The Adventurers soon found that there was more treasure than they could all carry. They agreed to take several items each along with them on their way out, intending to send someone back to take care of the rest in their stead.
The heroes had more important things to do now that they had the very large diamond needed to revive their fallen companion, Velius. After a brief discussion it was decided that they would go to the Guild of Arbiters in Trinityfirst.
The heroes informed Goat about what was going on. After quick explanations, Al’ev asked for the use of the guild’s healing services as he was still bleeding from wounds suffered while distracting the construct. He was directed to one of the back rooms of the guild and waited. The remaining heroes discussed several of the other details of what had transpired in the past few weeks. Goat handed T’lemya an envelope addressed to her and as Al’ev returned she was stuffing a letter that it had contained into her tunic.
The heroes then learned of another situation that had developed, this one concerning the stolen bag of sharing. Goat pulled out a stone and placed it on the front counter. The stone showed a disturbing scene within. Three dwarves appeared to be in the middle of torture. Harry took a closer look and cursed when he recognized all three as his family.
Zell, still in his absurdly handsome disguise, spoke up saying that this must have been why one of Brelzic’s minions had been sniffing about the guild in recent days. Harry was visibly disturbed and when Sindri mentioned he could see a magical line connecting the stone to somewhere off in the direction of the mountains, the heroes knew that a rescue attempt would be walking into a trap.
Torn, they made the judgement call to get Velius back among the living before proceeding. Sindri was asked to create yet another portal, this one to Basque. But before he could, Al’ev decided to try and get his brother to do it instead, telling Zell that he would not have to listen to Al’ev’s whining.
The ploy worked and the heroes soon found themselves back in Basque. They quickly reunited with the Sparls and retrieved Velius’ body. They then headed to an extravagant cathedral that was magnificently decorated with columns and statues throughout. At the far side from the large double doors was the raised dais upon which they had spots to place the three dead bodies, Velius, Caj and Caj’s sister Alexi, whom they hoped would be alive soon.
As the head priest and two of his helpers prepared for the ceremony, something about the man struck T’lemya as off. She voiced her concerns with Al’ev and, knowing better than to not act on a companions instincts in a situation as delicate as bringing souls back to the land of the living, he walked over to where the elder Sparls sat waiting.
Al’ev asked them who this head priest was and if they had known him long. When they told him they had known him a very long time, Al’ev was a little more at ease. But he wanted to talk with the priest to be sure. He disguised his intent in the guise of questions about the ceremony, both learning and evaluating at the same time. But he still could not catch anything as wrong about the man.
Al’ev returned to his seat near the front, eyes and ears alert for the first hints of anything going wrong, noting that T’lemya and Crim had repositioned themselves to better spots in case they needed to act.
The ceremony began and all in attendance were silent for a long while. The priest worked his magic and everything appeared to be going well. The magic being used was clearly benevolent and it was certainly holy. Al’ev was just relaxing when the large double doors at the entrance of the Cathedral were thrown open.
In walked three halflings, one of which Al’ev instantly recognized as Caj and Elexy’s killer. He was on his feet with his sword drawn before the halfling spoke. He addressed his words to the elder Sparls telling them that if they wished to bring their children back, there would have to be payment made. But it was Al’ev who answered.
“You aren’t welcome here. Leave. Now.”
The halfling answered by telling his minions to attack and the fight ensued.
“Keep them away from the bodies!” The head priest yelled to the heroes.
The two halflings Caj’s killer had brought with him charged. The first met with a magically enhanced punch from Al’ev and was thrown backward down the aisle twenty feet landing on the ground next to Harry. The second was toe to toe with Sindri. These two minions proved not to be a major threat to the heroes and were quickly put out of commission. Their leader, however, was a little more of a challenge. He disarmed Harry and Crim before they could connect with many serious blows and then soon found himself facing Sindri and Al’ev.
The dragonblooded members of the group laid into the bare-fist warrior who had been so much trouble before that moment. They were heartened when it appeared he was about to fall to his knees and leave this world. But instead a familiar crack noise that they all associated with the gems that held stolen souls sounded. The fight was far from over.
Blasphemy’s bombs started finding their target just as the halfling tripped both Sindri and Al’ev, disarming the magus in the process.
Sindri’s attention shifted from the target next to him to something even more disturbing. Three objects, what had to be the souls they were trying to return to life seemed be in the process of being drawn away from the dead bodies. He returned to his feet and saw where they were headed. Two very large creatures not visible to the naked eye stood guarding two more beings who were similarly hidden. The second two seemed to be the ones drawing in the souls. Sindri launched an iceball towards the back of the cathedral where these hidden enemies stood and he succeeded in stalling the enemy casters from taking the souls.
Harry and Crim retrieved their weapons and turned towards the halfling monk who had disarmed them, they were about to advance when a visibly bloody Al’ev rose to his feet just after being pelted with a misplaced explosive vial. He drew back his hand and lightning flashed as it collided with the monk’s face.
Their enemy dropped to the floor and the heroes shifted their focus to the back of the room, charging down the aisle as Sindri shot another fireball over their heads. Their enemy was now visible. The casters seemed to be holding large gems that were likely responsible for drawing in the souls.
Al’ev watched the caster on the right with a close eye and prepared to counter the man’s next spell, counting on the rest of the group to deal with the second caster in time.
Harry proved that his hammer was effective at disarming. The diamond from the second caster flew from his hands. Al’ev countered the first caster’s spell and then the heroes fell upon their foes. The giants guarding the casters simply couldn’t react fast enough. Sindri and Al’ev launched spells from across the cathedral. One of the casters dropped after more hits from T’lemya’s dagger and Blasphemy’s vials. Then the second one found itself the victim of more explosive vials and Caramel’s strangely damaging swear words.
The giants vanished as the casters dropped to the ground, dead. The souls slowly began floating back towards the dead bodies.
As the heroes picked their way through their fallen adversaries, they found strange amulets containing the symbol of either Baphomet or Asmodius they weren’t sure which. He relayed this information to the others just as the ceremony reached its conclusion. They all turned to see Velius, Caj and Alexy rise from where they lay as though they had been merely asleep. The heroes welcomed their friend back to the land of the living as the elder Sparls rushed up to their children and embraced them.
A few moments after the joyful reunion, Alexi shared that she had obtained information before she had been captured. She knew the location of House Sparl’s ships and cargo. This was great news for the downtrodden House Sparl. It meant that there was a chance they could again rise to prominence.
The heroes had succeeded in their attempt to right a wrong in the world. But in the Larian Mountains three dwarves desperately needed their aid.
Al’ev sat back down and watched as Desira was called into a back room by the head priest. The door closed behind them and Sindri ran over to it trying to listen in on what was happening inside.
Al’ev looked down at his blood covered hand and realized that once again there was far more of his own blood on his body than there had been in previous battles. He absently wondered if his skills were slipping or if his enemies were just getting stronger.
Pushing this out of his mind, his thoughts shifted to the upcoming rescue mission. Part of him felt he really owed Harry, for that same part still felt responsible for Halar’s destruction, the event that had caused Harry to lose some of his family already.
Recalling how the last rescue mission led them to where they were now, he silently prayed to the gods to watch over them in the coming days knowing that even if the gods were not with them, he would see this through to a better ending regardless of what stood in their way.