With Brother Gondith killed, the survivors in the temple of Heironeous turn to the party for guidance, as most of them have witnessed some of the party’s impressive magical, and physical, abilities. The leader of the small group of city guards, Raxthis, defers to the party as well, as he knows the small group of guards has no hope of fighting back the demons without the party’s help. Cham casts a Divination spell to commune with Pharsma for guidance, asking “What is the best way to save the human residents of Gatetown?” The god’s deflating answer resounds in the chambers of Cham’s mind, “Evil gathers around you now, nowhere in the city is safe.”
The party debates their options. Swashy suggests that in a decimated city filled to the brim with bloodthirsty demons, all of the party’s options end up with them dead. The group doesn’t give up hope, though, and they decide the best plan is to simply make a run for it to try to get the large pack of survivors they have out of the city. The main gates of the city are pretty far away from the temple of Heironeous, so they decide the best plan is to head to the nearby Gala’s Lift and attempt to travel down the Great Ridge to Lowerton below. The party can then regroup and figure out how to get back up the ridge and into the city to take care of Tirinil… and somehow, hopefully, the army of summoned demons.
Cham only has enough magical reserves remaining to cast one Protection from Evil spell over a large 20ft. circle. They estimate they can cram at least 30 people into such a circle if it moves slowly through the city streets. There are a little over 40 citizens along with 12 city guards, so they nominate a dozen of the heartiest looking survivors to join the dozen city guards outside of Cham’s magical circle of protection. He plans to center the spell on a former city official, Gundiv, who has at least some air of authority to help keep the group together. If any of the starved, weakened citizens step outside of the circle it will likely be their end.
Cham also plans to cast a Silence spell on Gundiv and one on Barlongren. The magic extends in a broad area around the spell’s recipient, ensuring everyone in the group will be protected against the slaad’s paralyzing croaks. The hand-picked citizens equip themselves with some weapons from the temple’s armory, and many of them are given a vial of holy water to ensure any lemures the group encounters are finished off for good. After Cham and Myx prepare their spells for the day, a guard calls Barlongren over to a nearby window. The barbarian can see that a large group of demons is amassing outside the front gates of the temple, clearly anticipating the magical wards to fall soon.
The party gathers everyone together and heads to the back entrance of the temple. They remind everyone of the plan once more, then Cham casts his protective spells over the group. Myx also takes the opportunity to cast a Protection from Evil spell on herself. The rest of the party members decline such an enchantment, as it is broken if any of them attempt to attack a demon in melee combat. They all anticipate having to cut a swath through the streets for the large pack of survivors, so they will have to forego any such protection.
The pack of survivors hurriedly files out onto the street. Gundiv steps out first, and the remaining survivors rush out and encircle him. There are numerous demons gathering at the back of the temple, but thankfully not as many as the party saw out front. The demons immediately descend on the pack of survivors in a fury. Several dretches and lemures are led by a slaad, and a couple of spinagons dive down from the sky.
The demons are all taken by surprise as they slam into the protective barrier of Cham’s Protection from Evil spell. Unfortunately, one elderly man doesn’t quite position himself correctly, leaving some of his body dangling out of the invisible magical circle. A pair of dretches seizes him and drags him out of the spell’s ward, ripping him to shreds in an instant.
Though the remaining citizens are safe, they cannot move past the wall of demons standing in the middle of the street. Cham was careful to inform Gundiv that if the spell’s barrier was pressed forward against a demon in an offensive manner, the protective enchantment would dissolve. The party members, along with the armed survivors and city guardsmen, pour into the street and tear into the demons. A bloody melee ensues, and many of the armed survivors are lost, along with a few of the city guards. The party quickly takes care of the slaad and a few of the more powerful spinagons, leaving the weak dretches and lemures to the other soldiers. Soon, a path is cut open in the street and the corpses of a dozen demons lay strewn about the cobblestones.
Holy water is dashed upon the dead lemures, and the group of survivors hurries down the street as quickly as they can, carefully straining to maintain their circular formation as they move. They head south from the temple, in the direction of Gala’s Lift. Myx spies the large group of demons that had been amassing at the front doors of the temple circling around the building to intercept the group of survivors. They are mostly lesser demons, including at least 20 lemures, and they are all foolishly packed together as they move down a narrow side street. The elf pulls out her Wand of Lightning, and the air sizzles as a bolt of lightning cracks into the demons. Over a dozen demons are incinerated by the magical blast. Her companions make quick work of the remaining demons, including a slaad who desperately tries to belt out its paralyzing croak but is met with only silence.
The streets are soon cleared of demons, though almost all of the armed survivors and the majority of the guardsmen have perished in the fighting. Raxthis is wounded but still alive, and three other guardsmen are still standing. Ja’apel, who looked able to help with the fighting, is nowhere to be found, though eventually the party spies the roguish man. He has worked his way into the circle of survivors surrounding Gundiv, and shrugs sheepishly when the party catches his eye.
The party turns its attention to the sky, where four eyewing demons begin circling above. The monsters rain down their large, acidic tears on to the survivors, as the ranged attacks can bypass Cham’s Protection from Evil spell. Several of the tired, weakened survivors fall to the demon’s onslaught before the party draws the eyewings’ attention their way. Along with the guardsmen, they pepper the demons with arrows, and Myx unleashes a swarm of Magic Missiles at the creatures. The demons target the party with their acidic tears, and Myx is severely injured. But the party’s attacks, along with the help of the remaining guardsmen, are too much and the eyewings soon plummet from the sky, tumbling lifeless to the city streets below.
The group presses onward through the eerily empty city streets. A spinagon bursts out of a nearby building as the survivors pass, but the party hastily dispatches the demon. Having decimated what resistance they’ve met so far, the demons appear to have regrouped, and the party fears what may await them at Gala’s Lift.
They finally turn onto a wide avenue that leads to the lift, and see a swarm of demons surrounding the steps leading up to the magical construct. The large block of stone rests in its dock, spanning the White River just before the water tumbles over in the Great Falls. A dozen dretches, five spinagons, and three slaad stand in a line across the steps leading up to the lift itself.
Myx unleashes a lightning bolt from her Wand of Lightning from a distance, but the creatures do not break formation. It seems the demons have figured out how Cham’s spell works, and are refusing to give an opening for the pack of survivors to quickly make their way onto the lift. More importantly, after the time spent travelling through the city streets, Cham’s Silence spells will expire very soon, leaving the group vulnerable to the slaad’s devastating magical croak attacks. If they cannot dispatch the slaad before the spells expire, the party knows they will have no hope of defeating the demons. Not to mention, the group is the largest pack of demons the party has faced yet, and they have barely any city guardsmen left to lend support.
Cham casts an Emotion Control spell on Swashy to give her courage and strength in battle, while Myx unleashes another lightning bolt with her wand. It singes some of the slaad and spinagons on the stairs, but the powerful demons survive the attack. Two dretches caught in the blast are incinerated, though.
Barlongren decides there’s no sense in delaying the bloodshed, and charges forward. The demons eagerly surround the barbarian, tearing into him with a flurry of claws, fangs, and spiked tails. The warrior is set upon on all sides, and suffers a number of grievous injuries, including a slaad egg being injected into his body. He buckles for a moment under the swarm of demons, as several dretches leap onto his back.
But Barlongren is no stranger to pain. Drawing upon his fighting instincts, honed from years of training under Malek Tal’s brutal tutelage, the barbarian unleashes his inner primal being and enters into a crazed battle rage. He snaps his shoulders back, throwing off his coat of demons, and begins laying into the monsters with his magical axe. Inky blood squirts out of the creatures’ hides, as Barlongren tears into the demons with inhuman ferocity.
Swashy soon arrives to join the fray, slicing and dicing demons with her sabre. She parries a number of blows with her main gauche, but the demons are so many, the swashbuckler is soon heavily injured. Cham rushes to the melee as well, and the city guardsmen rain down arrows on some of the dretches on the fringes of the battle. To the party’s horror, some reinforcements come across Gala’s Lift where they had been guarding the stairs on the other side. Yet another slaad, and three more spinagon rush headlong towards the battle. Cham’s Silence spell is almost finished, and the party isn’t close to bringing down all of the slaad, let alone finishing off the hordes of other demons standing before them.
Myx decides it’s time to use her most powerful magic. The wizard calls up a spell of Confusion, laying the arcane effect across the lift where it captures most of the more powerful demons while excluding the other party members. All but one of the slaad are able to shake off the magical attack, but almost every spinagon is affected. The winged demons break off from the melee, standing about with quizzical looks. Two of the demons even begin clawing at each other. One of the spinagons leaps at Myx with its claws, but is summarily rejected by her Protection from Evil spell.
The party seizes the opportunity to press the attack against the slaad. Swashy stabs at one with her sabre, finally activating the weapon’s magic on a worthy opponent as the demon is instantly slain. Barlongren takes down another of the frog-like creatures with a vicious swing of his axe, and Cham fells a third with his khopesh. Myx unleashes yet another lightning bolt from her wand at the remaining confused slaad, though the creature survives the magical blast.
The party has started to turn the tide of battle, but Barlongren and Swashy are perilously close to death. Blood streams from numerous cuts covering both of them, and Swashy grimaces at the knowledge that two slaad eggs have entered her body. The guardsmen finish off most of the remaining dretches with their bow shots, but the demons get in one more volley of attacks. The party can’t believe their eyes as both Barlongren and Swashy suffer the swipe of a claw from a dretch and a spinagon. The warriors have no business staying on their feet, but somehow they both barely manage to turn the blows aside just enough to survive the attacks.
The party presses on the offensive and finally finishes off most of their remaining opponents as Cham’s Silence spell fades. The cleric takes advantage of the opportunity to speak magical words, and casts a healing spell on Barlongren. Only one slaad remains, but it is fortunately still under the effects of Myx’s Confusion spell and does not think to use its croak attack with the Silence spell gone.
The party surrounds the demon and chops it to bits, then motions the survivors to quickly pile onto the lift. They flip a lever protruding from the stone slab’s dock, and the magical construct lurches into motion. As they descend in front of the Great Falls, a few more spinagons and eyewings fly over the ridge to chase after the descending survivors, but the arrows of the party and the city guardsmen make pincushions of any demons that venture close to the group. The ground inches closer and closer, and the party breathes a sigh of relief when Gala’s Lift finally touches down in Lowerton.