Emerging from the portal, Dagaard finds himself on an island of basalt in the middle of a lake of lava. A stepped structure stands before him atop of which he notices the figure of Jundiin bent over an anvil. The sound of clashing swords brings his attention closer to home. On the stairs in the gloom he can just make out the form of Al’Ahmaq battling one of his Zilal Brethren on the stairs. They are equally matched and the stairs prevent the dwarf from aiding the rogue Zilal. He chooses to wait for others to come through the portal and allow Al’Ahmaq to continue the battle alone.
He regrets his decision. Un-noticed, another of the Zilal approaches unseen in the shadows his blow to the dwarf’s shield shatters the elbow joint. Surprised and stunned the immediate future does not seem long for the dwarven warrior. The red stones in the archway glow again. In the nick of time, Aerandir steps through and launches a surprise attack on the Zilal closing to finish the dwarf. Reprieved, Dagaard recovers while Aerandir and the Zilal exchange blows. On the steps, the evenly matched battle continues.
Ready to join the fray again, Dagaard stumbles leaving Aerandir to continue to battle on alone. The half-elf’s defences are not strong enough to hold back the flurry of blows of his opponent and he receives a blow to the side before Dagaard has recovered enough to aid his companion. Unfortunately, he loses his grip on his weapon and juggles it vainly trying to retrieve a firm grip. Fortunately, help arrives in the form of Fulton who steps from the portal and rushes to engage the enemy. Fulton pays the price for distracting the Zilal as a swift sword thrust cuts through the sailor’s defensive stance and slashes the muscles of his lower leg: leaving him on one good leg.
Knowing that he now longer can be an effective combatant, Fulton limps from the battle as Aerandir and Dagaard rejoin the fight. At that moment, Jundiin strikes from the shadows as Aerandir, who is fortunate to only be lightly wounded. Jundiin appears to be wreathed in shadow making it difficult for Aerandir to find his mark. Fortunately, Denig appears through the portal and quickly joins Aerandir in engaging the leader of the Zilal Ramadiatan. More good fortune follows as Al’Ahmaq dispatches his opponent and is able to engage his former master.
With Dagaard able to press matters, having dispatched the last of the Zilal masters, the battle with the shadow shrouded Jundiin looks like it is in hand, so Denig withdraws to attend to Fulton. The opening created allows Jundiin to strike out and sever Al’Ahmaq’s hand from his wrist. Suddenly, events have turned for the worse again. Jundiin takes the opportunity to reposition his two remaining opponents face on and places himself between them and the portal. With a yell, Dagaard leaps to engage and promptly chokes on his tongue leaving Aerandir to fight on alone against the full force of Jundiin’s battle prowess.
Meanwhile, Denig abandons his assessment of Fulton to leap to Al’Ahmaq’s aid, reasoning that the party need their best fighter back in the battle. However, he is unwilling to succumb to the full horror of the Zilal’s wounds and prays only that the hand be joined and not bleed. With a quick word to an uncomprehending Al’Ahmaq he charges into the fray. Blows are exchanged and wounds are taken by both sides until, with a flash of brilliant skill, Aerandir opens up Jundiin’s defences and cleaves clean through the leg. Jundiin drops as the heroes breathe a sigh of relief that battle has finally gone their way.
The first thought of Denig is to loot the body of the Jundiin while his companions recover after their exertions. He finds an amulet that enhances his connection to Cloch and on the cloak worn by Jundiin half of a cloak clasp shaped in the wing of a bat or dragon. He determines that the the brooch has many spells woven into it but the only he is clear on is that it will haste the wearer for a limited period of time. As he discovers this there is a groan and a thud as Al’Ahmaq falls to the floor.
Denig races to his patient’s side and realises that the joining he has sought whilst effective was not complete enough and the damage has caused the wound to bleed internally. The lack of bone or muscle to support the hand and Al’Ahmaq’s inability to understand the instruction have ruined the effect of Denig’s prayerful requests. Forced to petition Cloch again, Denig is aware that he has finally tested his totem spirits patience too far and heals bone and blood vessels before strapping the wrist and hand and leaving his patient unconscious on the floor for safety.
The sudden collapse of Al’Ahmaq causes the party to stop and think about their situation and the threats they face. They are concerned that the portal may collapse and they will be unable to escape, but they are unwilling to pass through with the current number of wounds taken by the part. In addition, they are not sure if they could get the unconscious Al’Ahmaq through the gateway. The again what if the remaining Zilal find the dead masters and come through. The sheer weight of possibilities almost paralyses the heroes from logical action.
Finally, they begin to organise themselves. First, checking the bodies for significant loot, Aerandir takes Jundiin’s scimitars as a trophy. Then, the heroes turn their attention to the shards of Shawat which they find laid out on an anvil at the top of the platform built on the basalt island. The black metal shards appear to have sigils that appear on the surface and then disappear. Again the merits of how to treat the shards rage, but Denig is only interested in their potential to aid him and seeks to discover the abilities contained within. As he examines the shards he feels a promise of great power within but he devotion to Cloch causes him to pause and the inherent evilness of the items are revealed to him. He recoils and insists on the party throwing the shards into the lava nearby. There is still some worry about the chances of this causing the volcano to erupt and the speed at which they might escape. In the end, Dagaard takes responsibility and after a couple of shards have caused the lava to erupt decides to stop.
Eventually, they decide to rest and wait for Al’Amhaq to regain consciousness and ask him what he thinks will await on the other side of the portal. When he does come round his assurances convince them that it will be safe as Al’Amhaq is now the de facto elder of the Zilal Ramadiatan. With Jundiin’s influence removed, he plans to lead his men to Mustiq Eali to swear fealty to the Amyr. With these assurances the heroes return to the training complex and rest and recover.
The return of the Avenger of Tubki and his companions at the head of the Zilal Ramadiatan is greeted with great praise and delight by the Amyr. The Zilal are accepted into the forces of the Amyr and the heroes are feted with many feasts. In addition, the Amyr personally rewards them with the rank, armour and clothing fitting of a minor captain of the fleet.
Rewards and Reputation
The heroes are now ennobled with the title of Qubatan’aqala with the rights and responsibilities of that rank. The party have gained a reputation of being great heroes on the island and are instantly known across the island, especially if Denig or Dagaard are present. Their level of fame is now such that many on the island chain will have heard of the Avenger of Tubuki, Heroes of Mustawdae or The Defenders of the Children of Khalij Aldhahab.
+10OB Scimitars recovered from Jundiin
An amulet (x2 PP)
Half cloak clasp shaped in a wing (Haste III)
Items conferred with the rank of Qubatan’aqala
+5 DB normal shield
+5 DB rigid leather coat
+5 Perception normal metal helm (no perception penalty)
A set of clothes suitable for rank.