Realizing that they had been manipulated into bringing something horrible into their reality, the heroes in their despair were quick to point fingers. Rax even suspected that Isis, or Ciara, had set the whole thing into motion intentionally, and that erasing her memory had been just part of her plan to dupe some hapless adventurers into fulfilling her goal. Lucky revealed to them that he had been contacted by an entity when they had visited Rigo that identified itself as one of the prisoners they had sought to free, and that they had in fact achieved what they had set out to do, for what little consolation that was.
They returned to the temple to find answers, but again the scholars ignored them, concentrating on their grim work. Horrible creatures were led from the cells that once were empty, and dissected in a huge, grotesque laboratory; some of the scholars were even attacked and eaten by the creatures while others merely looked on and took notes. The macabre savagery was more than they could comfortably wrap their brain around, so they backed out and decided to ask the entity for another meeting. Apparently he didn’t want to chat, because after attempting to contact him, Lucky screamed and collapsed, overwhelmed by the presumably negative response.
Bewildered, the party left the temple and headed for the building off to the side of the temple, where the Cerulean Sign reinforcements had come from. There they discovered that the remaining masked warriors had all been slaughtered by some sort of terrible otherworldly spider creatures, and decided not to follow in their footsteps. They roused Lawrence, who managed to get a grip on himself, and he confirmed that this scenario was exactly what the Cerulean Sign was trying to prevent. The very knowledge of such entities from the “Far Realm” as he called it, beckoned them, so he and his compatriots worked in secret to eliminate their taint from the multiverse, lest they push through and corrupt all of existence. Obviously their methods left much to be desired in this instance.
Dreading the trip back through the Slags of Sigil and the likelihood of another demon or devil attack the moment they stepped through the portal, the party pressed Lawrence for information on how he would leave the plane. He admitted to having the key to a portal that would take them to Arborea, but he would need to be freed to make it there ahead of the huge winged creature that was now circling overhead. The grudgingly obliged him, prepared themselves, and then opened the door to sprint to where he indicated the portal was.
They dashed across the red wastes as the vaguely draconic horror screamed after them. Unfortunately, some of the heroes were faster than others; Eviel and Isis couldn’t keep up with the others. The creature dived down to bite Isis with it’s massive maw, but she managed to keep running. Even though Lawrence had reached the portal and was holding it open for the rest of them, Raphaelusk knew someone wasn’t going to make it. Selflessly, he turned and ran back to face the dragon head-on.
He was quickly snatched up by the hungry beast.
But the rest of the party hadn’t abandoned their friends, either. Rax prepared to assault the monster with a volley of bolts, Clyde refused to go through the portal until all had made it, and Lucky tried with all his might to yank Raph out with his powerful Telekenesis magics. The dragon’s maw was too strong for the spell to work alone, but when Raph managed to pry its mouth open with the last of his strength, he was ripped free from the jaws and went flying into the portal.
The travelers turned to flee, but before they could escape, the dragon sprang forward and caught Lucky in its mouth. But he had one last trick up his sleeve, and managed to activate the Teleport spell that had been saved in the spell-storing ring that Daethin had given him so long ago. And once he was free, everyone was able to escape.
On the other side, however, they learned that they’d jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. Though they were indeed in Arborea, dozens of Cerulean Sign warriors surrounded them with weapons drawn. Not ready for yet another fight, the party lowered their weapons and returned Lawrence’s items. He left them to consult with his superiors, and when he returned, he asked the party to assist the Sign in trying to fix the damage that had already been done.
Everyone agreed, eager to set things right, though Lucky was concerned about his contact with the entity putting their task in jeopardy. Lawrence had an idea, and took him to a shaman at the camp who was able to temporarily mask the wizard from the entity. Then they discussed Lawrence’s plan, to seek the aid of another far realm elder god that was relatively benign called Nodens. Rax was somewhat familiar with Nodens as a being that was revered by the night gaunts of the shadow plane. He was worshipped as a god of the hunt and of the darkness, but he was not an evil power. And he was apparently known for hunting down other far-realm creatures for the sport of it.
The party set out for Carceri, where the Cerulean Sign had long ago noted the location of a sacred place to the worship of Nodens. When they arrived at the mound that signaled the location, however, they had to battle through wicked ghereleth demons that tried to enslave them. After some searching, they managed to find a passageway into the mound, which took them to a chamber that contained a large, petrified heart.
Rax cut his hand and dripped some blood onto the heart, which began to glow and beat weakly. The voice of Nodens welcomed them, and they told elder god about their plight. Nodens offered to revive and send a fallen avatar to their aid to battle the Shoggoth and allow them to return to the temple to stop the cult from fully opening the gate for their master, but it would come at a price; a life for a life.
Grimly, the party looked at one another. Lawrence and the others of the Cerulean Sign that had come with him prepared to draw straws, and Eviel prepared to offer himself, as he had no fear of death. But Lucky stepped forward and said that he would be the one. The entity’s hold on him had only been temporarily blocked, and once his tie with the Winter King had been severed, he was beginning to age at an alarming rate. Though his past life had been one of selfishness (which he had now begun to remember), he could use what he had left to do some final good.
He said his goodbyes, and laid himself on the stone heart. Rax prepared him for the sacrifice, and carried it out with care, invoking the darkness and completing the ritual. His lifeless body sank into the stone, and the mound began to rumble. The party exited as out from the mound rose a massive blue and black alien creature. It levitated itself into the air and slowly drifted off to begin its work, and with it went Lucky’s final legacy and the hopes of the party.