Lost & Found
Levi, Paelius and Rolen finally reached the Outer Plane of Acheron (also known as The Infernal Battlefield of Acheron) with no land mass, but rather iron cubes floating in ether. Having finally found the cube Kolbian (isn’t that the name of a cheese?) where they believed the clones of Rolen were being made, they set about finding any form of shelter. In the distance, they could see the top of a structure, their likely destination.
With no vegetation, finding a place to hide or secure proved challenging. So they began their trek towards the structure hoping something like a cave might turn up.
Glancing up at the sky, they could see other cubes floating in the distance, sparks of magic and raging armies could be seen even at this distance. Comparatively speaking, this cube was down right peaceful, or occupied by something so deadly that it kept others away.
As they came within sight of the structure, Rolen shivered and recoiled a bit. He had a bad feeling about that place and refused to go any further towards it. “Bad vibes” he called it. So they scoured the area and found a crack in one iron hills that offered little more than a few shadows and a place to crouch, but there were few choices and they didn’t want to draw attention to themselves…at least not yet.
As they stowed a few unnecessary items in this small crack for Rolen to “guard”, they heard the clear “pop” of a gate opening nearby. They drew their weapons and readied themselves for…well…who knows what you might find here? Literally damn near anything.
At first, they only heard the clatter of armor. Then they heard the curses and swearing…in common?! The voices were familiar and that could only mean one thing – their clerics had returned…or more accurately, found them.
Klang was questioning Quinn’s sense of direction regarding the placement of that gate and Quinn was was waving Klang to shut up. Finally quiet, they listened as the gate closed behind them. They were looking a bit worse for wear with cuts, bruises and plenty of gore smeared across their armored boots. But they were alive and seeking their companions. Klang started questioning Quinn, “Are ye cert’in we be on the right plane this time? T’is just as foul as the last!”
Levi leaned around the edge of the iron landscape to verify it was indeed them, before stepping out into full view and waving them over. It was an odd reunion with Paelius still less certain of their authenticity and secretly calculating whether it was better to have the clerics or to split the treasure with fewer party members. Levi was talking with Quinn and trying to question him about things that only the real Quinn would know without letting on that’s what he was doing…at which Quinn gave him a strange look and Levi shrugged.
Once they were assured the clerics were no illusion or dopplegangers, they explained what had transpired in their absence. It was a brief exchange for they wanted to be done with this plane, and quickly. They set off for the structure and were soon within sight of the entrance.
The structure itself was made of iron sheets welded and bolted together, and had no windows or other manner of entry besides the front entryway. The front entrance appeared to be guarded by two iron bulls…probably some sort of golems or enchanted creature. The entrance itself was recessed in darkness until they they were within bow range and could make out a iron humanoid standing guard in the recessed entryway before the two large doors. At this range, they could tell the iron bulls were in fact gorgons.
The guards were likely aware of their presence, but still they had not moved. Klang was hoping that perhaps they were statues? Then he reminded himself that in Acheron that was highly unlikely. Levi stepped into clear view of the beasts and still they made no move or indication they had even sensed their presence.
Glancing about, Quinn and Klang stepped out too. Perhaps they needed to see more of a threat to trigger their interest. Still nothing. Levi looked at Quinn and Klang, and they shrugged. So Levi started walking towards the beasts, hoping the clerics would heal him if the gorgons skewered him on this iron cube of hell. He was well within charging range of them and still no reaction.
He continued walking cautiously up to and between the two gorgons. Into the recessed entryway he walked and stopped to stare at the hulking iron golem. It too had not moved. He used mage hand on the doors, but it could not move them. He touched the door himself and that’s when the iron golem started counting, “5, 4, 3…”.
Levi, startled like a rabbit by the deep voice speaking infernal, was already racing back across the iron field when the count down ended and the gorgon’s launched their charge. Levi turned to face them and was able to side step the first charge, but was nearly thrown by the second, taking the charge straight on. The blacksmith back home will be busy for days repairing his shield.
Quinn and Klang were readying spells, but nothing quite prepared them for the iron golem. Paelius beat them to the punch with his usual dark necrotic fireball, which had the usual affect on the gorgons, but had no affect on the golem. The clerics finally chimed in with radiant attacks of their own on the golem.
Levi had his hands full with the gorgons. Even with the aid of Paelius’ spells, he was hard pressed to subdue them. He eventually managed to slay both, but was in need of healing before the end.
The clerics eventually felled the golem, but not before it managed to inflict a poison attack. They shook off the poison and let the guardian of faith they summoned take the golem down.
Surprisingly, the door was neither locked nor trapped. It simply opened when pushed hard enough – not exactly a lot of craftsmen out here for sophisticated building techniques. They entered and found themselves in a large corridor with ample doors to pick from. Not wanting to push fate, they decided to try the closest door. They listened and could hear someone playing with a pet behind the first door and someone being tortured behind the second.
They opted for first door. Paelius turned invisible while the others backed up behind a corner, then he opened the large door inward. Inside the room was a cloud giant playing with his pet hydra, so Paelius quickly shut the door. Relaying what he had seen, Levi held the doors shut while Quinn inserted the immovable bar through the handles. It didn’t take long for the cloud giant to rip the doors off their hinges.
Paelius took a hit from the hydra while backing away from the now dangling hinges in the doorway. Quinn brought up a guardian of faith to further block the door way with Levi. Klang and Paelius tossed around ideas of using dimension door and attacking from behind before deciding that was not going to change the battle dynamics. So Klang tried one of his never used spells – geas – and it worked. He instructed the cloud giant to take his pet and go find the deity know as Bob.
The giant gathered a few of this things (including his trunk of loot) and left with his hydra. That should keep him busy for the next 30 days. Paelius searched the room and found some gold, but not enough to worry about. It might just cover the cost of the spell components used for this plane hopping adventure.
With no other exits from the room, they turned to the second door. Again, the door was not locked or trapped. Inside was a chain devil, a Rolen clone, and a comely women with blood running down her sides and arms…presumably a victim as she was battered an beaten. A pair of wings, recently separated from their owner, lay sprawled on a table nearby.
Levi sprang into action, eager to get his hands on the Rolen clone, but was grappled by the chain devil. After a brutal fight involving many chains (yes, get your mind out of the gutter), the heroes put down the devil and the Rolen clone. Their spells were being exhausted and there was no time for a long rest. Instead, Klang returned the wings to the woman and healed her a little so they reattached.
The woman…presumably an angel of some sort…was left shackled as they asked a few questions before they let her free. Getting the dodgy answer routine, Levi cast a zone of truth and they learned she was not a “good” angel, but she agreed not to hurt them. She also offered a scroll which would take them to her “lord” who has been wanting to talk with them. Should they go, she assured them they would come to no harm. Yeah right, and next she’ll be wanting to sell them a bridge.
They asked why she was there. She said she was caught when spying on the pitfiend named Azazal who controls this structure. He seeks to free the god known as the Elemental Eye, which is imprisoned at the center of the universe. If freed, it would destroy the universe…which is something her lord does not want to see happen. She also said she would not harm them if she was set free.
So they let her go and she left, flying into the strange cube filled sky.
At that point, they knew they could not tarry any longer, and headed down the diagonal hallway to the last door. Taking a short rest, they took stock of their remaining spells and potions, sharpened their blades, and steeled themselves for the horror that likely lurked behind the door.
Once ready, they took their usual positions, buffed themselves with bless and other spells, then entered and did not bother to parley with Azazal. They just set to work ridding the universe of one pitfiend.
It was a fiery encounter, with walls and balls of fire. Levi took the brunt of creature’s wrath, while Klang kept them all alive with healing. Quinn dealt the most clear harm to the creature, eventually felling the creature. Paelius cast his spells and kept his distance outside the door (though he’s still wondering how that wall of flame passed through a closed door, but will surely remember that little trick).
Once destroyed, their search of the room turned up only two items: plate armor of etherealness and an immovable rod.