Thirteenth Cataclysm

And Your Prize is Demons!

When it comes to demons, everything is creepier.

The day after the Battle of Boltstrike Pillar took place, the group awoke to find that Kawil had disappeared. The spy had taken his share of the gold, and had only left a note that said “bye.” Apparently, he had just beaten out the large storm front that made it impossible to leave the spire for a week. During this time, Wizholm adjusted to using the magical powers which had become warped as a side-effect of Stonehammer’s ritual, Norn made sure that Glaezentorg’s curse was gone (it was), Noleg crafted 2 cloaks from the dragon the group had slain (one for him, one for the Emperor), and Miri sparred with Captain Chuckman so that he could get back in shape for his return to duty.

After a week had passed, the storm broke, mainly due to a contingent of magical investigators that the Empire had sent to determine what had gone on at the pillar. At their head was Sir Leon, one of the Empire’s Dragon Knights. In addition to escorting the investigators, Sir Leon had come to give “Sir” Noleg his next assignment: the capture or death of Ian Baker, a pastry chef-turned-demon summoner with ties to the Diabolist. Baker had apparently disappeared into the Northern frontier of the Empire, and events up there were concerning enough that a bounty had been placed on his head.

Noleg was ready to move of course, and the others decided to come along because demonologists are bad news. Sir Leon provided the four with horses, and so the four set off along the road carved by the migration of the Great Koru Behemoths. While on the way, the group passed the time by relating some incidents in their past to each other. Norn expressed his concern that he might be the last great hero that the Dwarves would ever produce, and that he felt it was his sworn duty to end the Orcish menace that had threatened his people once and for all. Noleg talked about his first ever assignment as an Imperial Hunter: namely, the takedown of a noble that had been sacrificing other nobles to a demon lord. Wizholm mentioned that he was not quite a living gnome, nor was he an undead gnome either. Maybe his soul was put back into his body wrong, or something along those lines, but whatever it was, it appeared that the Prince of Shadows and his organization were interested in just what he had become. Miri mentioned that she had been a part of a Holy Order dedicated to the Great Gold Wyrm.

The storytelling was put on hold as a group of bandits attempted to waylay the party. Before hostilities broke out, though, the bandit leader called off the attack and bowed to Miri. Apparently seeing her as a long-awaited chosen one, he became extraordinarily helpful, to a very creepy degree. He also appeared to know that the group had arrived in the area to eliminate Baker. The group theorized that this group might be a demon-worshipping cult that didn’t like Baker, but the aid that the bandits provided, in the form of Portal=Sealing Daggers (that probably should have belonged to a Holy Order) and info about where Baker was were reluctantly accepted by the group.

The bandit leader also mentioned what Baker was up to: apparently, he was attempting to open up a new Hellhole. Hellholes being, as much of the group knew from various experiences, areas in which a portal into Hell was opened up. Since more Hellholes meant more demons wandering the countryside, the group decided that speed was of the essence, and let the bandits slink off into the bushes, while all agreeing that they hoped they wouldn’t meet those creepers again.

The group moved in towards Baker’s location, the Ruined Fortress of Arn (Arn being a fortification constructed by the Dwarves in the 3rd Age). The rocky terrain meant that they had to leave their horses by the bottom of the hill and not engage in any mounted combat to the GM’s relief. Before moving into the Fortress, Noleg used his snazzy new Blue Dragon Cloak to fly over the Fortress and scout it out. Said reconnaissance revealed to the group that their best course of action was to charge into a horde of demons and beat the ever-loving crap out of them. Which they then proceeded to do.

The party initiated a bloody battle which revealed that dretches make terrible guards. After killing several of the demons, Noleg decided to finish one off by tearing off its head with his bare hands. This caused the remaining hellspawn to flee the battlefield. The group then made its way into the fortress, where they found Ian Baker and a summoned imp performing a ritual to open a hell portal. After expressing disbelief that his dretch army did nothing to stop the heroes, Ian left the ritual to autocomplete while commanding more dretches to act as meat shields between him and his foes. This went as well as could be expected.

The group quickly barged through the dretch wall, and made their way onto the dias where the portal ritual was being conducted. This, of course, caused Ian to freak out. Rightfully so, in fact, since he and his imp ended up being chunkified by Noleg’s axe, after said Imp was pummeled by Miri and Norn. The group then attempted to begin to close the portal, when a demon tore its way out of the portal and into the world.

This new demon was an inferno of hellfire and hate known as a Rage Demon, and it wanted to lash out at the nearest targets. Miri met the being’s charge, with the Rage Demon commenting that she was “his” descendent, a comment which will probably never become relevant. While Miri, Norn, and Noleg combated the thing, Wizholm began the sealing procedure. The fight ended quickly when Miri discovered that she could turn her arms into buzzsaws as well as swords, and eviscerated the Rage Demon. While the Demon proceeded to seriously injure Miri, it was left weak enough that the spirit of Gram Steelfist, conjured by Norn, was enough to banish it back into hell.

After the battle, the group proceeded to quickly seal up the portal, averting the creation of a new Hellhole. But before they could celebrate, a shadowy figure lept into the room, grabbed Wizholm, and leapt out of the room, shouting that it needed to “borrow” Wizholm. The figure then greeted Wizholm; it was Grimble Glyphweaver, Wizholm’s estranged brother and subordinate of the Prince of Shadows.

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