Grimm cursed up into the night sky as the Don disappeared from sight. With nothing left to accomplish, and their anger temporarily sated, the Agency retired to the Spiteful Dragon inn to lick their wounds.
They awoke to the sounds of shouts and cheers that were lifting from the streets below. Dreary eyed AHAA members made their way down to the bar which they found completely empty, save for a puzzled barkeep, who asked, “why aren’t you joining them!? the army won!” (He was of course referring to the Cormyrian army which had clashed against the Orcs and their Iron Dragon days earlier). AHAA left the Spiteful Dragon to join the jubilant crowds as they watched the Cormyrian Army parade triumphantly through the winding streets of Arabel.
Leaving the celebration, the Agency met up at the town bazaar, which was just as deserted as the rest of the businesses, but luckily they ran into a merchant who was locking up to go and watch the parade. AHAA took the time to stock up on party resources and Arianna and Grimm left to get updates from the Purple Order, but found it locked up as well.
Back at the Spiteful Dragon inn, the Agency took a load off and were hanging out when Kharun and Arianna both noticed a familiar face walk into the bar, it was the barkeep they had spared from the Thieves Guild tavern. He quickly scanned the room, and then walked out. Moments later the tavern was filled with Arabellian Guards who located the Ad Hoc Adventuring Agency and surrounded them with weapons drawn. “Are you the ones who caused the commotion in the warehouse district the other night?”, Grimm denied any involvement, but wasn’t convincing. The guards brought forth the barkeep who positively identified AHAA. The group was rounded up, bound, and brought down to the guardhouse where they were stripped of their weapons & armor and thrown in a single large jail cell with a few other ruffians. “The Captain will be down to see you momentarily”.
(New Dungeon Master)
After a while it became apparent that the Captain wasn’t coming and it was even longer before the guards returned, “you’re all being moved to maximum security!”. Everyone was muscled out of the cell one by one, had their heads bagged, and were ushered forcefully in the dark to a different set of cells.
When the bags were removed they found themselves in a new room, stone walled, with several cells, and a single large wooden door. The accommodations were much worse here. Arianna, Kharun, and Mialee were thrown in one cell with another man, and Grimm & Damar were locked into a different cell with a loquacious Half-elf from the Nelanthor Isles, named Edric “The SilverTongued” Stillwater.
Eventually everyone was tossed into the same cell and it was during the night where Damar noticed Mialee and another stranger get up, make mirrored movements, and scratch weird symbols on the floor.
The next morning the stranger woke up first, saw the odd symbols and freaked out, waking up everyone else in the cell. He was a man named Garin who had been having the same vivid dreams of a pyramid that Mialee was experiencing, and when he sought help was deemed insane and locked away.
Garin had done his own research and told the party that the pyramid Mialee had been dreaming about referenced an old myth of a tiefling wizard who made a pact with demons. He was tricked and eventually entombed within it. Garin offered AHAA 2500 gold if they could find a way to stop the visions that were ruining his life, but first they had to find a way out of the cell.
They set to trying to find a way out, but were hard pressed for any solutions until Garin spoke up again and informed the party of a crude teleportation ritual that he had been working on. They tested it out on Grimm, who disappeared in a flash of light and reappeared outside the cell. Then Mialee joined Grimm using her fey step and Edric too, who had Arianna slap him to activate his magic cape. As soon as Edric was free, he popped the lock on the cell, releasing Garin and the rest of AHAA.
The prisoners in the other cells realized what was transpiring and called out to be freed but all they did was alert the halberd wielding guards outside the jailroom who then rushed in to find AHAA in the middle of an escape! The Agency bum rushed the guards with spell & fist succeeding in knocking one down while the other escaped into the adjacent room for backup.
There was a struggle as AHAA brawled its way into the next room. Desperate for a weapon, Grimm charged past two of the guards and smashed open a weapons locker where Arianna’s longswords were stowed. He wielded one while Arianna grabbed the other, broke open the second locker and picked up Damar’s mace. Meanwhile, Mialee was throwing down some serious magic (3 crits in a row) and it was too much for the guards to handle. After the guards were subdued, the Agency took a moment to raid the lockers and pass out their gear.
Edric took this time to try and release a cell full of thieves but was confronted by Arianna and Mialee and he backed down, releasing everyone else instead.
Busting down the barred double door, the group barreled upstairs where they were met with a volley of crossbow bolts (which missed) from behind a makeshift barricade manned by several guards and their captains. The guards put up a last ditch defense spurred on by their superiors, but were not up to the challenge of facing a now fully armed, mobile and hostile Ad Hoc Adventuring Agency.
The Agency and escaping prisoners broke out into the street, most scattering into the dark alleyways never to be seen again. Garin, however, caught up and urged AHAA to make haste and follow him to his house before more soldiers arrived.
Garin had been living quite the life in his lavish homestead. He was obviously very well-off and this was evident in the way each room was adorned with valuables from all corners of the realm. He brought AHAA to his study where he showed the group his research of the Pyramid.
Now out of danger, Garin was able to fully relay the story of the Pyramid and the old Tiefling wizard king, named Karavakos, who had made a pact with demons to increase his power and empire. He was bestowed with a vicious army of demons that expanded his reach far and wide, but unbeknownst to him, the army was his to command as long as it won, but if it ever lost he would lose his soul. And when his army finally did lose, the tiefling’s soul was ripped from him and he was trapped within an interdimensional Pyramid of Shadows that was known to disappear and reappear on the prime material plane every so often. Garin was sure he knew what region it would appear in next.
AHAA accepted his deal, taking 500 gold now, and expecting 2000 later once they had figured out a way to stop the visions. Before the Agency left, Grimm had Garin enchant his maul and once they were ready, Garin initiated a teleportation ritual which popped the entire party half of a mile Southwest of Arabel. They started on their way South to the King’s Forest immediately.
At the edge of the forest they camped for the night and continued on the next day motivated by the melodic tones of Edric’s bagpipe.
About a half of a mile into the King’s Forest the Agency was startled by a familiar but crazed looking Tiefling who ran up to them yelling, “THE PLACE OF POWER IS MINE! KARAVAKOS HAS SUMMONED ME, NOT YOU! NOT YOU!”.
The Tiefling was AHAA’s former party member, Thereo, and he summoned some very powerful demon minions to aid him in attacking his old group. Mialee instinctively dropped a fireball on Thereo, but he laughed off most of the damage, as did his other minions with much of the punishment that AHAA could dish out. Soon after, Arianna broke free and went straight for Thereo but got caught up in his magic and was eventually knocked unconscious until Damar could revive her. During that time Grimm also fell to the demons, but was quickly stabilized by Kharun.
Mialee stayed out of harms way and was able to harrass a larger demon, keeping it at bay while the rest of AHAA focused on a second one. Back on her own two feet, and filled with rage, Arianna again made a b-line toward Thereo where she charged into the crazed tiefling slashing him across the neck and stomach, mortally wounding him. With his life-force quickly ebbing, Thereo was able to utter, “find the pyramid, find KARAVAKOS”, before the Ranger finally ended his sad life.
Despite Thereo’s sudden demise, the demons fought on, but were banished back to their hellish plane one by one. Thereo’s legacy was 1000 gold, a pact blade +1, a baffling cape +2, and the memories of a deranged party member that AHAA would not soon forget.