The battle with Malthazar in his Ifriti form was terrifying. There was a point where the party thought he had gained the power of Ignus, the fire spirit. Thankfully, that was not the case. He was simply a high level magic user with extra power granted to him by the Queen of Ash. The group had to dodge magic fire hurtling at them from the tips of the Ifriti’s fingers while also trying to get close enough to attack him.
Eventually they were able to overwhelm the Ifriti and Malthazar returned to his human form. He was sweating and covered in blood. He snarled at them like a wild animal. His eyes wide with feral rage. The party went to finish him off. He started blabbering,
“No! She promised I wouldn’t die. You can’t kill me. She said I couldn’t die anymore!”
With one fell swoop, Hepolita dealt the final death blow and his body slumped to the ground. Kaladrax looked at his corpse with a mix of sadness and anger. He had broken Kaladrax’s trust. He had been like a father to him, a mentor, a friend. Aleera put her arm around him, as much as she could embrace a large dragonborn, in silent comfort. Now was not the time for words.
They slowly made their way out towards the open air. As they were exiting through the large manor they began to hear noise coming from outside. It was the sound of war. The sounds of clashing weapons and armor. The sounds of the dying. They exited the manor to the sight of a rebellion. It looked like the slaves, former slaves, were taking this opportunity to rise up. At their lead was a large half-orc riding a Direwolf. It was Malachi. It seemed Milo’s message had reached him after all.
His forces had come through from the Timberwald to the east of Drakenforge and liberated those imprisoned in Skyroost. Hundreds of Aarakocra and Firbolg were fighting alongside a band of ragged, battle-ready orcs. The bodies of many races were mingled with the dead. The party moved onward through the fighting lines trying to get to where the fighting was the thickest.
They were moving through the halls to Skyroost where the bulk of the dwarven forces was fighting to turn back the tide of rebels. On a wall ahead of the was a slumped form. It was a black Aarakocra. He was still alive but had a terrible wound in his stomach. He didn’t have long. Before anyone could move Milo whispered, “Mercy kill.” and plunged his own dagger into the chest of the wounded Aarakocra. The others exclaimed, “No!” Aleea yelled,
“We could have healed him! Why did you kill him?”
Milo just shrugged, looking only a little sheepish.
Kariss was already kneeling before the dead bird. She used the healing waters of the Oasis to sprinkle over the body and laid her hands on him focusing on bringing him back. With a shudder of breath and a cough the body sat up again. He was alive. They propped him up and handed him some rations and water. Leaving him to recover, they headed forward into the fray.
They fought their way through to where the dwarven general was fighting three rebels. They stopped him from killing one and asked him to end the fighting. He snarled at them and asked why he would do such a thing when his orders were to keep the rebels down. The party looked at each other and told him the Regent was dead. Gralmore came forward and put his hand on the general.
He confirmed the death of his brother and explained that orders had changed. With a fallen look on his face he called for the ceasing of hostilities. No one would admit it but the dwarves were glad that the slavery was over. Many of them wanted things the way they had been when dwarves worked what they mined and never asked for outside help.
Gralmore was busy with the General, bringing peace to the outer reaches of the city where some fights were still going. The former slaves were freed of their remaining collars. The Aarakocra were all gathering together. They were getting ready to head off to their lands. The group noticed, as they walked among the injured, that all the Aarakokra had been mutilated, their wings had been clipped off. They would have to walk or ride home to the Oasis. The firbolgs were busy healing each other and getting ready to leave as well.
The party had some time to themselves towards the end of the day. They discussed how Malthazaar had known about silver being a weakness for Kariss, the arrows had been tipped in silver and a few had really hurt her. They had also known about many of their abilities and items. Milo didn’t say a thing about the Geas placed on him and because of this Kaladrax looked inward at himself.
He took out his journal, the one that he used to report his findings to the college. It was not unlikely that Malthazar had gotten a hold of a sister journal and read all about their adventures. Kaladrax had been very thorough in describing every member of the party. He said as much to the group and while they were upset at this breach of trust, Aleera argued that they would no longer use the journal and that Kaladrax couldn’t have known.
The day ended with a beautiful sunset to mark the end of hostilities in Drakenforge. The party headed back to their lodging with weary steps. The battle was over but the war with the Queen of Ash was far from it. They still had to save King’s Crest and their next step was to get Ignus’ Blessing of Fire. They went to sleep with conflicting hearts over the loss of a dear friend and the glow of triumph.