Kayden sends his spined devil down the elevator shaft to recon the mines staging area. It rails at Kayden the whole way down. It soon returns claiming that it saw nothing of interest. It does confirm the layout of the Hold as described by the Dwarven Clan leader.
You all manage to make your way down the shaft without making any undo noise. You discover that the staging area is rife with Bugbears. Across the ravine you make out the forms of a quartet of Duergar crossbow wielders. A great Ogre guards the main entrance facing the stone bridge that crosses the ravine.
You launch yourselves at the Bugbears. The Ogre crosses the stone bridge and charges into the fray. One of the Duergar blows a horn and then joins the other dark dwarves in firing bolts into your midst.
Short moments later a Medusa armed with a longbow arrives on the balcony and begins loosing arrows at you.
Marvelous breaks off combat with the Ogre and leaps across the ravine and takes cover below the balcony. Kayden, Balthazor, and Barrakas ravage the Bugbears and finish off the Ogre. Churchill turns his aim away from the Bugbears and begins laying down a withering cover fire into the Duergar Bolters.
Marvelous then uses Churchill’s distraction and flies up onto the balcony and charges the Medusa. With a mighty blow he sends her careening off the balcony to the hard ground thirty feet below. The Monk then enters the Hold and comes face to face with more Duergar.
Kayden moves to cross the bridge and triggers the release of the Gorgon who charges him mid span.
The Medusa gets to her feet and moves to a position behind the Gorgon. She appears ready to flee if things go poorly with the Gorgon.
Churchill clears the several waves of Duergar off the balcony. Kayden, Balthazor, and Barrakas kill or drive off the Bugbears and finish the Gorgon.
The Medusa yells to a second Ogre manning the gates and is granted access to the Hold.
Marvelous ties off a rope and lowers it down to the rest of you. He then aids your accent by hauling each of you up the rope.
Once upon the balcony you make your way through the door, across the ramp, and then make your way down a set of spiral stairs.
The stairs open up onto a large hallway with several branches leading north. Nearby, to the east, is a wide staircase leading down. In the stairway you are confronted with more Bugbears and Duergar. You note the Medusa archer and the Ogre are taking cover in one of the northern branches. Also, one Duergar has a female Drow on a collared leash.
The Duergar seems to have control of the Drow and forces her to begin slinging spells you way. One such spell is a summoned swarm of spiders.
The monstrous forces keep you penned up in the stairwell until Churchill creates an illusionary wall that cuts the Medusa and some of the Bugbears and Duergar off from the Ogre and the Drow wielding Duergar Leader. Churchill also summons his Hellhound and Magma beast.
While the Medusa leads her forces on an end a round you manage to kill the remaining Ogre, Bugbears, and Duergar.
Barrakas manages to grab the Duergar leader with his pole arm. With some assistance from Kayden the Duergar is killed and Barrakas grabs up the leash and begins pulling the Drow along with the rest of you.
The Medusa and her small band of minions makes her way behind you and manages to petrify Marvelous and do some horrific poison damage to Churchill.
As you begin to rally the Medusa fires off a pair of arrows killing the Magma beast and clearing a path for her and her allies to flee down the wide stairs to the east.
Churchill swings his staff at the minions as they go by and actually manages to injure some of them. He then unleashes a freezing sphere upon the fleeing foes and stops their flight. Due to a quirk with the cursed Drow idol Churchill suddenly finds he is able to fire off another spell. Instantly another freezing sphere leaves his staff and annihilates the Medusa and her remaining minions.
You take a moment to catch your breath and bind your wounds. Mustering your resolve you head down the stairway to level below.
On the lower level you see a hall goes to the north and the south of you. Across the hall from you is a pair of elaborately carved stone doors. Inspecting the doors you determine the room is a temple to the Dwarven God Moradin. Opening the door you give a quick inspection and see nothing notable about the temple.
You stand silent and concentrate. A slight sound comes from the north. Balthazor heads down the hall and looks passed the corner. Down a set of stairs he sees a chamber with a set of double doors on its far side. Guarding the chamber are five Devils.
Attacking, you blow through the Devils defenses. The only resistance comes from the lead Devil who manages to summon a couple more waves of infernal allies before you kill him.
Not wishing to lose your momentum Churchill fires a freezing burst at the double doors and blows them off their hinges. Passed the ruined doors is an octagonal chamber. The dead remains of many bodies hang shackled from the walls. Against the far wall a Medusa pulls mystical looking broad sword from the heart of an Elvin female captive. Beside the Medusa is an armored dwarf with a mighty hammer. On the floor in the center of the chamber you make out a pentagram.
The Medusa summons a quartet of Devils and moves to hold the breach, her Dwarven body guard at her side. The fight is prolonged by waves of summoned Devils who teleport about the small space looking to surround and take you out individually. You soon guess that the Medusa is actually the Succubus you have been searching for. She manages to turn you against each other by dominating first Marvelous and then Churchill. Your attacks on each other are far more devastating than anything the Devils can dish out. Many of your attacks against her are soaked up by her Dwarven consort.
When the Dwarf falls, Marvelous, free of the Succubus’s domination penetrates the room and moves to flank the creature. Unbeknownst to you he disturbs the pentagram and no more Devils are summoned into the room.
Unwilling to suffer the cruel hands of the Monk the Succubus again dominates Marvelous. As Barrakas moves in on her she leaps forward and plants a cruel kiss on the Warlord, charming him into her loyal consort.
Kayden now sees the opening he has been waiting for. With the Dwarf out of the way the Warlock rushes forward and swings a devastating blow into the Succubus. With sinister delight she winks has the charmed Barrakas leaps in the way of the strike to save his lady love.
Kayden is shocked as he sees the Warlords body slide off his weapon and drop to the floor dead. Enraged, Kayden lets his rage overtake him and he drives his blade deep into the Devils black heart.
Though the magic of the gemstones could surely allow Barrakas to return, you learn that some other fate awaits the Warlord as his wishes are to remain dead.
The fallen Dwarf is revealed to be the master forger. Once healed he most willingly aids your quest by making the armor Prince Jeremy requested. Investigating the sword created by the Succubus you determine that the powerful magic’s coursing through its metal are ideal for leading large forces of men. You feel it best to take it to the Prince for his consideration.
Two weeks later you are back in Carrack Keep with the Prince. He is saddened at the loss of Barrakas. The Warlords uncle “Lore” is also suitably grieved at the news of the death of his nephew.
After giving you some time to recover the Prince calls for you again. This time he requires you to divide your attentions.
He sends Kayden and Marvelous to take their Wyvern mounts and go along the coastal towns and check in on a series of projects for him. Each town is to manufacture a pair of unique barges. It is your job to see that their schedule is maintained.
The Prince sends Balthazor and Churchill to the Savage Coast of the western shores of Faerun to meet with a mercenary leader named Bracken. You are to offer him the sword and armor in exchange for the leader coming to Carrack Keep and listening to the Princes offer of employment.
Weeks pass as each of you travels to fulfill your missions. The barges are all well under way and the meetings with the mercenary leader Bracken go well.
You successfully convince the mercenary leader Bracken to meet with the Prince. Bracken and a dozen of his men join you on the Illithid ship. The mercenaries are uncomfortable in the presence of the Illithids, though Bracken himself pays them little heed.
You pick up Marvelous and Kayden on the way back to Carrach Keep. Another day of travel reunites you with the Prince.
The meeting takes place in the afternoon of the following day in a secluded chamber. The only ones in the room are the Prince, Lore, Bracken, and yourselves.
Prince Jeremy sits on the far side of a round stout oaken table from the mercenary leader. Lore sits to the Princes right and Barrakas sits to the Prince’s left. Marvelous and Kayden sit between Barrakas and Bracken, while Churchill and Balthazor sit between Lore and Bracken.
Before Bracken lays a thick sheaf of parchment, an ink well, and a quill. Bracken rifles through the contract with an experts eye. From time to time he pauses, asks a clarifying question, and then proceeds on.
After what seems an eternity Bracken takes up the quill and signs the contract. He looks resplendent in the Dwarven crafted armor you procured for him. The pommel of the broad sword raised above his shoulder carries a hint of menace.
Prince Jeremy’s chin is perched upon his steepled fingers. Gazing at his newly procured General he speaks. “I expect even now you are considering your options.”
“You see me as a minor noble of a backwater island nation; a nation in disarray, having neither a strong government nor a cohesive army.”
“You wonder, how difficult would it be to simply stage a coup and use your own considerable military prowess to claim our newly founded and lucrative economy for yourself…”
General Bracken gives a wolfish grin. “The thought has occurred to me.”
The Prince leans forward. “Bane, you have ever been transparent. But once again my subtle nature has ensnared you.”
The Generals face goes stern, the grin fades. Slowly recognition sparks in his cold gray eyes. He looks down at the freshly signed contract. He speaks a single word.
A quick glimmer cascades over the Prince’s features. For the briefest of moments Prince Jeremy’s handsome features alter to reveal the striking resemblance of Asmodeus; God of the Nine Hells.
“At your service. “
The Princes smile is decidedly wicked.