Lancefinder

Session Twenty Six

The War Ends

Elsebeth, Arcus, Tictoklingon, Wilder Spirit, and Arthur continued their underground journey until they reached the very base of the temple of Neraka. They reached a high cliff leading straight up for two hundred feet. The group mused about what to do with Atas (Else’s horse) and Foo (Wisp’s lion) before settling on placing them in Tictok’s extradimensional workshop.

They began climbing, with Arthur using magic to levitate Elsebeth as Wilder Spirit just climbed and the spellcasters flew. Halfway up there was a roar from above: a mutilated brass dragon stitched together from the bodies of slain dragons. A dragon flesh golem. It flew down and breathed fire. Wilder Spirit tried to climb quickly but slipped and was barely grabbed by Elsebeth. Ticok blinded the dragon with glittering dust then trapped it in a fine wed bringing it crashing to the ground as Arcus tried to remove the enchantments fueling it. Elsebeth floated over and struck it repeatedly before it fell the rest of the way down the cliff. Pounded and blasted by mqgic, the creature quickly collapsed, battered and crushed.

Climbing the rest of the way, the group found themselves in a large chamber in the lower levels of the Dark Queen’s Temple. Arthur disguised himself as a dragon army officer and asked around, inquiring at the location of Ariakas, the Dragon Emperor. Following the rough directions given, the group wandered through the twisting halls and corridors until they reached a massive set of locked double doors. Tictok and Arcus quickly opened them, unknowingly triggering a magical alarm. Warned, Ariakas turned invisible in the great meeting hall and motioned his bodyguards to prepare for company. Nearing their quarry, the Heroes paused to magically buff themselves, unwittingly giving their enemy time to do the same. They threw open the doors and rushed in and…

Meanwhile, the other group had fled underground, seeking the unholy heart of the temple beneath the earth. Gauraux, Carrion, Deldred, Berem, and Squee were accompanied by the undead Drake and Carrion’s other animated warriors. They came across a chamber filled with a large pit and crossed by a thin bridge barely wide enough for one. Berem crossed first and fell through the cunning illusion of a bridge into a pool of acid. The dwarven cleric Deldred helped him up and healed the dissolving man while the rest of the group carefully walked around the outside edge of the pit.

The group wandered through the seemingly random corridors until they came to a single large chamber with a central pillar of twisted stone. Numerous other pillars lined the walls, all encrusted with gems. But the central pillar had a hole, a gap just large enough for the gem inside Berem’s chest. The Green Gemstone Man rushed forward only to have three draconians emerge followed by the Death Knight, Lord Soth.

Berem charged and Soth met him, striking viciously with his massive sword. The two exchanged blows for some time, allowing Squee to sneak behind the skeletal warrior and land a number of blows. Gauraux summoned two elementals through magical gems, which kept two draconians occupied, while the third battled with Deldred who used dwarven clerical magic to run along the sheer wall of the cave. To the astonishment of all, the seemingly unstoppable Berem collapsed under the brunt of Soth’s assault. Carrion’s magic proved effective against Soth, who joined Berem on the ground, his body wracked by acid. The two summoned earth elementals and Gauraux quickly defeated the draconians, while Carrion stunned the last leaving it to the tender mercies of the minotaur.

Brought back to health by Deldred, Berem rushed to the Foundation Stone, the very core of the Temple of Darkness. His stone heart yearning to return while his soul ached for the release of death. It was not to be. An invisible wall of force blocked them, a barrier effected by the will of a Goddess.

Above, Wilder Spirit charged into the great hall. Surrounding the chamber were five balconies where three newly appointed Highlords sat in audience, with the seat of the Blue Lord still empty. Ariakas was nowhere to be seen, but his three draconian bodyguards readied to attack.

Elsebeth moved in and attacked one of the draconians. Suddenly, Ariakas appeared behind her becoming visible. With two quick strikes he reduced her armour to scrap and struck her with spells. The group swarmed on him, knocking him to the ground where he still proved formidable. Arcus dispelled several of the enchantments on the Emperor, greatly reducing his effectiveness. Elsebeth, feeling turn-about was fair play, cut through his armour with a couple swipes of her famed blackblade. Arthur filled the room with fire elementals, that smashed the draconians, who did their best to heal Ariakas.

Tictok unleashed a wave of magic, wishing failure on Ariakas as then turning the emperor into a toad. The group continued to attack, pounding on the tiny animal. Arcus unleashed a ray of deadly disintegrating magic while Wisp raked and rended the amphibian. But victory was not to be that easy, as the Crown of Power restored Ariakas to human form, temporarily depowering it. Badly injured, Ariakas fought on. Armourless. Magicless. Crownless. He savaged Wilder Spirit and Elsebeth and created a number of magical doubles before the group brought him down, Wilder Spirit ripping his throat open with a lucky strike that found the true Dragon Emperor.

Then there was the Dark Queen. While the army was decapitated, the Goddess looked primed to force herself into the world. Her will kept the other group from sealing the portal, and as long as she was free to focus victory would never come.

Arcus did his best distract the Queen while Arthur debated moving through the portal, knowing it was a one-way trip. Suddenly, Fizban stepped out from around the corner and told them that someone needed to face her, that someone needed to lay down their life against the goddess for the sake of the world. He looked at Elsebeth. She accepted and readied to mount Atlas, who was somehow there. Fizban said she needed armour and produced a magnificent set from his hat and helped her get dressed, he said he was very proud of her and she had always served him well. Confused, Elsebeth and the group slowly realized they were talking with a god, that Fizban was Paladine, the Platinum Dragon and lord of light.

Suddenly Fizaban’s advice made sense, and his ability to be serious and knowledgable when needed. Not to mention his returns from the grave.

Elsebeth mounted Atlas, readied her Dragonlance, and rode through the portal into the Abyss. She met the Queen head on and withstood her five raging heads for eighteen seconds, before falling. Long enough for Berem to rush the column and be reunited with his sister in death. The Green Gemstone finally returned to where it belonged. The dark temple collapsed as the portal closed. The heroes fled the collapsing structure. Outside on the Plains of Neraka, the knights, elves, dwarves and other forces of the Whitestone council marched on the Dragonarmy. Leaderless, the armies floundered, as the Dragon Highlords struggled with each other as much as the armies of good. The forces of evil were routed and scattered.

The War of the Lance ended.

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