Meanwhile, deep under the city, the Company of the Black Lantern encountered another bastion of the dark elves: a tower held aloft high by webs above the floor in a riftlike cavern. The adventurers battled a number of dark elves, as well as the bebilith who’d made the webs. Capturing the tower, they learned that the fortress of Ul-Drakkan lay just ahead in their path. They positioned their mercenaries in the cavern while the company moved ahead.

Before reaching Ul-Drakkan, they encountered a dark elf from an opposing dark elf house who wanted to help them attack House Vrama. He told them about an agent within that they could contact for aid, once inside.

Ul-Drakkan consisted of three towers carved out of natural columns in a gargantuan cave. The path in was guarded by a number of bugbears and a fire giant, who repelled the group members. They retreated and took a different tack. Serai made himself look like a dark elf and entered surreptitiously. Once inside, he found the agent they’d heard about and obtained a special tuning-fork-like object that the spy said would allow one to teleport in safely: a teleport key. Otherwise, entering Ul-Drakkan via teleportation was impossible.

But Serai’s scouting mission took too long. The others assumed he was in trouble and attempted to teleport in to help. Their spell rerouted them into a pit whose bottom was wrapped in an antimagic field. Serai learned what had happened and reached them to help. Reunited, the company began its assault on Ul-Drakkan from the inside.

Although many battles with dark elves followed, the largest took place on a bridge that joined two of the towers of Ul-Drakkan more than 100 feet above the cave floor. They learned two important things then. First, the dark elves had demonic allies. (One, in fact, was a foul-mouthed succubus whom the other group had encountered in the Dark Reliquary.) Second, the dark elves had recently stolen a vast amount of chaositech from the kython. One of the demons, a massive glabrezu, was there to help them understand how to use it. But he—like many of the dark elves’ demonic associates—was actually more spy than ally. When the members of the company reached the dark elves’ main trove of gray liquid chaositech power containers (which Serai had run afoul of in Mahdoth’s Asylum), they also found a huge deactivated chaositech construct. The glabrezu, in human guise, appeared and offered to teach them how to use it. They didn’t trust him, of course, and quickly learned his true nature.

Serai, however, got the demon to tell him how to command the construct. He then told the company how to make the liquid power cubes explode in order to destroy the dark elves’ tower. And then Serai teleported away with the construct.

Eventually, of course, the dark elves mobilized and reacted to the company’s attack. The company found itself trapped at the top of a tower in a room full of chaositech and a demon, with a veritable dark elf army on the way up.

It was Tellian the cleric who made the decisive move. He told Vexander the sorcerer to teleport away with their monk friend, Gaerioth, then made a deal with the demon to get himself and Serai’s twin, Sercian, safely away. The demon said he would name his price later, and Tellian agreed. The demon happily gave Sercian, a budding sorcerer, two teleport scrolls and vanished. The two elves teleported away (Sercian failed with the first scroll, so both really were needed) just as the power cubes exploded in a burst of pure chaos energy, destroying the entire tower and slaying a horde of dark elves.

They were all safe. But now the Black Lantern elves hated Serai for what they took as a betrayal. They returned the next day (via teleportation) to their mercenaries’ camp and marched with them back up to the surface. They had dealt House Vrama the blow they had come to deliver.

Next: Ptolus noble houses get involved.