The party continued its exploration of the Forge Complex, following the trail of Jelia and Valsath. Traveling through an all-too-quiet corridor, the party reached closed double doors. Opening them, the party found themselves confronting a number of hobgoblins who were just finishing arming themselves to ambush the party. Combat ensued in which the party was triumphant.
Carefully exploring the room, Aelar found a secret door. She picked the hidden lock with ease revealing a shaft with metal rungs on the side that led down to a sloping tunnel barely large enough for the barbarian Thundarr to crawl through.
Upon emerging, the party discovered themselves on a catwalk over a chamber full of lava. At the other end of the catwalk stood the shade of Hestius, the artificer who had created the Hestian Forge, and two mechanical drakes.
“I warned to leave while you had the chance,” said Hestius. “Nothing you can do can stop my Calamachia from her work. You will not get past me. Turn back now or die.”
“Nuts,” muttered Alec Starblood and he raced forward over the catwalk. Thirty feet below, bubbled lava, the heat making the room almost unbearable. A grate about 10 feet above the lava showed burnt humanoid remains of those who had fallen from the catwalk, a dire warning to the party.
The paladin Sarag and the barbarian Thundarr followed Alec across the catwalk. As Hestius saw the party charging, he cried out an enchantment and raised his hands high. To the horror of the party, a gout of flame burst from the lava and poured over Aelar. She cried out in pain, blasted back by the impact. Aelar writhed in pain as the flames continued to lick at her, burning her flesh. She managed to fight through the pain, her training and discipline helping her.
Coldly angry, Sarag cast a blessing on one of Alec’s swords which began glowing softly with a peaceful radiance. Alec charged forward, but a trap door on the catwalk opened. Only Alec’s nimbleness kept him from tumbling to the lava below. Aelar recovered enough to leap the gap and attack Hestius. She was rewarded by Hestius’ howl of pain and the shade moved off to the other side of the trapdoor, unwittingly putting him in reach of the rest of the party. But Aelar became the object of the drake’s instincts to protect Hestius and was raked by their claws adding to her wounds.
As the living flames of forge wisps rose out of the lava to attack the party, Sarag laid into Hestius with a mighty blow that caused the shade to reel in pain. Aelar recovered enough to strike Hestius with a flurry of blows driven by her pain. Essler followed up with a blast that finally destroyed the shade. Hestius cried out, “No, no! You cannot possibly do this to me!.” He disappeared in a swirl of dark energy. A ring clattered the catwalk where Hestius had been. Automatically, Alec picked it up and put it in his pocket and returned to the battle.
With Hestius gone, the party made quick work of the drakes and wisps and paused to recover and ready themselves for the final fight.
- Hestius appears to be finally laid to rest.
- He dropped a ring and Alec picked it up.
- Aelar is badly hurt, her hair burnt off and her skin cracked and burnt. Even with the magic of healing potions or clerical magic, she will probably be horribly scarred for life.