Kyra and Sexy left Peter and the bag of silver with Peter and left to go to Sexy’s house. There was nothing else to be done at the present and Sexy’s parents lived close. People were still up when the women arrived. Kyra continued to befriend the elven servants, but Sexy thought herself above such people and simply avoided speaking to them except to give orders.
The next morning after breakfast, Peter decided to find all the shops on the collection list. He soon found a spot that allowed him to watch 3 or 4 of the locations at once. After last night’s assassination of the Splitstreet Gang member, retribution was sure. It was likely that several members of the gang would be sent as a show of power.
There would be no way to stop a group that size, but stopping them wasn’t the goal. Large numbers would be difficult to remain discrete. Peter would easily be able to identify the group and then track them back to their hideout.
Peter remained on the street all morning, reading a periodical and otherwise appearing to simply be out enjoying the day. While Peter stayed in plain sight all day, Sexy cowered inside for fear of life. If someone were to learn she were responsible for the death of one of the Splitstreet Gang, someone may come after her. Chances were that the Vashta Na’rada were already hunting her. Hadn’t the inn keeper in Silverwood mentioned someone was looking for her? Not good. Not good.
While Sexy wrung her hands in fret, Kyra decided to ferret out information about Tiranna by talking to the servants at Sexy’s house. Unfortunately, these were not the worldly elves that Kyra was used to dealing with and her efforts didn’t give her any new information. The only result was that it did somewhat unsettle the household a little.
After waiting most of the morning and afternoon staking out the shops scheduled for extortion without event, Peter decided to be more direct in his search. He stopped by Gadka, the dwarven shop keeper he had attempted to help the night before. The question was whether the members of the Splitstreet Gang had a particular style of dress or anything to distinguish them from any other citizen. Gadka was helpful in describing the lightly armored, rapier wielding gang and then Peter was on his way.
It was late into the afternoon when a solitary Splitstreet Gang member came wandering down the street where Peter was. He seemed at ease and complacent. This was his territory and he felt unchallenged. Maybe, he was unaware of his missing partner in crime or maybe he just didn’t care.
Peter decided it would be too difficult to try to follow the agile young thief on foot, so he tried something new. A trace spell would allow him to simply know where he was without the danger of discovery. Of course, that assumed he was able to time the lengthy spell to target him just as he passed by. There was still a danger of being caught, but the gamble paid off and the man became the subject of a trace spell without any commotion.
Peter remained on the street continuing his stake out. The trace showed the man stopping into random shops and then spending several hours in a restaurant. When the trace pointed out of the city, Peter decided to check out the restaurant. There was nothing especially noteworthy except that the food was overpriced and the atmosphere pretentious.
More hours on the street and more nothing. It was becoming twilight. Eventually, the trace stopped moving somewhere outside the city. After some time, Peter decided to go check it out. He found a private place, turned invisible and then teleported into the general area where the thief had decided to stay. It was there he saw a large water feature in the center of a well lit room. Four men were there lounging around apparently on sentry duty. At last, the entrance to the Splitstreet Gang’s headquarters.
To his back was darkness. A cave perhaps? A high skill in levitate came in handy to cast silently and Peter silently and invisibility made his way into the cave. A short distance into the cave and the smell of woodlands filled the air. Within minutes, Peter had found the entrance to the cave. Scouting around, there was a secluded area close to the cave. After creating a teleportation beacon, Peter left to find his friends.
Sexy and Kyra must have been productive because Kyra had new information that the mission to find the book of swords was related to Tiranna and the Splitstreet Gang. Peter had no idea how Kyra came to these insights. She was always talking to herself and seemed delusional at times. All the same, it suited him that he was actually keeping to his mission by seeking to stop Tiranna and the Splitstreet Gang from tyrannizing Gotham.
After dinner, the party teleported to the beacon. Sexy teleported herself and Peter took Kyra. Of course, Peter needed to rest after so much effort. Although he used more magic, he recovered much faster than Sexy and lent her energy to get the party ready to fight sooner. As preparation, Peter case blur and haste on everyone. Later, it became obvious that this was a mistake because it became much more difficult for him to cast new magic while maintaining these spells.
The group approached the area that Peter had seen the thieves stood guard. Sexy in front, Kyra next and Peter in the rear. It was single file through the entry way. The guards were on Sexy right away before she could get through the door. It was impossible to shoot either arrow or fireball without risking a hit to Sexy’s back side.
Sexy swung wildly with her naginata, missing as much as hitting. These were skilled fighters and most times her sword would simply pass through where they were only moments before. Eventually, Sexy drove back the guards enough to step into the room and Kyra began to wreak havoc with her bow. Sexy was stabbed again and again with the rapiers, but little damage got through because of superior armor.
Then enemies began to fall. Sexy didn’t have any reservations about taking time to coup de grace right in the heat of battle with enemies still threatening party members. Eventually, the battle began to turn and a single thief stood between the party and the entrance. He did what any noble thief would do… he ran as fast as he could.
Speed isn’t something that the party does well. Peter had one chance to stop the guard before he escaped through the doorway. He prepared an over strong explosive fireball and hurled it into the escape path… and missed horribly. There was nothing to stop the alarm from being raised. 4 guards were enough of a fight. The party didn’t need to have an army organized against it.
Despite being slow in all other ways, the group had one way to get around quickly and Peter put that to use in an attempt to salvage the mission. Great Haste allowed him to teleport then teleport again. Curving passageways prevented him from getting a clear shot. Finally, there was a long hall. Peter attempted to explode the thief again. This time it connected. He was moving so fast that it looked like he was going to get away. Another teleport and another explosive fireball. Just a few more feet and the thief would make the corner
By then Kyra had rounded the corner. Kyra let loose with her bow and finally the man was down. Sexy had spent extra time making sure that their enemies were indeed dead and lagged behind. Kyra had just joined Peter at the body of the fallen guard when Sexy came around the corner. Sexy should have been concerned about defending her tired and weakened. Who knows what could come around the corner where the final enemy fell? Instead, she had only one thing on her mind… a huge pile of rubies just laying in an alcove off the hallway.
Sexy ran straight for the rubies presumably with the idea to secret away as much loot from the party as possible. When she reached for the rubies, they disappeared. The ground started shaking and a rumbling of heavy stone moving. Dust began to poor from the ceiling and floor then the walls defining the alcove collapsed.
From the dust erupted a huge gray render. A gaping maw showed row after row of misshapen razor sharp teeth. His roar was deafening. The gray render’s breath was hot and filled the tight space of the hallway with the smell of rotten potatoes and rotting flesh.
Kyra and Peter were cut off from the entrance. Peter was too tired to attempt to teleport Kyra and there was no way to outrun the monster that Sexy had unleashed. What’s more is the Peter’s great haste had expired, which made him all, but useless in combat. That’s when something strange happened.
Under normal circumstances, Sexy would run away from a superior foe. Hadn’t she just spend lots of silver to learn how to teleport for exactly this kind of situation? Running isn’t what she did. She stood toe to toe with the gray render and stabbed at it with her naginata. Retaliating with both claws, the gray render struck a devastating blow to Sexy. Surely, this would be enough to convince her to run, but no. She stood her ground and fought.
Arrows and the occasional sunbolt peppered the gray render, nothing could divert its attention away from Sexy. It was wounded now and was thrashing wilding usually hitting nothing but air. Then another tremendous blow to Sexy. There was not much keeping her on her feet, but somehow she managed to continue fighting. Surely, now would be the time for her to escape, but no. Sexy would not retreat even though another single blow would surely be the end of her.
In the end, the gray render succumbed to his wounds and the party was victorious in no small part to Sexy. After dragging the fallen enemy into the alcove in hopes of hiding their presence, the party rested. After a while, Peter healed Sexy and Kyra of their wounds. Peter had suffered no injury because of his magic. If only it didn’t take so much of a toll on him he’d be very formidable.
It must have been the better part of an hour before the party was able to continue. Yet, no one came wandering by and nothing eventful happened. When the party resumed their search of the dungeon, a deathly silence had fallen through the tunnels. Even the slightest sound was amplified. It felt like the party was blowing a trumpet for all the perceived noise made just from the sound of their feet.
Edging down the corridor, the party came to an intersection going right. There were doors further down the hall and a door down to the right. Not knowing which way to turn, the group turned to the right and tried the door. Closet… empty. Then back to the first door in the first hall. Listening, there was the sound of a voice chanting.
Ready to pounce, the group opened the door and found 6 animated dead and a necromancer working on a 7th one in the corner. Sexy was quick to attack the animated dead. A fireball exploded among tightly packed walked corpses. Kyra also got a shot in on the undead. It wasn’t until the next round that anyone really took notice of the necromancer. He began casting a spell, but Kyra shot him before he was able to complete. Instead of staying to fight, the necromancer teleported away leaving his minions to defend his retreat.
The undead were slow to realize they were under attack. The party inflicted lots of damage without reprisal for several seconds. Oddly, none of the undead dropped. When enough was enough, the corpses woke up and the battle really began.
Sexy was hard pressed. Her naginata is a pole arm that only works from a distance. That meant backing up each time and where should she go? Kyra had her back to a dead end. Peter was on the other side and could retreat. Sexy opted to back towards Kyra to keep her safe. That meant Peter quickly came under pressure. He kept blinking backwards throwing explosive fireballs and hoping to eventually do enough damage to end the fight.
Kyra risked firing around Sexy and was successful. Eventually, the press was too much and Sexy had nowhere to go. She dropped her naginata and used karate to keep the undead at bay. Just when Peter was about to back his way out of the sight of his companions, the battle turned. The first undead on him dropped and then the other one fell. Sexy and Kyra were having success, too. Soon it was over and once again the group rested although with fewer wounds to mend.
Then the trek resumed. Finding nothing further down the main passageway, the group took the only passage forward and came into a room with a large cauldron. On 3 pedestals surrounding the cauldron were large metal beakers containing different colored liquids, yellow, red and blue. There was a shelf built into the wall that had pouches of powder. 2 yellow, 2 red and 2 blue. There were 8 lead chunks sitting with the powder and a key trapped in amber.
On the wall were 3 paintings. One of a demon holding a yellow cup with a red heart. Another of a castle being destroyed by a tidal wave. The third was of a skeleton holding an apple and a bluebird while also having a gold ring in its chest.
This place piqued Peter’s interest. He immediately perceived the pictures on the wall as referring to recipes. The demon picture made him think that it was restorative potion. Mixing the yellow liquid and red powder, the liquid turned clear and Peter told Sexy that she should try drinking it to restore herself. She put her finger in. Nothing happened. Then she decided to put in her water skin to collect the liquid. It turned gold.
In went the lead from the self. 3 of the 8 turned into gold and then the liquid disappeared. The party evenly distributed the gold and then Sexy and Kyra were ready to leave. Peter was not content to leave so quickly. He wanted to find out what the other recipes did. The others left and he continued to experiment.
With Sexy in the lead, the girls continued to explore. They came to a large room with ornate carvings on the wall. Depictions of enormous insects locked in combat with gargantuan reptiles. Coming to a door, the decision was made not to open it. The other way down the tunnel was nothing but blackness.
Meanwhile, Peter continued to mix powder and liquid according to the recipes on the wall. He tried for the castle. The liquid began to clear and form into a vision. There were lumbering figures in shadows. In the background was a silhouette of a castle. That’s when the girls returned.
At the sound of their voices, the shapes in the vision turned towards the party and started moving closer. Now, it was clear these were definitely undead creatures of some kind. Not as clumsy as the animated corpses fought earlier. Vampires perhaps? Kyra fired an arrow into the cauldron and the arrow struck one of the creatures. The vampires were getting close now. At any moment they would be close enough to crawl out of the cauldron. And then the closest one disappeared presumably passing to the other side of the view port. After a moment, the vision was gone and the liquid evaporated.
Next Peter tried the recipe of the bird. Something told him to put the key encased in amber into the brew. It ate through the amber and left the key intact. Sexy tried to collect some of the acid in a glass vile, but the vile dissolved. In the end, Peter kicked over the cauldron spilling the contents down a drain.
Peter picked up the key after dumping a little water on it to wash away any residual acid. There wasn’t anything obvious to do with the key, but at least a number of the mysteries of the room had been revealed. Maybe, the lock would reveal itself as the party explored the dungeon.
Kyra and Sexy led Peter towards the unexplored darkness opposite the room they had visited when he was busy with alchemy. Happily, Peter discovered a library and he would have stayed there for a long time except that Kyra and Sexy had no more patience to let him indulge. In a room opposite the library was a room featuring a drop into a river of molten rock. Across the river was what appeared to be a cauldron filled with the same rock as below. Once again, Kyra and Sexy prevented Peter from lingering to discover the purpose of the strange room.
Deeper and deeper the party pressed forward. Most of the rest of the dungeon was well lit, but that ended. The party came into a space that felt big. It was difficult to tell the dimensions because their light didn’t go very far. There was a damp cold in the area almost like being close to a lake. Sure enough, the cavern had water. Lots of water. It intersected the whole cave with no other way around.
Using dark-vision, Peter saw a large waterfall coming directly out of the wall. Then he spied a passage of land on the far side of the lake. There was a boat evidently left for people to make it to the other side of the lake. Despite the fact that Sexy and Kyra can levitate, there was an expectation that Peter would levitate everyone across. This disturbed Peter and he decided the only fair thing to do would be to use the boat instead of using valuable energy. Fortunately, the boat ride was uneventful.
Peter’s compromise was short lived. Shortly up the path was the river feeding the lake. Of course, it fell to him to levitate everyone across and so he did.
Further up the passage, the path leveled off and a faint light appeared ahead. It was a large room with a door to the left and a door to the right. Soft chanting came from behind the door on the right. There were many voices. Everyone was weakened and not really in the mood for a fight against overwhelming odds, so the party went left.
Opening the door, it was noticeably warmer. It had the same smell as the lava room above. Sexy in the lead, rounded the corner to find a room washed in a red glow. Maybe 30 yards to her right was an opening in the wall large enough to be a door. Off to the far side was a roundish red rock at least 3 times taller than a man. At least, she thought it was a rock until it started to uncurl.
Wings and a tail started stretching from the dragon. Then it’s head came up. It was ready to pounce. Sexy quickly back pedaled into the narrow passage. It was too small for the dragon to follow, but not too small to send his fiery breath. Everyone hurried back the way they had come. Dragon parts were valuable, but the companions had no chance against a beast of that size.
Peter wanted to place fire resist on everyone and attempt to snipe at the dragon, but the dragon was too cunning to allow any ranged attacks from the safety of the passageway. There was also a reluctance in his party to risk starting a fight they couldn’t finish, so he just let it go.
The party still had to get past the dragon or turn back. It was actually a very short teleport from their current location to the room Sexy had seen. Peter took Kyra and Sexy teleported herself. A magma river and a bridge were the only features of the new room besides the door to visit the dragon.
The magic expenditure forced Peter to rest once again for perhaps 15 or 20 minutes. During this time, Sexy and Kyra patiently waited not knowing what could come across the bridge or crawl out of the fire. It was not a great place to rest, but Peter had little choice in the matter and to go on without their mage would put Sexy and Kyra at greater risk than waiting for him to recover.
Finally, Peter was ready and the group crept forward over the bridge. Sexy in the lead, Kyra next and Peter in the rear. A voice casting a spell could be heard as the party moved ahead. Looking over the bridge, a woman could be seen standing over an altar. Above the altar, a katana floated. Was that Tiranna? Could this be one of the 7 swords?
One step over the crest of the bridge and Tiranna’s head turned in Sexy’s direction. The gig was up. Tiranna grabbed the sword and began casting a spell. Sexy wasted no time in teleporting directly next to Tiranna, but was so disorientated she couldn’t act immediately. Tiranna backed away. Peter took aim with a powerful fireball and then let loose. The attack would have been successful except Tiranna was able to easily dodge. Kyra attempted to cast haste.
While Sexy recovered from her teleport, Peter prepared an explosive fireball to compensate for Tiranna’s dodge. Kyra attempted to cast haste again. Tiranna had yet to cause trouble, but everyone could feel something was about to break loose. Sexy struck at Tiranna, but she danced away without a scratch. Kyra attempted to cast haste. Peter let loose with an explosive fireball, but instead of being wounded, Tiranna’s body erupted into flames.
Things were desperate now, Sexy was locked in a retreating battle where she was forced to back up to attack with her pole arm from a safe distance only to have Tiranna move forward to slash with her sword and inflict fire damage just for being close enough. Sexy swung wildly hoping to inflict massive damage only to have Tiranna dodge most of the blows. This wasn’t a battle that Sexy could win, but she stood her ground for reasons beyond understanding.
Kyra finally got her haste to work and started to lay down cover fire, but it was ineffectual because Tiranna was so agile. Peter wondered why Sexy didn’t teleport to the beacon, but decided not to question it because it suited him to continue fighting. He decided to give her a fighting chance by teleporting close and putting fire resist on her.
Now, limited on offensive weapons that would work, Peter decided to position himself far from the enemy’s sight. If Sexy could distract Tiranna long enough, he could attack her back and maybe end this with a powerful sunbolt. With any luck, the massive damage would cause her to go into shock and the party would be saved.
Kyra remained on the bridge and continued to fire. She may have had a hit to the center of Tiranna’s skull at one point, which would have been a killing blow to most enemies. If the leader of the Splitstreet Gang was injured, she did a great job of hiding it. She seemed to be no more inconvenienced that if bitten by a mosquito.
Now, it was Peter’s turn. This was the game ender. Either this stopped Tiranna or nothing would. He took aim and made a direct hit to Tiranna’s back. She wasn’t able to dodge and soaked up the whole sunbolt… to no effect. She barely seemed to have noticed what should have killed her. It was like she had an immunity to damage.
It was definitely time to go. Sexy had soaked up lots of damage despite the fire resist. She was shaky on her feet, but for some reason continued to fight on. Peter was about to make a break for Kyra and sound the retreat, but Tiranna struck first. Her sword sliced through Sexy’s armor and dealt her a final blow. Sexy’s eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed.
Peter yelled to Kyra to run and she did. He had become the focus of Tyranna’s attention and waited while she attacked him again and again to buy time for Kyra to escape. Peter could have teleported away at any time, but he had another plan in mind. As he blinked away, he positioned himself closer and closer to Sexy. Peter used precious seconds to shed the extra protection he had given to Kyra, Sexy and himself. If his plan was to work, he would need to be able use as much of his concentration as possible.
Peter heard the roar of the dragon and assumed Kyra was a safe as she could be given the circumstances. That’s when he did one of the stupidest and bravest things he’d ever done. He spent his life force to raise his strength for a minute and teleport Sexy and himself to the beacon. He was on the verge of collapse, but somehow he managed to stay on his feet and muster the will power to save his childhood friend.
It was a good thing that the home of their beacon was relatively well hidden because Sexy was unconscious and Peter was barely able to keep his eyes open. Kyra was somewhere lost in the Splitstreet Gang’s dungeon. The only thing to do was wait.
After a while, Peter felt strong enough to try to heal himself a little. He didn’t feel strong afterward, but it was all he could do for himself. Then he turned his attentions to Sexy. He had no more magic to heal her, but he bound her wounds and did what he could.
It had been close to an hour and still no sign of Kyra. Had the dragon eaten her? Was she captured? Peter was worried because he needed to get Sexy to a priest and couldn’t really wait for much longer. Maybe, the only thing keeping him in place were the extensive injury he had done to himself saving Sexy.
Finally, Kyra showed up. She made it past the dragon because it had been caught off guard, but magic had exhausted her and she needed to rest. That’s what had kept her. Tiranna had been staking out the entrance and it was only through a clever trick that Kyra had been able to escape. The party needed to leave. It was only a matter of time before Tiranna would send people out to search for her.
Peter told Kyra of his plan to take Sexy to the priest of Boccob. The two agreed to part company and meet again sometime soon in the woods outside Gotham. It nearly made him pass out, but Peter managed to increase his strength and teleport Sexy and himself to the Didela. Kyra made her way into safer territory.
When Peter and an unconscious Sexy arrived at their destination, they were greeted by the Didela guards. Would these men be able to protect them from Tiranna if she showed up? There was so much to tell his order and so much to do. Peter could ill afford to be so weakened. Maybe, he could negotiate a deal to be fully healed. On his mind were all the books in the library and the mystery of the key he freed from amber.