Despite the omens from Olidamarra regarding the red gemstone, Greed gets the better part of Inkee and Bloom, and bloom grabs the gem. The instant that the Gnome touches the gem, he vanishes! And a large fire wreathed demon of the abyss stands in his place. The huge red skinned and bat winged demon regards the party with yellow slit pupiled eyes. “Mortals! Because you have affected my release I shall not destroy you. In addition, I shall grant you one wish, anything that is within my power shall be done. You may know me as Agrazhar. Say my name three times and I shall heed thy call. Do not ask of me foolishly, for my power is great, but my patience is short. And I have lost too many years trapped within that God-Prison.” With that he vanishes in a puff of brimstone and smoke.
Ophydd, then grasps the gemstone, and disappears to be replaced by Bloom the Gnome. Bloom has no recollection of his whereabouts for the last few minutes. Thinking hard, the party rests for a day, then Inkee summons a snake ally, who enters the gemstone and frees Ophydd. Opyhdd does not recollect the passing of the last day.
Leaving the stone, and wondering what trouble the released Balor may cause for Greyhawk, the party continues their exploration in search of the Staff of Fanon.
A short jaunt down the corridor they discover an archway obscured by strips of leather, a makeshift screen. Inkee attempts to sneak through it when he notices the firetrap enchantment too late. He and Ophydd are engulfed in flames, Inkee remains unharmed. Stepping through the curtain, Inkee again misses the Glyphs of warding inscribed therein, and several skeletons are instantly summoned to defend the chamber.
The large pillared chamber itself is dominated by a central dome, a globe of magical darkness hovers within the central dome.
The party spends a few rounds dispatching the skeletons, and another minute preparing to explore the chamber. Avoiding the central dome and Darkness, Inkee scouts around and discovers a passageway on the opposite side of the room….and two hill tribesmen archers lying in wait to plunge black fletched arrows into any intruders.
Inkee drops his invisibility to shoot an arrow at the archers, and the battle for the chamber is engaged.
Ophydd enters the room and espies cloaked skeletal figures motionless behind pillars within the central dome.
The archers hold the party off, but soon find themselves engaged in melee. As all except Bloom and Kijj engage, two more tribesmen enter the fray. One a dwarf, and another a warrior.
Spells fly and one of the archers drops, only to be revealed to be a female Kobold Rogue.
The warrior slams his Tower Shield to the ground and waves of magical power radiate from it. As it does so, he is revealed to be a Hobgoblin Knight, the other archer is a Barbarian of the Wolf Nomads, and the dwarf, armed with a Halberd, is actually a Duergar!
The Wolf Nomad Barbarian attacks Inkee and shatters his Thinblade. Spells prove useless as the Knights shield prevents all manner of magical effects.
Eventually the Wolf Nomad Barbarian charges Kijj, only to be brought low by Kijjs Excruciating Ring.
Ophydd and Inkee are tripped by the Duergar Halberdier, but he fails to land any telling blows.
Eventually IUZ himself arrives to the scene, and order the villains to retreat, “My work is done here…I have what I need.” The Duergar responds, “But what about my Lantern?” IUZ responds in a distinct female voice, “Leave it. It is of no use to me.” As IUZ nears the Knight, his forms shifts to that of a female elf, wearing black robes and a leathery Rictus mask. She orders the waiting skeletons in the central dome to bar the party’s escape, then orders a retreat.
The group of villains makes a tactical and well organized retreat, covering each other as they go.
The Duergar, too slow to maintain the pace, slips out of the protective Anti-Magic Shell of the Knights shield, and is taken down by Kijj.
Furious, IUZ/Rictus masked Elf, summons more skeletons to block the party’s pursuit, then assumes a contingent gaseous form as Lidda the Kobold Rogue tosses a bag of Dust of Sneezing and Choking into the center of the party. Bloom and Kijj manage to deal with the skeletons, while the rest of the party are (stunned) for the better part of a minute. The tactic allows the villains to retreat and escape, dragging their fallen Duergar comrade with them. The Wolf Nomad Barbarian is left behind.
Bloom and Kijj also take the opportunity to loot the Barbarians body and find a +1 Two Handed LuckBlade, a Helmet and a Horn. Along with a purse of coins from various nations including Wolf Nomads, Frost Barbarians and Iuz and the Horned Society. He also carries a GreatBow, and has several Black Fletched Enchanted arrows (5) remaining in his quiver. He also has an amulet of Natural armor +2, and a ring of Regeneration/5.
A Minute later, after the coughing and sneezing has subsided, the party begins their pursuit.
They find the chamber at the end of the corridor deserted, except for tables and lecterns of books, urns, glassware, and various alchemical and arcane apparati.
And a goat headed beastman chained to a plinth. “Mortals! Release me please!” he cries in a pleading voice, sounding nearly in tears. Its obvious that he has been tortured, based on the marks on his body and the tools nearby. Of the Villains, there is no sign.