The battle with the Nycaloth continued in it’s frustration as the demon would rush in to attack and then teleport away. It was difficult to get many attacks off on him. It also led Badding, Puck and Earendil into a battle with 4 of the deep gnome spectres that had been previously avoided. But between Badding’s holy strikes, Templeton’s sneak attacks, and Puck’s magic 3 of the 4 specters were destroyed and the last one sunk into the floor and ran off.
But meanwhile Brenn and Quintus were trying to free the prisoners from the horrific chains and hooks running through their bodies. Brenn had pried loose one of the humans but the fall from the ceiling had killed him. Quintus used his revivify spell to bring him back to life. Brenn then pried loose the second human but this time Quintus was there to catch the human as he fell and shield him from the heavy chain with his armored back. Using the same method, Brenn and Quintus freed the aarokokra and the drow. But once they were all down on the ground, they each still had nasty chains and hooks running through their bodies and were wracked with terrible pain.
Quintus tried using his field medic skills to carefully remove the chains from the aarokokra. It proved very difficult and damaging a process, however. The aarokokra died. But Quintus used another revivify spell to bring it back to life. Then he used a mass heal spell to heal all the prisoners and increase his chances of success in freeing them from the chains. Templeton spoke with the prisoners as they were all conscious now. It turned out the aarokokra was a female. Her name was Kasra. She warned Templeton that she had been captured by the Feathergale Knights of Feathergale Spire. The Feathergale Knights had brought her down here as an offering to the Air Cult. In fact the two human prisoners were actually Feathergale Knights. Templeton found the aarokokra difficult to read but his gut told him she was telling the truth. This was reinforced by his closer examination of the two humans. Their garb although obscured by being torn and bloodied was in keeping with what the Feathergale Knights wore. Being so deep underground really unnerved Kasra even more than the Nycaloth’s chains. Badding understood. He gave her one of his silvered javelins and wished her well on her attempt to get back to the open air. Templeton showed her his makeshift map he had made of the complex and tried to explain the best way for her get up and out. And with that she took her leave and flew off.
The drow’s name was Balix. He was an explorer who came into the howling caverns from the Underdark. He found more than he had bargained for as the howling hatred priests captured him and gave him over to the Nycaloth and his hellish torture. He just wanted to be set free. Quintus said, ‘Praise Tempus I am going to set you free, Balix.’ as he slowly removed the chain from the drow’s thigh. Balix was silent when encouraged by Quintus to praise the name of Tempus. Templeton gave Balix a piece of leather to bite down on as the pain was excruciating. Quintus was successful but he had one more chain to go that was run through the drow’s bicep. Quintus began to pull gently but then said, ‘oops…’ Templeton looked over at the cleric with wide eyes, ‘what do you mean oops?’ But the drow’s arm popped off and his blood poured out of the empty socket as he expired. ‘Dag gum, I thought I had it. Guess not. Oh well, who’s next?’ said Quintus.
The two Feathergale Knights looked away from the dead drow in horror and then looked at each in terror. Quintus approached the knights and said, ‘Now that here drow didn’t praise the name of Tempus and I think it cost him. But I know that if you two give yourselves over to Tempus and his glory he will see you through this.’ Both knights started to scream the praises of Tempus as Quintus tried a faster approach thinking it might be better to just yank out the chains instead of going slowly. The first knight was already hurt from Brenn having tried to cut his chains earlier and pulling out the chain did just enough damage to put him over the edge into death. The last feathergale knight yelled so loud that Quintus thought he was indeed truly a believer in Tempus. And in fact the knight did convert to Tempus right then and there. Just before Quintus accidentally ripped out his spine along with the chains and he died instantly.
Templeton shook his head as he surveyed all three remaining prisoners dead before him. ‘Quintus, you are definitely much better at taking people apart than putting them back together.’ But Quintus just smiled, he had converted his first believer in Tempus (and earned an inspiration point).
The party decided to leave the Nycaloth. It had not showed itself for some time and was probably content to watch Quintus’ pain inflicting attempts to remove the chains and hooks. The party needed to find Vizeran Devir. Time was running out. Templeton turned invisible and began to scout ahead using his darkvision. A large area of the Howling Caverns was explored it turned out to be a vast and expansive complex.
Far to the northwest, Templeton found a huge air elemental with blood and body parts strewn about the caves. He wisely avoided the creature and snuck around. He also found a connection to the very cold and frigid caves previously encountered. There was once section that could not be seen. Badding wanted to fly in and out quickly to see if anything important was beyond the frigid caves. Puck thought it was a bad idea and counciled against it. But Badding went for it anyway. He flew in only to find naught but ice and cold. As hew flew out he was forced to make a constitution save. He failed and got pushed to level 2 exhaustion from the cold. That means his speed is halved – a major penalty. Phil apologized to Sam but Sam said nothing giving Phil the silent treatment for some time. But everyone laughed when it turned out Sam had just gone to the bathroom and wasn’t really ignoring Phil.
To the east Templeton found a group of 4 Howling Hatred Priests guarding a tunnel. He tried to sneak past them only to discover that the priests were illusory as 2 Barlgura Demons leaped to attack him. The demons had been hiding invisibly and were able to see through Templeton’s invisibility. They got the drop on him, but Templeton sprinted away and got back behind Brenn who moved forward to engage them.
The two Barlgura Demons moved swiftly up the passage. The first tried to flip over Brenn but his readied attack stopped the creature in its tracks. The second, however, was able to flip over Brenn and reach a flanking position. Both demons tore into Brenn pretty good with their claws and teeth but the brave warrior held his ground. Brenn and everyone else focused their attacks on the northern demon and destroyed it. But the southern one fought on. Nineteen of the 24 hours that The Dark Lady said we had to stop Vizeran Devir had passed. Time was running out.