After resting, the wizard and druid prepare their spells for the challenge ahead, as does their newfound ally, Ayruzi. While Corvus prepares a magical getaway, Ayruzi casts a prayer that allows him to monitor the condition of the heroes. Once the men have prepared themselves, Zendo magically quickens them, and Corvus teleports the entire group into the Pinnacle of Avarice.
The group quickly hastens to explore the eastern wing of the Pinnacle, Hikage stopping to listen carefully before the golden doors blocking their path. He can faintly hear the echoes of male, female, and deep, grumbling, voices. When he opens the door, he sees an immense, curving barracks of some sort, but also sees a glimpse of Karzoug as well!
Sure that the Runelord is another projected image, Hikage quickly advances and takes cover behind the corner of one of the curving hallways. Ayruzi, however, enters brashly, and swells with divine power, growing to a towering height and shining with an inner light. “Khalib! Your judgement is at hand!” The angel soars off down a hallway on his mission, and the others call out not to leave them too far behind.
As his comrades advance, Hikage, bracing for the worst, steps around the corner and narrowly dodges a black ray of negative energy hurled by the menacing Karzoug. The monk deftly rolls to one side and evades the attack, before thrusting his temple sword into the image and dispelling the projection of the Runelord.
Gellius and Ragnar run past Hikage, each taking one of the two curving halls to advance. The druid draws closer to the planetar, while Ragnar continues down the other hallway alone, though he can hear metal-shod sollerets clashing on the stone as he advances.
Ayruzi calls out to the men, warning them that Khalib has summoned a demon to bar his advance. The demon is hidden from sight, but not from HIS sight, and he warns the wizard that his wrath shall not be diverted. Zendo and Corvus start their dash towards the conflict as HIkage quickly speeds past them, and even Gellius. The monk can see no demon, but he skids to a halt as a huge, draconic beast appears in thin air, uncoiling a serpentine body and flexing eight sets of clawed limbs. The strange beast blocks Ayruzi from the cringing form of Khalib, who attempts to banish the angel with his magic, but fails to do so. “You could call me up, but you cannot put me down so easily, conjurer!,” the angel mocks.
Ragnar rounds the hallway that he chose alone, and catches a glimpse of Viorian Dekanti as she runs towards him. Upon seeing him, she stops short, and grimaces. “No time for you, today,” she mutters, and clicks her booted heels, disappearing.
Corvus is startled to see the golden-armored warrior appear within arm’s reach, blocking the exit, and he quickly banishes her to an extradimensional maze once again, for his own safety. He and Zendo move forward to join the fight.
Ayzuri intones a single, portentous word, and the coiling dragon-like serpent reels as if struck, standing numbly as the angel soars past it towards some unseen menace beyond.
Hikage witnesses an immense, slaving demon appear. It seems to be a horrific melding of wolf, spider, mantis, and lizard, all moulded into a roughly humanoid form. It lunges forward at Ayruzi as it appears from midair. Though its slavering jaws find no purchase on his form, the demon’s claws and pincers tear at the planetar, ripping shreds from his flesh. Whipping a segmented tail at the angel, the horrifiying demon growls, “Long has it been since I tasted angel flesh. For that, this servitude is well-recompensed.” Hikage and Gellius are horrified to see the deep, vicious wounds that have been torn into the planetar’s form. Surely, no being can withstand much more of such punishment!
While Ayruzi defies his demonic foe, Hikage advances on the blue serpent-dragon. Gellius warns him that it is a behir, a deadly reptilian monster that, like a blue dragon, can breath lightning, but, like a serpent, can swallow a foe whole. The monk is determined to bring down the beast before it can recover from Ayruzi’s word of power, but finds that the scaly beast is truly resilient. Before it can recover, however, Zendo’s magics ensnare its will, and hold it fast.
Ayruzi steps toward his towering, demonic foe and lashes out with his immense, holy greatsword. The blade flares with divine light as it slices into the demon, and despite the wounds marring his pale green flesh, the planetar slices apart his opponent and banishes the demon back to the Abyss more directly than with spell.
As Ragnar rounds the corner, he only witnesses the dissipating essence of the demon sizzling on the floor, as Hikage has used the magical respite to banish the summoned behir with his own fists as well.
Khalib is nowhere to be seen, as the evasive transmuter has teleported away, only to reveal himself by disintegrating a nasty chunk out of Corvus’s left shoulder from behind. The wizard, staggered, but not felled, responds with a spell of suffocation that leaves Khalib gasping for air. He limps forward towards Gellius, who intones a powerful prayer and heals the wound completely, as if it had never been. Ayruzi wheels in the air and speeds towards Khalib like a thunderbolt, leveling his sword at the wizard and announcing “Your doom, delayed, is at hand!”.
Nonplussed, Khalib teleports away from the angel, who curses in frustration. Hikage, however, witnesses Khalib reappear in the ‘temple’ at the far end of the hallway. This huge room holds an immense statue of Karzoug at one end. The statue’s hands are shaped as if gripping an unseen object, and heatless fire illuminates it from a brazier underneath. Beyond the statue are two immense doors of stone, warded by a flickering field of golden energy. The immense chamber also holds a stone ziggurat with an open portal, from which Khalib appeared, and into which he has retreated. The blocky chamber houses two smaller statues of Karzoug, and a giant sarcophagus graven with his image. Khalib hovers in the air within, thinking himself safely out of reach.
Hikage, however, harnesses his ki, and ascends the very walls like a spider, before launching himself into midair and seizing the wizard! Unable to support this much weight with his spells of flying, Khalib and Hikage tumble to the ground, taking only incidental damage. However, the transmuter is unable to focus his concentration as the monk grapples with him, and cannot use his magics to escape. As the others gather around to block off his routes of retreat, Ayruzi advances on Khalib and strikes him a deep, bleeding wound with his sword.
Choking blood, Khalib screetches, “Be done with it—angel!”, but twists and shifts his form into that of an elephant! Hikage is unable to restrain the pachyderm that the wizard has become, but rains a series of blows on the elephant’s thick hide nonetheless. Unconcerned by the elephant in the room, Ayruzi slices his enemy apart and reveals the tattered corpse of Khalib in death. The men stand over their opponent in triumph, though Corvus frets that Viorian Dekanti, though banished to an extraplanar maze, could soon return for her revenge!