After spending a day in town getting better, the party returned to the monastery. The group could feel a sense of finality approaching. Deciding to be daring and knowing that the only unexplored cavern was in this direction, the party decided to enter through the dragon’s lair. Thankfully, no dragon was observed, so the party ventured into the unexplored passage. It appeared normal for a cave passage, so they continued on. Around the corner, the party discovered a large cavern covered in stalactites and stalagmites.
When they reached the far edge, they discovered a rock slide that looked to connect with one of the cliffs that was unclimbable. Being a daunting sight, the party decided not to continue. But as they turned around to return the way they came, they discovered the illusionist! Slydra, holding a bit of a grudge at being almost killed by her, immediately unleashed a fury of magic missiles at her, but instead of damage, her broach glowed instead. Fearing a second attack, the illusionist cast a spell and everything went bright. COLORS EVERYWHERE. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL… BEAUTIFULLY BLINDING!
The party began stumbling around in the colors, looking for the edge of the cave. Time seemed to drag on as the colors continued. Eventually, all but Dimitri, who kept stumbling into stalagmites, found their way to the walls and out of the colors. When the colors had finally cleared, the party found the illusionist waiting, apparently trying to find a chance to apprehend Narcissa again. Now Mendek, who like Slydra had a grudge, charged ferociously at the mage. The illusionist, not desiring a conflict with this behemoth, began to fidget with a ring on her finger. But while she was distracted with the fighter, Narcissa, who also had a grudge, unleashed a paralysis spell and it hit! But, as Mendek continued to approach, she disappeared! Or so he thought, for he reappeared ten feet away. He went to pursue her, but she disappeared again! And the entire time, she was paralyzed. Eventually, the disappearing act ended, and the party promptly confiscated all her belongings and, not having the heart to kill her, bound her.
The party, unable to go forward, decided to go back. As they were returning down the boring passage, a voice called out to them and out of the rock wall in front of them, a man appeared in plate mail. This was the dark cleric Kathrandamus. He asked for Narcissa, which the party refused. Then, with a slight motion towards his armor, a supreme sensation of fear flowed over the party. Mendek, Belladona, and Dimitri bolted like greased lightning away from Kathrandamus, leaving Narcissa and Slydra alone. Both being very capable mages, it seemed they would be okay. Narcissa unleashed a magic missile at him, but it went right through and he disappeared. It was an illusion! Then, with a chuckle, the real Kathrandamus appeared through the fake wall. But with a sound of armor, another figure appeared on the other end of the passage. It was a gladiatrix, which blocked in the two magic users between an evil cleric and a gladiatrix.
With determination worthy of legend, the mages, without word to each other, knew what to do. Slydra immediately cast his mirror image spell and faced the gladiatrix while Narcissa turned to Kathrandumus and, using the wand of cold, unleashed a giant sheet of ice above him, which crush him beneath its weight. The gladiatrix, with an evil red glow in her eye, closed the distance with beastly fury unleashing three attacks against Slydra. If it weren’t for his mirror images, he knew he would be dead. With only one mirror edge, Slydra unleashed another magic missile, knowing it is the only close range ability left to him. It was then that a pillar of flame erupted from beneath the sheet of ice, flowing from Kathrandamus’s hand. But instead of joining the fight, he turned down the illusioned side passage. Knowing that pursuit by herself was unwise, Narcissa turned her attention to the gladiatrix which was bearing down upon Slydra. Trying her best to miss Slydra, she aimed her wand of paralysis and paralyzed the gladiatrix.
It was at this time that the rest of finally returned, only to find that the mages he done their due. Narcissa informed them of Kathrandamus’s escape, and it was now when they noticed that the illusionist, probably freed by her familiar, had escaped as well. The party pursued down the illusioned passage and came upon a dark shrine, upon which rested the Eye of Arik: the gem housing his spirit. The did not find Kathrandamus here, but they did see a secret door which was slightly open. The party continued down this secret passage and found a door at the end. As they were discussing how to burst through the door, a deafening dragon’s roar was heard and seemed to originate from the shrine room. Knowing that the fight was coming eventually, the party returned to the shrine and found… nothing. Weird. So, they decided to secretly enter the room.
Well, it didn’t end up being a secret. Instead, it was a trap! The passage ended in the dragon’s lair, and this time the dragon was there, as well as Kathrandamus. Then the dragon spoke, and informed the party of HIS plans to release Arik into the world. Knowing that stuff was about to go down, Slydra secretly rebuilt Arik’s Bane’s statue. Knowing this was the grand fight between good and evil, the mages used a fire shield spell to protect themselves, and the fight began. Mendek charged to the front of the fray, knowing that the mages would not be able to survive an onslaught from a dragon. As he closed the distance, he saw a cone of cold from Narcissa blast the dragon and severely damage him. But it didn’t stop him, because the dragon managed to get two swipes at Mendek, which was manageable. But the damage came with the bite, which practically crushed him. Still, Mendek managed to fight and dealt a decent blow to the beast. While this was going on, Dimitri and Belladona fought with Kathrandamus. It was about this time that Belladona notice some of her metal belonging heating up. But, by using their bows, Dimitri and Belladona kept him occupied with hit after hit. Once again, not wanting to be outdone, Slydra unleashed a mighty bolt of lightning through the dragon’s chest, once again dealing tremendous damage. Yet the dragon raged upon Mendek performing another three attacks upon him. Mendek withstood the attacks, but felt his health waning: he knew he couldn’t survive another attack like that. Mendek, desperate to end the attack, lashed out with his sword, but to no avail. The dragon still stood. It was at this moment that, after an attack from Belladona, Dimitri was able to end Kathrandamus with his skill with the bow. Belladona, with no other target, turned to the dragon which was less than ten feet away. Drawing her bow with an arrow (which, in the light, looked black), she attacked the beast as it hovered over Mendek for the kill. And with a shot that would have missed at any other distance, Belladona landed the hit, and with a spasm of twitches the dragon died.
It was finally done. The leaders of this evil plot had finally perished. The party returned to the shrine and found Arik’s Bane waiting for them. He was about to join the fight, but the party had dispatched of the evil quickly enough to avoid that. Wanting to finally end the long battle, he asked for us to release Arik so he could finish him. Dimitri, being the only one able to wield Arik’s sword, took it from its place by the shrine and struck the gem. As the gem exploded, an image of a demon with a fly’s head began to emerge. Arik’s Bane, grinning from ear to ear, transformed into his dragon form and use his dragon’s breath to destroy Arik for good. Finally finished with his quest, Arik’s Bane left back to his order. The party, knowing that the sword was too powerful, threw it into the lava pit and watched as it melted. The party gathered the plunder of their enemies, returned to the riverbank to signal a boat, and presented the dragon’s head to the lord of the keep. Dimitri, grateful for the adventure, bid them farewell and left to create the tale of their adventure, which would enter the things of legend. And how convenient, their boat bound for Specularum was ready. So the party continued on their way to fight, to save, and to adventure.