End Game

The Red Wizards
While catching their breath in Rezmir’s chamber, the heroes heard some kobolds come open the cool storage across the hall. They were babbling about how the cultists didn’t understand the dragon, Cloudchaser, like they did. One kobold reminded another that the best thing to do was to just toss the frozen meat into the cave and then run. Kree forgot to do that yesterday and is now a permanent fixture of Cloudchaser’s lair. The heroes filed this information away for later.

Flint convinced the others that they needed to confront the Red Wizards in their hidden sanctuary before doing anything else. Roscoe attempted to trick the wizards into coming out into the antechamber by posing as a cultist summoning them to speak with Rezmir, but the wizards wouldn’t bite, replying that Rezmir could come and see them herself.

Recovering quickly, Roscoe shouted that Rezmir couldn’t come because she’d been killed by a bear and that actually the wizards needed to let him in because the bear was going to kill him next! It was unlikely that the wizards bought this story either but it did get them to open the door at least. Azbara Jos himself ushered the heroes in and introduced them to his superior, Rath Modar, who eyed them up haughtily from his position behind a lectern.

The heroes were surprised that the Thayans would actually invite them in, but things quickly turned sour as Rath remarked that he had little patience for ruffians seeking to stop the inevitable. The heroes bristled at this, and as a fight broke out, it turned out that the Rath standing at the lectern was just an illusion. The real Rath was invisibly watching them from somewhere else in the room.

One of the gargoyle statues animated and moved to attack Flint. Roscoe stabbed Azbara with his daggers, then Skie bashed him over the head with the butt of her axe, knocking him out cold. Rather reappeared near another vanishing wall and attempted to cast a defensive spell on himself which Flint was able to counter. Soon after, the gargoyle was finished off by Flint and Keo in bear form.

Frustrated, Rath vanished again before loosing a fireball, which set much of the room’s contents on fire. The outer wall then vanished, revealing another landing platform, and Flint surmised that Rath had just fled. After securing Azbara, the heroes set about saving what papers they could from the flames.

Flint used his scroll of comprehend languages to identify the hefty tome that Rath had been reading as a book full of devil-summoning rituals. There was even a whole chapter devoted to summoning Tiamat herself, although the specifics of the ritual itself weren’t included in the book. Knowing that his Harper superiors would want to see it, he gingerly stuffed the book into his bag of holding, although with various letters showing that Rath Modar was in contact with Severin, the leader of the Cult of the Dragon, as well as various other Red Wizards back in Thay. It was clear from this correspondence that Rath was an instrumental player in the Thayan Resurrection resistance movement.

The Vampire
The heroes deposited the unconscious Azbara in Rezmir’s room and left Keo to guard him while they headed back upstairs to deal with the vampire. First, though, they opted to quickly explore the rest of the buildings on this level. The first building turned out to be a stables housing several wyverns. It appeared that the wyverns they’d ridden to the castle had been moved in here as well. Not wanting to disturb the ornery creatures, the heroes moved on. The next building was a barracks housing approximately a dozen cultists, most of whom appeared to be resting. Not wanting to disturb them either, the heroes moved on to the last building, which looked to be a kitchen full of kobold servants watched over by a griffon. How odd!

Heading back up the icy stairs to the upper courtyard, the heroes discovered that their rope was still attached to the side of the vampire’s tower. Roscoe scrambled up first, followed by Skie, who then lifted the one-armed Flint up to the open doorway.

The lid of the vampire’s coffin was closed, and the one surviving minion was nowhere in sight. Roscoe hefted the makeshift stake Flint had fashioned for him from an arrow and crept towards the coffin. Just as he was reaching for the lid, the remaining vampire spawn leapt out from behind the coffin and grabbed him. The wiry Halfling slipped free and stabbed at the creature with his dragontooth dagger. Skie then stepped up and slashed at with her axe. Although the creature managed to get its fangs into Skie’s neck again, it was not enough. Blade and spell swiftly ended its miserable unlife.

Cautiously, the companions raised the lid of the coffin, fully expecting the vampire to be waiting for them … but no, it appeared she had gone back to sleep. Without hesitation, Roscoe thrust the stake into the vampire’s heart. As her eyes popped open in surprise, Skie slashed down at the vampire’s neck. The three heroes then wrestled the coffin off the mound of dirt and slid it across the icy floor to the open doorway, where they pushed it out into the air. It smashed open on the ground, exposing the vampire’s body to the harsh sunlight. Like Rezmir, she was soon reduced to ash.

Now all they had to was tackle the dragon, Cloudchaser.

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