that such would remain. After a quick adventure with Captain Creesy on Gunderhoff's Will, the dwarf decided that a land adventure would be much safer to his stomach. Only a few days into their journey, they came across a fire dwarf on the road. He said his name was Imp, and said that he knew well the great exploit the two Immortal's had recently accomplished. Given that all the Immortal's had sworn their adventure would not become part of history, it seemed odd that a stranger would know so much. Imp did have an offer, one that, if successful would make defender and spellthief richer than anyone. Imp gave them a map and said that he would like them to seek out a white dragon orb for him. With the staff of life still in hand, Gunderhoff and Corthana agreed, and they ventured forth on this new quest for adventure.
 
Somewhere…
 
"Why are these hallways dark? They are supposed to be lit with all the colors of the rainbow? And where is everyone? This place should be dancing with people? Hello? Anyone?"
 
"I hear you."
 
"Whoa, who the heck are you? Can you please come out of the shadows so that I can shake your hand?"
 
"But of course hero, in fact it is you I have come to see. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Alistraxia. I apologize for the emptiness of the hall. Don't worry, they will all awake shortly."
 
"Ok. Wow, you're a big woman. And your have six arms! "
 
"All the better to slay my enemies with my dear. But you are not one of those. In fact I come bearing a gift for you."
 
"A gift? Thank you. How did you know it was my birthday?"
 
"Knowledge is power my friend, and that is what I have for you. Here, take this book."
 
"The Final Incantation. What's it about?"
 
"You recall the star that came across the sky?"
 
"Yes. Too bad it went by so fast."
 
"Would you like to see more such stars?"
 
"Oh boy, would I !!!"
 
"Then open the book."
 
Doovafoodle opened the front cover, and his smile became bigger and bigger with every turn of the page.
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Summary 22: Allavrah
Chapter Six: Decent into Midnight
 
Within the corridor, eight drow priestesses of Abraxus awaited the heroes who had come to usurp their mistress’s plans. These drow had never faced such a foe as they now found their white eyes upon, and indeed the Immortals reacted in the blink of an eye, as five barbs were released from an outstretched hand, knocking two of the drow to the ground with daggers in their knees, while two others had daggers in their lungs. Ruil decided to mop up some of what his ally had started, launching two scorching rays and immolating one of the priestesses. He then walked up to the second one on the ground, daring her to stand up.
 
None of the drow who took dagger wounds could concentrate through the pain, and lost their spells in the wind. The other four however each cast a chaos hammer bringing pain to all the minds of the Immortal's, with Gunderhoff  taking the brunt of the pain thanks to his path he chose to live his life. Corthana too seemed unprepared for the massive mind assault and she clutched her head in great pain. The dwarf moved into melee range, and smashed his hammer on the nearest drow, wounding him further. Citrine blasted away with fire, and wounded it further.
 
Corthana lifted her hand up and caught her returning dagger. She then sent it flying, along with a flurry of other daggers. Looking at her handiwork, she saw two drow dead, and one more on the ground, clutching at his Achilles heel. Ruil blasted all the drow with a massive shout spell that splintered bones, and wounded them all. The drow on the ground tried to cast from where he laid but could not get out of the descending blade of Ruil, the steel silencing his spell. Four of the other drow were able to push through the pain and again cast their painful chaos hammers.  The remaining drow blasted the Immortals with a fireball from her wand, hoping that her friend's innate resistance would protect her.
 
Gunderhoff, now in terrible shape after all the magic that had blasted him, stayed in the fight and bludgeoned the priestess on the ground until her face was nothing but bloody gore. Citrine, her scimitar in hand, moved in and slashed true one of the priestesses. Corthana was the shining fighter in this battle, with her daggers again devastating the drow ranks and sending one drow soul to Abraxus. Ruil then cut two more drow down to the ground, leaving only a single survivor. She had just enough time to fireball the Immortals, before Gunderhoff's hammer caved in her head.
 
After a few healing spells by Corthana and Gunderhoff, everyone was feeling up for another fight. Yet knowing their longest battle was just around the corner was cause for caution. They thus windwalked several miles away from the basilica to rememorize their most potent spells, before returning a short time later. They passed under a set of double doors, triggering a glyph of warding that sent electricity into their mist-like forms. They then observed one of the deadliest enemies they had ever seen. Ruil identified it a xacarba, also known as an Abraxus demon. It was a huge snake like creature that seemed like an amalgamation of three snakes as it had six fangs, three tales, and six eyes.
 
The xacarba recognized the windwalk spell and lowered its head, revealing a symbol of pain that permeated Ruil mind and caused constant rivulets of agony through his body. The demon then cast a mass suggestion upon them all, but they pushed aside the magic. The Immortal's decided to pass back under the door where there they resumed their human form and prepared to make boots out of their newest opponent. Citrine was quick to dispel the symbol affecting Ruil, bringing great relief to the duskblade. Corthana meanwhile found the glyph of warding on the door and disabled it. They were then free to open the door without risk of electrocution. As they did so, they noticed the xacarba had called in reinforcements in the form of a pair of hezrou demons.
 
Corthana as usual was quick to react, tossing her daggers at the hezrous and knocking them both down to the floor. The xacarba seemed to sense the various enchantments overwhelming Citrine and hit her twice with two of its tales, one of which ensnared her and once with its maw. The bite pierced her skin, hurting her. The venom from those teeth sent created an aura that surrounded her form and dispelled most of her powerful buff spells.
 
Ruil began casting a spell when suddenly he heard an aura of voices within his head. They told him to cast his fireburst spell at Corthana. The spellthief's reflexes were always on high alert, and she jumped aside from the spell. Gunderhoff however did not expect and attack from behind, and took the conflagration right in the back. The dwarf wasn't fazed at all however, and charged at the xacarba, smashing his hammer into scales.
 
The hezrous got to their feet and one of them went to the chaos hammer spell that was so very effective against heroes. Corthana, still recovering from the blast from her ally wasn't expecting the mental assault, and she seemed to suffer more than any of her other friends. The other hezrou opted for strategy and teleported in back of the Immortals, blocking any possible exit from the room. Corthana found herself with demons all around her and waved her blades in front of her, fending off any attacks.
 
The xacarba lashed out at Gunderhoff, but the power of tower shield repelled the assault of fangs and tails. Ruil, seeing the plight of Citrine, regrouped her to her side, while shutting out the voices that were telling him to bring a hezrou to his side instead. He then slashed at the nearest hezrou, but his sword got tangled up in Citrine's equipment, and it took him several seconds to free the blade. Citrine then cast a holy word, commanding the demons to vanish. In that moment, the two demons disappeared to their home planes in a blaze of holy fire. And then the xacarba's form began to shimmer; before it too was banished from the material plane.
 
Citrine used a little bit of her powers to heal up everyone's wounds. While she did that, Corthana scanned the double doors and disabled another warding spell upon it.  And as the doors opened before her, the Immortals entered a large room containing the Master Glyph. Guarding the glyph was Allevrah herself, along with eight priestesses and five vrocks. There was no doubt that this would be the biggest fight of their lives. Allevrah simply said that the heroes had ruined everything, and that they would all die for it.
 
Again Corthana was quick to react, aiming a dagger at five different priestesses and knocking three to the ground. Ruil then blasted Allevrah with an enervation ray that sailed right past her ear. Had the warrior been graced by the blessing of Gunderhoff, he would have struck true. Alas the dwarf was slower in his spellcasting. Citrine cast a sunburst that blinded all the drow, save Allevrah whose two thousand years on the surface had acclimated herself to the bright light. Four of the priestesses were quick to avert their eyes from the flash of light. Yet still the spell burned everyone's flesh, including the vrocks.
 
One of the vrocks moved closer to Citrine, ignoring Ruil who had not shown any offensive skill as of yet. And so it came as quite the surprise when a great sword from said elf chopped its hand clean off.  It clutched the stump in rage and pain, and stopped in its tracks. Two other vrocks engaged their mirror image spells, while the others attempted to summon forth more vrocks, with one of its friends answering the call from the Abyss. The priestesses meanwhile picked themselves off the ground and each drank their potions of invisibility.
 
Now it was time for Allevrah to react to the intrusion upon her plans. Thanks to the glyph of vigilance, she had observed all of the Immortal's battles so far, and thus knew which spells to protect herself with in order to maximize her survival. Although it had cost her most of her prayers, it was necessary for her survival. With her Lash of Abraxus, she sent it on its way, allowing the whips own intellect to find targets and bring them down. It flew at Citrine, but the Sarenranian jumped the coil as it tried to trip her up. Allevrah then cast a destruction spell upon the Citrine. The wave of negative energy threatened to rend flesh from bone, but Citrine was able to will her body into a stable form. And then Gunderhoff finally blessed his friends.
 
Corthana let fly her daggers again at a vrock, trying to knock aside a few images. Ruil then shouted sonic energy, the ripples bringing death to four of the priestesses, and wounding Allevrah as well.  The spell also brought the drow from their spell of invisibility. Citrine launched one of her holy fires that destroyed yet another priestess, and it seemed things were going very much like the Immortal's wanted. The vrocks meanwhile began dancing with joy, allowing the charge of death to begin welling up inside them. The last remaining priestess meanwhile blasted forth a small fireball that enveloped everyone but Corthana who found herself just out of range.
 
Allevrah's whip then went to work, striking Citrine twice and draining away some of her life force. She meanwhile flamestriked the Immortals. Corthana however was quick to tumble aside from the flames, while Ruil's fire shield protected him from harm. Gunderhoff noticed Citrine was not doing very well and so healed her with the staff of life.  Corthana meanwhile continued her assault on the vrocks, destroying even more images.
 
Ruil again sent enervation magic at Allevrah, but her innate resistance simply absorbed it. Citrine, adopted a wall of defense as she was still feeling the effects of the many spells that had struck her. The remaining priestess again blasted away with fire, hurting all the Immortal's yet again. Allevrah, seemed to be hesitating, and indeed she was as her offensive spells were running low. She thus went invisible with a mere thought, and then started chanting a very long spell. The Lash of Abraxus meanwhile continued its assault on Citrine who deflected every strike.
 
More daggers flew forth, this time in a scattered pattern that destroyed many more images as well as one going clean through the head of the remaining priestess, dropping her dead. Ruil focused his attacks on the nearest vrock, knocking aside its remaining images with his sword and a dispelling touch. Citrine purged the invisibility blanketing Allevrah, and noticed the former elf in the middle of spell casting. The vrocks too saw their mistress and knew she was in distress. They thus danced towards her to form a demon shield of flesh. As they did so, Allevrah finished her firestorm and sent the wave over all the Immortal's. The heat was so furious that even Ruil's shield couldn't protect him fully. Corthana again jumped out of harm's way, but Citrine and Gunderhoff were burned badly. Allevrah then cast one of her most powerful spells, a repulsion effect. The Immortal's will to slay her was simply too strong, and they all pushed through the powerful enchantment. Gunderhoff quickly moved to Citrine yet again and healed her wounds with the staff of life.
 
Corthana looked at Allevrah and pointed to the ceiling, she looked to where the spellthief was pointing and in that instant, Corthana fired all her daggers into the drow’s chest; and each one fell to the ground as it hit the stoneskin enchantment. Ruil yet again blasted forth more enervation, and again it was absorbed by Allevrah's drow resistance. The priestess to Abraxus then air walked up a few feet to get out of range from the dance of death that all the vrocks unleashed upon the Immortal's. The electrical wave devastated them all, nearly knocking them all to the ground in writhing agony. Allevrah then prayered, negating the one already on the Immortal's that had been cast before the battle. The whip continuing harassing Citrine who continued evading its attacks.
 
Corthana then blasted Ruil with insult after insult, yelling at him as to why he hadn't done what he normally did battles? Angry at her, and himself, he dimensional hopped to Allevrah's side, and then cast regroup to bring all his friends to his side, and right next to Allevrah. Citrine decided to stay back from the battle, not accepting the spell in order to save her friends from the whip. Instead, she cast a greater dispel magic that was promptly dispelled by the ring of counterspells on Allevrah's finger containing that same spell. Not wanting to be surrounded, the drow clicked her heels together and used her boots of teleportation to get herself out of range of the three Immortal's surrounding her. The vrocks then all cast their mirror images again, much to the annoyance of Corthana.
 
Gunderhoff had been serving as nothing but a bonker of healing throughout the battle upon others. Now however, it was time to heal himself as he realized the world was starting to get blurry. Corthana yet again blasted away at demon images with daggers, in the hopes of opening the door for a solid hit by Ruil's greatsword or Citrine's enspelled scimitar. Ruil did indeed attack the nearest vrock, hitting it twice with steel, as well as one of its images. A silent mental command from Allevrah had the vrocks backing up a few steps and they screeched, paralyzing Corthana. In the place of the vrocks, a blade barrier formed right where most of the Immortal's were standing. Corthana was helpless and she was torn by a thousand cuts.
 
Ruil again cut away at the nearest vrock, nearly downing it with his mighty blade. Citrine who had been out of range from Allevrah's last spell, blasted a sunbeam through two vrocks and Allevrah. The demons screamed in pain, and the beam clipped Allevrah's body, but she seemed unaffected by the spell, having made herself immune to sunbeam with a defensive spell earlier during the day.
 
One of the vrocks lunged at Ruil, but recoiled at the backlash of fire that burned its talons. The three vrocks meanwhile began dancing. Allevrah, now out of offensive spells, took out a wand and sent an enervation ray into Ruil. She then summoned the Lash of Abraxus to her hand, giving her something to defend herself with. The blade barrier continued cutting away at Corthana who was still paralyzed within it. Gunderhoff too was still within its range, and found his flesh torn apart.
 
Ruil, seeing so many vrocks that were holding on to life, shouted their way, finally killing two vrocks, while critically wounding the rest.  Citrine then cast a flamestrike that killed one of the vrocks. Allevrah however simply walked through the flames, seemingly immune to the holy fires. Two of the vrocks screeched in defiance, but the Immortal's resisted the freezing of their own muscles in response. The other remaining vrocks moved next to their mistress and moved their talon in front of her to intercept any incoming swords. As for Allevrah, she again blasted Ruil with enervation. The ray hit the duskblade right in the head, and seemed to drain even more of his life force away.
 
Corthana finally shot off the paralyzation and jumped out of the blade barrier.  She switched to her wand of magic missiles and blasted a vrock, but its own resistance absorbed the magic. Ruil found his skills greatly dwindled after all the enervations, but still managed to strike true on a vrock, bring it to one knee. Citrine blasted away with a flamestrike that wounded further a vrock and killed another. Gunderhoff then healed Ruil slightly, but there was little the Toragian could do. Allevrah then moved next to a vrock and mended the demons burns. Two could play at the healing game it seemed.
 
Again Corthana fired away with her wand, but the magic was simply too weak and it dispelled over the nearest vrock. Ruil slashed at a near dead vrock, finally downing his foe. Allevrah then took out a scroll and after a few words, healed another vrock. It seemed the fight, that had seemed to be going so well, was slowly turning into an epic failure. Corthana searched through her wands, and took out another one, casting its magic  on Ruil and displacing him. Ruil looked through his remaining spells, and decided upon a scorching ray that promptly was deflected back into Ruil thanks to Allevrah's greater spell turning shield.
 
The vrocks decided then that Citrine had to die and die fast. They clawed and bit at her, with a pair of talons cutting her badly across the arm. She retaliated with a brilliant display of scimitarship, and sent demon blood flowing. Allevrah sensed that things were starting to turn more and more against her. She continued fired her enervations at Ruil, but the displacement confounded her aim, and they repeatedly missed the target. Meanwhile her vrocks continued defending her, but they faced warhammer and daggers on a near constant basis. Citrine's sword too kept cutting in, followed by Ruil's greatsword.
 
There was only one last tactic, and that was the blade barrier. When the last vrock perished, Allevrah teleported right within the bladed wall, her spell immunity making her immune to it as it was the third spell she had protected herself from. Now the Immortal's would have to reach into the barrier to hit her, suffering its repeated deadly effects. That was no problem however for a group of warriors with a staff of life in the hands of a priest of Torag.
 
From afar, Corthana fired her magic missiles in the hopes that one might actually get through. Ruil cut away at Allevrah's defenses in the hopes of a lucky hit. Citrine too cut at the drow again and again, making it impossible for Allevrah to cast a spell. Gunderhoff stayed back with the wand of life, healing anyone who needed aid. And after what seemed like a battle of over three hours, Allevrah finally fell dead to the ground.
 
The battle was over, and the Immortal's had won.
 
The Master Glyph still stood before them, and as the four placed their hands upon it, they soon understood what it would take to deactivate. Each of them mentally assaulted it with their own Will and in short order, the glyph shimmered and then winked out.
 
And high in the sky, Golarion observed a in the night fly through the sky, and continuing its journey through the cosmos.
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Summary 21: Into the House of Shadow
Chapter Six: Decent into Midnight
 
The Fetid Palace was their next destination, and after a few healing spells, the Immortal's were ready for whatever Allevrah had left for them to face. In mist form, they scouted out the giant hollowed out mushroom, which contained an enormous worm-like creature. A separate hollow contained their goal: the glyph of Vigilance. There was no doubt that the creature, known as the Moldering Emperor, would have to be their immediate target.
 
As they materialized, they threw metal barbs, and fiery blasts, in the hope that the fight would be a quick one. The Lord of Mushrooms did not gain the title by falling to a few meager adventurers however, and when the Immortal's initial momentum played out, it blasted nearly all the adventurers with acid. Citrine had been lucky place herself behind the behemoth, taking her out of first spray. From there, it blasted away with mind thrusts, and psychic crushes, and even swallowed Ruil in its gullet. Yet the Immortal's slashed on, and when Ruil finally cut himself out of the Moldering Emperor's stomach, he found that his friends had finally slain the beast.
 
A few healing spells got everyone up to full health. Gunderhoff looked at the counter upon the rod of life and noticed the indicator was getting lower and lower with each passing fight. He prayed to Torag that when the battle with Allevrah finally arrived, there would be enough healing energy to keep all of his friends alive.
 
As the Immortals' approached the Glyph of Vigilance, a magical gate appeared. Out of it walked a drow whom none of the Immortal's recognized. She said her name was Allevrah, and demanded to know who the adventurers were. She then promised them all death for interfering with her plans. Despite the drow's sudden appearance, the warriors were not at all fazed, nor did they even believe the drow was real. And as Citrine's sword passed harmlessly through it, they were indeed correct.
 
Yet, this was a project image spell, meaning that magic could be cast through it. Allevrah began casting a firestorm. Citrine tried to dispel the image, but Allevrah's magic was too powerful to be knocked away. Corthana went to the glyph and began trying to find a way to disable it. She felt its inner thoughts and believed she could bluff the glyph into thinking that there was nothing left to defend against. Ruil knew that a bath of fire was imminent, and so he flew out of the small room. As he did so, he felt the heat behind him, and heard the cries of pain from his friends. Corthana however danced away from the raindrops of fire.
 
Allevrah blasted Citrine with lightening, grazing her hip. Corthana tossed a daylight stone that blinded Allevrah. She then cast a spell to purge invisibility from the area, but saw no one appear. In fact, it was through the glyph itself that Allevrah was viewing everything from her place beside the master glyph. Gunderhoff didn't know what to do and decided to guide Corthana's thoughts as she attempted to destroy the glyph. And indeed the glyph finally listened to the spellthief and shut itself down and ended image of Allevrah. As she did so, she felt part of the glyph's power empower her ways of perception. After which, yet another beam of light speared off in the distance.
 
They followed the beam of light to the Rotstone Hollows, a very desolate and sandy area. Many rock formations sprouted from the stone, and it was at one of these that Gunderhoff stopped in mist form. He found a secret door in one of the stone columns, leading to a set of stairs going down.
 
Gunderhoff led the way, where he soon came face to face with a large green creature with four arms and massive claws. This was the charda that the genie Haiten had said might prove to be an ally. After a tense moment, the Immortal's learned that the charda's hatchery was being guarded by a pair of babau demons, and a troglodyte. Within that same chamber was the glyph of Watching. The charda led the way, past its fellow brood mates to the location. Corthana came up with the idea to go within a cloak of invisibility to take out the eggs before taking out the threats. They also planned on using their new cold iron armaments against the babau's, whose flesh was vulnerable to the metal.
 
Corthana took the lead, and picked up an egg. As she looked up she saw the babau's blades slashing into her lungs as their eyes saw through her spell. A savage twist brought further pain from the wounds. The troglodyte, name Orrn seemed utterly surprised by the situation and just stood there stupidly as he watched the intruders enter into the room he was supposed to be defending. From behind, he felt a greatsword imbued with lightening slash him from behind; and then nothing as his soul went to join Urazra, God of Brutality. After seeing the explosion of blood that Ruil left in Orrn's wake, the babau's simply teleported away, wanting nothing to do with the elf.
 
The Glyph of Watching now looked upon them. With the charda knowing nothing of the glyph, it fell to Corthana to bond with it. As her mind wandered, she noticed that the glyph was in fact more a device of magical construction. Corthana was more than up to the task as she deactivated it, and absorbed the glyph's power, giving the woman the power to see through all illusions. From there, a blast of light shot towards the center of the Land of Black Blood, where it illuminated a small basilica; the Throne of Abraxis.
 
Upon the wisps of a windwalk the Immortal's scouted out the area. There was a small army of drow, driders and dire bats blocking the bridge to the main gate. These were obliterated by a firestorm from Citrine, destroying half of Allevrah's entire force. There remained only the five guardians standing before the gates to the interior. These were enemies they were used to as four vrocks and a glabrazu blocked their path.
 
Citrine quickly sent a sunbeam into two of the vrocks, hurting them and blinding one of them. Two of the vrocks created mirror images of themselves, while the others attempted to summon forth a fellow vrock, with only one of them succeeding.  Ruil created a fireshield to protect himself. He then moved right next to the glabrazu, cutting into its thigh and sending scolding blood pouring down. Corthana threw a volley of daggers, hoping to knock out some of the magical images. Her strategy paid off as three images blinked out. Gunderhoff blessed his friends as was his normal tactic.
 
The glabrezu clawed at Ruil, hitting the duskblade twice, but wincing from the backlash of magical energy from the fireshield. Yet the burns were minimal compared the cuts Ruil received. Citrine again sunbeamed a fresh set of vrocks, blinding them both and causing them harm. One of the vrocks tried to telekenisis Ruil's blade away, but the locked gauntlet held the blade in place. One of the other vrock's screeched in an attempt to freeze the Immortal's in place. Another vrock sent a cloud of spores in the air that attached to the Immortal's and began sending roots into flesh. Mirror images flared up from a fourth vrock, while the last began a dance of death.
 
Ruil wracked his brain for something magic to blast away with, and settled upon a new spell. Somehow he concentrated through the pain and blasted the glabrazu and two of the vrocks with his shout spell, sending sonic energy to melt their brains. Corthana again launched daggers, this time at a blinded vrock. Some of the images disappeared, while one dagger pierced hilt deep in its kidney. Gunderhoff moved in next to Ruil and smashed his hammer into the glabrezu's knee. It retaliated by creating a portal in an attempt to bring its sister to the plane from the abyss. Yet the throughout that realm of fire and death, the babau's from the fight in the hatchery were screaming about the power the warrior of the material plane were and thus to not accept any invitations to that place that was now considered the Abyss's version of the Abyss. And so the glabrazu saw no one come to his aid.
 
Citrine went to her sunbeams again, blinding a fourth vrock. The remaining vrock that could actually see tried to telekenisis both Citrine and Corthana into the water. The former planted her feet into the ground, while the latter found herself flying through the air and into the cold dark waters below. Ruil sent a black enervation ray at the glabrazu, but the demon kicked dust in Ruil's face in mid-cast, nearly causing the ray to backfire as Ruil rubbed his eyes to clean them, with the magic still on the tip of his finger.
 
Corthana levitated out of the water, throwing the wand aside as the last charge from it was used. Gunderhoff again smashed his hammer into the glabrazu. It in turn summoned a chaos hammer that smashed upon everyone's minds. Citrine again sunbeamed the vrocks, blinding the remaining one. That one finished its dance and a wave of electricity arced out, striking everyone within range. Gunderhoff again hammered down, but this time three claws moved down to intercept each strike. It then clawed mightily at Ruil, rending flesh and sinew but sending back pain. Citrine quickly healed Ruil's wounds, just as the other three vrock's finished their dance of death, sending out an even greater wave of electricity and scorching the Immortal's.
 
Corthana was still a ways away, but she continued moving as fast as she could towards her friends. Ruil again somehow found a way to cast through the pain, and sent a ray of enfeeblement into the demon before him, taking way a large piece of life force. In response, it again slashed and bit at Ruil, knocking him to the edge of darkness. It then screamed out in abyssal to the vrocks to begin their dance of death again.
 
Citrine brought forth her mighty flamestrike spell, wounding three of the vrocks even further as well as the glabrazu. One of the vrocks screeched in an attempt to freeze the Immortal's in fear, but all of them resisted. Ruil, spitting teeth, tried to bring the mighty foe before him down. He placed one foot upon the demon's knee and jumped up as high as his sword could reach. The blade cut through the glabrazu's throat and it fell dead to the ground.
 
Corthana finally made it to the battle to see the fall of the large demon. Yet she was still too far away to get her daggers anywhere near the enemies. Citrine cast another flamestrike, wounding three vrocks yet again, but still they continued dancing.  Ruil now moved into range of the nearest vrock, one which had yet to receive much damage. Within his sword he cast a vampiric touch, cutting away at demon flesh while siphoning soul energy to strengthen his own and destroying an image with a second swipe.
 
Citrine took out her scimitar and slashed into the vrock by her side. Her first hit cut its wing off. Her second swing cut its ear off. Yet the dance continued, and this time electricity blasted out from the vrocks, hurting them all. Corthana was knocked to the ground as the concussive force blew her down. Ruil took the worst of it all, not knowing where to dodge and so taking all the kilojoules through his system. Barely standing, the elf got his revenge, his sword cutting the head off of a vrock.
 
Corthana jumped to her feet, and sent daggers flying, eliminating vrock images. Citrine was way to hurt to cast any healing spells to help her friend and threw her holy fire, destroying the conjured vrock. With the remaining vrocks near death, the Immortals waded through them easily with swords of cold iron, ending their lives. Citrine healed up her allies before a decision was made as to what to do next.
 
Going back to mist form, the Immortal's explored a nearby crack that opened into a pool within the basilica. Upon a small shore, a derro could be seen praying to Ndkia. The god was not familiar to Citrine, as unknowingly the derro was actually praying to an aboleth who spoke to the dark dwarf in her dreams. Near the derro, Ruil's elven instinct noticed a secret passage in the wall. They thus opted for this entry. As they materialized on the other side, they found themselves in a wide passage with four rooms on either side. And from those rooms came fourth eight drow priestess's of Abraxus.
 

And they all began casting chaos hammer.

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Summary 20: Late Night Harvest
Chapter Six: Decent into Midnight
 
The Immortals approached the next glyph in their quest to destroy them all. This one was located in a small field of crystal arches, its renewal energy radiating strongly from it. This was the glyph that would automatically bring back previous glyphs that had been destroyed within a matter of a single day. Although the Immortal's had no way of knowing this, it meant that this glyph had to be destroyed fast.
 
There were no guardians to be seen, but that changed as they approached the glyph. From several of the arches, and rip opened between the material plane and the abyss. From those tears, came forth tentacles that belonged to a colossal beast. One of them appeared right next to Ruil who quickly slashed at it with his sword. The blade couldn't pierce rubbery hide, but the shocking grasp within the blade burned the flesh of the Abyssal Harvester's appendage. Corthana blasted two of the tentacles with her lightning bolt wand, burning more of the beast. Gunderhoff did his usual bless spell to inspire his friends in battle.
 
Before Citrine could react, the tentacles retaliated. Ruil ducked the attack aimed at his head. He wasn't quick enough to get out of the way of a second tentacle that wrapped around his ribs and began squeezing his life away. Another tentacle lashed out at Corthana, and sent her flying through the air. Gunderhoff simply put up his shield in the hopes that it would repel any attacks. Sure enough, he heard the sound of two large bangs upon the metal. Citrine meanwhile found herself dragged down by a tentacle that crushed her legs to paste. The glyph of renewal's energy bathed the Harvester in healing energy, mending some of its wounds.
 
Corthana tried healing the glyph in the hopes it would do something. When that didn't work, she tried bonding with it in the hopes of discovering its weaknesses. Yet her soothing words weren't enough to convince the glyph to open its self up to its inner workings. It would be up to the diplomatic Citrine to do so, but she was being held fast. Gunderhoff smashed his hammer down, but none of his attacks did any harm to the beast. The Harvester continued squeezing Citrine and Ruil, cracking bones even more. One tentacle smashed into Gunderhoff's back, and pulled him into its grasp.  Corthana too found a tentacle wrapped around her, and it began squeezing her life away.
 
The Immortal's found themselves in a literal bind.  Held as they were, their options were limited. Ruil cursed his own spell studies as all of his spells required two hands for casting, and one of them was pinned. Corthana still held her lightening bolt wand and let one of them fly, burning two of the tentacles. The others continued squeezing their prey, and all four Immortals cried out in pain.
 
Despite the pain, Ruil pushed through it and cast the only spell he knew that could get him out of the situation. He cast a dimensional hop that got him out of the grasp. He then intended to regroup his allies to his side, but the effort in casting the first spell was simply too great and the words faltered on his tongue. Gunderhoff, staff of life in hand, healed up his own wounds, as did Citrine with a spell. Such tactics could only go on for so long. Corthana again blasted away with her wand, destroying two of the tentacles. The one grasping her however crushed her further, and she felt the world spinning. The Harvester felt her weakness and began drawing Corthana into the Abyss. With all her strength, the spellthief used her Will to resist the pull, and succeeded in her defense.
 
Ruil, was not free for long as a tentacle again wrapped itself around his body and pulled him towards the Abyssal opening. He too resisted the fires of oblivion and remained on his home plane, just before darkness blanketed his consciousness. His other friends were crushed further towards the same fate. Citrine grimaced through the pain in an attempt to burn a tentacle, but it was too much and her spell failed her. Corthana blasted two of the tentacles with a lightning bolt, one of which had Gunderhoff in its folds and thus he too was struck by the magic.
 
The dwarf was desperate, and grabbed a dagger which bent in two as he plunged it into the tentacle. The Harvester dropped the seemingly dead Ruil, and upon seeing that, Corthana played dead. Thinking her dead, the Harvester dropped her. Citrine again had her body crushed and was pulled towards the Abyssal tear. Luckily she resisted the pull, but she was still in a bad state. In desperation, she again tried to summon fire, and Sarenrae seemed to hear her call as fire flew from her fingertips and destroyed the tentacle holding Gunderhoff.
 
Corthana, now prone, blasted two tentacles to death with another bolt of electricity. Gunderhoff then ran to Ruil and with a touch from the rod of life, healed up most of his wounds and saved his life. Citrine saw blood before her eyes and knew it was her own as blackness enveloped her. Now conscious, Ruil regrouped all of his friends to his side, and then gave his healer friend a potion to bring light back to her eyes. Citrine then mended more of her wounds to ensure she was safe from immediate death.
 
Corthana again blasted away with her powerful wand, wounding the last tentacle greatly. Gunderhoff then ran to her side and healed up her bones with his healing rod. The tentacle lashed out at Citrine, and grabbed her into its folds, again splintering bones and knocking her out. Ruil, now close to the appendage, opted just to send a shocking grasp through his hand. The blast was so great that the tentacle exploded in a pile of gore, ending the fight and giving hope for success in their overall mission.
 
After a few healing waves from Citrine and Gunderhoff, as well as a few healing spells, attention turned to the glyph of renewal. Citrine placed her hands upon it, but knew that there was no way she would be able to convince it to deactivate itself. And so the Immortal's went to their trusted weapons, noticing that only Gunderhoff's hammer seemed to have any effect. And as the glyph expired, it exploded in a wave of negative energy that robbed them all of warrior knowledge. That however was easily restored thanks to Gunderhoff's rod of life. A beam of light from the glyph blasted off to the distance, illuminating a small drow fortress.
 
Citrine cast a windwalk to speed their journey. It also allowed them to pass through the cracks in the walls in order to scout out all the rooms. As such they were able to see all the drow defenders within, as well as a room where within The Glyph of Defense stood strong, defended by a drow sorcerer and a hezrou demon.
 
The four decided to materialize in a nearby vacant room. Corthana had a plan whereby she would lock the courtyard doors, stopping any reinforcements from arriving. Yet her careful manipulations were not precise enough as she triggered a trap that sent a wave of chilling black blood flowing into the room. The spellthief quickly jumped over the water, but her friends were not as lucky as the water burned their skin with cold. Ruil's scream of pain was enough to alert the guards outside, and they began yelling amongst themselves as to what to do.
 
Corthana, over the past weeks had been studying the undercommon language, and heard guards arguing as to who would open the door. She then moved left and attempted to open the lock of their destination room with the glyph, but its complexity eluded her. Citrine raised her magical shields in preparation for the battle to come. Gunderhoff then blessed everyone with his signature spell.
 
In the end, one of the drider's drew the short straw and opened the door after mumbled a password. He then moved to the side as his three drider friends launched lightening bolts at Citrine whose protective spell absorbed all it. The two drow soldiers moved to another door to inform their ghoul priest ally of the attack, while the others cast fiery fire and darkness upon the Sarenranian.
 
Ruil blew open the door with a pair of scorching rays where the glyph was, opening the way for an attack by his friends. Drexinis the drow sorcerer smiled in anticipation for the blood he assumed would flow at the end of his spells. Corthana moved into the room and used a stoneshape to block the door, ensuring enemies would have a difficult time coming to the drow's aid. Citrine meanwhile blasted they army of defenders with fire and holy radiance, decimating nearly all of them. Only the driders remained after the magic's light faded, and their wounds were horrible. They tried to retaliate, but their axes bounced off of spellshields.
 
Gunderhoff took up his returning spear and threw it at Drexinis. The barb grazed the drow's shoulder. Drexinis retaliated with a cone of cold that struck all the Immortal's, with the exception of Corthana who jumped out of the way. The hezrou meanwhile created a hammer of force in the air that hammered the minds of all four heroes, hurting them badly. Gunderhoff took the worst of the spell, and felt his movements hindered by the magic.
 
Ruil of powerful in spellfire and blade, and with the latter he charged in, cutting Drexinis across the ribs and slicing lungs. Corthana then finished off the drow with a hail of daggers. For added measure, she threw a few daggers at the hezrou who fell for her feint. One dagger lodged into the demons knee, sending it crumpling to the ground in pain. Citrine waded into the group of driders, her scimitar nearly dropping one. Gunderhoff felt the spear in his hand and threw it at the hezrou, hurting the demon further.
 
Now all alone, the hezrou tried to summon another of its kind. A gate opened and a hezrou looked into the material plane. Upon seeing the mighty Immortal's however, it closed the portal on itself, not wanting anything to do with the powerful warrior. The driders continued their attacks upon Citrine, but still her armor held them at bay. In a nearby room, the ghoul priestess Atendri began slinking away. Yet a sunbeam from Citrine's palm obliterated the undead before it could do so.
 
In short order, the Immortal's waded through demon and drider with bloody abandon. These were enemies they had dealt with several times and thus they knew how to handle them. Only the glyph of defense remained, and within a few moment, its too was destroyed, sending out a beam of light to the Fetid Palace. With only three glyphs to go including the master glyph, victory seemed to be at hand. The final battle with their never before seen foe was at handle. And if she knew what was coming for her, she would do well to tremble in fear.
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Summary 19: Road to Oblivion
Chapter Six: Decent into Midnight
 
The Winter Council was now a thing of the past. No longer would they rule from afar. They would simply serve as guardians against the demons outside, to ensure no claws grasped the Sovereign Stone. The knowledge within the tower’s libraries was also the most vast in all of Golarion. Within, Allevrah had found a way to pull a star from the sky. Such secrets would have to be kept from the world, unless an even greater calamity should arise. With Allevrah's remaining notes, the Immortal's had enough information to start their search. They would seek out Haiten, the genie who ruled the Land of Black Blood. With any luck, she would be able to guide them. And so, after a few powerful items were given to the Immortals by the former Winter Council, they stepped into a portal, and were plunged into the underdark again.
 
They lit the way towards the Shrine of Bound Earth, where there they would find the genie they sought. The Land of Black Blood itself was a cavern that stretched a hundred miles in every direction. Somewhere in the distance, the sounds of rushing water could be heard, and it was this that the name of the land they were in came from. On the outside of their light sources, denizens slithered away, and serrated teeth leered from hidden cracks.
 
Soon the four arrived at what seemed like head stones, but were in fact elegant sculptures carved up from the rock. The small field of artistic statues flanked the tiled walkway that led to the double doors of the Shrine. As they approached the door however, they heard the sounds of battle within. Gunderhoff led the way, past several drow corpses, to another set of double doors. From there, the Immortals entered into a large room, where there they saw the earth genie Haiten being attacked by a half dozen drow, two of which were dead. Haiten saw the intruders and threatened them in terran.
 
The drow were very surprised to see the intruders, with two of them turning and firing at Ruil and hitting him in the arm. Gunderhoff moved in and smashed one in the ribs greatly wounded him. Citrine them threw a daylight pellet into the room and blinded all the drow. She then walked past the genie whom, unknown to everyone, was also blinded. She took a scimitar swing, but missed the Sarenranian. Ruil then moved up to the blinded drow and drained away the life force from two of the drow with his vampiric touch imbued sword. Corthana then fired off four daggers, with one of them lodging in a drow’s heart, dropping him dead.
 
Haiten realized that the Immortals were there to help her and so sliced through one of the remaining drow. Gunderhoff then moved up to the same one and smashed his hammer into it, nearly dropping it. The other one received a blast of fire in the face from Citrine. From there it was a simple matter to dispatching them in their weakened state.
 
Haiten thanked the Immortal's for their aid. She said that Allevrah had come to her realm several years ago and had asked to begin a magical project within her realm. After gifting Haiten with a vorpal scimitar, the genie agreed. Yet only today, it seemed that Allevrah had decided to cut off any loose ends to whatever plans she had created by killing Haiten with a few drow soldiers. After the Immortal's expressed their desire to destroy Allevrah and the runes she had created to call down a meteor from the sky, Haiten directed them to the only rune she knew of. She said that it was located in the Livid Santum that used to serve as a temple to Camazotz, Demon Lord of Bats. She directed them to the location, on their map, and they headed off to the location.
 
The Livid Santum was a massive tree root over two hundred feet in the air. With only one charge remaining in the levitation wand, they decided to rest a few hours so that Citrine could pray for a wind walk spell. It would transform them all into a fast moving mist, and would allow them to resume solid form or return to mist form as long as the spell lasted. Corthana head the sounds of dozen of bat swarms, which would mean a challenge to overcome even for them.
 
A few hours later, they were drifting up faster than a horse could gallop. They passed a room with a huge line of rope, past several spider swarms, past a cloaker beast whose moan threatened to frighten their senses. They continued all the way up until they came to the top most room. They left their mist form to survey the surroundings, which was a very large living quarters. The only occupant was a drider sitting on a throne. It spoke to them in its undercommon language, and waited very patiently for a reply.
 
The Immortal's response was with steel and spellfire. Citrine blasted the drider with holy fire, hurting it badly. Corthana looked at the drider and told him that the statue of Camazotz nearby was moving. It looked at where she was pointing, and that was the distraction the spellthief needed as she launched dagger after dagger into the arachnid. Ruil blasted it with his a ray of enfeeblement taking way a large part of the drider’s lifeforce.
 
Xizho, High Priest of Camazotz, could no longer remember how to cast his high level spells and knew that Ruil's spell was to blame. He charged at the elf, but Ruil was more than ready for the attack, deflecting the mace high and wide. Citrine capitalized on Xizho's moment of imbalance as she cut low, chopping four of his legs off and knocking him down. With a second swipe, she cleaved Xizho's head in two.
 
Now the Immortal's were faced with a mystery. They were unsure what the glyph they were looking for looked like, only that it was large and magical.  They searched far and wide, but found absolutely no sign of it. That meant that what they were looking for had to be on one of the lower levels. Yet after destroying a few specters on the level below and searching around, they found nothing. Corthana did find a pair of shields that were unique to spellcasters in that they could be wielded without impeding the delicate movements of casting.
 
On the level below, they found themselves in the middle of a forbiddance spell. That sent a psychic lash of energy into their minds, hurting them all. Gunderhoff seemed to take the most pain as the spell was specifically aligned to hurt people of his faith in life. There was nothing else in the room, other than a pile of skulls with gems in their teeth. At first, they were hesitant to touch them, fearing tales of demiliches rising up. Ruil detected magic emanating from them as well. Corthana was confident in her searching skills and as she found no traps, and just assumed that they were magical items. She thus picked up a skull, and after it didn't explode, tried to activate it. As she did so, Camazotz's Sight struck her, taking away her hearing and eye sight. Gunderhoff was quick to use the staff of life upon her to lift the curse.
 
The next level, the Immortal's stumbled upon another forbiddance trap. They also came across over two dozen dead bodies, all of which had been mummified for a hundred years. A quick scan produced no glyph. What they did noticed however was that no other soul had wandered the chamber in just as many years. A few spider swarms emerged from the shadows which they easily dealt with, but there was no glyph in sight. The only room remaining was the one with the long rope, and that had nothing either.
 
The Immortal's were sure they had missed something. They searched the pile of jeweled skulls; they searched the statue on the upper lever, triggering another Camazotz's Sight trap. They searched the waters in the pool. They searched everywhere for over half a day, but still nothing. There was only one logical explanation: Haiten had lied to them.
 
Returning to the Shrine of Bound Earth, it was only a half surprise when they saw Haiten and the very much alive drow from before, standing side by side. It had all been an elaborate hoax to gain more time for the master glyph to charge. Ruil quickly blasted a drow with a ray that drained away some of his life force. The drow all fired their crossbows at Ruil, including the two disguised as spellcasters. One of the bolts bit into flesh, sending a small rivulet of black blood into his veins that chilled his movements. The "genie" meanwhile sent a black ray of disintegration at the elf. Luckily, Ruil dodged most of it, and it burned a line across his side. Haiten then turned invisible.
 
Gunderhoff blessed his friends to aid their attacks. Citrine cast an invisibility purge allowing for everyone to see Haiten. Corthana saw all the drow on the balcony and threw her daggers, killing the drow that Ruil had hit before, and then hitting the other drow that looked like a mage. As she siphoned off the drow's spells however, she realized the dupe. Her last dagger sliced across the drow's neck, and he dropped dead from the massive blood loss.
 
Ruil flew up and blasted Haiten with an enervation ray but which dissipated over her magical resistance. The genie then sent a mindfog at the Immortal's, but they resisted the magic. The drow then got up and blasted Ruil with crossbow bolts, each one bouncing off his armor. After Gunderhoff moved in closer to the melee, Citrine enhanced her own offense and defense with magic. Corthana again sent a volley of daggers, wounding four of the drow and knocking three of them down to the ground.
 
dimensional hop brought Ruil right next to Haiten, and he used a dispelling touch through his sword to dispel the illusion cloaking her and revealing a drow named Denrelwe in her place. Gunderhoff tried to smash a drow on the ground, but it reached out and hit his knee, throwing him off balance and spoiling his attack. That drow then got to his feet and impaled the dwarf with a rapier. The other drow all got to their feet and fired at Corthana, but none of the barbs found their mark. Denrelwe looked at Ruil and began casting another disintegrate. Yet she was not used to actually feeling pain, and despite the minor cut on her arm, it was enough to make her misspeak her magic. Gunderhoff smashed a drow with his hammer, but it held onto life. Citrine then spiderclimbed up the railing in order to get closer to Denrelwe.
 
Corthana again let fly her daggers, again wounding four of the drow and this time knocking all four of them down. Ruil advanced on Denrelwe and slashed her twice, nearly killing her. With no other option, the drow illusionist used a wand and dimension doored away from the fight. The remaining drow were easily taken care of after a few quick dagger tosses. Yet the Immortal's did not want their enemy to come back and disintegrate them in the back. They thus headed out into the Land of Black Blood and began scanning for any sign of her. And after several minutes flying around in mist form, they finally found her flying towards the center of the cavern. Her form seemed to shimmer as though from a displacement spell.
 
Ruil blasted fire into the air, but each blast went through her phantom form. Gunderhoff found himself way to far from their fleeing foe and so grabbed the spear they had found on Xizho's body and let it fly. Although he missed his target, he was surprised that it returned to his hand almost immediately, and thus revealing the enchantment within it. Corthana threw a volley of daggers and darts, each one going through the displacement. Citrine cast a dispel magic, and nullified all the drow's spells. With only one remaining option, Denrelwe used her most powerful spell in her inventory, and cast a limited wish to teleport away next to her master.
 
After a rope trick by Corthana, the Immortals were ready with new spells to tackle the next day. She used her rogue skills to find a secret passage leading down to a second level within the shrine. Gunderhoff led the way to an immense room, where at its far end was the earth genie, bound within a crystal prison. Haiten reached out with her mind and implored the heroes to aid her, saying she was bound until the light of the sun touched the prison.
 
Citrine blasted the crystals with a sunbeam spell, freeing the genie from its confines. Haiten thanked her and said that a dark elf named Allevrah had imprisoned her many years ago. Ruil then asked for a wish, but Haiten claimed she did not have the power to do so. She did say that she knew of all the locations of the focus glyphs and the Master glyph which was located on an island called the Throne of Abraxus. As for allies, she mentioned the drow had enslaved a race called the chardas. If they could befriend these demonic creatures, they could prove helpful. As a last boon, she gave to Citrine her magical speed scimitar.
 
The Immortal's headed off toward the first glyph. They came to a field of rotted vegetation, and at its center was their goal, it flame of Fury burning bright. Surrounding the glyph were six ropers. None of the four knew what the beasts were, but after the battle, all would remember them.
 
Gunderhoff blessed his allies. Citrine improved her defense with magic. Ruil went to his trusted scorching rays, watching as the second ray was absorbed by the tentacled aberrations resistance to magic. The first ray however blasted one in its bulbous body and burned hotter than against most enemies. It seemed the ropers were vulnerable to fire. As Gunderhoff was the closest to the action, he found himself attacked by four of the ropers. Despite the attacks, he found himself unscathed. Citrine too found six tentacles reached toward her, as did Ruil. Yet both were unhurt by the attacks. Corthana blasted two of the ropers with lightening from a wand, but both absorbed the magic.
 
Gunderhoff charged in, his hammer swinging and burning away flesh. Citrine cast a fire shield hoping to inflict major pain on any enemy who dared attack her. Ruil went to his fire again, this time getting through the ropers defenses and horribly burning the same he had blasted before. The ropers retaliated, this time four of them lashing out at Ruil. There were simply too many attacks, and he felt them drain his strength completely away. The warrior found his body would not obey his mind, and could do nothing but stand there helpless. Gunderhoff too was attacked, but he resisted the draining touch. Corthana sent a volley of dagger into one of the ropers, greatly wounding the one Gunderhoff was attacking.
 
The dwarf continued his hammer smashing, sending more gore to the ground. Citrine moved in closer to the battle, while Ruil continued looking at his friends in the hopes one of them would help him up. Now the ropers charged in, flailing at Corthana. Yet the thief showed off her acrobatic skills and jumped one the tentacles, grabbing it in midair and wrapping it around the other five. The roper found itself completely turned around in the confusion, and it found itself with five daggers in its head from Corthana, nearly killing it.
 
Gunderhoff, as was the norm, swung his hammer and stole the kill away from his friend. Citrine moved into the fray, cutting away at the one Ruil had burned before and wounding in further. The ropers all turned on Corthana, and this time there were too many attacks to dodge. One of the tentacles slapped her in the face and drained some of her strength away. Corthana decided that her time in the battle was over for the moment and tumbled outside the ropers reach. She then cast a greater mage hand and grabbed a wand from Ruil's belt. Two of the ropers reached at Gunderhoff, but he deflected all their attacks aside. Citrine found herself attacked on every side by tentacles. Her fireshield sent rivulets of pain along each of those appendages, burning four the ropers badly. After yet another hammer strike from Gunderhoff, Citrine continued her butchering, sending blood flying everywhere, and slaying it. The remaining ones all soon fell to fire and steel as the Immortal's destroyed their foes with no mercy.
 
Now attention turned to the glyph of Fury. Citrine touched the glyph, taking a backlash of electrical energy. From Allevrah's notes, it seemed there was some way to bond with the glyph. She felt the anger that made up the magic contained within and knew she had to calm it somehow. Yet her soothing words simply weren't enough to dwindle the flame. And so the Immortal's pounded it with their weapons and spells, with only Gunderhoff's hammer having any effect. It took over two days, but eventually he was able to destroy the glyph. With the last hammer blow came and explosion of burning electricity. Corthana wasn't expecting it at all and took the brunt of the energy blast. All the Immortal's were horribly scorched, but all survived. And as the glyph of Fury died, it sent a bolt of energy across the Land of Black Blood; pointing the way to the next glyph…
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Summary 18: The End of Winter
Chapter Five: A Memory of Darkness
 
Surrounding the towers of the Winter Council was a small army of demons, many of whom the Immortals had battled in the past. If forced into battle, it would be a losing one for sure. Yet with Quilindra as their succubus guide, no claws were raised against them. They were brought before a bulbous nalfeshnee demon named Viggrizur. After some introductions, it was clear that both sides hated the Winter Council. Yet the demon host had been unable to infiltrate the towers due to some great magic within. To prove the point, Viggrizur grabbed demonic satyr and threw it into an open window. A few seconds later there was a scream, followed by an explosion of blood. The Immortals asked Viggrizur about Allevrah, and although he did not know the name, he did recognize the description as that of a drow that had exited through the doors several years ago and teleported away. It was at that time that the wards went down, allowing the demons to blood into the towers; at least for a few moments until the Winter Council got them up again.
 
Given the Immortals weren't demons, Viggrizur surmised that they should be able to enter the tower, particularly given that Ruil was an elf himself. Upon questioning Viggrizur as to why they continued their siege, the nalfeshnee responded that it was his lord Treerazor who commanded it so as he wished possession of an artifact know as the Sovereign Stone. It was somewhere within the tower and could be used to create a permanent portal to the Abyss. Ruil knew of course that it was the artifact that had teleported the elves to the plane of Sovereign to escape Earthfall, the First Darkness.
 
The Immortals thus headed towards the large double-doors to the interior. As they approached however, a patch of dead foliage suddenly sprang to life, revealing themselves to be several shambling mounds; an enemy more common than even goblins in Golarion. Ruil was ready for the battle, letting fly a blight stone that ate through both of the mounds plant matter. From there, it was a simple matter of slashing and burning before there remained nothing left of the two threats.
 
Corthana approached the doors and used her skills to unlock them. It was simply a matter of which of the four was the bravest to be the first to enter, as it might mean that an explosion of blood would soon follow. Citrine offered to be the test subject, leading the way and luckily not blowing up.
 
Within the massive entry chamber were a dozen guards, their bows trained upon the interlopers. Leading them was an elf in blue plate armor and bearing a lions head shield. He said his name was Arminstril, and demanded to know whether they were allies to the demons. The Immortals lied and said they were not, nor were they allies to Queen Telandia. Instead, they had come for Allevrah. Upon mentioning the name, Arminstril did a most unlike elf thing and spit upon the ground. He said that he and the Winter Council wanted nothing more than her demise.
 
The Immortals began relating much of what they had learned, including Allevrah's desire to bring about a Second Darkness. This was news to him, as was the fact that the Shin'Rakorath were conducting missions without the Winter Council's concession. As for Allevrah's story, it was something he was forbidden to relate, as that knowledge was an even bigger threat than the meteor from the sky. Arminstril gave the Immortals free reign to explore the tower. He also said that the Winter Council had secluded themselves for many years, and had not united since the Allevrah incident. All that he could say was that Allevrah had withdrawn the Malificus Spike from its foundation, nullifying the wards of the tower briefly and allowing the demons to enter.
 
The Winter Council was a group of the most powerful elves that forever existed. It seemed there was never a time when there was not a Winter Council. They did not create laws, but rather they influenced events to better the entire elven nation. At times, they called for chaos, yet such dark times always led to betterment. It was they who had hatched the plan for all the elves to leave the plane over ten thousand years ago in order to save their race. And it was they who had created the Sovereign Stone to do so. Elven kings and queens attained power through the will of the Council, and such rulers had no idea they had been placed their rather than earning their titles.
 
The Immortals headed towards the ranger Malindil's room first. At first, the Council member seemed reluctant to allow them to speak with her. Upon mentioned their desire for Allevrah's destruction however, Malindil opened the door. Her golden armor was the first that caught everyone attentions, save Citrine who looked into her pale eyes and recognized the emptiness within. This was a sign of someone who had been brought back to life well over a dozen times. It was something nearly unheard of, to the point of unholy.
 
After some discussion, Malindil looked upon Citrine and said that the Sarenranian reminded her of how she once was so many centuries ago. She thus revealed all that she could. It seemed Allevrah was once a member of the Winter Council and that she had hatched a plan to destroy all the drow by pulling a meteor from the sky. Now it seemed she wished to destroy all the elves entirely. Given this information, she agreed that it was time the Winter Council reunited to find the renegade and deal with her completely.
 
The Immortal's next stop was Perilir's room. The priestess to Calistria allowed the four to enter after they said that Malindil had agreed to go to the council chambers. After again explaining all that had happened, she agreed as well to go to meet with her fellow members. She did find it odd that the Immortals were not agents of Queen Telandia as the Queen had long since known of the demon siege. She also spoke of the Sovereign stone, confirming that the demons would use it for their own purposes. As for how to stop the meteor, the towers archives might have the knowledge as that was where all of Allevrah's remaining notes had been stored. Perilir then went on to explain that after Allevrah's plan was rejected, she pulled forth the Malificus Spike. Upon doing so, all the evil that had culminated within her soul manifested itself in a diabolical way. Allevrah's skin changed from elven white, to drow black. It was this fact that the Winter Council had been trying to keep secret; the fact that an elf could turn into a drow.
 
Ruil raised an interesting argument, wondering if perhaps drow could become elves. Perilir could not refute the possibility. Yet in her experience she had never seen an honorable drow, and thus such a happening was an impossibility in her eyes. After more questioning, Perilir revealed two more bits of information. Although there were currently four members of the Winter Council, initially there had been six. Allevrah, in her flight from the tower, disintegrated one of the members of the Council. The other point was that Allevrah's plan to kill the drow with a meteor had been embraced by two of the council members; she and the mage Hialin. On that Perilir gave to the Immortal's her personal whip to show to the other members they were allies in her eyes.
 
The next Council member they visited was the druid Arlindil. He bid them enter, saying that his lover Perilir had already informed him of who they were. Yet he had trouble believing their fantastic story and thus demanded a test of just how powerful they were. He told them to go to his old room where there a pair of vrocks still laired after being trapped there once the wards had been reinitialized years ago. With no other option, the four headed off to the room.
 
As they opened the door, it was not vrocks they found, but rather a huge demon called a glabrezu. He introduced himself as Morkravud and implored for the Immortals to enter, saying he had not had visitors in some time. All around him, bones of satyrs, and a few vrock bones littered the floor. Mokravud offered the Immortals a deal: he would grant them one wish of their choosing if they wished for something of his choosing. He wanted them to wish for the Malificus Spike to be removed. That led to a counter proposal by Corthana. She said they could kill him, forcing him back to the Abyss. Mokravud said he didn't like that plan, saying he had no friends down there. All the arguments however were moot as Mokravud's death was Arlindil's wish. They thus came to an agreement: if the Immortal's beat Morkravud, he would grant them their wish.
 
The first few seconds were a simple matter of testing each side's defense.  Ruil and Gunderhoff's weapons bounced off Mokravud's armor, while Citrine's blessed blade carved a red line through flesh. Corthana meanwhile launched a dagger at his knee, hoping to knock it down, but he held his ground. The glabrezu then showed off his own offensive skills as it grabbed Citrine with its claws and rended her flesh from her bones.
 
Ruil imbued his sword with a vampiric touch, but the spell was absorbed by the demons resistance. The sword however did cut through to the bone, bringing great pain to the behemoth. Citrine cut again at Mokravud, cutting through a major artery on his thigh. It retaliated, cutting at Citrine with its claws and sending the holy woman down to the ground in a bleeding heap. It then cleaved through Ruil with a quick claw strike, hurting the elf badly.  A few dagger hits by Corthana, brought the weakened Mokravud to near death. And Ruil didn't hesitate to speed the demons one way ticket back to the Abyss.
 
After healing up Citrine, who in turn healed up everyone else, the Immortal realized they had forgotten they're wish. Unknowingly however, the glabrezu would have manipulated the wish so that it fit its own needs, rather than theirs. Arlindil was very happy after Mokravud's head was presented as a trophy to him. He approved of their heroics and said he would meet with the other council members.
 
The last stop was Hailin's room. They knocked upon his door, yet unlike the other rooms, received no response. After several seconds of waiting, they decided to enter themselves, with Citrine looking for traps beforehand and finding none. Gunderhoff turned the doorknob, which activated a fireball trap that the spellthief had missed. Luckily for Citrine, her quick reflexes allowed her to jump aside from the blast. Her friends however were not so lucky as they were all burned badly.
 
After a few seconds, Citrine healed up all of her friends. They continued calling to Hailin, with Corthana even going so far as to insult the mage. Yet still there was no response. The spellthief thus attempted the lock again, and in doing so she triggered the fireball trap. So confident was she that the trap was no longer there that she wasn't expecting it and thus took it full on, as did her friends behind her. After the Immortal's screams died down, Citrine healed up everyone's wounds. They then rested up for a few hours to recover spells, with Citrine protecting herself from fire for the entire day.
 
With no sign of Hailin, the Immortals headed to the Winter Council chamber to see if they might point them in the right direction. Upon arriving they saw the three they had already sent there, talking in hushed tones. Near the wall, there was another figure. This was a gaele eladrin, and she was assigned to guard the artifact next to her. This was the Malificus Spike. After questioning the council, Arlindil said that it was quite possible that Hailin could be found in the archive room.
 
As the Immortal's walked up the stairs to their destination, they crossed paths with Hailin as he was mumbling words to himself in a strange language. Citrine quickly cast a comprehend languages spell. She was able to thus hear him speak of Abraxus and Allevrah, and how there were pieces missing. Upon questioning him outright, he seemed to snap out of his haze. He said that everyone would see the truth soon enough as Allevrah's plan wasn't grand enough. He was more than happy to join the council, saying he had much to discuss with him.
 
The Immortals decided to peruse the archives, including Allevrah's notes that Hailin had indicated before he left. As they read through them, they discovered two sets of writings; both Allevrah's and likely Hailin's. It seemed research was currently being done to not only pull one meteor to Golarion, but rather a hundred meteors down. It was a plan of planetary destruction. The research however was incomplete; meaning Hailin was far from achieving his goal. As to how to stop the meteor Allevrah had already began calling down, they were able to discover that several key runes around the central rune needed to be maintained to call the meteor down. If the runes were destroyed at their source in the Land of Black Blood, then the meteor could not be called down and thus the apocalypse could be averted. The notes also contained various references to Abraxus, Demon Lord of Forbidden Knowledge, as well as the exact location where the runes were located.
 
As the Immortal's began approaching the council chambers, they heard a massive explosion. Citrine heard the voice of Viggrizur scream in triumph that the wards had been broken. Upon that declaration, the sounds of many teleporting demons could be heard entering the council chambers.
 
The Immortals quickly made their way down to the Winter Council where there they saw demon after demon filling up the large room. The gaele eladrin was dead upon the ground, and the Malificus Spike had been removed via a telekinesis spell and was now at Hailin's side. The other council members were fighting for their life against the many denizens harrowing them from all sides. Hailin screamed in glory at the carnage around him, saying everyone must die. And in that bloodlust, his skin suddenly turned to an ebony hue. The Dark Plague had corrupted his soul and he had spontaneously become a drow. Viggrizur looked upon the Immortals and rejoiced at feasting upon the heroes who had made his victory complete.
 
There was only one thing to do, at that was to drive the Malificus Spike back into its hole. The other Winter Council members were cut off from Hailin, meaning it was up to the Immortal's to save the day. Yet the demons were already in the midst of battle, and as such they were quick to react to the heroes intrusion. Viggrizur looked up Citrine and dispelled many of her spells. Several nearby vrocks cast mirror image upon themselves. Hailin then looked at the Immortal's and sent a prismatic spray their way. The spell sent a ruby ray at Ruil, burning his skin with fire. Gunderhoff was hit with two rays, one which melted his flesh with acid. The other one threatened to send him to another plane, but he resisted the pull from the magic.  Citrine too was hit by a ray that sent acid burning away at her. A final ray hit Corthana that sent poison coursing through her veins and into her heart. And to everyone's shock, the spellthief fell dead to the ground.
 
There was only one chance to win the day. Citrine quickly ran to her fallen friends side and attempted to revivify her. The pain from the acid was simply too much to bear however, and her words floundered amongst her own tears of pain. Gunderhoff meanwhile coached Ruil on his breathing as it was all up to the elf and his plan. Using those calming dwarven words, Ruil pushed through his own pain and dimensional hopped next to the Malificus Spike. He grabbed it from the startled Hailin's side before dimensional hopping next to where the artifact was meant to rest. The warrior then raised the spike up and attempted to drive it into the steel wall, but his strength failed him and it slid to the ground.
 
Viggrizur screamed out to the nearby demons to attack Ruil with all they had. The vrocks tore at Ruil's back, the nalfeshnee ripped through his bones, but still Ruil stood. Hailin meanwhile threw a disintegrate spell at Citrine who jumped aside and the ray only grazed her. She saw that Ruil had the Malificus Spike and knew she had to keep him alive. And so she healed her friend from a distance, pushing aside the pain. Gunderhoff meanwhile ran through the demon mass, feeling demon claws bouncing off his armor. He then placed his hands upon the shaft of the spike and nodded to Ruil that he was there to aid. And so with elven and dwarven hands holding the spike, they together drove it into the wall. All around the room, the demons screamed in pain as the wards suddenly came into effect. And in a simultaneous blast, they exploded in a ball of blood and gore.
 
Hailin all the while laughed in his insane state, and blasted the Immortals with a fireball. Citrine's magical defense absorbed the magic entirely. She walked up to the elf-turned-drow and blasted the mage with a flamestrike that burned the mage horribly. Gunderhoff blessed everyone in the room. Ruil walked right next to Hailin and cut him hard, draining away the mages life with a vampiric touch. With just a little bit of life remaining, Hailin manage to pull a wand from his belt and lightening bolted Citrine and Ruil. The mighty Immortals stood their ground and Citrine blasted Hailin with holy fire, killing the drow.
 
Perilir used a scroll of true resurrection to bring back the life of Corthana. After the deed was done, the Winter Council all said that the day was the darkest they had ever endured. They also agreed that the time of the Winter Council was at an end, and that it was time for the mantle to be passed on to those more worthy than them. Their eyes looked upon the Immortals, and they announced that such a mantle was now in their hands. It was now up to the Immortals to do with the title as they wished. With that, the former Winter Council members bowed to the new Winter Council, saying they would continue to defend the tower against Treerazor and his remaining forces.
 
And so on that day, the elven nation changed. Citrine, Gunderhoff, and Corthana did not want anything to do with elven society or the Winter Council. As an elf however, Ruil could not let such a great part of his society die. It was decided then that when Allevrah was defeated, he would return to the tower, and he would become the Winter Council.
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Summary 17: Game of Shadows
Chapter Five: A Memory of Darkness
 
Lord Vilastir introduced himself to the Immortal's and demanded who they were and how it was that they came to activate a portal that had been dormant in over a hundred years. Corthana insisted they were simple travelers. Ruil then mentioned they were in search of the Winter Council, to which Vilastir said that he lit a lantern each night to stop the darkness from intruding upon his home, but said he forgot its color. Ruil responded that it was green. And in that, Vilastir seemed to approve and said that he would take them all to the city of Iadara, hometown of Ruil, at which point he would take them to see the queen as she would want to hear their tale. By his attitude, it was clear that Vilastir was not a fan of humans, saying they were a barbaric race that had yet to evolve like the elves.
 
After a few minutes of healing their own wounds, the Immortals followed the elven scouts to the capital city of Kyonin. The view of Iadara was a spectacular sight, with gold leaf tiles upon the buildings, silvery grout in the tiles upon the roads, and domed buildings everywhere. In a word it was paradise upon the world of Golarion, and it almost brought Gunderhoff to tears over its pristine architecture. Vilastir left the Immortals at the Golden Leaf tavern, and said he would summon them shortly when the queen would see them.
 
After checking in, the Immortal's decided to identify and sell all the items they had no use for. They also made several large purchases to better their own defenses. In many places, they noticed the religious symbol of Calistria, Goddess of trickery, lust, and revenge. It was not a sight that gave Citrine much confidence in her surroundings as it meant that those who worshipped her were an unpredictable lot.  This however was the perfect place for Corthana who easily found buyers for all the drow equipment they had found.
 
A few hours later, and emissary arrived at the Golden Leaf. He brought the Immortals directly right to the palace, where there Queen Telandia awaited, along with her dozen advisors. Her lead advisor, Lord Vilastir was by her side. There was no place to sit so the heroes were forced to stand before the great ruler of all elves for several hours as she demanded they recount their story from the beginning. Yet it was clear that she held all four of them in low regard. She attempted continually to poke holes in their various accounts. She berated them for lying outright to royalty; at by the time they were done, it was clear she didn't truly believe them. Afterwards, she demanded they leave while she discussed what they had said with her advisors.
 
After all the Immortal's had done, they rightly deserved medals of valor, not shunned by the highest elf upon the planet as though they were children and she their disapproving mother. As they exited the Grand Hall, one of the advisors pulled Ruil aside, and whispered a silent command in the name of the Winter Council. Yet Ruil's reactionary gaze of death was one that said he would not comply. As he met up with his friends, he warned them that they would likely come under attack by the Shin'Rakorath upon order of Lord Vilastir.
 
As they neared the Golden Leaf, they noticed that the streets had suddenly become silent. Upon a pair of rooftops, nine elves suddenly jumped up and let fly a hail of arrows. Corthana took two arrows in the collar bone. Ruil took one arrow through the throat, and another one in the leg. Gunderhoff too took two arrows in his chest. Citrine was able to dodge one arrow, but a second one hit her in the back.  After one of them declared that this was for the Shin'Rakorath, they all let fly a second volley, targeting the same Immortals they had hit previously. Corthana took another three arrows right in her ribs. Ruil took three arrows in his abdomen. Gunderhoff quickly got up his tower shield, but arrows were coming in from everywhere and an arrow grazed his leg. Citrine found herself hit by three more arrows. The Immortal's however lived up to their namesake as each one of them continued fighting on, despite the pain.
 
Corthana launched three daggers, hoping to knock them down from the roof. Only her first one grazed an artery and the wound was not accurate enough to send him tumbling from his perch. Citrine pushed through the pain and blasted one of the groups of elves with holy fire, greatly wounding them all. Gunderhoff too tried to pray to his god, but his dwarven toughness was too hobbled by his immediate wounds. Ruil then cast a haste spell from his boots upon himself, and then quickly pulled out his bow. Yet he was unused to the speed of his own movements that he nearly dropped it, and it took him several seconds to recover.
 
The elves retaliated, this time firing off their arrows as fast as they could, hitting Citrine four times with arrows. Corthana then found herself on the receiving end of another volley upon the command of the one bleeding from the dagger wound in his leg. Corthana deflected one of the fletchings out of the air, but five more found her flesh, making her into a porcupine, and knocking her unconscious to the ground.
 
Gunderhoff blessed his allies, helping their combat skills. Ruil then targeted one fresh elf with a pair of scorching rays, burning the foe badly. Citrine spiderclimbed to one of the roof tops, and impaled the same elf with her scimitar. That elf retaliated as he threw down his bow, and stabbed Citrine with his rapier. The other elves continued firing down below, now targeting Ruil. He was much more prepared for the attacks this down, and dodged all but two arrows.
 
Citrine was surrounded by foes, each now with their swords drawn, but each one very injured.  She thus took out two of the weakened ones with a pair of quick slashes. Gunderhoff thought about healing up Corthana, but realized that would make her a target. He thus healed up some of Ruil's wounds, in the hopes that the elves would see him as a healer and target his armored body and positioned himself in front of his friend. Ruil took out his bow then and fired three arrows. Again though, he was simply unused to the speed, releasing the arrows before he could fully get a bead on his target. His first arrow did however graze one of the elves.
 
Gunderhoff's human shield helped to deflect some of the arrows that again flew at Ruil, yet still four found their way through holes in the defense, and slammed into the elven Immortal, sending him bleeding to the ground to join Corthana. Citrine, for her part, was able to deflect the rapiers trying to slay her as the elves were much more skilled in the bow, rather than the sword. Gunderhoff simply had no choice as he continued seeing the woman who had saved him, slowly bleeding to death. He thus took the chance and healed some of Corthana's wounds, praying to Torag that the spellthief would not jump up and make herself a target. Citrine too saw her friends dropping, and so used one of her most powerful spells and healed most of Ruil's wounds from a distance.
 
Ruil by then was tired of being a pin cushion. He thus dimensional hopped with a thought right to the roof with most of the uninjured elves and then slashed one with his shocking grasp imbued sword, sending the scorched body down to the ground. The remaining ones threw down their bows and impaled Ruil twice. Meanwhile, after the healing touch by Gunderhoff, Corthana felt her eyes open. She felt the pain wracking her body and wanted nothing more than to be dead. She thus used her ability of subterfuge to play that role, becoming a corpse in the eyes of enemy and ally alike. Citrine saw her friend dead upon the ground, and wanted nothing more than revenge. Another quick sword slash ended the life of yet another Shin'Rakorath soldier.
 
Gunderhoff wanted nothing more than to join the fight, and Ruil made that wish come true as the warrior cast a regroup spell that instantly teleported Gunderhoff and Citrine by his side. The dwarf smashed his hammer true into the ribs of one enemy, breaking bones. The elves then backed up a few steps and fired off a volley of arrows at Ruil, while the others on the roof did the same. Yet after all the blades and rapiers were finished aiming for Ruil's position, only one arrow had succeeded upon inflicting any wound.
 
Citrine, still very wounded from all her previous wounds, decided it was time to look after her own health and healed most of her wounds in order that she could stay in the battle. Ruil then slashed an elf with a shocking grasped sword, burning him to near death. Gunderhoff thus stole the kill as he smashed the elf off the building with his hammer. The elves retaliated, this time targeting Citrine. Only one arrow found her back, and that elf paid dearly as he took a counterstrike from Citrine. She then asked why the Shin'Rakorath were attacking them, to which the soldier said they were doing only what they had been ordered to do. He said that Ruil had been ordered to do join taking out the Immortal's, but he had refused.
 
With most of the Shin'Rakorath soldiers dead, it was soon a simple matter to dispatch the rest. And all too soon it was time to morn their fallen comrade. Yet, as that neared Corthana with a burial shroud, the spellthief opened her eyes, showing to all that their remained a thread of life still flowing in her veins. A few moments later, several Iadara guards conveniently showed up and asked if they could be of assistance. After explaining all that had happened, the guards said that they had to report the incident to the Queen.
 
Only minutes later, Queen Telandia arrived personally to survey the battle scene. She deplored the actions of the Winter Council's soldiers and said that it was obvious the Immortal's were in danger in the city and said they would be escorted to the Paradise Chambers, where only the most honored guests stayed within the city. She also said that, the attack gave credence to their fantastic story about the drow, and she would continue talks with her advisors on what should be done next.
 
The building was true to its namesake. Within the Paradise Chamber, beautiful bird flitted about and sang a musical tune that soothed the heart. The entry door was flanked by a pair of hornet statues, the holy symbol to Calistria.  Within the center of the room was a beautiful pool filled with water the purest of water. If Iadara was heaven, then this chamber was where the gods received their inspiration for heaven's creation.
 
Yet there was one other person within the room. It was an elf named Quilindra and she ordered the Immortals to leave. They responded by saying they had been invited, to which Quilindra said that all the illusions said the same thing. Ruil dimensional hopped to her in order to prove they were not illusions, yet there was no convincing her. She told them to think of an apple, and one appeared within their hand. Ruil then thought of a vorpal sword, and one appeared in his hand, much to his delight. Quilindra insisted that everything was an illusion and that the Immortals had just become imprisoned by the queen like she had. The Paradise Chamber had the ability to grant false wishes and freedom. That is until the prisoners realized they in fact were still prisoners once their eyes adjusted to the illusion.
 
Corthana didn't believe any of it and so simply walked out of the building and down the street. Once she realized she was not at all bound by the so-called magics, she returned to announce that they could leave whenever they wanted. Citrine's mind had already seen through the illusions around, and announced that Corthana at not left the room at all, and in fact had simply walked around the pool.
 
Ruil continued to try to convince Quilindra that he was real, and so the female proposed he lay with her upon the cushions after closing the curtain. Ruil hesitated at the thought, and so Quilindra proposed that he cut himself to show he bled. He thus took out the new vorpal blade, as he brought its edge to his wrist, it passed through. And so he took out his real sword and did the same, this time sending drops of blood upon the ground. The rest of the Immortals did the same.
 
Citrine continued to scan the surroundings, using her mind to see what was truly there. Her eyes fell upon the elf Quilindra, and as she did so, she saw the succubus in disguise. Citrine commanded Ruil to back up, at which point Quilindra announced that her true guise had been discovered and so, showed everyone her true form. Despite the change, the Immortal's did not attack her. Ruil recognized her demon kind, and thus knew that she posed no real threat. Quilindra said that their situation had not changed in that they were all still prisoners of the Winter Council and the queen. After asking her about the Land of Black Blood where Allevrah could be found, she said that the Winter Council's vast libraries would have knowledge on this. She also said that the queen was a member of the Winter Council, meaning it was time for some payback.
 
Quilindra said she knew of a series of portals that would take them to the Winter Council. If they were to act, they could have to do so immediately as they were currently being spied upon by Queen Telandia. They thus needed to make it past the hornet golems outside, past the illusions, and to the first portal within the garden district nearby. The later was already done by most of the Immortals. Gunderhoff was first through the curtain, and took up a defensive stance. Corthana then used her mind and finally saw through the illusions around her, and then fired off her wand of magic missiles at one of the stone golem wasps, but it absorbed the magic. Ruil was next in the room as his eyes were the last to adjust to what was real.
 
Citrine cast divine power to augment her strength. Despite the magic, one of the golems slammed its fists down upon her shoulder, shrinking her by two inches and shattering her shoulders. Gunderhoff meanwhile was on the receiving end of the other golems fists, but they bounced off his raised shield. Corthana thought quickly about her actions as she did not want to suffer the pain Citrine was currently feeling. She thus contented herself with three thrown daggers, all of which bounced off the hornet harmlessly.
 
Ruil moved closer to the fight, taking a massive punch as he got right in the hornet's face and cut it twice with his sword, knocking off a few pieces of stone. Citrine swung her sword at the same one, knocking more stone pieces off. One of the hornet's cast slow on Immortal's, with everyone but Gunderhoff resisting the magic. The other golem again smashed a fist right through the raised tower shield and into Gunderhoff's face, knocking out a tooth.
 
The fight was not at all going well for the heroes. It was decided that a strategic retreat was necessary to rethink their actions. Ruil left the room and teleported everyone to him in order to escape harm. Luckily the golems didn't follow. Quilindra, who had finally seen through the illusion, stayed away from the combat given her fragile form, offered up a few healing spells. After everyone was healed up, Citrine handed to Ruil a magical acorn that he threw at one of the golems, destroying a great chunk of the golem. Seeing the golems still not moving to the curtain, Citrine cast her magical fires and slowly burned one and then the other golem dead.
 
With the threats gone, Quilindra quickly led the Immortals out of the Paradise Chambers. Luckily there were no guards in sight and so she led them to the first portal in the gardens. She used a gemstone from her bracelet to activate the magic, and the five of them went on through.
 
On the other side, they found themselves surrounded by trees. Quilindra led them on a nearby path to a temple to Calistria, where within there were many elves, each going through many of the dozens of portals within. It seemed that this place was hub for the various portals scattered throughout Kyonin and the rest of the world. Quilindra led them to a portal that looked like any other, took out another gem stone and stepped through the magical gateway that opened at her touch.
 
Upon the other side, the air was frigid. Snow and ice blew everywhere, but Quilindra seemed unaffected. She walked about a mile towards another portal, this one called Icegate. Surrounding the portal were several elves with very white skin, an obvious side effect of the cold that constantly surrounded them. Corthana took out a scroll of invisibility sphere to cloak all five of them as they did not want to get in a fight with the snowcaster guardians. Soon the gate was open, and the Immortal's were through, with no pursuit in sight.
 
They found themselves in a forest again, but this time all the foliage around them was dead. Quilindra brought them to a fallen temple, where within, Quilindra warned that she had nearly died from the banshee that guarded the portal. There was also at least one or two huge arachnid demons within the temple that they would have to bypass.
 
While Quilindra waited outside, the Immortals entered the temple ruins. Only a few steps in, they immediately saw two huge giant bebelith demons. Ruil recognized the demon and remembered they enjoyed ripping the armor off of warriors. Corthana remarked that the demon was a Gunderhoff can opener. Still in their invisible state, the demons didn't appear to see the warriors, yet they seemed to know that there was some foreign presence nearby.
 
Corthana cast levitate upon Gunderhoff in order so that he wouldn't make noise as they tried going past the demons. Yet the bebelith was completely blocking their way, meaning they would need to physically get past it. Ruil cast a ray of exhaustion that made the demons movements a little sluggish. Corthana threw her daggers right into its knee, trying to knock it down, but the appendage was simply too tough to weaken with a simple steal dagger toss. Gunderhoff then blessed everyone as was his routine. Citrine blasted it with her holy fire, wounded it further.
 
With everyone now visible, the bebeliths went to work. The second one moved up and bit through Gunderhoff's plate mail and into flesh. The other one tried to bite down on the dwarf, but the Defender punched his shield up into its mandibles, locking them in place. It panicked in that moment and rather than use its claws upon Gunderhoff, it used them to dislodge the metal meat in between its teeth.
 
Ruil went to his preferred spell, blasting the same bebelith with scorching rays that made chitin armor pop. Gunderhoff meanwhile was still trying to stabilize his flight after not letting go of his tower shield and being thrown in the air. Citrine cut down with her scimitar, but found that her blade simply could not get through the beasts hide, despite it connecting. Corthana then tumbled behind the bebelith and cut its leg from behind.
 
With Ruil doing all the damage, the bebelith clawed at him and ripped his armor clean off, as well as leaving two bloody furrows in his chest. The other demon continued his assault on Gunderhoff, biting him and clawing him. The second claw nearly grabbed hold of his armor, but after seeing what happened to Ruil, the dwarf was quick to deflect it aside. Still he suffered great pain from the attacks.
 
Whenever Ruil became embarrassed in battle, he let that channel as skill through his blade arm. This time was no different as without armor, a cut hard at the bebelith, sending one of its eight foot long, two hundred pound lungs falling to the ground with an audible splat. Citrine then blasted it with fire, knowing her sword was useless. Corthana eyed her greatsword that Ruil had strapped to her back, and then tumbled to it, drawing it in the blink of an eye.
 
Gunderhoff found himself attacked yet again, this time by both bebeliths. One of them bit him hard on the arm, and ripping the triceps clean off the bone. Ruil slashed that same demon with steel and lightening, but still it stood on its eight legs. Citrine again blasted it with fire, while Gunderhoff adopted a defensive stance. Now with greatsword in hand, Corthana hit the bebelith twice, doing a little bit more damage.
 
The bebeliths clearly wanted to tear off Gunderhoff's armor, and they continued attacking him. He seemed to constantly be leaving an opening in his defense in order to concentrate on parrying the second claws so they could not de-armor him. This time it cost him as poison from one of the demon bites infiltrated his veins and began rotting his body from the inside out.
 
Ruil blasted the bebelith again with rays of fire, bringing it to the breaking point of death. Seeing this, Citrine again blasted it with fire, and this time the great arachnid fell to the ground. Corthana looked to the fresh demon and feinted left then cut right, bringing blood flowing. It retaliated, but Corthana adopted the same technique as Gunderhoff, deflecting only one of the claws, while the bite and a single claw brought great pain. Poison flowed through her veins, and her liver started shriveling away.
 
Ruil again blasted away with scorching rays to burn away at the demon. Citrine then healed up some of Gunderhoff's wounds as he had taken a huge pounding over the battle so far. Corthana tried to tumble past the demon to get into flanking position, but the bebelith saw the move coming and bit her across the neck, and flung her back and foiling her attack. She could do little more than block as best she could as the bebelith continued its assault, clawing her and biting her again.
 
Scorching rays flew forth from Ruil fingertips, brining a pair of screams from the demon. Citrine then healed up most of Corthana's wounds, bringing great relief. That gave her the confidence to again tumble through the bebelith's legs, this time timing her roll perfectly. As she emerged from her tuck, she cut hard the creatures rear Achilles heel. That got its attention and it spun around with claws and teeth tearing at her flesh and ripping her armor completely off. Poison flowed through her veins, causing burning pain throughout her body.
 
It seemed there was no end to Ruil's magical power as again fire flew, burning away even more demon hide. Gunderhoff hit the bebelith with his hammer, this time smashing through bone. Citrine went to her powerful spell pool and blasted the bebelith with a flamestrike that brought it on the edge of death. Corthana used the demons rear knee as a spring board, jumping high to plunge her greatsword into its back. Had she weighed more, the sword likely would have sunk deeper into internal organ, ending it there. And thus the fight continued on. The bebelith impaled her through her stomach and then flung her through the air where she landed unmoving. It then turned on Ruil and impaled him through his shoulder through his ribs. It lifted him up to its mouth where it ripped open his chest to expose all the beating morsels inside.
 
Ruil was only barely holding on to consciousness, and got in a feeble sword hit on the demon. Gunderhoff attacked it, but his hammer missed. Citrine quickly grabbed a revivify scroll and restored life to her spellthief friend. She looked to Ruil and was sure she would need to use another one as she saw him go down from a pair of claws. And then she looked to Gunderhoff whom had no armor to stop the bite that sent more of his blood flowing. With his last once of strength, the dwarf upper-cutted the bebelith with his fist, and that seemed to cause a massive brain hemorrhage in the demon as it fell dead to the ground. After a few restoration spells from Citrine, and healing magic from Gunderhoff, Citrine, and Quilindra, the Immortal's found themselves ready to take a few hours to rest up.
 
Once they felt they were ready, they headed to the portal. There they came face to face with the true guardian of the temple, the banshee Elledariah.  She screamed bloody death, causing the brains of Ruil and Corthana to nearly explode, and sending them to the ground on deaths door. Gunderhoff swung his hammer in desperation, but as he did so, the banshee grabbed his hammer away from him, and left the dwarf standing there in shear embarrassment. Citrine prayed to Sarenrae with all her devotion, promising to kill Beltias Kreun in Riddleport to take back the temple in her name. And so her prayer was answered, and the banshee was obliterated in Sarenrae's holy radiance. Citrine and Gunderhoff then ran to their friends, stabilizing their conditions before healing them up.
 
After going through the Death Gate, they came upon a huge observatory. Elves it seemed loved to watch the stars. Quilindra said that the final gate was at the top, guarded by the hezrou demon Vodzur. Ruil grabbed his friends and flew right up, where there they saw the bloated frog-like demon and his four elven minions. Citrine blasted the group with of them with a flamestrike nearly killing the elves and sending a message that the Immortals were not a group to be trifled with.
 
And within a minute, the portal was open, and all their enemies were lying dead at their feet. Soon Ruil would finally meet the organization he had sworn his life to defend. That meeting however would begin with blades drawn, and spells thrown. All the Immortal's flexed their weapon arms for the great battle that would surely begin upon entering this final portal.
 
And leading the mighty war party was Quilindra; a hidden smile upon her lips…
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Summary 16: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Chapter Four: Endless Night
 
Alicavnis finally had her answer. She had revealed the Immortals for the false drow they were. She said she was truly satisfied with the results and that she would make it her goal to research the amazing spell that the heroes had been cloaked in. She invited the four to leave the tower through the portal in back of them, or try to take her and her devourer minions on. Citrine clearly saw the power the archmage possessed and knew a needless fight would be a losing fight.  Ruil said that a fight against only her would make the battle easier, but Alicavnis said that her minions were insurance upon her victory. During the discussion, Corthana began inching towards the portal, wanting nothing at all to do with the archmage. Alicavnis looked to the spellthief and said to do a very thorough search of the next exit hole to the fourth floor. And with that, she and the rest of the Immortals retreated from the sanctum arcane.
 
As the magic faded away, they came into the magic repository of the tower. Upon searching for anything of use, a spectral hand suddenly appeared and sent a ray of enfeeblement slicing through Corthana's body, draining away her strength. Citrine quickly cut the ghostly appendage down, destroying the threat. Yet the true monster still remained hidden in the room, and it tried to confuse Ruil and Gunderhoff, but both the warriors pushed aside the magic. Corthana's keen ears heard the sound of the spell being cast behind a book case.  She removed a few books from the shelf, and came face to face with a devourer.
 
Ruil moved into the fray, dodging a reaching undead claw, and slashing down to cut through the shelving unit. Gunderhoff then blessed everyone, giving them confidence in their abilities. Citrine prayed to Sarenrae for her to destroy the undead threat, but her faith simply wasn't devout enough, and the abomination was unaffected. The devourer then attempted to confuse everyone, but the Immortal's pushed aside the magic. Corthana then tumbled out of reach, and then threw a dagger, but the damage was minimal. Ruil, now with a few less books out of the way, cut away with success and brought a cry of pain from his foe.
 
The devourer lashed out with its claws, with one slashing through Gunderhoff's defenses and siphoning away a part of his soul. Citrine saw her dwarven friend writhe in agony and so she prayed even more mightily for Sarenrae's guidance. This time her god responded and the devourer burst into holy flames and then crumbled to the ground. She then quickly went to her friend and laid a comforting hand upon his shoulder, restoring what was lost with a spell.
 
With no other threats, there remained only to head through the hole to get to level four. However Alicavnis had warned Corthana of a lethal trap by the exit, and it was because of that, the spellthief found something that defied her skill. With her knowledge in all thing arcane she identified the trap as a portal that would whisk them away to the plane of negative energy, where they would die within a matter of minutes. There was much debate as to what to do about the trap, including even sacrificing one of their own members. It was Corthana however who came up with the idea to simply cast a stone shape from her scroll in order to make another hole down. Once that was done, they simply jumped down.
 
Upon entering, they came into a room with a golem in the corner of the room, and a mage eating his midday meal. The mage seemed very surprised to see strange creatures in room, and it was clear the drow seemed at odds as to what to do. In the end, he called out in undercommon to his ally in the other room, and then fired off a pair of scorching rays at Gunderhoff and Ruil, burning their flesh. Ruil retaliated with a vicious chop on the mages arm. Corthana then fired three daggers, with two of them striking the mage and siphoning away a dispel magic and ray of exhaustion. Gunderhoff then walked next to the drow and smashed his hammer right into his head. Still it held onto life, even after Citrine impaled him with her scimitar. Barely holding on to life, the Vonnarc mage had only one option. He pulled out a potion of invisibility, but before he could bring it to his lips, Citrine cut him down.
 
As the Immortal's began searching the body, a nearby door suddenly opened and a huge cloudkill spell enveloped them and began eating way at their flesh. Corthana quickly made her way to the open door, when suddenly the golem, or shield guardian as it was called, punched her hard in the side of the head. That didn't deter her as she made her made to the other room that was currently blanketed in darkness. Ruil was next in the room, ducking under adamantine arms to stand by the spellthief. Citrine prayed to her god and cast daylight, removing the magic and revealing  yet another open door where stood Erdrinneir, their original guide up the tower.
 
Still in the cloud, both Gunderhoff and Citrine felt the effects of the cloudkill against their skin. Erdrinneir, in his blinded state thanks to the daylight pellet, dimension doored to the level below, calling the shield guardian and notifying the mages of the surfacer’s assault. The guardian walked past the Immortals and went down the stairs, stopping at the bottom to block the way. Ruil was made invisible by one of Corthana's wands. After which he decided to dimensional hop to get himself past the obstruction. As he did so, he felt as though room itself was compressing his entire body. And when the sensation faded, he found he had not moved. It seemed the tower was under some sort of dimensional anchor effect, which required something to bypass.
 
With no other option, there remained into the breach tactic, meaning they would be running down the stairs, swords swinging. Ruil first cast a protection spell which would aid against fire attacks. Corthana then tried to cast invisibility on her friends, but the wand didn't function. That could only mean one of two things, either it was out of charges, or she had accidentally disabled it. As the latter was an impossibility given her skill (yet sadly it was the true reason behind the malfunction), she cast the useless wand to the side.
 
Ruil charged down the stairs, his sword slashing high to send blazing lightening through the shield guardian. Citrine then blasted it with her holy fire, burning away some of its wooden components. Corthana launched herself down the stairs and through the constructs legs. Only then did she see the four mages all with hands glowing, ready to blast way with spells. She let fly three daggers, hitting two of them and stealing away a detect thoughts, a scorching rayweb, and a mirror image. Ruil continued his assault on the unmoving wall of steal before him, cutting away more of its internal structure. Citrine then let fly a stone that exploded in daylight, blinding all the drow in the room. Gunderhoff charged the guardian, his hammer exploding with fire in its chest.
 
The blinded drow all cast mirror image upon themselves, while the remaining one augmented his defenses with a mage armor. There remained one other drow still cloaked in his invisibility. This was Erdrinneir, and he began summoning forth a hell hound to aid his pupils. He then pointed to Corthana, the one who had stolen their spells, and commanded the shield guardian to smash her. Corthana manage to dodge one fist, but was hit by the second one. Seeing as she was in a very compromising position in the middle of all the enemies, she tried to tumble back up the stairs. This time however, the shield guardian blocked the five hole, and she rebounded off its blocking arm. That seemed to stun her for a few seconds, and she dropped the dagger in her hands that she had meant to throw.
 
Ruil continued his decimation of the guardian, nearly dropping it with another hit. Citrine then concentrated upon her platinum ring and cast shield other on Corthana  preparing herself to feel the same pain she knew her friend would be receiving shortly. Gunderhoff meanwhile smashed his way clean through the shield guardian, sending broken bits of metal scattering, and opening the way down the stairs for the Immortals. Yet as they prepared to do so, the hell hound finally appeared and bit at Corthana, missing her by an inch. The mages then cast a pair of lightning bolts with Gunderhoff taking them right in the chest as Corthana ducked them both. Corthana then took a pair of scorching rays from another one, while from the last one came a blast of magic missiles. Erdrinneir then looked at Corthana and sent a black ray at her, draining away a large part of her life force.
 
With that, Corthana decided the fight no longer needed her and she fled up the stairs. Ruil looked at the hell hound and fired his own scorching rays into it, only to have the beast eat them up as though they were thrown sticks. Citrine meanwhile was still reeling from the pain she took after absorbing some of the wounds from Corthana. She contented herself by immolating one mage with her mystical fire.  Gunderhoff then moved into the field of mages, hitting the same one with a small hammer hit, and then hitting the image of another one as it got too close. One of them tried to send a ray of exhaustion the dwarf's way, but he dodged it. The other three blasted Gunderhoff with a barrage of magic missiles. As for Erdrinneir, he tried to bind Citrine's mind with magical irons, but she resisted the minor enchantment.
 
Ruil decided that he was done with spells, and simply placed his confidence in steel. He sliced down with his mighty arms, hitting the hound on its spine and nearly cutting it in two. Citrine enveloped the weakest mage in holy fire, nearly dropping him dead. Gunderhoff hammered the same drow in the ribs, but still he held on. All the mages, including Erdrinneir, blasted Gunderhoff with almost twenty magic missiles from wands and spells. The mighty defender simply could not stand up to such an onslaught, and he dropped to the ground.
 
Ruil knew the real threats were on the other side of the hell hound, and with his dwarven tank down, he knew logically that the time had come for him to put his own life on the line like Corthana had. Yet Ruil was not Corthana. And rather than place himself in the middle of the firing range, he killed the hound and then backed up further up the stairs. Citrine then blasted the Vonnarc mage that was on the edge of deaths door and opened it with a blast of fire.
 
The mages all moved in closer to the stairs, their wands sending magic missiles past Citrine, and into Ruil's back. Corthana called to one of the mages, saying his cloak was undone. As he looked down, Corthana threw a dagger right at his head. Meanwhile, as the fray had come to him, Ruil ran into it, blasting Erdrinneir with a blast of fire. It was obvious that this particular drow spent less time in the gym then his acolytes as he screamed in pain from his seared arm. Citrine blasted him with her own fire, sending him to one knee.
 
Erdrinneir wielded his staff in his hands and cast a hold person from it, directing it at Ruil. The elf easily resisted it, but he could not resist the barrage of more missiles from the other mages wands. Blood dripped in rivulets from his mouth and he knew there were at least two ribs imbedded in his lungs. Corthana didn't give her friend a second thought and instead fired her stolen scorching rays at another mage, hitting him right in the face and cooking his brain to ash. Ruil wanted revenge for the pain wracking his body and again fired his own scorching rays at Erdrinneir. And when the smoke cleared, the mage laid dead upon the ground.
 
Gunderhoff's eyes finally opened as Citrine's healing magic washed over him. He was truly happy to still be alive, yet pissed off that the battle still waged on. Jumping to his feet, he swatted at an annoying mirror image that got to close, shattering the magical illusion. The drow again turned their wands upon Ruil and blasted him with more magic missiles, yet still the mighty elf stood. Corthana again convinced one of the mages that his robe was undone. As he went to button it up, he took two daggers in his chest, that sent him crashing to the ground, but still alive.
 
Ruil moved in closer to the battle, cutting away at a magical image. Citrine send more flames forth, burning the drow upon the ground. Gunderhoff then smashed the same one, as well as one of its images.  Again the mages blasted Ruil with green energy, hoping to kill someone that day. That nearly dropped the big man, until Corthana finally noticed her wounded friend, and used a charge from her belt to mend some of his wounds. That gave Ruil enough energy to swing his sword, spilling enemy blood on the floor. With a last fiery blast, Citrine slew the drow on the ground. The remaining drow found himself cornered. He quickly drank a potion to take him away from the sight of man. Despite the cloaking magic, Corthana's dagger found his form. Ruil heard the scream and threw more fire, but the ray missed the target.
 
The drow was in a dire situation and he tried valiantly to leave the room undetected. Sadly however, he stepped upon a loose floor board, making a very load squeaking sound. Corthana quickly angled her casting hand in that direction and cast her stolen web spell. With that, the mage was held fast, and it was a simple matter to finish him off.  After a quick round of healing, the Immortals continued down the stairs, using potions of invisibility to hide their movements.
 
Upon arriving, they came to a classroom, devoid of students. The only thing present was a large water elemental blocking the way down to the next level. This was an enemy they had already faced, and there was no fearing it. Gunderhoff led the charge, while his friends hung back a few steps. Corthana was the first to notice that the elemental seemed to be following their movement, as though it could see through their illusion. Ruil quickly wracked his brain on all he knew about water elementals, and came to the conclusion that such creature could not see through invisibility. Ruil cast a detect magic upon the beast and noticed a magical aura emanating from it that was brighter than the sun. And as Gunderhoff raised his hammer to strike, everyone noticed that the water elemental sprouted a watery demonic face and massive demonic arms. This was Jivakhnaka, the balor possessed water elemental. The Immortal's raised their weapons and prepared for a fight.
 
Corthana cast a mage hand to open the door behind the balor, in the hopes of getting past it. In doing so, she triggered a chain lightening trap that blasted all the Immortal's, with the exception of the spellthief who jumped aside from the blast. With the door now opened, they noticed that in the other room was a drow chained to the wall. This was Zaknafein, and it was the promised present to Ruil from Alicavnis.
 
And so… (the remaining portion of this paragraph was deemed to gory and depressing. The DM thus decided to exclude it from website. Let it be known that what transpired was a battle that will give the players nightmares forever. It involved a lot of blood, many unconscious PC's and several near deaths. Oh, the humanity of it all).
 
The Immortals were forced to retreat and mend their wounds and recover spells. They sent a prayer to all the gods listening that Jivakhnaka would not follow them. Citrine recovered several dead drow and cast speak with dead upon them, in the hopes they could help in giving a strategy to defeat the balor elemental. It was in doing so that they were given a password to bypass the guardian. And so, when the Immortal's again confronted it, Citrine said the word "Malsava" and Jivakhnaka stepped aside to let everyone pass.
 
Safe on the other side, the Immortal's freed Zaknafein. He said he had been brought up by Alicavnis' assistant. He also said that House Vonnarc had been evacuated, but that the rest of the city of Zirnakaynin had been placed on high alert. He seemed confused by the Immortal's presence without their drow guises. Yet the only difference in Ruil was the color of his skin, and thus the warrior was very recognizable. Zaknafein said that he had a plan of escaping the city, and that with the Immortal's blades; they might just stand a chance.
 
Eight hours later, everyone was free from the city. Zaknafein said he would find his own way to the surface as going with the Immortal's to the continent of Kynonin and its elven population would be detrimental to his health. He wished them all the best, asking only for a few provisions to aid his travels. They in turn gave to him a magical hand crossbow, while Ruil gave him his Shin'Rakorath green lantern to remember them by.  After another thanks, he departed into the darkness.
 
Following the map of the traitorous archmage Alicavnis, they finally came to their destination. A huge bridge spanned a bottomless chasm. And on the other side was the portal guarded by a drow and a huge retriever arachnid demon. Corthana prepared to charge across when her eyes spotted six drow hovering just below the bridge. They didn't seem to be much of a threat though, and so she launched her daggers at the drow guard, the duelist Tiryin. And every single one of them, the agile drow dodged aside from.
 
Citrine cast dawn flower shield imbuing a painful defense to anyone who dared strike her. Ruil fired a pair of scorching rays at one of the hovering drow, making the man scream in pain, but it managed to hold on to life. He and its comrades all hovered up higher, and fired their crossbows ad Citrine. Each barb deflected off her magical enchantments however. Tiryin then charged across the bridge, impaling her with one of his double short swords, and taking a sting from Citrine's shield. The retriever then blasted the Sarenranian with a fiery ray, which was absorbed by her shield.
 
Corthana raised her hand and grabbed all of her returning daggers. She then threw them all Tiryin, dropping him to the ground as they plunged hilt deep in his throat. Yet still the drow twitched with life, and thus Citrine put him out of his misery with a disembroiling slice. After a few more seconds, the Immortal's blew the drow soldiers out of the air with fire and daggers.
 
There remained only the retriever left and it took a massive pair of scorching rays from Ruil. It in turn blasted a ray of stinging frost into Citrine, chilling her heart to the point where it stopped for a few seconds, before slowly resuming a normal beat. It then seemed to be waiting for something. And that something happened when Gunderhoff moved closer, the retriever charged him, and knocked him off the bridge. Time seemed to slow as they quickly ran through their mind of a way to save their friend. Yet by the time they came to a solution all they could do was listen to the sickening crunch of metal and bone splintering on unforgiving rock nine hundred feet below.
 
Revenge would be fast for their fallen comrade as another cut from Citrine, followed by two fiery blasts brought it close to death. With its last vestige of strength, it blasted Citrine with electricity and then clawed at her. That attack triggered a backlash of fire into the demon, killing it.
 
The portal was ready for them to use. Corthana simply needed to activate it using the phrases and gestures that Alicavnis had shown him. As she prepared to do so however, she heard a very gruff voice from far, far, away. It was a voice that asked if anyone was still up on the bridge as he was still alive. It was the voice of Gunderhoff. Somehow he had survived the fall. Citrine quickly feather falled down, and healed their brave friend. Once done, she and the dwarf came back to the bridge using magic.
 
Corthana activated the portal to Kyonin, and the Immortals stepped through. In a few moments, their eyes were looking upon the sun for the first time in many days. Yet wherever they went, violence was sure to follow. And so it was that they found themselves surrounded by trees; and a dozen elves with bows arrows pointed at the Immortal's hearts.
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Summary 15: A Candle in the Night
Chapter Four: Endless Night
 
Gunderhoff was first into the remaining passages. He did not like water and so tried to jump it. Yet his armor weighed him down and he plunged into the unknown depths. With his drow form, it only came to his chest, and didn't do any harm. Citrine decided to spiderclimb the wall, while Ruil followed Gunderhoff in his watery plunder. Corthana however soured over all their heads, landed nimbly on the other side.
 
They began looking in the various small caves and saw several morlocks coming from all directions, clubs raised, but with one possessing a greataxe made from a skull of some exotic beast. Ruil easily parried the two morlocks clubs that attacked him. Citrine meanwhile took a lucky bite from a morlocks that had come from behind. The remaining one leaped at Gunderhoff, its greataxe bashing through the dwarves defenses. As the blade sliced through flesh, a wound appeared on the morlock’s own flesh; a byproduct of the magic imbued within the weapon.
 
Corthana threw a trio of daggers dropping dead one of the morlocks. Gunderhoff smashed his hammer into the screaming axe wielder named Magnamaga, breaking bones with his mighty smash. Ruil and Citrine obliterated two of the morlocks with fire and lightening attacks. Gunderhoff then faced Magnamaga, allowing the axe to bounce harmlessly on his shield, but finding no attacking lane for his hammer.
 
Ruil teleported in back of the last morlock, making room for his friend Citrine to get into the fight and stab home with her scimitar. In response she felt the battleaxe cleave through her armor, and slicing through ribs. Corthana turned her daggers upon Magnamaga, knocking the barbarian down with her precise blades. Ruil then tried to knock aside the morlock’s blade with his own, the morlock's rage gave her strength and she held onto her greatest treasure. Gunderhoff smashed the morlock's head with his hammer, sending body fluids splaying out. Somehow, Magnamaga held onto life and sliced at Citrine's leg, nearly cutting both off with a one savage cut. Corthana again threw her daggers, and after they impaled the morlock’s body, the barbarian stopped moving.
 
A quick search turned up a few potions as well as the remains of the previous drow caravans. They found no more signs of life, and they dared not search the watery depths. Had they done so, they would have come across the spawn of Lamashtu, god of beasts. That would be threat the drow would have to deal with on their own however.
 
The Immortals healed up their wounds, and journeyed back to Zirnakaynin, along with the two soldiers who had been sent with them. Outside of House Vonarc, they came across the young drow Zaknafein, shoveling lizard manure. He seemed almost in awe over their successful mission, and their combat ability. He almost spoke hesitantly about how he noticed Godak searching the Immortals bunks in search of something. Zaknafein said that Godak was always curious about the doings of newcomers.
 
Within the house, they met with Slavemother Undamesta. She seemed very pleased with their success, and took the greataxe of the morlock leader as proof of the task complete. Given their skill, the Immortals were given yet another task to do. This one involved hunting down and slaying three runaway driders that had taken refuge in a small cave. Again, a pair of drow would accompany them to ensure they completed their mission. Yet the Immortals were exhausted after the morlock foray, and decided a few fours of rest was required.
 
On the way to the barracks, Citrine noticed that Godak was berating Zaknafein in hushed tones about betraying his actions to the Immortals. He said that he would tell Slavemother Undamesta on the drow slave and that he would be whipped yet again. The Sarenraenian and her allies decided to intervene in the conversation, asking what the trouble was. Godak then insisted that it was Zaknafein who had looked through their possessions, not him. Ruil said that, should such an event happen again, then the perpetrator might find trouble. This comment was clearly directed at Godak, but the merchant slave tried unsuccessfully to deflect the comment. Godak then insisted he had matters to attend to and quickly exited the Immortal’s gaze.
 
When the merchant was gone, Zaknafein again insisted he had nothing to do with the previous nights invasion of personal effects. He then took up his broom and began sweeping the floor. As he did so, Ruil noticed that the drow slave's movements had a bit of a sweeping weapon characteristic. Although not a warrior, Zaknafein's physic and muscle tone betrayed his lack of knowledge of the ability to handle a weapon. They decided to question him further about who he was and what he wanted. The answers they received were surprising. This was a drow who admittedly wanted to escape the life of darkness he lived in. He had read stories of the surface world and wanted to see it, to live it. But he said that to be able to do so would require a miracle, and that was something that simple did not exist in Zirnakaynin.
 
After a few hours, the Immortals were ready to attack the driders. They already had experience fighting them and so knew what to expect. Citrine cast spells to bath her in godly might, while Corthana melded with the shadows, disappearing from sight. Gunderhoff then simply walked into the cave, shield raised to face the three driders within. Citrine however was quicker with her spell, as she blasted one of the arachnid abominations with fire. Corthana then let her daggers fly, hitting one of them in three different internal organs.
 
The driders reacted quickly to the home invasion, with two of them blasting the Immortals with lightening bolts, while the other one created magical webs around the heroes to impede their movements. Gunderhoff took the brunt of the magical attack, but it would take another ten such attacks to drop the sturdy dwarf.
 
With webs sticking to his feet, Ruil found it difficult to maneuver into a position to attack, but moved in as close as he could. Somehow Gunderhoff overcame the tremendous pain from the electricity still coursing through his veins and blessed everyone. Citrine was closer than everyone and went to her sword, dodging reaching fangs and slicing through enemy flesh. Corthana waited for her daggers to return to her, and to her surprise, only two of them came back to her hand as the other one became stuck in the webbing. Nevertheless, she let them fly, bringing more pain to the same drider she had hit previously.
 
Again lightening came blasting away, this time from all three driders fingers, injuring the Immortals further Gunderhoff saw one of the bolts coming for him, and was amazed when the magic washed over him, doing no harm. Ruil was becoming tired of being on the receiving end of lightening. He teleported in back of one of the driders and then cleaved it from behind, the shocking grasp and steel nearly destroying it. Citrine then moved in to flank the same one, driving her sword up into its jaw, and through its cheek. Yet still somehow it maintained a hold on life. Corthana thus decided to finish it with a barrage of magical missiles, all of which dissipated into the wind as they were absorbed by its resistance.
 
The driders continued to defend their territory fiercely. One of them augmented his own defenses, while another one bit down on Ruil’s neck, and injecting debilitating poison into his blood stream. The other one pounded its mace on Gunderhoff's shield, but the metal held. The dwarf then retaliated but with the same results. Citrine cut her foe again, sending more black blood flowing. Corthana then moved to her stuck dagger, retrieved it, and threw it, killing the drider and stealing the glory.
 
One of the two remaining driders blasted Gunderhoff with magic missiles, but none of them pierced his magical resistance. The other one again tried to kill the dwarf in drow disguise with his mace, but again the attack was pushed aside. Citrine sliced open another drider's abdomen with a pair of sword slashes, her godly imbued magic making the wounds greater than they would normally have been. Ruil tried to outdo her friend, but the drider deflected the greatsword aside. Gunderhoff's hammer smash did not miss its mark, and he sent another drider dead in the dust. The last drider found himself surrounded by all four warriors, and they cut and bashed until there was no enemy alive.
 
After arriving back at house Vonarc, Undamesta simply nodded at the well done task. She then said that their next tasks would be individual ones. Gunderhoff seemed to be adept at the hammer and so he was sent to the mines. Corthana would be sent with Godak on a simple transport mission. Ruil would train with the Paintaster in order to learn what it meant to torture people and perhaps become a future Paintaster himself. As for Citrine, Undamesta demanded to know who she worshipped. After a lengthy pause, she said Abraxis. The Slavemother spit upon the ground, cursing the demon lord as that was the one Allevrah served. She thus said that Citrine would study with the Priest of Arashnekal to learn about the demons lord of Riddles and Portals as that was the recognized deity of House Vonarc.
 
At the Torture House, the Paintaster gave to Ruil a barbed whip and commanded him torture a slave. He then gave several pointers on how to better torture a prisoner, included using Ruil's acid spells to even further the torture of drow. Ruil went about the business with gusto. The Paintaster admired Ruil and his ability to bring out the screams of victims and mentioned that he would make a great second to him.
 
Citrine spent the day learning from a priestess about a demon lord that Sarenrae would have stepped on like an ant. Citrine asked the priestess about Allevrah and what the story was about her. She responded by say that Allevrah was an outsider drow who befriended the Azrinae house and then killed their head mother, effectively taking over the house. After that, Allevrah declared war upon the surface elves and took the entire house upon this crusade. None of the other Houses followed her in mission, although some did approve. House Vonarc was great allies with the Azrinae's. But when the Mother was slain, that made them enemies. The First Daughter of House Vonarc in particular hated Allevrah more than anyone.
 
Meanwhile Godak rejoiced in the stories of adventure that Corthana. He very much appreciated how Corthana went about slaying enemies by using shadow and quickness to down ones enemies as he too followed that path to fighting. Corthana asked Godak about how long he had been a merchant, and why he hadn't vied for a greater position in House Vonarc. The drow responded by saying he was content with his position. The higher up on the ladder one attained, the more danger one was subjected to. He did go on to say that he had seen his fair share of battles, some requiring him to use the time stop spell. After enduring further lies, Godak did say something with a ring of truth, that being that one needed a special amulet to enter the library and other restricted locations.
 
Near the end of the day, Ruil found he had mastered the act of torture. As such, the last slave to be brought in was Zaknafein, for he would see receive Ruil's acid many times in the future. The Paintaster said in secret that Undamesta cared for Zaknafein, and despised the feeling. It was for that reason she had the drow repeatedly tortured. There had been other reasons of course, including the worship of false gods, speaking in reverence about wanting to see the sun above, and many other sins. Despite Ruil's hatred for drow, he simply could not bring himself to torture Zaknafein. He said that he was tired and thought that perhaps putting off the torture was the best idea. The Paintaster agreed that Ruil had worked hard, and thus perhaps a branding would be the best as it required little labor. Ruil asked that the Paintaster get more wood for the cauldron while a brand was selected to burn upon palms.
 
Zaknafein look up, and speaking in elven, he said that Ruil did not have to do this. That caught Ruil off guard, and it made him think that Zaknafein may not be a drow at all, although that seemed a preposterous idea. In Zaknafein, Ruil saw a candle that seemed to burn in the darkness of Zirnakaynin. The warrior asked the slave who he was really. Surprised that Ruil spoke the elven language, Zaknafein asked who Ruil was? Ruil insisted that Zaknafein answer first, and so he did. He said that he was a drow who had snuck into the forbidden library and stolen books. From these he learned the elvish tongue, as well as what the surface world was. He dreamed to one day escape the city to the surface, but such a thing was an impossibility.
 
It was then Ruil's turn to speak. He simply said that he was not an enemy of Zaknafein, and that he might be able to help the young drow escape. Until that time though, he had to do things he was not happy with, including branding Zaknafein with an eye upon his palm once the Paintaster arrived with the wood for the fire.
 
That evening, the Immortal's found themselves reunited. They recounted all they had learned, including the fact that Allevrah was not in the city. That in itself was a huge blow to their plan. Yet there was perhaps a saving grace to everything as Ruil recounted his conversation with Zaknafein and how the drow was unique among his kind. Corthana couldn't help but point out that the elf had become soft living with the drow.
 
The following morning, Undamesta came to the Immortals, fury upon her face. She said that the First Daughter wished to speak with them, and honor she herself had never had. She brought them to meet with Erdrenneir, apprentice to the First Daughter. The mage said that his liege had a personal task for the Immortals and asked that they accompany him to the tower.
 
All five of them walked to the tower, with Erdrenneir levitating up through the hole in the ceiling to go to the second floor. As they went from floor to floor, other mages could be seen working on projects and memorizing spells. At the top floor, Erdrenneir asked that they step forth into a glowing portal. On the other side of it was a large room, with several undead devourer guards along the sides of the room. Sitting at a desk, was First Daughter Alicavnis, the archmage of all of Zirnakaynin.
 
After the apprentice left, Alicavnis demanded to know who they were. She wanted to know how they were hiding their identities. She wanted to know who they were working for on the surface. The Immortal's insisted they were drow, but Alicavnis said they were not, yet she could not see what they were as of yet. Despite that, she said she had a mission for them, and if successful it would garner them the information they had come all this way to find regarding Allevrah and her whereabouts. After agreeing to the terms, Alicavnis said that there was a narcotics bar called the Venom's Kiss. Several of her mages had recently gone there, and exited several days later, with no memory of what had happened. Fearing secrets and passwords might have been leaked out, she wanted everyone in the bar killed and all documentation including maps, journals, notes, to be handed over to her.
 
After some questioning Alicavnis said she had no qualms about surfacers. In fact, it was due to the surface elves that the drow came into existence. When Earthfall happened, the surviving elves who had not gone to Sovereign, fled underground. It was through years of survival that these elves evolved into the drow race. She also insisted that Allevrah was a drow, despite the Immortal's thinking the contrary, such as she being an elf enspelled. Ruil then asked about Zaknafein, including who he was. She responded by saying he was nothing but a slave, and a disobedient one at that. Ruil asked that Alicavnis be lenient upon the drow as he was more that what he appeared. The archmage thought the idea preposterous but did grant Ruil's request of keeping Zaknafein as his personal slave if they prevailed at the Venom's Kiss.
 
Soon the four of them found themselves at their destination, a pair of drow guard blocking the only door in. They asked the Immortals for the password to get in. Ruil simply said "Alicavinis." The guard said it was not the password, provoking Ruil to say that there would be a lot of killing soon if they were not allowed to pass. On that note, one of the guards began slowly retreating from the door. The other one however put his hand upon his rapier. That hand was cut off but a Ruil's greatsword. And before he could scream, Citrine's scimitar sliced across his throat. The second guard blurted out that the password was "Shiva" and opened the door.
 
On the other side, Corthana closed the door and then broke a dagger in the lock, sealing everyone inside. The bar was filled with patrons, as well as many different intoxicating odors. These drugs filtered into Ruil and Citrine, and Gunderhoff's noses, and fell upon their minds. They began feeling as though they were invisible in battle. They felt like throwing themselves into battle, no matter the cost as blades simply would not harm them.
 
Above, three guards were standing by a door, where likely their prey now sat in luxury. Shoving aside patrons, the Immortals moved toward the guards and said they wanted to speak with Orvignato. As they were not on the list, they were refused entry. Yet one look from Ruil and one of the guards said that he would see if his master would meet with them. Even among the noise below, the Immortals heard about a dozen voices speaking within the room after the drow entered and closed the door.
 
After a few seconds of the door not reopening, they realized that they would have to go in by force. They cut down the two guards outside, and then kicked open the door to see a dozen drow, and a drider. Ruil couldn't get to the bulbous arachnid, and so contented himself with slashing a nearby drow down. Citrine saw the massive amount of enemies and decided upon a house clearing spell as she threw a flamestrike in their midst, destroying nearly all the drow soldiers. Corthana then threw three daggers, but the drow were ready, deflecting them all aside. Gunderhoff then cast his bless spell to inspire his allies.
 
The drow all moved back to defend the drider, defending it from harm. The drider then let a lightning bolt fly. It seemed however that the creature had mispronounced a word as the burning from the spell that followed was very minor. Thus the pain was easily tolerable as Ruil let fly a pair of scorching rays, both of which missed their intended target. Citrine then moved into the melee, dodging a reaching bite and slashing away. Her scimitar however was batted aside by one of the drow defending its charge. Seeing so many human shields, Corthana decided to pick them off, knocking one to the ground with minor cuts. Gunderhoff then moved next to the drider, but his warhammer too was knocked aside.
 
Suddenly, out of invisibility, the fat Orvignato appeared smacking Citrine over the head with his flail. The drider tried to copy their master, but Citrine was able to duck the attack. Ruil then turned upon the new threat, but his greatsword was deflected way wide, and it took all his strength to get back in a defensive position. Citrine then got her revenge as she slashed at Orvignato head, sending blood and brain matter oozing to the ground. Corthana meanwhile timed her next strike upon Gunderhoff's success, but the dwarf's hammer got tangled in the driders feet.
 
Orvignato, still on his feet, again hit Citrine, but it was clear that he was hurt as the flail was a glancing blow. The drider meanwhile looked at Corthana and suggested that she attack lethally the ones she had entered the room with. The other drow continued to help the drider in its defense. Ruil again slashed his greatsword with more precision, gutting Orvignato. Citrine concentrated again on the drow leader, this time cutting off his weapon arm with clean swipe. Orvignato clutched at the stump and screamed in pain, before finally dropping dead.
 
Corthana, now enspelled, threw her daggers at Ruil's back. She then channeled her spellthief ability in the attack and robbed the warrior of a ray of enfeeblement spell. Gunderhoff again tried to hit the drider, but with so many rapiers in the way, it was nearly impossible to get a decisive strike in. The drider then cast a spell to even better protect itself from the massive force it found itself against.
 
Ruil wanted to get into the action, but there were simply to many drow, and to many friends in the way. He thus used his dimensional hop spell to teleport in back of the drow and cut down a defender and a little spider helping the driders defenses. Citrine, after seeing Corthana's actions, decided to cast a spell to remove the enchantment. However the spell failed to penetrate Corthana's drow resistance to magic. Corthana then threw the ray of enfeeblement at Ruil, but again the resistance to magic dissipated the spell. Gunderhoff again hammered at the drider, but still his hammer was parried aside.
 
Seeing the drow/dwarf fail time and time again, the drider began mumbling another lightning bolt, confident its allies would again defend it. The drow meanwhile were confident in the driders own defense that they assumed the arachnid would be able to defend again the any attack. As such, Gunderhoff's hammer finally found an opening in the driders defense, and capitalized by smashing his hammer home, and spoiling the spell.
 
Ruil continued to harass the drow shields, cutting and electrocuting to death two more. Citrine again tried to free her ally of the enchantment, but again the spell fizzled upon the aura of protection upon the spelltheif. Corthana thus fired a trio of daggers, with one going hilt deep in Citrine's lung. Gunderhoff, the forgotten combatant in the battle, continued battling hard, smashing through one of the driders legs.
 
Now mad at the drow in dwarfs clothing, the drider commanded its remaining allies to kill the hammer wielder. Yet again, Gunderhoff raised his shield and allowed all attacks to simply bounce off. As such, Ruil saw the drider was no longer being aided, and so easily slashed it dead from behind. After seeing their mighty combatant drop, the other drow simply gave up. The orders however were to kill all drow, and thus they were given a quick execution.
 
After a few minutes of searching, the Immortals found the stash of Orvignato, including the documents they had been sent for. There were many other valuable as well, including an emerald with a drow soul trapped within. There did remain the question of what to do with all the patrons down below. Alicavnis's orders had been to slay everyone in the Venom's Kiss, but the Immortal's were not all murders. Ruil thus decided to try to order everyone out of the building before he himself torched the place. Yet the drugs in the air were too intense, and no one heeded is command. Even if they had, they would have found it barred thanks to Corthana’s earlier trick with the locking mechanism. And so the Immortals decided to leave the place as is. A quick search of the documents turned up little of interest. There were no signs even that any passwords or illicit information was contained within. Mostly, the notes detailed portal locations; something which Alicavnis had in fact secretly wanted to begin with.
 
After arriving back at the tower, the First Daughter looked over the notes and seemed satisfied. She thus gave the Immortals the information they sought. She said that Allevrah could be found in a place called the Land of Black Blood. It was a place just beneath Kyonin, the surface continent of the elves and homeland of Ruil. She gave to them a map to a portal that would take them to Kyonin. She also said that Zaknafein was theirs to take with them. And with one last comment, she wished that the Immortals true identities be revealed. Corthana was the only one who noticed what had just happened as Alicavnis had just cast one of the most powerful spell known. Sure enough, the necrotic drow flesh upon her and her companions began falling off in clumps.
 
The Immortal's disguises were fading away, at the top of an archmage tower, and in the middle of a drow city…
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Summary 14: The Skin of Evil
Chapter Four: Endless Night
 
The Immortals still had fighting ahead of them, and no healing spells left for their wounds. They dived into their small potion stash, dividing the healing potions amongst those who needed them. Eviana refused all aid as she was grief stricken over her allies deaths. She was however grateful for their aid, but said she simply could not help them in their future battles as she was without weapons and without the will to fight on. She said the Immortals were truly powerful to have made it so far, and that they must continue on. Corthana asked her why she had lost? She said that all of her information had come from a loyal scout who turned out to be the disguised drow assassin Arkaxis. As for why she was kept alive, that was a mystery.
 
Not wanting to leave any room left unexplored, the Immortals began searching the remaining rooms on the first level. One of the rooms contained the bones of former elves. Another room was empty, but seemed equipped to hold other prisoners. The last room was barred from the inside, as though a table had been wedged up against it. The four of them collectively pushed on it, but their combined strength wasn't enough. Ruil then decided a few scorching rays would burn it down. After a few seconds, the wood gave way, revealing a large dining area; and three slimy babau demons waiting within a globe of darkness.
 
Ruil searched his studies and remembered that babaus were very resistant to all elements, and needed specially enchanted weapons to inflict true harm upon them. Gunderhoff charged into the fray, his warhammer smashing a demon in the chest. Yet his weapon could not get past its innate resistances, and his weapon did nothing. Corthana then somersaulted into the midst, stabbing a dagger right at the closest ones heart. The blade pierced skin, nicking the left ventricle and getting the babau's attention. Ruil was next into the darkness, his blade slicing the same one across the arm. His blade too however was not enchanted against the demon, thus the blade only barely got through the first layer of the epidermis. Citrine was last in the room, waving her blade in a defensive stance while throwing a ball of fire at one of the babaus. The flames simply washed over it, doing no damage whatsoever.
 
The babaus had allowed the Immortals to get in the first few hits, while they analyzed the power against them. Given that it was Corthana who seemed to be the most adept at hurting them, the three of them turned upon the unsuspecting spellthief. They too aimed for vital areas. The first ones claw and teeth raked across her throat. The second ones glaive disembroiled her with two cuts. The third one then speared her in the lung with his own glaive. Yet somehow the rogue stayed on her feet, although barely.
 
All the Immortals realized then that this fight might be one of their most challenging fights ever. Gunderhoff shouldered his way into the melee, feeling the babau's glaives bouncing off his armor while he hit a demon with his hammer, again doing no damage. Through the fight, the babaus slime coated the Immortals weapons and would have melted through them had they not previously drank potions to resist acid damage.
 
Ruil's blade struck true, this time sinking deeper through skin and actually drawing blood. Citrine then prayed to Sarenrae and touched Ruil's blade, bathing it in the purity of good, and allowing the blade to pierce the babaus innate defenses. Corthana meanwhile fled the room, in the hope that her friends could take care of the enemies. The Sarenranian felt a pair of claws rake across her back. Gunderhoff tried to get revenge on his friend but his hammer missed its mark. Corthana drank a potion of healing and then somersaulted the flames in the doorway to get closer to the action.
 
Ruil swung his sword and again connected with his blade. The babaus flesh took all the pain, and seemed as though it could take even more. The Immortals resolved themselves to the long battle ahead of them, with Citrine moving in and impaling the same babau that Ruil had just wounded. It did occur to the heroes that they had been lucky they had decided to clear out all the rooms on the first floor as the demons would have proven dire reinforcements for Nolveniss and Allevrah.
 
Again Citrine felt the sting of a claw across her spine, sending a spray of blood in the air as an artery was hit. Gunderhoff however resisted the attacks of the other babau as all of its attacks harmlessly bounced off his armor. Corthana meanwhile had been counting on a nice healing spell from her friend, but as Citrine's injuries were too severe for it, she was forced to drink another valuable potion of healing.
 
Ruil momentarily lost his target in the haze, robbing him of a bath of blood by his sword. Citrine however found the demon, cutting it more. One of the babau's flexed its muscles and slammed its claw as hard has it could, punching right through the raised shield, and clawed deeply at his chest. Citrine again found herself assaulted by teeth and claw, but this time she dodged each attack. Gunderhoff swung his hammer again, but the babaus resistance absorbed the damage. As for Corthana, she realized her small daggers were useless against the foes and she began firing missiles of magic from her wand. However the babaus were resistant to that as well and the magic fizzled out before they hit home.
 
Ruil finally found his foe through the darkness and cut it across the knee. Citrine too sliced her blade into demonic flesh, and it was clear that one of the babaus was becoming weaker and weaker from the repeated strikes. Gunderhoff still faced one of the three demons alone as it tried the same tactic as before. This time he was ready, and jumped aside from attacks. The other two continued their team-up against Citrine who dodged and parried six attacks in a span of six seconds.
 
Gunderhoff again smashed the weaker babau, having nothing else to do. He saw a slight grimace of pain as his hammer seemed to finally hurt the thing. Corthana again fired her wand, but again the magic did nothing. Ruil then sliced the demon again, and this time the babau seemed to take a step back as though it suffered greatly from the sting. Citrine saw her moment and again stabbed the babau through the back, finally bringing it down, leaving still two others who were had not been wounded.
 
The babau fighting Gunderhoff realized it was in a stalemate battle with the dwarf and so calmly walked over to Citrine to continue where its mate had left off. It felt a small slash from the elf’s blade but ignored it and sliced its claws across the priestesses arm. That attack spun Citrine around, opening the door for a claw and bite from the other babau to cut through her armor and into her flesh. The attacks left the priestess bleeding profusely, and she began feeling lightheaded.
 
After seeing Gunderhoff's hammer again bounce the demon, Corthana fired her wand yet again, and was rewarded as one of them breached its resistance to magic, and slamming into its head. Ruil again cut his blade into demon flesh twice more, bringing painful cries every time it hit. Citrine's decided to stay in the fight, and again cut into the same demon, but still it stood its ground. The babaus continued hounding Citrine with their deadly claws, yet somehow she escaped the barrage with no further harm.
 
Seeing none of the enemies were looking her way, Corthana took out her new greatsword, and aimed a debilitating strike in the babaus back. As she retracted it she noticed a piece of the demons intestine hanging out, and heard the howl of pain from her victim. The victorious strike from Corthana had the opposite effect on Ruil who became distracted by the fact that the spellthief had finally decided to join the fight. His blade was much less precise as the babau deflected it aside. Citrine meanwhile saw the blood flowing down her body, knowing it was all hers. Her heart said to stay in the fight, but her mind told her she needed to retreat, and it was the latter she listened too. One of the babaus charged right after her, but she quickly turned around and batted aside its claws at the last second.
 
The other babau was simply tired of Ruil and his stinging sword slashes. It moved in close and bit hard upon Ruil's shoulder. Corthana then eyed that piece of intestine and again stabbed her greatsword at the same stop, the blade sliding through innards like soft butter. Ruil saw his friend greatsword sticking out through the babaus lower abdomen and he too impaled it at the same spot. He looked to Corthana who understood, and with a sickening slosh, they sliced their blades opposite ways, sending the babau to the ground in two pieces.
 
And in a puff of smoke, the pieces disappeared as the summoning magic that bound it suddenly ended.
 
Now there remained only one. And as it looked upon Citrine, it could taste her death in the air. It gladly took a pair of wounds from her and then went all out with its attacks. Yet Citrine had taken on a defensive stance and was ready for each, deflecting and dodging all of them. Gunderhoff again moved into attack, but like all the other times, his hammer simply bounced off of demon flesh. Corthana moved next to her friend, but this time the babau got its claw around to bat her blade aside.
 
Ruil charged in, and for a second, envisioned the demon impaled dead upon his blade. But went the moment past, he realized the darkness had fooled his sight. Citrine too lost the demon in the haze. For a moment, she saw the smile upon the demon’s face, before its claws slashed down upon her.
 
Blood flowed, too much blood. And pure darkness encompassed her body.
 
Seeing her friend near dead upon the ground, Corthana felt a buildup of actual compassion for her companion; no, her friend. She grabbed Citrine’s longsword from ground and slicing the babau twice, the cold iron bypassing its resistances and causing its black blood to flow in great rivulets across the floor. Despite the pain, it stood its ground, and clawed back, nearly dropping Corthana with the crippling strikes. She and Ruil redoubled their efforts however, slashing their blades hard, and bringing the babau to one knee. With its last once of strength it gutted Corthana, sending her down to the ground. Ruil again cut the air with his greatsword, slashing through the babau neck, and ending the fight.
 
Gunderhoff sent out a few healing waves to heal his friends and stop their bleeding. As Citrine rose to her feet she sent out her own wave of healing energy, mending cuts over the next several minutes. Despite their many remaining wounds, the Immortals decided to search the room, coming across a secret door to a small study. Within they found many books containing knowledge about the stars and planes. They also came across a pile of notes prophesying that the Age of Darkness was coming and that it would bring about the Time of the Runelords. Scrolled next to the notes were scribbles indicating that the process of the First Darkness could be repeated, creating a second one.
 
After a few healing spells by Citrine, the four headed to the stairs going up. Ruil detected a magical conjuration emanation on the other side of the door. Ruil bashed open the door and Corthana found the alarm trap. After tinkering with it however, she accidentally triggered the spell, sending a magical warning to the drow arcanists above. Corthana gave the all clear that it was safe to move on, leaving out that she had made an error in her trap disabling. Gunderhoff thus moved up, and was suddenly surrounded by faerie fire and a globe of darkness.
 
The stairwell was then suddenly engulfed by a pair of fireball spells, burning all but Corthana who jumped out of the way of both of them. Gunderhoff saw the drow floating high above in the next room, and signaled their position to his friends, while he cast a bless spell. Citrine used her magical boots to climb the wall in order to get closer to the enemy. Ruil, being to far away from the drow, fired off a pair of arrows, both of which missed. Corthana had been readying her throw to hit one of them upon an arrows impact, but as that didn't occur, she was forced to rethink her next action.
 
Again from above, fireballs rained down upon the Immortal's, with Corthana again jumping aside, and with Citrine just on the outside of the blasts. She in turn blasted the drow with a massive flame strike, immolating both of them with that single spell. That cleared the way for the four to continue up the tower.
 
At the top, they came to a room that was open to the coming apocalypse. As the four took in the sight, they also noticed a huge model the solar system above. They heard from the rafters the voice of a male drow that could only be Nolveniss. He addressed them as their namesake and said they had come quite a ways to thwart his and Allevrah's plans. He then threw to ground the ten elven heads he had taken to speak with dead with. As Citrine approached from where his voice was coming from, a hell hound suddenly materialized from the shadows.
 
Ruil quickly charged the only enemy he could see, cutting the hound in two. As his blade passed through it however, he noticed he could see right through his victim, indicating it was only an illusion. Citrine then cast a spell to reveal those who were cloaked in invisibility, showing to all the flying Nolveniss. Gunderhoff then blessed everyone to aid in their attacks.
 
Nolveniss looked upon Citrine and targeted her with a massive fireball that encompassed everyone but Ruil in fire. Corthana had assumed Ruil would have been the target and so had not expected the attack at all. The elf however quickly cast a quick fly spell upon himself and flew up, blade swinging. One of the rotating planets got into his way however, and he couldn't get close to his target.
 
Citrine took out a scroll and cast a dispel magic that absolutely obliterated almost all of Nolveniss's spell buffs. As such, he began floating down to the ground. Seeing Ruil nearby, he cast a simple spell, and smiled. He opened up his arms, ready for the greatsword to hit, and smiled as the backbiter spell caused the sword to imbed in Ruil's back, and triggering the shocking grasp spell within it.
 
Corthana saw her opportunity and fired her daggers, hoping to send the mage to the ground. The stoneskin spell absorbed all the damage, but Nolveniss still found himself being tripped by the well placed dagger throw. Citrine then cast another dispel magic to knock away the stoneskin spell. With that spell gone, Gunderhoff charged in, smashing the mage on his casting arm. From his staff of flames, Nolveniss cast another fireball, burning flesh. Yet it was not nearly enough. Down and out, the Immortals surrounded him and cut him down with ease. With his last bit of strength, he activated his wand, fireballing the Immortals again, bringing them all near death. A last stab to the throat by Corthana ended the spell battle.
 
Given they still had time before the meteor struck; the Immortals rested their eyes and prayed for spells to heal up all the wounds at Tolgren's residence. The Azlanti had finally fled the home, leaving it to the Immortals to do as they wished with it. Ruil finally finished reading his magical book they showed him how to better take care of his body. He thus began day one of his new Insanity workout routine in order to better his body for life. Citrine meanwhile cast a speak with dead upon Nolveniss's head. Yet the drow's spirit was strong in mind and he resisted the magical compulsion.
 
It was finally time to leave the Armageddon Echo. They used the Shadow Key they had found on the drow mage upon the portal they had used to enter the plane. And then, within moments, they and Eviana were back in their world. Despite the victory, their remained so many unanswered questions. Eviana said that she had been working on a plan to find the answers they all sought. She said that, once they had returned to Crying Leaf, that the plan would be revealed.
 
Several days went by without any word. During that time, all of the magical possessions the Immortals had found were identified. Finally, the four were summoned into the war hut, where an old and very diabolical looking elf was standing over several drow corpses. His name was Giseil Vosil, and he was a necromancer of great repute. Eviana said that they wanted to use a spell called recorpreal transformation to transform the Immortals into drow. That would allow them to infiltrate Zirnakynin, the famed drow city where Nolveniss and his allies had come from, and where Allevrah herself might be found. The portal to the Armageddon Echo could be manipulated in order to send them there.
 
The plan was to have an elven warparty chase the disguise Immortals into the Darklands. Any drow guarding the portal on the other side would see the Immortals being chased and would assume they were allies. It was a sacrifice the volunteer elves were willing to make. And it was one that the Immortals absolutely refused. They shot down any idea of innocents dying, vowing they would find their own way to ally with the drow and infiltrate Zirnakaynin.
 
Once the course of action was finalized, the recorpreal transformation was cast by Giseil. Drow corpse flesh slithered across the floor and began enfolding the Immortals for many minutes. Once the process was complete, they found they had all the powers and abilities of the drow’s skin they were wearing. Eviana then mentioned a small snag in the plan. That being that the portal to the Darklands was a one way trip. To keep the portal open would be to invite all the drow to the surface; something that could not be allowed.
 
After preparations were made, the Immortal's said their goodbyes. Corthana had been shown how to activate it, and she made the magical gestures to do just that, leaving the shadow key behind once the magical gate was open. There was the sensation like falling in a bottomless pit, before the four finally found themselves safely in the Darklands, with several dozen crossbows pointing at them.
 
One of the drow stepped forth and asked them who they were as he didn't recognize them. He said he was the Portal Master and began asking the Immortal's question after question. Corthana said that Nolveniss had given some of the drow leave from the Armageddon Echo. The Portal Master seemed to accept this, but berated them for joining Nolveniss in the first place. He said that a war with the elves was the last thing he wanted as the drow were vastly outnumbered. On that note he took out his blade as though he was about to lunge out in rage.
 
From the rear of the congregation, stepped forth what looked like a merchant. He said his name was Gadak, and that hostilities were not the way of things. He said he would take the four to his house Vonarc, where they would be reintegrated into drow society after so many years of the surface sun polluted their minds.
 
The Immortals, their drow disguises holding, accepted Gadak's suggestion. He observed that they their mannerisms were not typical of drow, but seemed to be under the same impression as the Portal Master, that being the Immortals had been polluted by the surface. He offered them lizards to ride upon, which all, save Gunderhoff managed to ride without falling off. Over the course of journey to Zirnakaynin, Gadak tried to make small talk. He said they would very much enjoy House Vonarc, assuming they were accepted into it.
 
During the walk, he stopped them and a certain spot. Pointing his crossbow to the ceiling, he slew a darkmantle, waiting to jump upon the unsuspecting party. Gadak explained the beasts were a common sight in the Darklands. Corthana quickly killed another one of the two remaining darkmantles with a well place dagger. The third one tried to get away, but Ruil blasted it down with a well placed arrow. Gadak congratulated them on their skill in surface weapon usage.
 
Soon the Immortals found themselves within the city of <place><city>Zirnakaynin</city></place>, one of the greatest of drow cities. Estimates as to the number of drow ranged from two thousand to twenty thousand. Permanent faerie fire decorated every building, exemplifying the architectural brilliance of each and every structure. The Immortals were brought to one of the larger structures and into a waiting room.
 
Half an hour later, Slavemother Undamesta arrived and began questioning them. She asked them who they were, what house they served, and why they wished to serve House Vonarc. After accepting their answers, she promoted them to slaves. After demanding their weapons however, Ruil showed great resistance to the idea. Corthana attempted to hide a dagger up her sleeve, but Undamesta saw the move and congratulated her on the attempted subterfuge. After further discussions, it was clear that the Slavemother was convinced they were more than what they appeared to be. She said that several miles away, trading caravans were disappearing. She said that the four of them would investigate the area and resolve the problem.
 
After the Immortal's finally handed over their weapons, Undamesta handed over several house medallions which would give them access to certain areas of the house. As the tour went on, they came to the <place><placetype>temple</placetype> of <placename>Areshngal</placename></place>, Demon Lord of Riddles and Portals. There, a male drow named Zaknafein was being tortured. Undamesta said to look upon the drow in order that they see what happens to those who were insubordinate. She said that Zaknafein's crime had been to not punish a slave that had gotten in her way.
 
Soon, they were shown their room. After a few moments, Zaknafein was dragged into the room by a man with a scourged whip, barely conscious. Looking around to make sure no one was looking, Citrine cast a spell of healing to mend his wounds. He thanked her, but there was great surprise in his voice. He said that helping others in the house was forbidden. Citrine noticed that Zaknafein possessed many scars, as though he had been beaten many times. The drow feared that they were testing his loyalty, but Ruil revealed that they had no ties to Vonarc, and that Zaknafein could open up his emotions to them. Yet looking around, several of the slaves seemed to be fake sleeping, and in fact were listening to the conversation very intently. Given that, they ended their conversation immediately.
 
The next day, the Immortals headed off to the Blood Pools where the caravans were disappearing, along with two drow soldiers who would act as observers. It was a ten mile walk, but the time went rather fast upon lizardback. They came upon a small river of blood read water, with a large bridge spanning it that led into a cave complex. Gunderhoff was the first to begin crossing, when suddenly he put up his hand. He said he saw several creatures hanging on the underside of the bridge, ready to pounce. These were morlocks, and it was them who had been preying upon the caravans.
 
Gunderhoff quickly lit up a pair of them with faerie fire, exposing them all to his friends. Given their surprise was spoiled, the morlocks jumped up upon the bridge, with four up them leaping up at dwarf. Yet the defender didn't even move, and simply allowed the clubs to bounce harmlessly off his armor. The other four morlocks took up a defensive posture. It was clear that these cave dwelling creatures were a pushover for the highly training Immortals, and they made short work of six of them, before two of them fled deeper into the caves.
 
Not hesitating, the Immortals followed them in, cutting through a trio of darkmantles on their way in. Their darkvision pierced the interior, and they noted several other caves deeper in. From those caves came the cry of many other morlocks, but there was no fear in the Immortals hearts as it was clear that this challenge would be a simple one to overcome.
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