Our heroes, having collapsed after defeating the Chimera, are roused from their slumber by Zanvard Goldbludgeon walking into the chamber. As he is explaining that his holy prayer reception had been poor and that he had stepped outside to take a confession, the corpse of the Chimera starts to glow. Ethereal orbs of the individual elements rise and levitate above the heads of the beast. Dire examines the phenomenon and says that placing a weapon in the orb would imbue it with an enchantment. Whooping with joy, the party starts bathing their equipment in the magical forge.
Kiera happily coats her blades in poison and enchants several new types of arrows. She also let the flames of the lion lick across her armor, and dons her new Scorched Sylvan Leather Armor.
Thun-Thun spread some poison on his off-handed axe and scorched his armor as well. Dire dropped his armor into the sphere of frost and gained frost resistance. The entire party saturates their inventory in elemental power.
After deliberating carefully, Blandington places Abattoir in the poison sphere. Immediately, all the extra-dimensional skulls melt away and disintegrate. Crying softly, he places the shield back on his arm and gains poison resist.
Yanking the boss key off the lion’s neck, Kiera slides it into the giant lock and twists. The chains clank as the mechanism springs apart and the door groans open. A dark and twisted vista appears before our heroes. They enter a large room filled with dark, humanoid shapes and the sound of chanting. Rivers of blood pour into a grate on the floor, bubbling and churning from an altar. In front of the altar, a hooded figure holding a knife turns and points at the heroes and lets out a scream of fury. A dark blot appears in the room, moving towards the group.
Davan rushes forward, eager to throw any enemies he can get his hands on into the pit of blood. He batters away at a Dark Berserker, but is quickly pressed onto the defense by a flank from its twin. They both strike and break through his armor, wounding him grievously.
Kiera shoots the Under Priest in the face, and he screeches and covers it. She moves around through the heavy terrain, trying to get a clear shot at the malevolent shadow.
Blandington rushes to Davan’s aid, hitting a Dark Berserker from behind. The Under Priest casts Shadow Curse at Blandington, but misses and hits the Berserker as well. Dire attacks the shadow, and it is revealed to be a Dark Creeper. Unfortunately, the Under Priest heals it immediately. 5 vampires swarm around Blandington and Davan, but Thun-Thun attacks one and triggers Chain Lightning. They burst into dust in one of the 10 ways available to their kind. (They have more death animations than skill points.) A skeleton warrior approaches Blandington while his twin moves up on Davan. The Dark Creeper uses Dark Step, and appears between Zanvard & Blandington, then jams a shiv under Blandington’s armor. Davan kills a Berserker and Blandington destroys the other with Kiera’s help. The Under Priest moves closer, and Davan shifts around behind him and pushes him into the pit. He falls, cursing the whole time, but manages to survive. All combat stops as everyone wonders how he could possibly survive. Then, a few seconds later, that first poisoned arrow Kiera hit him with releases enough toxins into his bloodstream to drive the last breath from his lungs.
Kiera shoots a skeletal warrior, and the fight starts back up again. Thun-Thun runs at the Dark Creeper and swings his blades into the vorpal nightmare that is its body. With a screech and a mind-numbing twist in the fabric of reality, it pops back into the nether realm from which it came. As the hole in reality heals itself, a dark power blasts through the rift and blinds everyone nearby.
As the only PC far enough away not to be blinded by the power, Kiera warns Davan not to move or he’ll fall into the pit. Zanvard desperately wants to heal Davan, but is unable to find him in the darkness even with Kiera’s help. Blandington resorts to using Lay on Hands on himself, relying on his armor to protect him from the skeleton warriors. (They are unhindered, as they target enemies through their intense hatred of followers of Bahamut, rather than any feeble light gathering organs.) Kiera shoots down one of the warriors using a lightning arrow. Dire manages to shake off the blindness and destroy the last skeleton.
The dark energy lifts as the last remnant of evil is demolished, though the room will to undergo some serious Tide of Iron to cleanse it of the wrongs of human sacrifice and demon worship. Taking a moment to recover, Davan notices that there aren’t any real exits to the room. Looking into the pit of blood, he sees some slippery blood covered chains leading down into a chamber under the Dark Cathedral.
The adventurers jump onto the chains and start to climb down. Darkness and dripping blood surround the heroes as they slowly lower themselves hand over hand down the slippery chains into the demon pit in the Keep on the Shadowfell. It had been nearly two months since they set forth to find their teacher Douven Stahl. After fighting the Bloodreaver hobgoblins, Irontooth, and Balgron the Fat, Ninaran the traitor, and various threats to aid the town of Winterhaven, it was all about to come to a head. Crimson streams of blood spilled over them as they descended into a twisting nightmare and pooled into the center of the chamber. They landed in its middle, ankle deep in coagulated blood, surrounded by the smell of copper and decay.
Echoing whispers of a hundred grim voices filled the chamber, beckoning them into the yawning black portal dominating the northern wall of the chamber. Straining from within the darkness, wisps of shadows forming hands and faces reached outwards from the portal, trying to force their ways into the land of the living. It was here, a human clad in heavy armor and carrying a skull-capped rod, Kalarel, stood chanting.
“O Prince of the Undead, Master of Decay, Bane of Life, we thrive in your shadow. Deliver unto us eternal life, and fill the world with blood and shadows, O thou Lord of Misery!”
Feeling sorta ignore, Blandington shouted out “Hey, Kalarel! You failed the bad test! We’re here to destroy you.”
He responds in a sibilant whisper “Unfortunately, you’re just in time to try and stop me. And by that, I mean you’re in time to die by my hand!”
A Deathlock Wight is standing near a pit to the east and two Skeleton Warriors guard the steps leading to the altar where Kalarel stands. The party quickly scatters, with Davan running to the Wight to try to push it into the pit. It stands firm against his power gloves and retaliates by blasting him with Horrific Visage and pushing him 10 feet.
Kiera shoots at Kalarel, but his armor is incredible. Kalarel targets Dire with Decaying Ray, but misses. Blandington and Zanvard double team a Skeleton Warrior. Zanvard loves fighting undead. Thun-Thun attacks the Wight with Thundertusk Boar Strike, pushing it a few feet but not quite all the way into the pit. Recovering from the Wight’s attack, Davan rushes back into the fray and sweeps the Deathlock Wight into the pit with a Tide of Iron. It perishes.
Kiera shoots Kalarel with a Lightning arrow, and it manages to penetrate. Irritated, he targets her with his rod of ruin. She is weakened, but the partial cover of a pillar kept her from getting hit too hard. She attacks a skeleton warrior, but doesn’t do much damage in her weakened state. She recovers quickly though. Thun-Thun runs back towards the skeletons and the rest of the party. He gives everyone nearby some health with Inspiring Fortitude and finishes off the last skellington with his axe. Kalarel hits Thun-Thun with Decaying Ray. Kalarel is all that’s left, and Blandington wastes no time keeping him occupied. Kiera, having recovered from the weakening attack, fires two arrows one right after another right through his breastplate. Kalarel teleports into a circle of mystical runes in front of the portal, and summons three spirit warriors. A Dwarf Shaman, an Elf Rogue, and an Eladrin Mage. Laughing, he says “Now, attack your friends!”
These ghostly warriors are the departed souls of the fallen party members, Totes, Moon Moon, and Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light! Apparently, he perished without anyone noticing. All that attack the darkness finally caught up with him, and it looks like it attacked back.
Blandington rushes to Totes and deals a critical strike at the diminutive Shaman. “Your head is mine!” (He’s still feeling the loss of his collection pretty strongly.) Davan runs forward to face off with Kalarel, smashing into his chestplate with his warhammer. As he recovers his stance, a huge Deathclaw reaches out from the portal behind Kalarel, swiping at him. Moon-Moon sneak attacks Davan, and flanks him. Dire deals a critical strike on Totes. Kiera shoots Moon Moon, poisoning him. Galstaff uses Magic Missle on Thun-Thun.
Kalarel hits Zanvard with his Rod of Ruin. Davan uses Sweeping Blow, hitting both Kalarel and Moon Moon. Totes summons Cuddles and grabs Blandington. He performs a super-suplex, slamming Blandington to the ground. Blandington says “I am so going to stab you in the shin.” But it turns out, that attack took everything Totes had, and he fades back into the spirit world.
Kalarel attacks Dire with his Rod of Ruin. Blandington charges the ghetto-fabulous Moon Moon who dodges and taunts. Galstaff uses Burning Hand to blast most of the party, Moon Moon included. Davan turns his back on Kalarel to shatter Moon Moon’s weak defense while he’s distracted by the flame magic. The hammer falls, hitting him right in his unprotected wolfy face, and he crumples to the blood soaked floor. As his spirit begins to fade, he manages to murmur, one last time, “Goddamit Moon Moon.”
Thun-Thun is furious at having to hurt his friends like this, and releases his rage on Kalarel, dealing tons of damage. Galstaff uses his Acid Arrow on Thun-Thun, but some of it splashes onto Kalarel too. Actually, he crit missed him. But since he’s his ally, that counts as a crit hit. (Dungeon-Master fiat.) Thun-Thun swings at Galstaff, shattering that dependable glass cannon and sending him back to his eternal slumber. Davan and Thun-Thun are majorly wounded. Davan, in fact, is weakened, immobilized, and taking ongoing necrotic damage. Healing is only half as effective as usual as well. He’s standing way too close to the Shadowfell portal to avoid the Deathclaw, but he can’t move.
He manages to recover from his weakened state, but it’s still a dangerous position. Zanvard uses Beacon of Hope, healing everyone somewhat.
Blandington gets mad and starts whaling on Kalarel. As he does, his sword begins to give off a soft golden glow, and he starts to take on the visage of Sir Keegan. With one last strike, Kalarel collapses. The ground begins to shake as dust falls from the ceiling. Beaten and bloodied Kalarel screams “Forgive me lord Orcus!” when a large claw bursts through the shadows seizing him. His cries of delight and terror fill the room as he is pulled into the portal and the rift seals once more. His screams are cut off abruptly, and silence falls.