Dakyr on horseback reports 10 flying skulls moving ahead of Orcus in formation through the trees. Mialee and Rhyder avoid the horrid creatures and begin their ascent of the Keep. Atop Griffy, Kyrrox flies up to Orcus with Krystryd in search of a suitable drop point. It seems the joints are weaker stone, but there are no real openings to the Keep in its current form. She lands on the flat surface of Orcus’ head and observes that the eye sockets are spawn points releasing the flying skulls. Kyrrox also finds that one cannot enter through the eyes. While Mialee and Rhyder climb, the ground forces hold fast and wait for their targets to move into range.
Kyrrox charge attacks Orcus’ neck and opens a hole in the masonry, Orcus swats at them but misses. Kyrrox and Krystryd enter the Keep, Griffy is sent to retrieve the Woodsingers and bring them up to the entrance point. Mialee and Rhyder make it inside the Keep through the neck wound and fall, landing approximately hip height inside the animate stone. Kyrrox and Krystryd cling to the rock nearby. Griffy flies around Orcus’ face to distract The Demon Keep. Griffy is brutally swatted and sent careening into the air past Orcus’ shoulder. Ralts, Gord, Barry move up a bit to intercept the flying skulls.
Zed casts Mass Resistance to necrotic damage on all the ground forces. Soon the skulls are engaged and are found to explode into a necrotic cloud on hit, blinding and dazing those nearby and damaging to those not resistant. Zed takes potion of levitation, aims for Orcus’ eyes and lands some hits.
Inside the Keep the 4 find a circulatory system of sorts, turbulent dark smoke snaking through the stonework. They climb up to where the “heart” is found and strike at it. A solid mass starts to form in the black. None other than Ro’Thax emerges and viciously bites Kyrrox. The dracolich then bursts from the chest of the Orcus construct. Mialee, Rhyder, and Krystryd sling a rope around the jagged rock and climb out of the hole. Mialee takes one final shot at the exposed heart before descending. Zed sees his opportunity and delivers a devastating blow to Orcus, empowered by the Radiant Sunblade and Ralts’ inspiring leadership on the battleground. Ro’Thax is not happy about the attacks on his master and drops Kyrrox mid-air in favor of catching Zedra in Domination.
Kyrrox lands hard but takes negligible damage. She re-mounts Griffy and with the Green Thumbs is able to create the bramble wall across Orcus’ eye sockets, preventing more flying skulls from exiting. Ro’Thax forces Zedra to drop from his levitation. The wizard takes significant damage from the fall, breaking through the roof of the inn. Zed is attacked by two hooded figures inside the building. He regains control of himself and feysteps back to the roof next to his Iron Cohort Tony Stark. Zedra succeeds in casting Visions of Ruin on Ro’Thax as soon as the dracolich lands, effectively trapping him in place with no line of sight to any of them. The ground troops rush the dark dragon and attack him while he is vulnerable. The ballistae hit with standard bolts. Ro’Thax does not last long after that. Zedra uses the Mind Prism on Orcus and he is noticeably bloodied.
Krystryd and the Woodsinger siblings make their way out of the woods. Mialee sees Zedra fall as a second section of the roof collapses under him. She runs for the first-floor window to lend aid. Zed finds himself grabbed by the hooded figures and one takes the Prism. Zedra recognized Selos, who dashes out of the inn and runs towards Orcus with the Prism; somehow already recharged and glowing vividly. Zedra, released, pursues and tries unsuccessfully to hit Selos with a cloud of poison. The others are too far to stop Selos as he holds the prism above his head, chanting in an ancient dialect even Ralts does not know. He resolves his speech in Common: “I am Selos Kalton, descendant of Shala van Tibalt, last Psion of Fastormel.” He goes on to declare his duty to destroy Orcus and Ro’Thax with the Prism, and make right the historic destiny that should have occurred centuries ago.
Standing next to the recently fallen Ro’Thax was the last mistake Selos would ever make. Orcus raises his trusted dracolich, who immediately swipes at Selos with a mighty black claw. The man is torn asunder, prism tumbling from his hands. Orcus recognizes the power within the Psion’s crystal weapon and claims it. Now with a mind – even a mind not his own – The Demon Prince is transformed into a full being.
R4S and their allies focus all their might upon the Demon. Amid gaping maws to Hell’s depths they strike with their combined ferocity. The Ballistae fire their Radiant bolts and both strike solid and true. Orcus does not enter the city of Fallcrest that day. R4S and the former Hidden Hand bloody the Demon with strike after strike and a fiery blast from Gord brings the Demon Prince to the ground. Ralts steps forward to complete his life’s purpose, and to avenge the deaths of his brothers. A final swing of steel, and Orcus is reduced to pieces once again.
The Soul of The Demon Prince of the Undead swirls in an impotent knot of clouds. Ralts is able to call upon his duty-bound power and binds the soul to the brooch clasping his cloak around his shoulders.
The Mind Prism of Fastormel is utterly obliterated. A shimmering pile of crystalline dust is all that remains. Zedra claims a small vial of it for what many might call a “memento.”
The body, now crumbling stone, is broken apart. Each member of the party takes a few chunks of the stone to cast away in the far corners of whatever places or planes they travel to. The rest is scattered in the river and woodland, a few ornamental pieces of horn or wing may have ended up in Septarch’s Tower Library.
Lord Markelhay rushes to greet them at the gates amid a swelling throng of townspeople. His praise and thanks are punctuated by cheers and joyous weeping from the crowd. He offers a humble chest of coins, donated by the citizens. R4S decline the gesture, asking only that Fallcrest use their funds to continue to rebuild. Markelhay again thanks the heroes and assures them they will have every amenity available now and always in Fallcrest.
R4S and the former Hidden Hand decompress at the tavern of the Silver Unicorn Inn. Gord lounges in the hearth’s sizable fire, and falls asleep in short order. Zedra, the fullness of his ego restored, hires some local girls to tend to his wounds while Dak orders a round of ale. Suzette, cured of The Curious Malady, can speak now in Common. She chats with Krystryd about returning home. Barry tries to impress Kyrrox with his promotion to the Captain of the Guard in Winterhaven, but Kyrrox waves him away almost instantly.
Through the excitable crowd, Mialee notices Seylene Kalton sitting by herself, sipping a drink. Mialee approaches and sits, offering sympathy. At first Seylene seemed glad for the company, but soon the woman’s demeanor becomes somewhat… off.
Ralts and Kyrrox approach as Seylene offers a satchel to Mialee, who opens the bag to find 5 perfect Astral diamonds. Seylene begins emphatically speaking about men taking control from the Gods and being free. She talks of vast wealth and power, Kyrrox is interested. Ralts agrees with some of her points. Zed joins the table now, along with a drunk Dwarfie. Mialee stands and sets the satchel on the table, Ralts takes possession of it. The elven rogue demands respect be shown the Gods and speaks a prayer to Sehanine Moonbow. Zedra is not known to pray to nor renounce the Gods, but respects the Radiant power he just wielded against a Demon Prince and says as much.
Seylene’s mania grows and she laughs. Dwarfie slams his tankard down and draws his blade, but before he can make a move further, he freezes in place. Seylene smiles and lays a hand on his cheek. Calling him “Diana”, Seylene claims services are no longer needed and rebellion will not be tolerated. “Dwarfie’s” face loses shape and sags into an old woman’s. The Doppelganger, under Seylene’s employ. Seylene goes on, saying she will always be “ Your Sincerely Devoted Friend. ” She proceeds to kill the doppelganger without so much as batting an eye.
Seylene continues her tirade, energized all the more by R4S’s collective attention and the psionic power she holds over the rest of the bar patrons. She admits to manipulating multiple factions and individuals to act in accordance with her plans. Plans culminating in this defeat of a Demon Prince. She congratulates R4S in their valiant triumph and ask them to join her in uniting all men against the oppressive whims and control of the Gods. Mialee has had enough. She flings her magic dagger at Seylene and it hits square in the ribs. The elf then moves away to stand in the doorway, beckoning to her brother. Rhyder, along with the rest of the tavern’s patrons, are held in place by Seylene’s psychic grasp.
Zedra is not at all interested in amassing wealth nor gaining power over men or Gods. He states that he sides with Mialee. Seylene hisses insults about the stupidity of mortal minds and how easily they are tricked into action or belief. Kyrrox is a fan of power and money, but not of being manipulated and insulted. She thumbs her sword out of its hilt a few inches with a satisfying ”sshhnk” of metal on metal. Ralts does not appreciate the manipulation and the hypocritical position Seylene has taken. Mialee draws her longbow and buries an arrow in Seylene’s shoulder. She winces, and the entire room of people wince with her. Still seated and calm, Seylene pulls the arrow from her flesh with a smile.
Seylene reminds the party that she now controls the multitudes of The Children of Selos and has all the financial resources she could ever need. Her offer is simple: Join her cause as “Roll for Salsa the heroes” or become enemies of her’s and feel the full extent of her influence against them. Roll for Salsa declare they will leave the Vale completely and take no side or action in her dealings. She recommends they never meet face to face again. As a condescending parting gift, she leaves 3 vials of blue-green liquid on the table, releases her psionic lock on the room, and departs. Zedra confirms the vials contain an antidote for Selos’ poison still afflicting Mialee, Gord, and Kyrrox.
With the cold weight of truth on their minds, Roll for Salsa, Adventurers for Hire, Demonslayers and Saviours of the Vale, turn to one another. It is decided that all among them who wish to continue together as an allied faction will meet at Fiveleague House in one month’s time.