Nong awakens in a dark room with a small dais and throne on top of it; the throne, crimson red, is emanating a dim aura. A shadowed figure sits on top and beckons Nong to approach. Nong approaches the throne and recognizes the figure, it is the great Azmodeus. The monk feels impelled to look down at his feet, for there is some force in the room that makes Nong uncomfortable looking directly at the god.
“What is your wish, Nong Sung Roc?”
It takes a moment for Nong to register what is said to him, but then he realizes Azmodeus is upholding his part of the bargain, how very lawful,
“Um…my wish is for us to be, wait. My wish is for my comrades, no! My wish is for my three comrades, Mordrock, Royce, Naismith and I…to be set free from Glasya’s contract and return to live in Waterdeep.”
“Is that truly your wish?”
The monk pauses for a moment, confused by the question. He hopes what he is asking for cannot be swindled; for devils are known to do such things with their deals.
“Yes, that is my wish.”
“Very well, I can fulfill your wish as you please,” responds Azmodeus who lifts his right hand, circles it in front of him while speaking an incantation; Nong feels nothing as a result of Azmodeus’s action.
“Well then it is done. Be on your way and thank you once again for saving the Book of Keeping.”
Nong feels a strange sensation all over his body as he begins to evaporate into thin air. He looks up for a moment to see the shadowed figure on the throne, wave good-bye to him.
Royce and Mordrock appear on the bank of the River Styx. They look around in horror as they watch poor souls skewered and plucked out of the water and into soul carts.
“We are damned now!”
“This looks like Hell. We have died and gone to Hell to serve Glasya.”
“What is the last thing you remember?”
“The Positive plane, holding my breath, then seconds later exploding…then darkness.”
“About the same as you.”
Moments later they hear a small voice, “Welcome to Hell!” as Bedichiah greets them. The two clerics stare back at the imp, unsure what to say as neither finds this place welcoming. Bedichiah explains to them the journey ahead and how their friend, Naismith has already settled in. They set off for the long journey to Glasya’s palace. When they arrive, Glasya greets them similarly with a toast to shared goals,
“Welcome to home, my clerics. Here let us toast to meeting shared goals!”
Royce and Mordrock each salute and drink, even though neither feels the urge to consume a beverage after that long journey.
“So tell me, what have you been doing without your friend Naismith? Don’t worry, I’ve kept him busy while he’s been here alone,” says Glasya smiling wickedly at them.
The clerics describe their experience in the Positive plane then the cosmic tug. She perks up in her throne as Royce describes the Book of Keeping.
“And then we tried to run and the next thing was both of us were gone from the palace and returned to the Positive plane.”
“Yeah, we died quickly after that I believe.”
“You FOOLS! Where is the book now? Why did you not give it Azmodeus?”
An uncomfortable silence unfolds as the two clerics realize the impact of their decision in relation to who they are talking to.
Glasya, now scowling and frustrated, pauses and tilts her head in thought. She then relaxes back into her throne and waits; she glares back at Royce and Mordrock but cuts them off before they say anything in response. Moments later, Nong walks into the room,
“What the hell are we still doing here? That damn devil screwed me!”
“Nong, please approach me. I want to learn what happened to the Book of Keeping after these two,” as she points to Royce and Mordrock, “disappeared from the palace.”
Nong calms down for a moment, acknowledges his comrades, and approaches Glasya. He describes to her what happened and where the book ended up. Mordrock can sense Glasya’s mood shift to a lighter note; she even begins to nod back at Nong as if she’s actually listening to the monk.
For the first hundred years, the Drow’s Bane work together as en elite strike force, going on dangerous missions in their duty to Glaysa. Nong leads the party, followed by Naismith with Royce and Mordrock assigned to the lowest rank. Nong never lets go of his anger against Azomodeus but under Glasya’s contract, he is compelled to do what he is told to do. The majority of their time is spent outside of the Hells, as a way to ensure their death is only temporary. Towards the beginning of their two hundredth year, changes start to occur. Their alignment shifts towards lawful evil and their appearance begins to take on more diabolic features. In fact, every time they die outside of Hell and are resurrected in Malbolge, they re-appear slightly more fiendish looking.
By year four hundred, they have become great pit fiends who command their own strike forces; all four strike forces have been assigned to infiltrate Thanatos, the plane of Orcus, to assassinate the Prince of Undeath. It takes many attempts to penetrate into Orcus’s palace to kill him, but they succeed in their mission in the six hundred sixty sixth year of their service to Glasya. Royce cuts off the head of Orcus and they return to Malbolge in triumph.
Back in Malbolge, a celebration to award the leaders of the Drow’s Bane strike forces, the greatest medal of achievement begins. Glasya, standing next to the head of Orcus, recites a prayer and asks Nong, Naismith, Royce and Mordrock to kneel. The great pit fiends notice Glasya has her priests with her today, and watch as each priest takes a stand behind each pit fiend. Glasya walks around an anoints each pit fiend with a liquid, whose smell, makes Nong, Naismith, Royce and Mordrock relaxed and sleepy. Glasya finishes reciting her prayer as her voice crescendos over the crowd. When this is heard, each priest draws a ceremonial dagger and quickly slits the throat of their kneeling pit fiend. Immediately, Nong, Naimsith, Royce and Mordrock open their eyes wide with rage as they grab hold of their throat, unable to stop the bleeding gushing out. Each stares up at Glasya in shock and horror as she looks down at them and smiles, then says, “We are done here. You have been given the greatest honor of all.”
The last image the pit fiends see before their eyes close forever, is the Lady of the Sixth exiting the room, holding the head of Orcus.
Nong, Naismith, Royce and Mordrock each awake in a room filled with bright light. Each sees himself lying on a bed, in blankets that are warm and comfy. Each inhales and smells a fragrance that offers a feeling of peace, which is a strange feeling that has not been felt in a very long time. A knock his heard at a door that leads into this room. For Nong, a figure in white monk garments enters and beckons him to come forth; for Royce and Mordrock, each sees a figure wearing robes of their deity; for Naismith, the being is Jimjar, who smiles and takes Naismith’s hand. Each guide says a similar thing to the awakened hero,
“Come, walk with me now down the path.”
Nong, Naismith, Royce and Mordrock, now appear along a path they begin to walk down alongside their guide. The scenery is so beautiful and tranquil that each hero begins to feel ashamed, as if they are not worthy of being in such a pristine place. They glance at their hands, then touch their faces and body and feel nothing that resembles a pit fiend; in fact, they feel like their previous selves which feels so odd. The memories of the past six hundred sixty six years flood their minds and each hero breaks down with unrelenting sobs of shame, that they are not able to remain standing. Each guide turns and looks down, smiles, and picks each hero up and carries them forward,
“Let it out brave one, it is okay. You are where you truly belong now.”
As each guide turns on the path, the hero feels a strong warmth emanate from beyond that causes them to stop crying and look up.
Royce sees Tempus.
Naismith sees Tymora.
Mordrock sees Kelemvor.
Nong sees Brother Taliq.
Tempus, Tymora, Kelemvor and Brother Taliq, smile and extend their arms ready to receive a hug, “Welcome home my hero.”
T H E E N D