Some Like It Hot
The vampire mesmerizes the Shadar-Kai assassin and Mazith, and in their defenseless confusion stabs them multiple times before jumping onto the bridge. Two large mechanical creatures emerge from the lava, and start rotating the two bases of the bridge, cutting off the two warriors, separating the group and leaving the exposed to the dark elves that pummel them with magical bolts that drain their stamina.
Tobin is slowed down by the drows’ energy bolts, and falls off the edge of the bridge segment, the floor of which is still rotating like a conveyor belt. Faust uses summons a storm to lift Tobin and himself out of their precarious positions, and Tobin lands safely on one of the platforms where the dark elf is attacking. He takes out his dagger and slices Tobin. He cut is not deep but it burns intensely as the poison makes its way into Tobin’s bloodstream. Seeking to get rid of the master archer, the drow bullrushes her, but Tobin catches herself from going over the edge.
Aishe is able to use her magical prowess to daze the vampire, who falls to the ground as the conveyor belt still rotates. He is thrown into the lava, and the mechanical creature below is unable to catch him. He is massively burned and used his magical items to teleport and then fly away from the molten rock.
At the end of the bridge, Mazith and the assassin try to take a break and heal their wounds, but the drow pummel them from a distance. Mazith jumps over the lava to reach his attacker, and engages him with his sword. The assassin almost makes the jump, but as he falls he melds into darkness and is able to emerge safely from Mazith’s shadow.
Faust believes that they outmatch the vampire, he finishes his flight trajectory to land near him to propose that he help the group betray Triant Tombfury. Aishe looks furious as the life of their friend Rad Longhammer is at risk if Triant discovers that the Freak Squad were planning on backstabbing him, whether they followed through or not. Knowing that compassion plays no part in Tremblent politics, the vampire sends one of his injured drow to tell Triant about his champions’ betrayal out of spite. the dark elf disappears from sight.
The mechanical arm grabs Aishe Malinova and slides her atop the flowing lava. Aishe is able to wiggle herself free of the mechanical arm, and climbs to the top of the contraption to safely disable it. Faust however much rather blast it and summons lightning from his fingertips to destroy it. Unfortunately the lighting travels through the metallic arm, shocking Aishe, too. The arm is destroyed and hangs limply from the ceiling, but Aishe is barely able to hang on. One of the dark elves notices her predicament and summons a dark energy bolt to stun her, so that she falls into the lava. Fortunately for Aishe, it is a wild miss and she is able to jump onto one of the bridge segments, where the vampire tries to push her off as he lands next to her. Aishe is not prepared for hand to hand combat, and is struggling against him.
Mazith and the assassin have the second dark elf cornered. He tries to poison the warrioirs with his dagger, but he’s no match for the assassin and Mazith. Mazith emerges back onto the bridge claiming to have single-handedly defeated the creature.
Tobin and Faust work on the dark elf, and Tobin gets fed up with the back and forth and kicks him into the lava. With her field of view cleared and no more distractions, she knocks an arrows into her bow, aim carefully, and hits the vampire int he chest. He collapses on the conveyer belt, and as his body disintegrates, Aishe is able to salvage the magical items that kept him alive before the dust that was his corpse falls into the lava for the final time.
The Way of the Panther
The party wants to catch up with the feeling dark elf before he reaches Triant Tombfury with news of their betrayal plans. However the bridge is still segmented and the conveyor belts still rotating. Faust is exhausted and no longer able to summon storms to make his friends float on air. Aishe finds evidence of a secret passage, and Tobin finds the entrance of the other side and the party is reunited.
On their way out, the party is confronted with the wilderness in the mud pit. This time, there are eight white translucent cats waiting to ambush them as they enter the magical zone. Aishe located a magical totem that somehow controls the cat trap. Aishe’s The Raven Queen’s blessings turn him invisible and Faust steals the totem to examine it. Unfortunately the cats are drawn to the totem even if they can see the halfling. He decides to drop it in the lava to destroy it. As he passes by the rest of the group, Mazith’s Shadowfox Family Armor glows brightly indicating a connection. The group is able to convince Faust to try and dissable the device instead of destroying it.
As soon as he starts working on it, the white panthers savagely attack him by materializing from thin air. Mazith and Tobin try to block the attackers line of sight, and Aishe and Rad are barely able to keep the sorcerer alive after a brutal mauling from the felines, who dissipate when he’s done. A very large black panther appears, bows to Mazith, and jumps into his armor.
Aishe uses her Gypsy Vision ™ to recognize the panther. It is a mighty magical hunter called Guenhwyvar who has been at the side of great warriors through the ages. Unfortunately Aishe also sees the last moments of the previous owner, Leonidas. He was battling with Lazpad Shadowfox, who as his former student wanted the panther to pass from teacher to student when he bested him in combat. As Lazpad strikes the fatal blow, Guenhwyvar disappears in mist.
R.I.P . Leonidas.
The party is able to track the moments of the dark elf, who is being cautious about all the Shadar-Kai who are invading Tremblent. As he notices the party he surrenders, saying that he was just a hired mercenary for the vampire, and that if he’s dead there’s no one to pay hi for his troubles. Faust retrieves from him the name of the spy in Triant Tombfury’s entourage.
The mission is quite a success, and the casualties on the Shadar-Kai’s army is minimized. As the group reunites with Triant Tombfury and Rad Longhammer, a treaty is proposed to aid peace efforts between Chedhurst and Tremblent. Chrysanthe Xene appears, escorted by Triant’s right hand Chantal, to sign the treaty on behalf of Chedhurst.
Gypsy Vision ™ PSA
Aishe Malinova gets a gypsy vision from the [[Shadowfell] : thw undead army is mobilizing to intercept the returning Shadar-Kai warriors, and a necromantic meteor is falling from the sky near Drethal in the capital city of the The Raven Queen. Orcus and Vecna seem to be forcing their hand.
The group tries to desperately contact allies, but it is mostly in vain. Pelor is not able to aid them because the Letherna’s skies are covered in dark clouds with lighting and snow. Bahamut has just lost power in the area as his Warforged enforcers were taken out of commission. Kord is spending his energy on the world-wide storm day that he had planned for this year. The Raven Queen, while powerful in her own realm, is all alone, almost as if planned.
The top warriors are hastily teleported directly to Letherna at great magical and monetary cost of the Shadar-Kai. Seeing Tobin’s hesitance, Chantal confesses to her that she was quite fond of love stories when her heart still beat and was not cold as ice, before becoming a vampire. She offers to prepare passage to The Sharid for her to meet her lover when she returns from the Shadowfell.
Spinning the Webs of Deceit
Once in the Shadowfell, Aishe’s vision comes to life. From the meteor rises Orcus’ avatar, an enormous skeleton, whose bones have other skeletons embedded on them. It charges and bashes through the front gates of the city. The Raven Queen makes her appearance to defend her realm as a gargantuan crow self descends from the skies to confront the challenger.
Tobin and Mazith man a ballista, inflicting great damage to the undead liches that are providing artillery power to Orcus’ attack. Aishe and Faust concentrate on aiding the Raven Queen, with the aid of Pelor and the guidance of fate. However Orcus’s skeleton seems to be relentless.
Ride the lighting
Faust decides to strike a decisive blow to the enemy. He places himself in the middle of Kord’s shamans from Darjak. As the electric energy build up, Faust’s body shoots into the storm clouds while riding a lightning bolt. From the air he positions himself above the skeleton, drains all the energy from the shamans and the clouds into himself, and explodes in a massive lighting bolt that falls down on the skeleton. The energy is so large that Faust becomes unconscious and free falls towards his death. Aishe is barely able to magically heal him to wake him up, and Faust desperately flies against his fall to land safely on the ground.
The Third Wheel
Aishe realizes that Vecna has betrayed Orcus, since he is not involved in the attack, and uses that to further distract the the attacker. Rad blesses Aishe’s wweapon with the radiant power of Pelor, she calls forth the power of Andromeda, and her Chainreach Weapon shoots out to strike against the avatar. As he reels in pain, Aishe is able to keep a hold of the chain as it retracts back, and maneuvers to land on the shoulder of her queen. All seems to be going right, but Tobin’s eagle eyes have detected something. She cries out, but the sounds of battle drown her voice. On the other shoulder of the Raven Queen, the ghost of Jania Goldenflight appears, and whispers a name to the goddess. Her wings collapse into her back and the dark death shadows that surround her dissipate, and for a moment the goddess appears to be human. The queen barely defends against an opportunistic Orcus as she recovers. At that moment, the stealthed spider that Tobin had detected finished making her way into an open wound on the Raven Queen. It sinks its fangs in, siphons a magical tattoo away, and disappears as stealthily as it arrived.
The Spider Queen
The Raven Queen is able to recover, her wings grow back and her strength returns, but the tattoo is gone. As she continues to battle, the skeleton avatar has no chance against the might of a goddess. Jania Goldenflight seems satisfied of her work for her goddess Lolth, also known as the Demon Queen of Spiders, the Mistress of Lies, and the Lady of Shadows. All the manipulation, deceit, even sacrificing her own sister to Vecna had finally returned fate to the Spider Queen.
Since the cruelty of the Spider Queen is legendary, before she disappears Jania makes sure to tell Aishe what happened. This includes how she faked an alliance with Orcus to put the Raven Queen in a vulnerable position, how she played Vecna into betraying Orcus to avoid other gods getting involved, but more importantly how she used her sister Feyis Goldenflight to steal the group’s secret location of the hut in the Shadowfell. This was the location where Nerull learned The Raven Queen’s mortal name, and where shortly thereafter the Raven Queen killed her captor, claiming the dead for herself.
With the portal in place, the sacred and obfuscated place normally visible only to the queen’s allies was accessible by the likes of Jania. By channeling the Spider Queen, Jania was able to convince Nerull’s astral remains, which were the source of Tremblent’s necromantic energy, to give up the Raven Queen’s name to Vecna for revenge, before the Shadar-Kai destroyed him for good. Vecna never learned the greatest secret of all, which had been hiding visibly and unknown in Tremblents’ reflection pool for a century.
Orcus’ avatar is about to receive the last blow before it is destroyed, but it is a bitter sweet victory. The government of Tremblent has been cleansed, ensuring safety for Chedhurst with minimal loses to the Shadar-Kai. With the new treaty, Chrysanthe Xene is no longer required to marry Triant Tombfury, and is finally free to reunite with Rad Longhammer.
With the destruction of troublesome vampires, the liberation of souls from the Warforged, the eradication of Orcus’ avatar, and the cold healing winds of winter, the Raven Queen will regain back the power she lost and reestablish herself as the dominant force in the Shadowfell. But she no longer can be called the Lady of Fate since Lolth has regained that title.