Victain’s study reminded me of the some of the rooms in the Arcane Hand’s towers. Piles and piles of books, instruments of varying degrees of power, and runic scribbling on every surface. It was all a bit disturbed after pitched battle of course, but we managed to find his journal and a couple other useful items. I was only interested in finding somewhere to rest after the mayhem, and up the stairs from the wizard’s study we found a quite plush room. If this is how wizards are making it these days, Zalius must be getting the blunt end of the hammer. Anyway, there were a couple of large arcane circles on the floor and a nice inviting bed. Zalius suspected that one of the circles was used for relaxation, but in my book the first rule of survival is “Don’t mess around with strange magic”, so I took the bed.
Unfortunately for me, after a short time we heard a voice. Or rather, someone who was awake heard a voice. Apparently they all were recuperated after just a couple hours and were rummaging around the place while I was asleep. Turned out to be some sort of magical herald, and Victain was being summoned to the audience chamber, wherever that was. Fortunately for us, the ever-useful Zalius recognized the second circle as a teleportation device, and we decided to give Gik a special visit. We showed up right in the middle of some minor mage’s preparations for a defense and pretty quickly had subdued the whole room. Those massive beams on the door won’t do a whole lot of good now, will they?
Deciding that a plot to lure someone out of the room would be too complicated, we decided to barge right on in. I’ll admit I was a little unsure of the situation, although I acted brashly enough when Gik threatened us. There were a couple of archers, a few bodyguards, and a hulking dragonborn up on a raised dais at the end of a large, cathedral-like chamber. It was a strange encounter, even in hindsight. There was some pulsating, evil emanating from the dais and A messenger rose out of the fire, told Gik to finish us, and informed Balasar (the dragonborn, apparently) that he could do as he wished. I was hoping that he wished to leave.
We threw diplomacy to the wind at that point and charged forward as Gik released an enormous bear from a cage (inconveniently positioned to block our access to the dais). I thought we were in trouble as Balasar threw himself down to join the fray. He took a swipe at Rhogar but then something odd happened. They seemed to have a quick conversation and Balasar hurried back up the stairs to an enormous firepit and disappeared. I didn’t have time to dwell on it though, as the archers started to fill the meat-shields up with arrows and I figured they needed some patching up. We unleashed everything, and plowed through the minions pretty quickly, but Gik still escaped through a secret passage with his two dwarven bodyguards. I was hurrying to follow Greevus through the passage (he does throw himself into these situations a lot), when a remarkable thing happened. I turned a corner to see Greevus on his back with the female dwarf standing over him, and he turned to me and said, “It’s Juna!” That certainly changed things. We managed to convince her to stay her hand – or more importantly, the massive hammer in it – and with a bit more effort in the cramped passageway we took down the other dwarf. Gik however, had an unassailable lead.
There was a trapped room that slowed us down a bit as we had to get around a statue that seemed more animated than usual, and when we finally got to a small room that looked almost religious in nature with its columns and end table on a platform, we found Gik waiting for us. He seemed to have the usual small-gnome syndrome and was talking on and on about our doom, etc, etc. However, it began to be apparent that he had the means to back it up, and he withdrew a small reddish box from his cloaks and set it on the table. So that’s what all the fuss was about. He opened it and it became clear it was an evil object of no small power. Some sort of barrier set itself up in front of Florak, while waves of undead began appearing all around us. While I was exhilarated to be extinguishing their foulness from the realms, and praised Kelemvor for it, their sheer numbers began to wear us down. But a most incredible thing occurred.
He appeared. Whether it was Lord Kelemvor himself or an avatar I do not know, but He was there. I was confused at first – why was he speaking to us and not exterminating the filth from the room – but when he asked for a champion I knew I was the one. I stepped forward, and to my astonishment a hand appeared at the end of my stump. The phantom pains that I have gotten used to over the last several years swelled piercingly, and a shining white hand holding a massive craghammer materialized on my arm. Whole again. I was healed. I knew not for how long, but I knew that I would make use of this boon. My Lord disappeared and we were returned to reality. We were increasingly battered, but I knew what I must do. I charged towards Gik and began battering at the waves of energy emanating from the foul box. I had not wielded a weapon with that arm in years, and my sinews burned, but I had the strength of Lyonsbane in me. I could tell from the desperate shouts and grunts behind me that the battle was growing ever fiercer, and redoubled my efforts to reach the box. At last the final wall was dispelled, and I brought the hammer of my God down upon the rosewood box with all of His fury. The undead vanished. Zalius had moved one of his magical creatures in beside me to finish off the gnome, and my work was done. The hammer and hand vanished and the familiar, odd sensation of missing weight returned to my right arm, but I was elated in my exhaustion. My faithfulness had been rewarded. I was deemed worthy.