(Covering Events from 19:45 19/5/51 to 22:00 30/5/51)
The entity in the chamber appears to be some kind of animate, forged from the lightning breath of the Blue Lord; a fearsome and unnatural foe. However, it does not appear hostile, and the group quickly realise that it must be somehow related to moving beyond the highly decorated pentagonal chamber it dances in (the walls are covered in brightly coloured bas reliefs of coiling dracani; the monster's bodies being painted in brilliant reds, greens, whites, blues and glossy blacks, their teeth and mane like tendrils painted gold).
A thorough search of the chamber (both in the physical world and the metaphysical) reveals a large hidden pressure plate next to a central pillar (itself a work of art, covered in curling carvings of serpentine dracane). It takes all three adventurers standing on it to force it down, and as it drops, so all the golden components of the rooms decorations flick out to point into the chamber. The animated breath weapon responds immediately, splintering into a million filaments of arcing power, and leaping across the multiple points in a web of flickering lightning. This powers some hidden mechanism, and a portal flashes into existence, a dry, charged breeze blowing through it.
Eager to move on, the group jump through...
...Into the lair of Exaxadreithion, the Blue Lord...
Not really expecting to face the ancient dracane so soon, the group are slightly wrong footed, and the opening rounds of combat see them badly punished for their lack of preparation; the dracane flying high above them, safely out of reach of most attacks, blasting them with its devastating breath weapon. However, it makes the mistake of swooping in to relish a kill with its fangs and horn, and is ensnared by the Veteran's skills; earthbound and vulnerable to attack.
Llewellyn teleports to a spot behind its head where it cannot hurt him (though it repeatedly tries to dislodge him, and at several points unleashes blasts of thunderous energy, which almost send the vyrleen flying), whilst the Veteran and Ferrous flank it front to back. Ormid stays back, hurling magic at the warforged's axe, shrouding it in killing layers of frothing, snapping energy.
"Ah, you seem to have something in your hair there...."
Despite losing its main advantage, Exaxadreithion puts up a fantastic fight, and both Ormid and the Veteran take a severe beating. However, the monster is soaking up a terrifying amount of damage, and soon its blood is oozing through its shattered scales; turning to flashing corposant the instant it is exposed to the air. It spits twinned bolts of lightning, blasting Ormid to the ground, and heating the Veteran's armour to glowing, and the group fear that their foe may be beyond them...especially as blasting glyphs of ancient power smoulder on the floor, primed to strike at any of them foolish enough to step over them (as the Veteran finds out when a blow from the dracane sends him sprawling across one).
However, as the monster's life force begins to weaken, so ancient, malevolent, ethereal machinery awakens, and four spectral crystals manifest in a circle around the beast, immediately unleashing festering lines of blackish-green radiance, which corrode the dracane's body where they touch, the stench of advanced decay mingling with the reek of ozone, copper and dust. At first the group are overjoyed at the unexpected help. Then they remember that they must actually keep the dracane alive if they are to avoid awakening the Lich that supposedly slumbers beneath them somewhere, and with sickened horror, they realise the shards are part of the undead mage's plan...
The focus of the group's attention shifts from trying to beat the dracane down, to trying to keep it alive – though this is made more difficult by the beast itself, who wrongly believes the shards to be conjured by the party, and ups his efforts to destroy them, taking the artificer down. Fortunately, Llewellyn forces a potion down Ormid's throat, and he groggily clambers to his feet, ready to try and save the ancient reptile from the Lich's foul magics.
Ferrous sweeps one of the shards out of existence with one bladed claw, whilst Ormid hurls thunder at one (destroying it) and misses another with a wild blast of conjured flame. The third shard is shattered by the rogue, and the Veteran charges the final one, swinging his vengefully singing axe (wreathed in acidic energy, radiant runes and edged with vorpal enchantments) towards it. However, before he can destroy the shard, Exaxadreithion gives a despairing howl, and collapses, its body bloating with unnatural decay.
The graveyard stench of corrupted graves sweeps the room, black ice slithering across the chamber like mould, and all realise that Exaxadreithion is close to death – close to unleashing the undead mage from below. Realising that their own, and many other's lives depend on his swing, the warforged lashes out at the last shard – and destroys it – a howl of ageless despair curdling the air with its wordless rage....
...And it's over! Ormid rushes in to stabilise the dracane, whilst the Veteran stands ready to smash it unconscious again should it stir. It is only now they become aware of the sounds of battle from above – the bellowing of gigorim and the yelling of the aenochian and his allies.
Soon the party are chatting with the heavenly warrior, and are delighted to see that he has a prisoner – the sobbing, wretched form of Sariq. Unfortunately, it seems one of the warriors and the mage have been slain in their latest battle, though no less than eight of the massive desert gigorim bleed in the chambers around them.
Hours later, and the chamber of Exaxadreithion is swarming with mages of the Order. The monster's vast hoard has been collected and moved to a secure location, although three items of particular power - a deadly axe with a blade of smouldering meteoric steel, a heavy mace surrounded always by a lensing aura of barely sustained gravitational energy, and a true relic of the early Second Age, the implement of the ancient East Guild Warmage Tartheld “The Bold” - are claimed by the group as their own.
Ormid notes that awe colours the faces of those that regard him and his, and becomes keenly aware of how far beyond the “normal” folks they have become. Pride and a vague sense of fear assails him as he considers the distance between his current state and his original humanity...
This distance is demonstrated again three days later when the group are invited to meet with the majorodomo's of all 15 of Kadash's houses to show them evidence of the Blue Lord's defeat. They have met in the gardens of House Na'Daesha, each Lord accompanied by a contingent of body guards, slaves, exotic beasts and favoured, their standards bright in the crushing morning heat. At first the group anticipate disbelief and a sneering lack of respect from the pompous heads. However, when they present their evidence – Sariq and the horn and teeth of Exaxadreithion – there can be no arguing, and, lead by Lady / Lord Na'Daesha her/him self, all gathered prostrate themselves before their liberators.
The group decline an invite from Ie'Ierremmon to enter the vaults below the Blue Lords lair in order to search for the phylactery of whatever Lich lies there awaiting resurrection, and instead turn their attention towards both the immobilisation and maintenance of Exaxadreithion's life force, and the repair of the gate into the Eastern Guild (the other missing components have been identified and applied, so only the bone marrow of the ancient wyrm is needed).
The former is being taken care of by a combined effort of a cabal of necromancers from central Fey, and some dundorin mages who manipulate the energies of the fabled Vodus Aeska, whilst the latter is overseen by Ormid himself and his chosen artificers*
Llewellyn spends time with his guild, girding them for war, whilst the Veteran spends time practising with his new axe – the subtly named Annihilator.
And, as night falls on the 30th day, of the 5th moon, in the Third Age Year 51, the final components are added to the damaged portal, a low hum of arcane power thrumming through its triangular frame...
* It should be noted that by this time, the Order is growing at an incredible rate, and Ormid spends a lot of time creating a structure to it, with “circles” of mages who oversee certain duties and support those below them. He also responds to an invite from the church of Merriel'Shaava, who seek to ally themselves with the potent new collective.