After a good rest, the heroes leave the hidden tomb and start exploring the rest of the fire temple. They find that the corpses they have caused have been carefully laid out in rows and much of the area they have already passed through appears to be deserted. They enter some new areas and spy a number of fire cultists carefully packing. The cultists don’t see them, so the heroes have the surprise factor and easily defeat these cultist. They then burst into another room where they see two priests also packing.
Before they have a chance to attack, one of the priests says “Stop. I recognise who you are and there is no need to attack us. We are leaving, you are too late. Imix has been summoned and we are all leaving before this temple is flooded with lava. It appears that now we have achieved our task, our wonderful new leader, Mae Chen, has no more use for us”.
“Where is Mae Chen”, says Morythas, “We would still like to ‘discuss matters’ with her”.
The priest considers for a moment, and then gives detailed directions for finding the temple to Imix where he believes Mae Chen will be found. “Vanifer was more than a leader to me”, he says, “she was my friend for a long time. Please, send Mae Chen my regards.”.
The heroes follow the directions. They are able to pass through a group of cultists without aggression by simply stating that they are looking for Mae Chen. They are directed to a red door which they pass through. They hear a female voice talking, in the tone of someone reporting. But they decide not to stop and listen – now is a time for action. They burst in the room, ready for confrontation.
Mae Chen hears them enter and turns away from an alter to Imix. “Morythas and Tito! How good to see you again, my old friends. And Kleris, I had heard you were dead so I’m guessing that Aimn Lu has come into his own. Where is he, and please, introduce me to your new companions. Come, come, there is no need to be agressive. We have no reason to fight, you have already been defeated. Imix has been released, and thanks to your efforts in destroying the other portals, he has no enemies to stand in his way.”
“This is no time to talk”, says Morythas, “You used us. Why would you want to release Imix into the world”.
“It is all part of a much bigger plan”, says Mae Chen, “one that your tiny mortal minds are too small to comprehend. But you still look as if you want to attack me? Perhaps I should show you my true form, so that you can see how futile such efforts would be”.
With that she transforms – becoming a humanoid tiger with strange backwards hands – A Rakshasa.
Morythas and Layna know of these demons – Layna through her arcane studies and Morythas through his religous studies. They both know that Rakshasa are powerful immortal beings that spend millennia putting obscure plans into place, and that care nothing for the lives of mere mortals.
“Yes”, says Mae Chen, " I am one of the Lords of Dust. I was with your friend Aimn Lu as I had noticed when her returned to the world and what he is. There is no other mortal in the world with the potential he has. But when you took me into the dragons lair and a recognised the feel of one of the ancient elemental keys I felt the opportunity to put some other plans into play."
“I would leave if I were you”, she continues, “when Imix has regained his strength this entire region will become a fire blasted waste. I would travel quickly if I were you. First the Black Hills will be destroyed, followed by much of Breeland, Thrane, Aundair and the Eldeen Reaches. You see that if you fight me you will die. Accept your defeat and flee now. This world will not end in your lifetime and you will still be able to lead quiet and fulfilling lives elsewhere”.
“BY SYBERUS, YOU WILL NOT SEE US SHOW OUR BELLIES TO YOU” shouts Morythas and he runs in to attack. The spellcasters in the group start casting their most powerful spells at Mae Chen. But they appear to have no affect. Mae Chen simply glances at Tito whose eyes glaze over. Tito then starts attacking Morythas.
Realising that Mae Chen appears to be immune to magical effects, the group run in to attack hand to hand. But some of the weapons seem to have little effect. However Morythas hammer begins glowing with a holy light and his weapon seems to be lighter in his hand, but heavier when it hits. He is able to do more damage than the rest of the group.
Kleris, realising that his spells do not work, takes a moment to carefully assess his enemy and realises that at her side is a red hilted dagger, sitting in a leather scabbard. He realises that this is the elemental weapon, Tinderstrike, the weapon with the ability to close the fire portal. It might be too late, but he decides that they may still need that weapon.
He uses his telekinesis ability to try and remove the dagger from the scabbard. He finds that although Mae Chen is immune to magical effects, the dagger still moves. With difficulty he manages to remove it from the scabbard. However Mae Chen feels the activity. “NO” she shouts, grabbing the dagger as it begins to float away from her. However she is being attacked and Kleris is able to wrench the weapon from her grasp.
It immediately starts whispering in his head, trying to convince him that he needs to bond with it if he wants to close the portal, that he cannot trust his friends, that there is power here that he could use for a greater good. But Kleris has spent much of his adulthood listening to whispers from much more powerful entities. He is not fooled by these temptations.
Unbelievably, the heroes seem to be doing a lot of damage to Mae Chen. Recognising this, she holds up a hand and suddenly disappears. The heroes have a fleeting image of her standing on a landing at the edge of a city made of brass floating in a lake of fire. Then she is gone. They have defeated a Rakshasa.
But there is no time to lose. Imix has been released. The heroes rush back to the stone platform and descend to the fire node. Faith turns invisible and uses her ability to fly to scout around. She finds the control that raises stepping stones for the rest of the group to cross over the lava lake and activates it. All the human cultists appear to have left this area, but other creatures remain. They manage to fool a fire giant to get past the secret entrance he guards, convince salamanders that they are the new leaders of the cult and pass through into some luxurious chambers.
Quickly scouting, Faith finds in a bedchamber a small portrait of herself when she was a child. Very confused she quickly stores this portrait away in her pack. Then they peer up a passageway leading north and see a titanic cavern filled with a lake of gently undulating magma. A rough, uneven causeway of natural rock leads out into the middle, to a point where two crooked pillars
of glassy black rock jut up on either side of a great altar of the same stone. Just beyond the altar, a gargantuan stone colossus rises from the lava to its waist, its head thrown back as if in agony. Tears of lava stream down its face, and lava wells from its gaping mouth. Above the colossus’s head hovers a great orb of fire and light—a miniature sun with motes of fire swirling around it. In front of the collossus, a huge creature made of fire rests in the lake of magma. It radiates power, but the heroes see it slowly pulsating, drawing energy from both the magma and the portal. With each pulse, it grows slightly bigger.
The heroes know that they cannot defeat this enemy. They need to strike the portal with the dagger. “Kleris, give me the dagger, I can get it up there”, says Faith. Kleris has a moment of hesitation as the dagger tries to convince him otherwise, but gives it up. Faith then drinks a potion of speed, turns invisible again and flies up towards the portal, the other heroes waiting and watching. However Imix seems to be immediately aware of her presence. Faith is able to fly behind the portal.
“Run”, shouts Kleris to the rest of the group, “I’ll distract him, this was my purpose for returning from the dead”. The rest of the party begin to flee, but there is another roar as a large red dragon flies into the salamader chamber, their only exit.
Kleris start casting his most powerful spells at Imix. These barely dent the creature, but they are enough to distract him. He shoots two bursts of fire at Kleris, the first missing, but the second enveloping the passage and nearly killing Kleris outright.
But that is enough of a distraction. Faith flies above the portal and hurls the dagger in. The portal immediately begins to implode, sucking in Imix, magma and the surrounding air. Faith is able to fly away, and the party begin to flee. They defeat the dragon, then the fire giant and quickly retrace their steps out of the series of complexes and out to a fine, clear morning. They have defeated the princes of elemental evil and the cults that served them.
1. Vanifer was Faith’s long lost mother. She is still imprisoned in the fire temple.
2. Aimn Lu is the last of the line of Vol – a bloodline that was thought to be extinct. Now that his dragonmark of death ha shown itself he will be of great interest to many, and many will want him dead.
3. The water portal has not been destroyed. Layna has the key to that portal and the elemental weapon, drown, is slowly changing her mind regarding the concept of summoning the Olahydra, the Prince of Water into the world. Layna will need to be stopped at some point.
4. Tito is still being hunted by enemies unknown. Now he is famous they will be able to track him down, and he will know why he is being hunted.
5. Morythas, through his wish he made with the genie, has a romance to complete. He has a dragonborn princess to woo, but to do so he will need to prove his worth. This will be difficult with his family background. He also finds himself on a holy quest to track down Aimn Lu to protect and fight with him so that the most ancient of dragons can be restored, leading potentially to the rebirth of Siberys.
6. A civil war has begun, with two dragonmarked houses taking over the ‘regency’ of Breeland. The rightful heir has been smuggled out to a safe place, but the wrong people know where he is.
7. Warforged have taken over control of Sharn. What does this mean.
8. Mae Chen was defeated, but escaped. She will return, and will want vengence for her escape.
9. Kleris just gets weirder and weirder, and his focus becomes more obscure. He may forget that individual humans are important, rather than just the overall picture of humanity.
10. As for Kir. He finds that he gains much fame and glory and he makes the most of it. Despite that, and despite much research for a magical cure he is unable to win his battle against hair loss.