BLACK MAGIC WOMAN
Elrian, holding the Dragon Barrow Key he’d pulled from the Asmodeus statue, stared long into the hate-filled eyes of Faheed Dorra, servant of the wizard they had crossed in the ruins of Herron Hall. He called for the key. “Give it to me,” he growled. Elrian tossed it to Nodnal instead, and the Tabaxi took flight, racing through the fallen Axeholm. He passed the key to Raben, who passed it on to Peron. “Keep this from the dragon,” the gothi grunted as he prepared to defend against the advance of their enemies.
But the enemies did not come, at least not at first. They were contending with the undead Duergar King and his brood. This bought our heroes time as they made for the upper hall. Elrian was of a mind to hide away there, to defend their position, and seek an alliance with the banshee. It was better than facing a dragon… perhaps.
But as they made their way to the guard room, and the stair to ascend to the ambassador wing, enemies did come. Faheed and his mistress, Drucilla Herron. Faheed felled Elrian, but Peron quickly cast Darkness to shield him from further harm and to confound the assassin. It bought them time, as Raben saw Elrian back to the land of the living.
Faheed fled as Herron made her way into the guard room, casting illusions of herself before her. The adventurers cut into her ruse, then Kari swung a mighty blow, which, if not for Nod’s inspiration, would have not found its mark. Herron was severely wounded and sought to escape, but Nammosi let loose with a magic of her own and the wizard was put down.
Faheed swiftly took up his patron’s corpse and raced for the entrance hall as the party escaped to the upper levels. From the arrow slits above, they saw the assassin and his lady’s corpse climb atop the white dragon, flying off to the north and west.
Elrian reached out to the banshee, Vyldara, via message spell, while Nammosi sheltered the party inside a magic circle of silence. The undead moon elf urged the adventurers to come to her, that she might be freed from her prison. She said they would need to recover her skull from the dwarven vault, grind it into paste and consume it that she might be free.
But Nod recalled she had earlier said that the Ring of Summer Flame would free her. She assured them, the skull would be needed to enter the Dragon Barrow, that they need get it first and consume it.
When asked about the statue of Asmodeus, a thing that seemed out of place in a dwarven stronghold, she told them it was placed there by the Dwarven King’s lover, a powerful wizard from Waterdeep, Vajra Safahr, the Blackstaff.
“Come to me in my hall,” she pleaded with them, “and I will lead you to the dwarven treasures and you will help free me.”
“Will you wail for us?” Elrian asked. “Would you wait thirty seconds then let loose your scream, that any foes might be put down?”
“Of course,” she cackled. “Come… and let us see to your recovery of the Ring and my freedom.”
to be continued