We chased the last Blackfire Adept into a summoning chamber, only to get a few second glimpse of him, through some sort of portal, backing away from a horrible humanoid sized figure whose flesh was entirely composed of worms and whose upraised hand was glowing with some sort of necromantic energy. The worm figure saw us, cried “Enough!” and with a a wave of his hand, the portal shimmered and turned to the stone of the walls around us.
After consulting with Sosiel and Atzemsira, we decided to return to our hideout and confer with our cohorts. The rest of our party probably could have gone immediately to find and kill Cormonoth Wulmor (the necromancer), but because most of my spells had been spent, the party decided that it made more sense to rest even if it meant that Wulmor might have better defenses in the morning. Ivan had gathered useful information on Wulmor which confirmed our inclination. Then, he and Auctus set to reading Minagho’s journal (that we found in the summoning chamber) as well as some of the other manuscripts and documents we had collected. The discovered that the name of the wormlike “abomination” (Minagho’s word) was Xanthir Vang. She clearly disliked the creature as well as a conniving Glabzeru named Jerribeth who was her second-in-command of the “Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth.” Vang had been appointed by Deskari who was trying to overshadow Baphomet in corrupting humanity. The journal also referenced some things called Nahydrian Crystals and Nahydrian Elixir which Jerribeth in some fashion had manipulated to achieve some sort of power ascension.
On the morning of the 16th, we decided to go after Wulmor. I prepared many more offensive spells than usual (four Magic Missles!) anticipating that we would be facing undead with various resistances to other types of melee and arcane damage. I decided to prep two Haste spells and one Fly rather than any Dispel Magic, gambling that I’d need to be mobile and that the necromancer wouldn’t be using spells that I’d need to dispel (over doing some other action).
The psychopomp did not accompany us, as she said Wulmor had the power to banish her from the Material Plane. We left all the cohorts behind save Keeya who we asked to come with us because of her healing abilities as well as her power to make Barca larger and more fearsome in battle. I had very mixed feelings about asking Keeya to risk her life for such a dangerous mission, but I suppose I shouldn’t since the stakes are so high, and ALL of us must risk death if we are to have a chance of prevailing in the long run over the forces of the Abyss.
Upon entering Wulmor’s lair, we were immediately beset upon by some undead — bloody skeletons of boars I believe. They did large amounts of damage but were not too difficult to put down, though I luckily remembered that in order to keep them from reanimating, Locke would need to channel positive energy in their presence.
For the first time since we left Promise, I asked Takk to scout ahead of us. He performed admirably, providing useful information on further undead we would encounter, though he did not save us from a pit trap that hurt three of us, myself included. Riva did absorb some of the poison from the barbs below, but she cast Delay Poison to stave off the effects for five hours. We will have to get her cured as soon as possible. Take was able to find two pressure plates for more traps and we avoided them successfully our entire time in the underground complex.
Next, we were attacked by four undead Babau who did as much or more damage from their deaths (when they exploded!) as they did with their attacks. We had almost no time to regroup when we were set upon by two undead Hill Giants. Barca almost died (a regular occurrence, unfortunately) in this encounter. He fell unconscious and would have been dispatched by the huge foe if not for Riva bravely standing astride his fallen body and provoking the giant into attacking her. This gave the rest of us enough time to dispatch him. Thankfully, my Magic Missile spells — and even lowly Acid Splash! — were able to contribute.
Finally, we made our way into a large chamber with tapestries of old Sarkoris with crude strategic battle maps painted on them. We could hear arguing voices behind a door at the far end of the chamber. I cast Invisibility and Fly on myself and, after Keeya quietly opened the door, I scouted ahead. Down a 20-foot hallway was another door, behind which the source of the sounds was coming. I could hear Minagho berating two people — Wulmor and Jerribeth (which I was able to discern only because of the information we had just gotten from Minagho’s journal). Minagho was furious, threatening to peel the flesh from Wulmor’s body with her claws and chastising Jerribeth for her insubordination. Jerribeth didn’t back down. In fact, she mellifluously directed Wulmor to attack Minagho! From another part of the room an undead Glabzeru set upon Minagho, and Jerribeth herself turned from her shapely Elven form to her true form of a Glabzeru. Wulmor seemed confident as well. Minagho left at him, and I used the distraction to return quietly to my comrades.
It was then that a stone door in the large tapestry room slid aside and a ghoulish troll emerged. We knew that fighting it would endanger us all, not just because Barca was so injured, but also because of the risk that Minagho and her two foes might hear our battle and cease their fight and investigate. We fled the chamber, and I used Web to seal in the troll.
Everyone made it over the pressure plate (though I had to help Keeya using my Fly spell) and over the barbed pit, but then we realized that perhaps we should go back to see the aftermath of the battle against Minagho. Perhaps the fearsome demon had been killed! We needed to know. Riva urged me to return and learn more, saying that we needed to know if Wulmor had survived and, if he had, perhaps we could use the opportunity to attack him in what must be a weekend state. I was most afraid of returning, expecting that Minagho would discover my presence and rip me to shreds. But Riva was right — we needed to know if an opportunity was presenting itself. What happened next, I could have never predicted.
I went back to the door outside the final chamber and saw the brutalized necromancy struggling to stay conscious and dragging himself to the altar of Baphomet to pray. Almost all the flesh on his face and head had been ripped off him, and his eyeballs had been popped by Minagho’s claws. It turned my stomach despite my knowing of Wulmor’s evil. No creature deserves to be tortured in my opinion. There was a corpse of the undead Glabzeru but no sign of Minagho nor Jerribeth.
The rest of our party joined me, and we decided that since Wulmor was so weak, we had a chance to capture him and convince him to return to the path of good and seek atonement in the eyes of Iomedae, his former deity. Barca lifted him off the floor, and though the blind necromancer did not come willingly, he was unable to provide any resistance.
It was at that moment that we noticed a scrying sensor on the wall behind the altar. We thought of fleeing, but Jerribeth appeared, back in the form of a beautiful Elven woman. We knew we could not fight her, so we tried to reason with her to let us leave with Wulmor since our ultimate aim was to destroy Minagho, something we knew Jerribeth wanted as well.
Jerribeth, instead, offered us the power to heal Wulmor through what we realized was her power to grant a mortal a Wish. Such extreme magic she has access to! I was immediately jealous, though I tried not to show it. Riva asked if there were conditions attached to this offer, but Jerribeth said no — only that she wanted us to prevail over Minagho and would even offer to provide us information in the future that might help us do so. I suspected treachery in the making and suggested to Riva that the Wish (IF we accepted it) be formulated along the lines of asking for Wulmor to have be set upon the path of pursuing redemption himself. But I was still hesitant. Riva did not seem so. Jerribeth turned to me and offered to make the Wish restore Nelethiel to life and to find Neleryn for us! I felt such a pang of remorse, especially because Jerribeth knew of my culpability in Nelethiel’s death.
Thankfully, I kept my composure and declined to accept the offer — I knew that making a deal such as this with a demon might eventually lead me down a dark path. But Riva seemed to think it would be so useful to turn Wulmor and achieve the destruction of the Templar infrastructure through that process, that she seemed oblivious to the danger of accepting such a bargain. I should have put up more of an argument, but I was exhausted and, to be honest, thought to myself that if this next step DID help us return Ralinscrad to friendly hands and give us a better chance to kill Minagho, that perhaps it was worth risking Riva’s soul. I know that is incredibly harsh, but I was trying to be both practical and ensure we all lived on to fight another day — perhaps with a short-term advantage to press. I told Riva I would be forced to scrutinize her more closely in the future for signs of corruption. She seemed to take that as a joke, but I was deadly serious.
The brutal truth is that all of us are expendable in the fight to seal the Worldwound. I will fight for the lives (and souls) of my friends, but if they are willing to accept additional risk that could help us turn the tide in our favor, I will continue to weigh those opportunities with the larger goal in mine. I hope that won’t lead to any or all of us losing ourselves to evil, and I will try to maintain the balance between ends and means.
So, Riva agreed, and Jerribeth conjured a vision of Wulmor’s family in the past when his wife and child died during the child’s birth. Jerribeth “rewound” time and unwound the umbilical cord that had strangled the child, showing a new past with both his beloved alive and urging him to rejoin his wife and child, now along the path of the Inheritor.
There has not been time yet to sense Wulmor’s reaction nor for our party to assess the magnitude of what has just happened. We are standing in front of Jerribeth and Riva has just experienced the effects of the Wish spell. I am by no means religious, despite by reverence for Nethys, but if I were a praying person, I would be doing it now in hopes of protecting Riva (and all of us) from any ill effects from this life-changing decision.
Gods know what what will happen next…