Pinnacle of Avarice
Sunday the 20th of Gozran 4708 AR
Holed up in a small unused side chamber in the heart of Karzoug’s Pinnacle of Avarice, the Sihedron quietly considered their options. Musing about the onyx-studded rings all of the tower’s denizens appeared to be wearing, Aubrey believed it likely that they were similar in construction and purpose as the Sihedron medallions they’d found on most of Karzoug’s followers; granting the paranoid Runelord the ability to perceive anything their bearers witnessed. Furthermore, the spryte conjectured that the handful of spectral images of Karzoug he’d observed throughout the surrounding chambers might also be a means by which the Runelord could monitor the goings on within the tower and possibly even coordinate his followers’ efforts. Lastly, having been warned about the Rune giants’ ability to see that which any of their lesser giant followers saw led to one grim conclusion: as soon as they made their presence known to any of the Pinnacle’s denizens, the rest of them would be immediately aware and they’d lose the element of surprise.
The wily sprite went on to described how an odd green crystal lens he’d seen in the grasp of a golden statue of the Runelord appeared to be some sort of magical gate or portal to a sheltered locale; the very sort of pocket-dimension which Ordikon had been charged with creating to safeguard Karzoug’s life. Knowing that it had been carefully crafted with the Runelord’s favored sinful greed magic, Aubrey went on to theorize that the crystal lens might be particularly vulnerable to the inspiring enhancements they’d added to their weapons and bodies through the Runeforge and that they might be able to force the gateway open by touching one of them to the crystal.
Having agreed to try the Spryte’s idea in hopes of finding and confronting the Runelord first, the Sihedron girded themselves for battle as Aubrey and Ainsel together wove countless preparatory spells over the group. When ready, Ainsel, Elshbeth, Kivu, Ton and Treana returned to the portable hole while Aubrey, once more in his earth elemental form, gathered up the hole’s silky fabric and plunged down into the floor. While the earth-spryte moved swiftly unseen beneath the giants’ feet, inside the hole the folletti continued using wands to bolster her companions.
Rising up into the wall adjacent to the back of the golden statue, Aubrey glanced invisibly into the chamber beyond and saw that the quartet of lamia harridan guards and their leader Ceoptra remained as they’d been. Stealthily weaving a quick glamourie of a featureless wall a finger’s width in front the real wall in which he hid, Aubrey unfurled the portable hole he carried in the gap between both; thereby opening it. His companions, having been rendered invisible and silenced by the folletti, emerged unseen through the illusionary wall behind the statue. Stowing the portable hole once more, Aubrey invisibly emerged from the wall and resumed his fey form as Ainsel carried him over to the statue. Once gathered invisibly around the statue’s base with his companions (inlcuding Ton and Elshbeth who’d been magically enlarged), the spryte touched his rune-marked flesh to the green crystal lens.
The space before the statue suddenly riven open, the Sihedron hurtled through the breach before the harridans knew what was happening. After a moment of tumbling through the void between worlds, the group alighted safely on an immense stone floor lit by a circle of pillared braziers in the eye of a tempestuous cyclone of fog. A few dozen paces away were the severe countenance of the Runelord himself floating next to a large crystal above an elaborately-shaped pool, a huge blue dragon coiled menacingly to one side and an unfamiliar human wizard lurking next to a burning brazier on the other. All three occupants appeared surprised at the sudden incursion into their sanctuary.
Taking advantage of their surprise, the wily spryte wove a powerful spell to quell all magic around himself while his faithful folletti companion carried him swiftly to the Runelord’s side. With all of his magics suddenly and violently stripped from him, Karzoug sunk down to alight atop the pool as Kivu and Treana shot a pair of arrows into his unprotected body. Rushing forward in a blur, giant-Ton quickly closed the distance between them and struck the infamous Runelord’s deathblow. And so fell the ancient would-be tyrant of Varisia.
Giant-Elshbeth charged the surprised dragon and smote it with her mighty holy avenger as Kivu and Treana peppered it with arrows. Regaining its senses, the dragon retaliated by exhaling a devastating bolt of lightning at the three ladies; which all three either dodged or endured harmlessly thanks to the spryte’s warding magics. Aubrey and Ainsel quickly flew to the remaining human, who Aubrey guessed might be the late Runelord’s former apprentice Khalib. With his magic similarly stripped from him, the panicked apprentice could do little to escape giant-Ton as the monk rushed in to slay him. The blue dragon fell thereafter to the combined assault of Elshbeth, Kivu and Treana.
Just then, as Aubrey dismissed his magic-quelling effect, the air opened up and disgorged the five lamia harridans guardians along with a sextet of rune giant reinforcements. Releasing Aubrey, Ainsel invisibly rushed forth into the midst of the new arrivals and pulled free the stopper of a magical bottle she carried; unleashing a torrent of smoke which quickly obscured the battlefield. Thankfully, due to the wily spryte’s foresight, the Sihedron members had had their senses magically enhanced beforehand; allowing them to pierce the smoke and so outmaneuver the now sightless defenders. The disoriented and outmatched harridans soon fell to a rain of arrows and sword blows from Kivu, Treana and Elshbeth while Aubrey and Ton confronted the rune giants. The spryte unleashed a raging storm of acid rain, burning winds, bone-chilling gales, resounding thunder claps and scorching lighting strikes on the giants while Ton struck powerfully at their vulnerable spots with feet and fists. Retaliating, the giants released a shower of burning sparks on Aubrey and Ton; which the pair either evaded or harmlessly endured thanks to Aubrey’s potent magical wards. Surrounded by the giants, Ton deftly dodged most of their blind swings, enduring a few unlucky though painful hits, while battling on.
As the Sihedron surrounded and advanced on the giants, the first of the six finally succumbed to his grievous injuries and crashed thunderously to the floor as the battle raged on…