Following Sister Mara’s divination, the group—with new allies Kor and Asa—attempted to breach Damarcan’s tower from below. They soon discovered why Kor and Asa could never do so before: The path was filled with traps, magical barriers, and iron golems.
After a hard-fought battle in which Gaerioth was slain by a golem (but raised by Mara), they reached a chamber that gave access to the tower above.
Entering the tower, Mara, Zophas, Aliya, Canabulum, Shurrin, Serai, Gaerioth, and Udalaag all saw at the center of the main chamber a floating energy sphere. The sphere itself was surrounded by a column of force. Suddenly, however, the silver orb Raguel had given them flared to life, emitting a beam of energy that nullified the force barrier. With the barrier gone, the energy sphere fired a ray of light at each of the characters, striking them in the forehead but causing no harm. But there was one ray too many. The group realized that an invisible intruder was with them! Using a spell to dismiss the invisibility, they found a tall, lean creature with blue skin and a massive greatsword—Damarcan, the ruler of this Jewel! Worse, Zophas could sense the taint of evil about him. Damarcan lunged for the silver orb, but the characters kept it away from him. Finally, thanking them for his release, he teleported away.
Kor and Asa were confused. While they’d never met Damarcan, they knew that Parnaith herself had assigned to watch over this Jewel. The holy woman would never choose someone evil. A search of the tower revealed an answer. In Damarcan’s bedchamber, they found a hideous, skin-bound tome titled The Book of Darkness. Simply looking at it almost destroyed Sister Mara. The group hotly debated what they should do with the tome. When they realized that Orr was deteriorating and collapsing in on itself, they decided to leave it be. Soon, they hoped, the evil book would be destroyed.
Among Damarkan’s things, they also found a brief guide to all seven Jewels of Parnaith:
- Orr. The Jewel of beginnings and endings. Ruled by Damarcan.
- Ond. The Jewel of the body and physical matter. Ruled by Donrah.
- Imn. The Jewel of nonmagical energy. Ruled by Znaam.
- Av. The Jewel of the mind. Ruled by Varen.
- Ath. The Jewel of the spirit. Ruled by Faranastra the Faithful.
- Unn. The Jewel of magical and metaphysical energy. Ruled by Leisarth.
- Esh. The Jewel of the divine. Ruler unknown.
The group, along with Kor and Asa, escaped the tower and went to the crystal henge not far away. The henge, Asa told them, was the means to get to the next Jewel. No one could approach it safely without the blessing of Orr, gained when the energy sphere fired its rays at each of them. However, Asa said, that blessing was supposed to come to them when they had achieved enlightenment and understood what Orr stood for, the concept of the beginning and end of all things. He held a deep regret that the silver orb effectively allowed them to cheat, to gain the blessing without enlightenment. Still, they obviously needed to leave Orr soon or be destroyed, so he accompanied them. They stepped into the henge and found a red jewel to place within an empty slot in the illitor. Then they disappeared.
They reappeared in a small structure floating high above Ptolus, unseen from the streets below—much like the place where they found the first colordoor. Here, they used the illitor to open the second colordoor to the next Jewel, Ond. (Kor does not accompany them, but instead goes down into Ptolus using a fly spell.)
The group members appeared in a cavern, their morale a bit low after realizing they had set the evil Damarcan free (presumably either into Ptolus or into Ond) and were effectively cheating their way through the Jewels of Parnaith thanks to a magic item given to them by the lord of the demons in the Dark Reliquary. Soon thereafter, they were beset by evil elementals and strange incorporeal undead. They learned that, although history held that Ghul, the Skull-King had died in Orr, he actually managed to reach Ond before he was slain. Apparently, Ghul also moved through the Jewels with a silver orb that allowed him to cheat. (This lowered morale among the group members even further.)
Within Ond lay the remains of Ghul. The undead creatures the heroes encountered surrounded a stone obviously twisted and corrupted by evil. They soon ascertained that horrible blight stones formed where his evil essence had fused into this realm of physicality—in other words, in the places where Ghul’s blood was spilled, where his sword broke, where his armor was destroyed, and, finally, where he himself succumbed. Speaking with the inhabitants of Ond—living crystalline structures—the group learned that they would only be welcome if they destroyed the blight stones. They also learned that Damarcan had arrived here shortly before they did.
After horrific battles with more undead and corrupted elementals, the group succeeded in this quest. Thereafter, they met Donrah, a humanoid made of crystal, who showed them into a chamber with a sphere surrounded by a force field similar to the one they saw in Orr. Again, the silver orb suppressed the force field for a brief moment, and rays struck each of the characters. And again, Damarcan waited there, invisible, to partake of the orb’s ability to bypass the Jewels’ requirement of enlightenment. Damarcan teleported away immediately. The group raced to Ond’s exit, an energy whirlpool in a cave that Canabulum discovered. There they placed another jewel (orange this time) within the illitor.
Shurrin activated the third colordoor, and the group passed into Imn. Most of this ethereal island was dominated by a huge metal tower with strange protrusions, each blasting the other with continual bolts of electricity. The tower had no obvious entrance, and the heroes camped at its base, sure that Damarcan had reached this Jewel ahead of them.
The next day, Serai and Aliya discovered an entrance at the top of the tower. Using spells to fly, the group got inside and met with Znaam, a bloated, flylike creature who told them that Damarcan had warned him that they were coming and instructed him not to help them. Zophas used his charm and diplomacy skills, and the others offered gifts to show that they were not as terrible as made out to be. Thanks to Znaam’s greed, they eventually succeeded and gained access to the sphere of Imn. As before, they were blessed by the rays. They took precautions this time, making sure Damarcan was not nearby. Znaam explained that the power this tower generated was the path out of Imn. To depart this Jewel, they would have to climb to the top and jump down into the bolts of electricity. They were obviously a little leery at the thought, but finally believed him.
At the top of the tower, Damarcan made his move! He attacked, trying to get hold of the silver orb—his goal was no less than to reach the final Jewel and attain divinity. However, Serai put a stop to his plan with a new spell he had just learned: disintegrate. As Damarcan’s ashes blew away in the ethereal winds, the heroes leaped into the cascading energy, on their way to Av.
Next: In the Jewels of Parnaith Part 3, Mara and Zophas find some unusual fellow Lothianites in an unexpected place. But is it true that Lothian himself has branded the two of them enemies of and traitors to the Church? Plus, what—or who—really waits for them in the seventh Jewel?