The party is quickly reunited and after the soggy Tiefling has donned his armour and equipment, the group head through the dunes and scrubland towards the tower. The emerald light has now gone and drawing closer, the tower is seen to be jagged, ruined. Also, it is part of a fortified structure with battlements – more of a castle than a tower.
Tracks lead to and from the keep, some appearing normal, bound in cloth, others cloven. The keep appears similar than the one where the party defeated Kalarel. Ozzie senses the group is at a nexus of the planes…
A decision is swiftly made for a multi-pronged approach into the structure (the Horns of the Tiefling..?). Althea, Ozzie and Switch scale the walls, Tol sneaks in through a breach. Inside, a trio of figures are visible – Shadarkai and Shadow Dwarfs. Tol can also see another trio on the far side of the structure.
As his companions have taken position, Memnon strolls into the structure, approaching the first trio and asking if he can share their fire, he’s just been ship wrecked. Both trios advance menacingly, snarling, foaming and with weapons drawn.
Ozzie delays hostilities by creating an illusory wall, blocking the second trio’s advance, whilst Memnon shrugs at his potential guest’s lack of hospitality and burns them with solar wrath, felling two Shadarkai zealots. Tol is attacked, and manages to turn failure into hilarity before being hacked at by a foaming dwarf.
Althea shoots with perfect precision (Natural 20!) wounding the dwarf attacking Tol, before recoiling as a vision of hell canters into view – a robed and hooded figure armed with a scythe sat astride a strange skeletal Hellsteed that strikes sparks and fire from its hooves! Both then vanish from sight…
And reappears beside Tol, slashing at him! Up close, Tol can see the rider is not skeletal himself, instead appearing to be a humanoid wearing a mask. He bellows that the heroes’ souls will served to Thanatos. Switch offers fire support to Memnon from his vantage point on the battlements as Ozzie pushes the rider and his Hellsteed away from Tol with beguiling strands. More zealots and dwarfs find their way past Ozzie’s wall and enter the fray as the Hellsteed charges forward, leaving flames in its wake.
Tol and Ozzie pick off a dwarf each as Memnon swings his flaming mace in wide arc fending off three attackers at once (AKA “doing a Sauron”). Althea strides through the flames, slaying another Zealot but the Hellsteed again vanishes, reappearing beside Ozzie. Switch leaps to the ground, felling a Zealot with a well placed bolt, as Tol takes to higher ground, pursued by a foaming dwarf. Ozzie’s magicks raise foes into the air, dashing them to the stone floor.
Having created some room to maneuver, Memnon strides through the flames, centres himself amongst the party and evokes a shield of faith.
Under divine protection, the heroes trade savage blows with their shadow foe. After another minute of battle, the Hellsteed rider is bloodied, despite being able to draw succor from his Shadarkai allies. After more furious combat, as Switch and Althea finish off the last of the zealots and dwarfs, the Hellsteed rider disengages from melee with a now-diabolic Memnon and bounds towards Ozzie only to pulled back by Althea’s Warden’s Grasp. Tol sinks an arrow into the rider and Switch leaps off a wall, skewering the robed figure with his blade and slaying him (Natural 20!).
As silence falls, the party searches the bodies of the fallen, finding iron scythe pendants (the symbol of Thanatos) on all of their opponents. The Hellrider has a small key. Small, crudely built soul cages are also found.