Pact of the Ancients

The economics of Asmodeus

Wherein the self-styled count of the forest realizes winning one battle does not stop a war.

From the histories of Perion de la Foret

23rd of Kelm

When the garrison at the tower realized that The Talon had won the battle, the two tieflings on the roof retreated inside. The Talon, Torrin, and I finished off the enemies outside, regrouped and rested. Salvarr Dagg said that he would hold back while we finished the fight, and granted us the help of Gesh and a few of the officers.

We entered the tower and found the foyer empty. Deciding that joining up with Nicholas and the others was the next step, I used a quick ritual to magically seal the the door up to the rest of the tower, and we climbed down beneath the tower. We ran into one of the tieflings from the roof, and a small group of infernal armor, but Torrin thought he could hear the rest of our group, and tore into them pieces with a ferocity I have never seen, quickly breaking the armor into pieces.

Our group pushed on into the next room, and waiting for was a small army. The rest of our party was exhausted, Eridan and the Talon warlord looked on the edge of death, and none of the scouts sent with them were still alive. They were pursued by a rampaging fire elemental. And standing by a massive pool of fire was the necromancer who escaped us back in Tyrrn, at the Temple of Asmodeus.

Hoping to rush this climax to its end, I slipped right into the middle of the minions and cultists and hit them with every burst or blast of magic I had; leaving them disoriented and disabled. Nicholas assumed a wary stance and used the last of his energy to tear through the enemies between our two groups; and Eridan and Durani tried just to do whatever damage they could while clinging desperately to life. Torrin gave them some of his endurance by laying his hands on them, but he knew he was needed more in melee, and that was somewhere they should not have been.

The necromancer identified himself as Gyyrune, the brother to Netheria, who we had fought and killed in the foyer above, the day before. Torrin pulled Gyyrune into the middle of our group in hopes that we could overwhelm him through sheer force of numbers, as we had his sister; he was prepared retreated back to the pool of fire. We killed perhaps a dozen armors or cultists, and it looked like our victory had come; but Gyyrune summoned a pair of bearded devils from the abyss, and a giant scorpion crawled from a crack in the corner, leveling the playing field. We rallied our strength, and Torrin worked miracles in keeping Eridan and Durani alive while Kildrak held like a stone, to pin the devils and the fire elemental in the corner. I used nearly every trick I’ve been keeping up my sleeve since the start of this adventure, and with all of us exhausted, the warlord fallen but away from the battle, and every foe save Gyyrune and the barely-intelligent beasts vanquished, things began to go wrong.

With his back to the wall and his army beaten, Gyyrune swore he would see us all in hell. I had heard that every time I faced any worshiper of Asmodeous, and laughed it off; but he was able to back his words literally. With a tap of his staff and a flash from the pool of fire, Gyyrune used magics I haven’t heard of since childhood bedtime stories. The room cracked into five pieces, platforms floating in a horrible dark fire, and I could feel us shifting off the plane. As if to erase any doubt we were halfway to the hells, four more devils flew in and started to assail us with fiery spines and swords. I called for a retreat.

Getting back there alive was disastrous. The hell-born spined devils killed two of the Talon captains sent with us, and knocked Durani and Eridan unconscious again. Nicholas knocked Gyyrune from one of the platforms into the fires of hell, thinking it would help our fight, but he simply floated away without any fear or uncertainty. It was only through Kildrak’s apparent invincibility, and my tweaking teleportation into my most familiar spells, that this few of us were able to make our way to the spot that was anchored to The First Work; and to drag our half-dead comrades to safety before the portal closed up.

This tower might have been more important to The Horn of Geryon than I had originally thought. Rooting them out now might have been our only chance. We succeeded in clearing them all from the tower; but it still feels like Gyyrune won a victory too. I think we did a good thing, and that assaulting this now was the right decision; but our victory came at a terrible price for The Talon. I hope what we did was enough to prevent a literal hell from coming to earth; and that Salavar sees it that way.

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