The day had begun like any other, so it was a surprise that Muralca had visitors. Her demons had captured a group of armed infiltrators that had attempted to sneak into Maril’s domain. Strangest of all was the fact that they were not demons, but people from the Realm. Being busy with planning the next move in the eternal war of domination, Maril initially deemed the group as a small pile of flesh and maybe some entertainment. But when questioned about their reasons for being there, the group made a bold claim: That they were allies of Beligandir and held his valuable secrets.
This claim, of course, was quite preposterous. But what if it were true? If they did hold her rival’s secrets, Maril could use this to her advantage. Maybe if the secrets were valuable enough, Beligandir would risk an obvious trap to gain them. And thus, a wicked plan began to form in her mind.
Leaving the group to her arena under guard, Maril gathered a group of her strongest winged warriors and decided upon an ambush location: Serpent Artery, a river that marked Beligandir’s borders. Trusting that her double agents would bring the information to Beligandir post-haste, Maril arranged for the prisoners to “escape” and cordoned them to the Serpent Artery. If they spoke the truth, Beligandir or his minions would appear and Maril would slaughter them. If they lied, then, well, they would make good target practice.
And so it was done. As Maril and her forces hid in the plains, she could hear the commotion from the city as the escape was arranged. And soon enough, Beligandir himself and his fastest followers had arrived to the bank of the river valley. They were looking for the prisoners, clearly, unwilling to cross the border. With the winds and the terrain, a trap like this would be deadly for anyone who crossed the river.
They waited. And waited. Maybe the Realmfolk had outsmarted them? Just as Maril was ready to abandon the plan, Beligandir sent a scout over, maybe to find a disturbance. Then half of his group. Then the rest, along with himself. Amazed that the plan worked, Maril pounced, her group flying in the air and descending upon the demons in the riverbanks. Maril herself, feeling confident, charged the Pit Lord himself, smashing him to the ground. But something was off. He was too light, and half of Maril’s weapons sunk into the demon without finding purchase. An illusion!
Realizing this, her eyes disarmed the ruse and she stared at Beligandir’s lieutenant. “You poor fool. Your mind was in the right place, but your competence was lacking”, he mocked. “Beligandir’s real prize is in your undefended, unguarded Pit!” Her home! As Maril was taking into the air, the fake Pit Lord charged her and took her tumbling down. As she fell, cursing the weakling, she could see the tiefling and the half-elf flying off into the direction of her home.
The plan was taking too long. How could have the half-elf avoided capture this long? Centuries of waiting, just to have his prize squirm through his fingers like the flesh ooze. While he wanted to deny it, it was really getting on Beligandir’s nerves.
Then, a break! One of his agents in Beligandir’s neighbor’s Pits sent him urgent information: Maril had captured a group of Realmfolk, who claimed to hold important information. Pressing for details deflated his initial joy; None of them were the sorceress. Just some fools, come to Daemonis to die.
But still, Beligandir decided to be thorough. He demanded his arcane mages to scry for Edessa in the long shot that she was on this plane and visible. She was. Unbelievable! Beligandir had risked everything to spread his planar networks to their breaking point, and now the sorceress was here, in his grasp. The only problem was that she was in Maril’s city.
But wait, no-one apparently knew about the sorceress. How could this be? Maybe… Maybe the sorceress was hidden even from Maril, while her companions were caught in her web. Yes, this was it. As Beligandir pondered on his plan to extract the half-elf, maybe even with bribery, another gift from the fire came: His agent told him that the realmfolk had escaped and were heading to Serpent Artery. A plan came to Beligandir’s mind: If he sent the bulk of his flying forces to search for these escapees, along with “himself”, that could draw Maril’s defenses away from the city, allowing him to quickly snatch the sorceress.
So he deemed. He sent his lieutenant to lead his forces, under an illusionary guise. Beligandir took his most trusted, and most powerful, guards with him and flew to the highest point he had ever flown to get over Maril’s watchers. The plan worked, and he could barely see Maril engage his decoys. While they were busy, Beligandir descended to her Pit. This would be it, his finest moment!
Diving down, Beligandir saw a human and two elves sneaking about. Probably they were a part of the escapees. Despite the questions why they were here and not in the ambush point, Beligandir was glad fort them, because they most likely would lead him to the sorceress. As he landed like a comet from above, the small beings scattered, hiding in Maril’s spiky stronghold. With little difficulty, Beligandir tore the doors open and gave chase.
Ending back in the courtyard, Beligandir surveyed the area and deemed that the hiding places were running out. He gave them a few moments to surrender. And just as he was rising to his wings, the human man came out of hiding, challenging him, claiming that he was from the Kiln family. Wondering about the man, Beligandir walked casually to the small being, asking why he was resisting Beligandir’s plans so.
This was a distraction, however. Edessa had gone to the Shaper’s ledge, a stony outcropping over the Pit and apparently had decided to make her stand there. A foolish mistake, Beligandir thought as he brushed her lightning spell aside. A greater annoyance was the Kiln human, who attacked the demon with a silvered weapon, burning a deep wound in his thigh. His second attack was with some short baton, which feebly stuck inside the wound. Beligandir smashed the man aside with a slash of his lightning sword and crack of his flaming whip and flew towards his prize.
Edessa put up quite a fight, managing to somehow cover the entire tip of the ledge in a thick fog. She slipped through his grasp annoyingly as her companions’ attacks were getting irritating. And in the end, it was the rock beneath that crumbled first, the final stroke being the sorceress throwing herself at the ledge. The tip detached and Beligandir, the sorcerer and the annoyingly persistent Kiln human fell into the Pit, where the flesh ooze started to eat at them all. But it was not the first time Beligandir had fallen into the Pit; He was tougher than the ooze and could just rise to his wings and take off with Edessa.
But that did not happen.
The Kiln managed to do something with Beligandir’s leg and suddenly there was an immense weight anchoring him to the pool. Confidence turned into panic as Beligandir realized that he could not move without the baton inside his wound sending flaring hot tendrils of pain through his body. As he trashed in the burning juices of the Pit, he realized that he was outsmarted by the group of realmdwellers. In desperation, he cut off his leg with the lightning sword underneath the ooze as survival instincts kicked in. As Beligandir looked above, he could see the battered Kiln with a bow and an arrow, pointing it at him. The arrow flew into Beligandir’s forehead, and suddenly the world got searing hot. Panic turned to fury as the demon realized that he was dying, and with his last might, he wished death to all and everybody.
And with a searing hot explosion, Beligandir was no more.
After the smoke had fallen, only Althaea, Khava and Lady Antinua rose up. The rest were lying on the ground, unconscious and gravely wounded. Around the Pit, demons were staring at the battlefield that had just consumed, quite literally, a PIt Lord. The three exchanged a single glance and started working: They took the foldable hole from Carric’s backpack and threw everyone inside. As Lady Antinua folded the hole, Althaea opened a dimensional doorway to the edge of the Pit’s hill where their lucky Pony Renee was waiting. And with a flick of Antinua’s wrist, she opened a gateway with the Cubic Gate to Arcanis.
Finally in safety, they folded the hole open and checked on their unconscious friends. Of the three fallen heroes, only two hearts were beating.
Carric Tannyth, a sorcerer and a Hero of Dusk Coast, had perished.