Drakken, Kynaan, and Maggie, standing in the darkened doorway, saw Nualia, unbelievably alive, advance toward them. This time, however, a sickening wave of evil radiated from her. Battered, the heroes retreated from her furious screams to regroup and rest.
Once outside they found Malcanthet who had followed the group from Sandpoint for mysterious reasons known only to her. She simply offered to join the fight.
The night passed restlessly. The evil awoken under Thistletop had a long reach. Ragnok’s exhausted form lurched from the ground and he spoke with a deep, resonant voice unlike his own. His features became more demonic and then receded suddenly. He returned to his stuporous snoring.
The next morning, fog thick on the Lost Coast, Maggie encouraged her companions to “just go take a look.” Despite considerable dissent, her plan to “hit that bitch with a stick” inspired courage, even from the gnomish advocate for returning home for tea and crumpets. She led the group back into the island’s ancient core and straight to the chamber where Nualia was last seen.
Just outside the door, Maggie heard diabolic arcane casting sounds coming from within. As the tiefling rogue crept forward, Albi sneezed and gulped. Nualia welcomed, “I had hoped your would return.” Maggie raced into the room to meet her foe, brandishing a dagger in one hand and a tree limb in the other.
The oval-shaped chamber was ringed with a recessed pit of glowing embers but was otherwise empty. Maggie stopped and turned back to say as much when Nualia suddenly appeared and, with a massive claw, gouged Maggie. Nualia’s inhuman strength staggered Maggie and she was completely surprised when Nualia bit here neck and tore a hunk of flesh free.
Kynaan and Drakken rushed into the room while Nualia swept Maggie off her feet and thrust her toward the open pit. Despite the flailing rogue in her grasp, Nualia easily evaded Kynaan’s slashes and stiff-armed Drakken when he attempted to join the grapple. Maggie slipped free at the last moment and Nualia lept free of the melee.
As Maggie slumped to the ground, unconscious, the beautiful aasimar bargained with the party’s wordsmith, Bandaro. A bit of Maggie’s shed blood, a holy item of Sarenrae and a prybar was all she asked in exchange for treasure beyond their ken. The ranged fighters answered with extreme prejudice.
Albi lobbed in several bombs as Malcanthet launched arrows from her magical bow. As the conflagration cleared, Nualia stepped from the flames with her skin dripping off like hot wax. Revealed was a hulking mangy haired demon with a goblinoid face and enormous claws and fangs. The monster growled more arcane words and a wash of sorrow sapped Albi and Mal. Emboldened by their sadness, the goblin-demon rent and tore at the other fighters. Drakken managed to find a healing potion and pour it into the hemorrhaging Maggie.
Savage blows were exchanged for seemingly forever, leaving Drakken unconscious and Maggie and Bandaro barely standing. The creature was severely wounded but the heroes could not battle on. Being closed to the ground and rife with arcane knowledge, Albi noted a magical circle inlaid in the floor and yelled, “Fall back! The demon may not pass beyond the line.” The party retreated as the creature howled in pained rage.
The monster did not follow.
The heroes used most of Kynaan’s healing wand’s power and recovered as much as possible. Then the heroes returned to finish the monster for good.
Upon entering, the demon was invisible. After several minutes, it appeared again behind Maggie. It grabbed her and threatened to throw her in the fiery pit if the items demanded were not delivered. Drakken laughed.
“Do it. Who cares? She’s a tiefling.”
Enraged, the demon shoved Maggie into the pit, but sure enough, she suffered naught from the embers burning below. As she climbed out, Malcanthet’s rain of arrows and Bandaro’s dancing slashes harried the monster. Maggie emerged and charged toward the monster’s back. Armed with Malcanthet’s magical rapier, she drove the slender blade into its black heart. The monster wailed and fell to the ground dead.
After catching their breath, the heroes explored the summoning chamber and found a drawer beneath a scrying pool. Within was a ornate silver coffer with a magical ring.
The party collected their wounded and their mage prisoner and started back toward Sandpoint, exhausted but victorious.