Infernal Ascendant

Out of the Frying Pan...

Beyond the door was a chamber, full of gold coins, with an elderly woman standing in the center. Hardened adventurers that they were, the Blades were highly suspicious of the woman and her hoard. They poked and prodded at the gold, and, even when Quarion bit a piece, it behaved as gold should. Questioning the woman got them nowhere, either. So, realizing that they would have opportunities to shop in Complexica, the Eldritch Blades began scooping up the treasure. It was then that the woman struck. She vanished, chuckling to herself, and the gold erupted into a writhing swarm on eyeballs connected to tentacles. What were once armfuls of coinage became a horde of vicious monsters. The Blades fought furiously, the thought of being touched by such a creature revolting, and with the sweeping blows of swords and axes, they fell in droves. However, one of the creatures manages to find a lapse in Quarion’s willpower, burrowing straight into his brain and taking full control of the wizard. The monsters were beaten, but they had a new foe, and it was one of their own. Fortunately, they other four Blades were more than a match for Quarion, quickly rendering him unconscious. But, what to do with him? When he awoke, he would still belong to the mind – worms. Here, Lexor steps in. His training with the elves never left him since he was a child, and, getting down to business, the adventurer cracked right into Quarion’s skull, and, with everyone else lacking a better plan, nobody stopped him. Luckily for Quarion, both luck and skill were on his side, and Lexor extracted the mind – worm without causing any collateral damage. Quarion was losing a lot of blood, but Medrash was then quick to react. Invoking the power of Bahumat, the paladin healed Quarion’s wounds, and the wizard arose, dazed, but, as usual, ready for adventure!
Underneath all of the mindworm gore, the handle of a trapdoor was sighted. Pulling on the handle revealed a ladder to a dark room below, and the Blades descended. The room they entered was pitch black, and suffused with magic. They began walking forwards, and Red Horn was instantly scorched with a jet of flame, which shot out from beneath his feet. Not only was the room dark, but, clearly, it was dangerous. Quarion began to check for magical traps, and, following his guidance, the Eldritch Blades traversed this chamber with only a couple more burns. They came to a wall, which, upon investigation, had a door on it. And that door had a doorknob. Which they turned. And. It. Opened.
The door opened into an octagonal room flushed with warm light. A great brazier blazed at the center, throwing its light around the chamber, and reflecting in the eyes of enormous spiders. The creatures skittered along the mosaic floors, charging the adventurers. But more terrifying than the spiders were their dark masters, the drow. These grey-skinned, sharp toothed servants of Lolth shrieked when the adventurers burst into the chamber, brandishing their scepters and commanding the spiders to attack. At the back of the chamber sat a dwarven throne, proving the original owners of the chamber, but it was covered in spiderwebs. “Reap them in the name of Lady Lolth,” shouted a drow priestess, and the spiders attacked.
The chamber became a battleground. Medrash’s breath lit the spiderwebs ablaze. The priestesses sholt bolts of black flame from their scepters. Spiders squealed in pain and clicked mandibles in rage. Soon, they had all fallen to the Eldritch Blades, but the priestesses remained. Quarion matched their black magic with his arcane prowess, and Drakorgamort, never having moved from the back of the chamber, downed the remaining with arrows. The Blades moved forward, approaching the throne, to find that it had the indentation of an axe in it. Red-Horn understood instantly, and pressed the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords into the indentation.
The throne slid aside, and a stairwell lead downward until it came to an intersection. There were halls going off to the left and the right, and a door in front, with a series of pegs on it. Voices – dwarven voices – could be heard on the other side. The Blades rushed to examine the door, and were completely puzzled on how to open it. Investigating the right hallway, they entered a mine with untapped ore veins, and the left lead to a forge. Hanging on the wall of the forge room was a diagram – how to forge a gear. The challenge became more clear – they had to create gears that could be used to assemble the mechanism to open the door. Upon closer examination, the door had six pegs well suited to gears, as well as a strip of flammable material. Attatched on one peg was a crank handle.
The adventurers got straight to work. They mined all the ore veins with a pickaxe they found, and then smelted the ore and forged six gears. Putting the gears on the pegs, they found the mechanism was still not complete. Some sort of a belt was needed to connect the gears. And that was when they remembered the conveyor belt in the mine. They scavenged the belt portion of the mechanism, and attached it to the door, placing the belt around the gears. Red Horn turned the crank, and the gears began to turn. The final gear struck the flammable surface, and the spark from that burnt the seal all around the door. Defeated, the door fell inward. Beyond it, a rope ladder dangled from above.
The voices were louder now. Gruff, dwarven voices were heard, as well as the hurried talking characteristic of mages. Then came the roar of a dragon. Thw walls of the chamber shook with the force of the mighty, draconic bellow:
HOPE FAILS! Your companions have been sealed in a Tomb of Silence! Your friends are DYING, while I AM IMMORTAL! For all your cheap, conjurers’ tricks, you cannot escape the bindings of flesh. AND FLESH IS WEAK!”
Clods of dirt fall off of the walls, and the rope ladder sways wildly.
Then, the strident voice of an old friend rings clear, but it brings the truth none wanted affirmed:
“Malthurzuum, you will never understand. While the flesh of men is weak, our RESOLVE is STRONG! Mythall has forever been a land of free people, and we shall PREVAIL!”

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