Might of the Inquisition

Temple of Elemental Evil (Part 4): Fire Temple

Adventure 57

In attendance: Bael Phoebus, Gurias Stormborn, Gnosis-On, Raiden

After popping back into the Temple outside of the Water Temple, the airship goes to send word to the halfling villages that a massive wave was on the way, and to evacuate immediately, leaving behind the party trapped in the Temple if anything goes wrong.

They arrive in the Fire Temple, where several Efreeti stand guard. The vile Zumcantor also stands, working with a pile of seemingly random magic junk. Raiden calls out to him, and the battle begins: Raiden finally going one-on-one with the Githyanki that destroyed his school. Raiden tells the party not to interfere, even if he’s going to die, and Zumcantor’s custom swordmagic style makes it so that it is difficult for anyone else to interfere.

Fully prepared to fight creatures of fire, the rest of the party squares off against Efreeti, a pathetic Fire Elemental, and a Conflagration Orb. Especially with some Evard’s Black Tentacles tossed into the mix, they pose little issue while the swordmage dual goes on.

Raiden, however, does not have as easy a time. With every strike that Raiden defends against, he exposes weaknesses in his style to Zumcantor. With every strike that connects against Zumcantor, he learns how to defend better. Raiden is soon injured, and the voice of the Chained God whispers in his head to accept the power offered to destroy his hated rival.

Raiden rallies a bit, refusing to go down that road yet, and asks Zumcantor why he destroyed Raiden’s school. The Githyanki responds that it is his duty to crush the weak for more power as the Chained God demands, and he has begun teaching his new custom school to others in the Githyanki fleet.

The back and forth continues, with Zumcantor taking a few critical strikes. He exudes a magic-destroying flame, which consumes many of the protections on Raiden as well as the Black Tentacles. The battle seems to turn, and the Chained God’s whispers grow in intensity. Raiden reveals that Tharizidun has offered him power to destroy Zumcantor, using the god’s true name. The name echoes throughout the complex, alerting the party to the deal.

Beaten, and on the verge of being cut down, Raiden declares that he needs the party’s help. He finds himself unable to swear the same Oath they did (still compelled by the Chained God from a previous favor) but still takes their help in defeating Zumcantor.

They find that each strike against Zumcantor transfers sympathetically to Raiden, making it difficult to destroy him without also destroying Raiden. Gnosis-On inscribes a rune of power that allows them to share pain, spreading out the magic among the two of them, and letting Raiden take a breather. Though he tries to withdraw, Zumcantor is single minded about pursuing the Genasi to the death.

Beaten, bones shattered, and barely surviving, Zumcantor moves in for the killing blow, but Bael moves into box in the Githyanki, and uses his divinely empowered strike to send the Swordmage tumbling backwards. Before he dies, he chokes out one final threat about his vast fleet moving through the Deep Astral to find the Chained God and release them, each one having been taught his custom style. Raiden has his revenge on Zumcantor and has avenged his school, though the Zumcantor School of Swordmagic survives amongst his followers, and they’re up to something terrible.

The party takes a rest to try and recover from the brutal battle and barricades the interior of the Fire Temple to wait for the ship to return. The Temple then shakes with violent force that lasts a full minute before settling back in. The wave has been launched.

Epilogue

Without the help of the crew of the Legacy, the halfling people could have been wiped out to near extinction right there. The entire Volusparan Sea rose up, compelled by dire magics of Water and Air, and turned its destructive power on the Midland Moor, home to all the small halfling fishing communities, as well as contingents from the Kingdom of Dusk.

The Legacy arrived an hour before, ordering the scattered villages to run, taking on the ones who had no chance of escaping. Mielka hovers around on her floating disk, scooping up the halfling children. Zigfried uses his mental powers to command the stubborn, ordering them away (and freaking out a few of the rescued with his thrall.) Glandrin’s great strength helps lift several platforms of people onto the ship. Light sends a few of the infirm onto the Raven Queen so that their souls will not be consumed with dark magic. Zimon hangs off the ladder and scoops up several families by using incredible feats of acrobatics. Darian, aboard an electrum dragon, rescues his village from ruin and flies them to some of the safer caves.

In the end, there were only so many that could be saved. As the massive wave crests on the horizon, the Captain pulls hard on the steering wheel to send it up and away from the carnage, as the converted airship struggles with all the extra weight. The very bottom of the vessel is hit, causing it to spin out of control, and the hundreds of halflings aboard scream in terror.

The Captain desperately spins the wheel to regain control, and the spellcasters aboard focus their magical might into helping. The ship stabilizes after a few terrifying seconds.

The halflings aboard are dropped off in Dusk, which too was hit by the edge of the wave, causing some serious flooding but nowhere near as bad as the Midland Moor. Some time is spent in rescue operations amongst the villages hit, though the damage is bad. Even those that survive are homeless. A few of the clans survive mostly intact: the Shadowhearts, the Freefingers, the Proudfeet, and a few more. Many more have been lost under the waves.

And at the bottom of the ocean… their bodies stir. They head towards the Temple to heed the call of Dagon.

The Volusparan Sea has become the Volusparan Gorge. The area between it and Dusk has been submerged, and the area will become marshland for at least centuries to come.

What’s Next?

The party has recovered the group from the Fire Temple, though they are a bit worse for wear. Gurias collected the magical trinkets that Zumcantor was experimenting with to determine what they are.

Everyone is informed the stairs down to the next floor are nearby, and the entire floor seemed to be warped by aberrant influences. They’ll need expert dungeoneers and aberration experts to be able to navigate it successfully.

Then there’s the matter of what to do with the Water Temple (whom the party has a rough alliance with), as they ascend to a supreme position in the temple. Plus, there is certainly greater evil below… who might be planning even worse than what has come before.

Current Machination Levels
Air: Advanced 2
Earth: Advanced 1
Fire: Advanced 2
Water: Advanced 5 (done)
Temple: 1st Seal Broken

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