Both groups assembled and went to the Temple District. By the time they arrived at the Temple of the Fifty-Three Gods of Chance, magic had once again returned. The hidden underground chambers beneath the temple were guarded by a powerful demon—a glabrezu. But this demon was one that some of them had encountered before. Tellian had made a deal with it when the Company of the Black Lantern encountered the glabrezu in the Dark Elf fortress of Ul-Drakkan. The demon called in Tellian’s debt, but the cleric refused to pay up. A fierce battle ensued, and the heroes emerged victorious.
Proceeding farther into the temple, they found a huge sacrificial chamber with an elaborate altar. Wuntad stood atop what looked like a huge, bloody claw: It was the dismembered claw of an actual Galchutt. It turned out that long ago, in the distant, misty past, the Galchutt turned on one of their own and slaughtered him. They left the remnants of his blood and flesh for their servants to consume at the proper time to awaken and invigorate the rest of the godlike beings.
Without hesitation, the group attacked. To get closer, they fought through a line of rat man musketeers and a number of rabid clerics and their flesh golem creations. Then more clerics used a massive magical/chaositech contraption to draw power from a few humans and elves held in some kind of stasis (some of the group recognized these captives as sorcerers formerly held within Mahdoth’s Asylum). The energy siphoned from the prisoners was focused into the altar, where four young children waited in chains to be sacrificed. While some of the group struggled with a half-demon warrior and a massive kython warmaster, Aliya and Zophas used a dimension door to get at the hideous, mutated abomination that was Wuntad. Meanwhile, Canabulum and Serai made their way to the altar. Canabulum destroyed the chaositech energy machine, and Serai teleported each of the children, one by one, back to his house in the Nobles’ Quarter.
Dazlo the dwarf fell to the power of the kython but was avenged by Tellian, Vexander, , and Gaerioth. Mara and Sercian dealt with the remaining clerics, and Zophas and Aliya, covered in the godsblood of the dead Galchutt, defeated Wuntad himself.
But the surprises were not over. Once they had recovered from the battle, a quick search of the nearby rooms uncovered a prison where the “important” prisoners held by the chaos cult waited. The characters had believed that the prisoners Dierna’s informants mentioned were the captive sorcerers and children. However, the “important” prisoners were none other than King Olgas of the eastern barbarian tribes, his shaman, and two bodyguards. The cultists had engineered the whole barbarian invasion! The amassed army outside the gate was here not for conquest, but to ensure the return of the captive king.
Olgas was angry, but grateful to the heroes, believing that they had come here intending to free him. He wanted to go to his people, and the group could fulfill that request with greater speed than even he had thought. Serai and Zophas teleported with the king and his men to the front rank of the barbarian horde.
It took a great deal of diplomacy and well-crafted words—mostly on the silver-tongued Zophas’ part—to convince the barbarians that not only was this actually their king (and not a “city-wizard’s trick”) but that the perpetrators of the crime were not acting on behalf of the city at all. Eventually, the barbarians were satisfied, and Olgas commanded them to withdraw.
The city was saved, and—with the cultists’ ceremony interrupted—so was the world. But the blow to the forces of chaos was only a setback, not a permanent defeat. To stop (not merely postpone) the Night of Dissolution, the heroes still needed to reach Dreta Phantas. And to do so, they would have to locate the enigmatic race known as the Urthon Aedar. They also had to find a mysterious diadem that would help protect against the forces of chaos. Splitting up once again, the Runewardens went off in search of the Urthon Aedar, and the members of the Company of the Black Lantern resigned themselves to seeking the diadem in the dreaded Banewarrens.
Next: The Runewardens find the means of reaching the Urthon Aedar with the help of none other tham the Iron Mage.