With Yola’s scrying from the moonwell, the party new that Ventrix was gathering her strength and mastering her new dark powers. It seemed certain that she planned to destroy the crown in some sort of dark rite that would grant her mythic powers, but there are a number of places where she could do that, from a sunken city to the south to the lands of the witch king in the far north, and other places in between.
While Ventrix remained in the crypt, the party decided to return to Tavia and the King for assistance, keeping in touch with Yola and the converted Succubus Amarilyna by dream spells.
Outside Tavia the party was met by Trina and some of her fellow paladins who escorted them into the city but near the palace square, they heard signs of a commotion and the sharper-earred among them heard people crying “the king is dead” and “assassin”!
They sent Trina ahead in dragon form. She returned to inform them that someone looking much like Blondie was seen to fire an arrow into the king, killing him by some reports, wounding him by others.
Maria cast invisibility on Blondie and the party approached to find the palace square in choas and no sign of the king. Using his magic scythe, Dagda noticed the succubus that had seduced Ventrice flying high above but before they could attack him, he teleported away.
Thanks to the diplomatic Maria, they convinced the king that Blondie was not the assassin- something that was not too hard to do since the arrow entered the king from nearly straight down and “Blondie” was apparently at street level. After some discussion it was agreed that the false Blondie was probably an illusion. The King’s wizard noted that the timing of the attack was rather precise: just as the real Blondie arrived.
Since the party promised to bring Ventrix to justice, which he preferred to be dead rather than alive, he offered them the pick of his treasure vault, from which the party picked out a number of power and wondrous items:
- Boots of Time and Space
- Cape of Free Will
- Ring of Razors
- Forge Fist Amulet
- Cloak of the Diplomat
- Ring of evasion (save for no damage on reflex saves)
- Ring of Wizardry III (doubles 3rd level arcane spells per day)
- Belt of giant strength +4
- Headband of alluring charisma +4
- Amulet of natural armor +4
- Bag of Holding III (weighs 50 lbs, holds 1000 lbs/150 cubic feet)
- various +1 items
That night Amarilyna reported through a dream that Yola had seen preparations by Ventrix for an underwater expeditions, namely a table with potions of water breathing and the like. Amarilyna thinks it is a decoy—the potions were too obvious—but Yola is convinced of their importance. It should be noted that Amarilyna is a lot smarter than Yola.
Dagda prayed to Iomedae for guidance and was successful in his inquiries: she sent a vision of snowy mountains, which the party interpreted as a sign that Ventrix would head north, to the witch king’s domain.
The king’s wizard had some tomes of that land and a picture of the gates to the duergar city that was near the temple Ventrix was probably headed for. They had him teleport the party to the gates, but unfortunately, the spell went awry and they found themselves in a mountain valley on a frozen lack. Maria quickly bolstered them with endure elements. The ranger Blondie, meanwhile recognized a distinctive three-horned peak from his readings as a child: the party was 160 miles too far north.
They managed to hail a giant eagle but the bird nearly became dinner when it insisted it would not carry them and that his ancestors had in fact moved here centuries ago to avoid “little people on various quests to chuck magic rings into fires and dwarves who got treed by wolves”. He did point them to what looked like an entrance to the underworld, from which undead were known to roam.
The party started toward the undead cave but they also used sending to contact the king. Fortunately, the king ignored the party’s plea to kill the incompetent wizard and instead he sent the wizard after them (using a scry to set the destination). This time, the teleports worked and they arrived at the gates to the Duergar city.
The gates were shut and may folks, from drow to humans to duergar were camped outside in a columned hall. The duergar manning the gates claimed they were barred due to a once in a century festival but after Maria softened him up, he admitted that the city was under attack from undead forces on the far side. They also had no word of anything that sounded like Ventrice and her corrupter.
Sometime later, there was a commotion from within the gates. They burst open and out flew duerger, some looking quite drained, followed by skeletons and wraiths. These foes were arranged in two columns with a gap between them. When Angel Eyes bounded into combat, thanks to his blindsense, he realized there was something invisible there- something large. Maria revealed its presence with glitterdust: it was a huge black shadow dragon.
The battle was sharp but short. The skeletons and wraiths proved of little trouble. The dragon was more troublesome, almost killing Angel Eyes with some lucky bites and claws but he fell in only a few rounds.