There is no gravity in Limbo and the environment is constantly in flux. The Drow’s Bane see before them Sithka’s adamantine citadel among several colliding earth motes, a lightning storm and a swirling vortex that shifts between wind and water every few seconds. This plane is pure chaos.
The party wills themselves forward toward the ship; some catch on faster than others. The citadel’s hatch is open, and inside two githzerai focus on keeping the doors open as they motion the party to enter. Sithka stands in the back, waiting.
“Welcome back, I’m surprised to see you again and am happy you look well.”
Nong acknowledges her as the others acclimate to the ship’s gravity. Royce casts Tongues to understand the gith language.
“Thank you Sithka for hosting us again. It is a pleasure to be in your company once more. Since we last spoke, we have made great strides in our journey to defeat this thing,” as Royce points to the wand resting at Nong’s side.
“We have discovered these two metal plates, the first is a teleportation circle that maps to somewhere in Limbo,” as he hands the first plate to Sithka.
She examines the plate and concludes, “Yes, you are correct. I believe from what I’m seeing, these coordinates are in this vicinity of Limbo and we can easily set a course there.”
“The other plate here, we understand might be a key to a gate, and the key requires significant psychic power to manipulate. This is why we seek your assistance, for the key might unlock a gate to the Positive plane,” says Royce handing Sithka the second plate.
Sithka’s face lights up with curiosity as she examines the second plate, “Fascinating. I will need to study this further before I can answer you on what it is and how to activate it. I do sense this is very old and maybe it is a four dimensional key.”
She motions for her guests to follow her as she escorts them into the citadel to a comfortable room where a meal is nicely presented.
“Please, you can relax here and enjoy some fine cuisine from Limbo,” as she smiles and glances at the food.
“I must study this plate and I will return to you when I have more information.”
“Thank you Sithka, we truly appreciate it.”
Nong quietly requests a place to meditate three hundred feet away from the others and one of the giths obliges.
About four hours goes by before Sithka returns with a few gith by her side. She walks into the room looking confident. She waits until Nong is fetched before she explains her findings.
“You were correct this is a four dimensional key to a gate that opens onto the Positive plane. I will need five of my patrol with me to channel enough psychic energy to activate it and open the gate. I believe we can keep it open for about a minute. Can you accomplish your task within this time?”
Royce and Nong look at each other, unclear on how to answer but figure how much time should it really take to bathe a wand in positive energy?
“Uh, yes we will make it happen with the time you give us.”
“Excellent, how do you plan to protect yourselves? I’ve only had researches spend a few seconds on the plane to gather samples. A minute is quite long and probably very dangerous to your bodies.”
Royce and Nong again look at each other, unclear on how to answer. Sithka picks up on the apprehension and responds, “I see you are not familiar with the environmental hazards of the plane. Very well, we can probably shield you while you cross into the plane, but not for very long. The plane is so bright you will be blinded as soon as you step into it and of course, you will have to hold your breath given there is no air on the plane either. However, the real problem is the radiant energy that fills your body with healing energy until it cannot take anymore. Which results in your body exploding and you die. We obviously don’t want that, so you must be quick with your task.”
Another pregnant pause fills the room before Nong responds, “We heard about the plane’s hostile environment already. We understand this is potentially a suicide mission.”
Royce translates to Naismith and Mordrock about Sithka’s findings.
“What if we figure out a way to use our Caps of Water Breathing to simulate an environment with air, like we could wear glass bowls filled with water in them?” asks Naismith.
The groups spends an hour exploring options with whatever glass containers Sithka has on the ship. They fill them with water, put them on their heads while wearing the Cap of Water Breathing, only to find the water pours out; they next try with sand and hold their breath while the gith focus on converting the sand to water, but the water still empties out. Naismith asks about wax, but the gith have no understanding of what wax is. Eventually, they give up exploring options.
The adamantine citadel arrives near the teleportation circle. Sithka first channels her citadel’s energy to stabilize the surrounding area into a rock formation that should persist for several hours. She, five githzerai and the Drow’s Bane exit the ship and will themselves down to the area.
The rocky ground is littered with pockets of molten lava, caught in mid-transformation, which now sits bowling and spewing among the rock formation; the location is very warm but well lit thanks to the lava pools. Sithka counts her steps and then stops, “Here is the location of the teleportation circle.” She spreads her hands and focuses on the area; the ground lights up with runes that match the runes on the metal plate. She takes out the second plate and lays it down in the circle. She motions to her patrol to grab hands, form a circle, and begin the psychic focus. The Drow’s Bane watch the circle intently.
The metal plate begins to glow. The gith’s psychic energy causes the plate to begin to expand, form into a cylinder, and move.
Naismith and Royce think they hear sounds, like a roar, come from the distance somewhere. Nong notices in the corner of his eye, the forming of a new rock formation extending from where they are, out a thousand or more feet. He looks around but only sees the giths focusing on the key. How is this happening?
Everyone hears a horrible screeching sound above them as a giant cloud fast approaches their location from the extended rock formation. The cloud washes over them and hangs in place, causing the area to become heavily obscured. The gith begin coughing as they inhale the cloud’s poisonous vapors and lose their concentration; they break the circle, cover their mouths and look for an escape, not understanding what just happened or why. The Drow’s Bane begin calling out to the gith and to each other in the impenetrable fog; fortunately for them, they are not affected by the poison thanks to last night’s Heroes’ Feast.
Then, everyone pauses as they focus on the sound coming toward them like a great tidal wave of movement and angry cries. The thousand angry voices penetrate the cloud and flood past the party; the crying is so loud it prevents anyone from hearing anyone else in the chaos.
But that’s not the worst of it.
Everyone is pummeled with cold, spectral hands that wash over them as the cries penetrate their minds. The flood of undeath moves through the cloud overwhelming the gith patrol who immediately succumb to death. Sithka and the Drow’s Bane are tougher, but barely survive the attack. Fear clouds Sithka’s mind as she begins to crawl in any direction to survive another onslaught. Naismith leaps up and flies searching to escape the chaos. As he crests the cloud, he stops in shock.
Several dracoliches with riders, one being Kendall, hoover quietly, staring back at him. He sees beyond the dracoliches, death knights on nightmares who silently glare back at him too. The rogue flies over the cloud in the opposite direction to find more dracoliches with riders; he also catches a glimpse of a huge two-headed fiend wielding a gigantic battleaxe, just standing and watching him. Mordrock manages to escape the cloud next and freezes as he catches the same sight of an army of fiends and undead, quietly staring back at him. The cleric calls out to his comrades at the same time the cloud begins to break away. Royce and Nong watch the cloud lift, but then drop their jaws as the horrific scene beyond, slowly comes into view.
Nong pulls out the wand and gets into a defensive stance as he hears a familiar deep guttural voice laugh inside his head,
“It is time for me to take back my wand Nong Sung Roc. Your death today marks the beginning of your eternity as a drooling mindless zombie forever roaming in my shit!”
The party quickly turns to see the monk let out a cry as the wand he wields, engulfs his hand in necrotic flame, then flies across the battlefield and lands in the palm of the Prince of Undeath. The pain is so severe, Nong falls to his knees clutching his charred hand, looking up and seeing the huge fiend in the back of the battlefield, triumphantly wield the wand of Orcus.
Royce, Naismith and Mordrock see Orcus now too and quickly realize how dangerous this situation has become. They see Nong let out a battlecry, then charge across the battlefield and engage with the Prince of Undeath. Kendall’s dracolich responds next as it lowers its head, opens its mouth and unleashes a lightning bolt that lights up Royce, Mordrock and Naismith. Royce begins casting a healing spell only to be countered by a dracolich rider. Naismith begins casting Faerie Fire only to be countered by Kendall.
Mordrock steps away from the group, pulls out his necklace and swallows it. He feels the crystal go down and then an immense warmth overtake his body. A surge of energy rises up from within the cleric of Kelemvor as the spirit of Anarchocles emerges; the two become one as the spirit of Anarchocles is now anchored to the corporal body of Mordrock. Royce and Naismith stare in shock as to what just happened to their comrade, neither comprehending it but hoping it means good news.
Orcus lets out a fell rage as he witnesses the transformation and realizes who now stands on the battlefield – the legendary fighter, whose skull rests on the wand of Orcus; whose soul was imprisoned in the throne of Orcus; where legend has it he is the only one who can wash the wand in positive energy to destroy it for all eternity.
At the same time, several crimson portals erupt from behind Royce and Naismith…
it looks like the infernal cavalry has joined the party too.