The heroes land hard in a land of an azure haze. As they orient themselves to look around, they are greeted with twisted crags of rocks and streams of lava cutting through a scorching hellscape. The party finds shelter under some of the rocks, seeking safety as flaming boulders hit the ground and explode at random. After a long and fitful rest, they begin their search for Tragar Hax. As they trudge through the unforgiving terrain, they see a ruined tower, half collapsed into a stream of lava. As they approach, a hideous, shrieking spiked devil appears, followed closely by six comrades – all of whom attack the adventurers. The creatures strafe the heroes at such speed that makes it difficult to land any blows. With their combined might and fighting prowess the party manages to to cast off five of these creatures, with a sixth narrowly evading Bruilinde’s polymorph spell and flying to the north. With heavy steps they head in the same direction, in search of Hax.
Odos, after examining this strange realm, recognizes it as one of the Nine Hells. He warns the party that here, souls are currency – and to never to touch the mighty river Styx, lest you lose all your memories. The party reaches the river and spies figures surrounding an iron carriage pulled by monstrous beasts. Lux skillfully scouts ahead and appraises the situation. As the party approaches, they can see that the carriage is a cage for a slimy, noxious creature; Odos is intent on freeing it for its prison while Bruilinde believes it is too much of a risk. As Lux makes herself invisible and stalks around the area, a small and menacing voice calls the party to the front of the carriage. A diminuitive imp sits with a sinister smile as the party circles to the front of the carriage. The imp and Bruilinde enter into an information exchange, with a binding agreement – the imp will tell them where they are, if Bruilinde ‘tells the story of how they arrived there and where they came from’. Bruilinde guilefully extracts what the imp – who calls himself Goobly – knows while revealing little of their purpose; unthinkingly, the imp has left her a loophole by asking for a story instead of the truth.He reveals they are on the plane of Averness, where a constantly boiling war between lawful devils and chaotics demons rages, with the devils forever trying to cast the demons back to teh Abyss. Bruilinde, in turn, waves a tale painting them as hired bounty hunters chasing a thief. As the conversation comes to a close Bruilinde and Lux conspire to assassinate the creature. Appearing behind him, Lux skillfully and swiftly slices his throat, while he cries out to Bruilinde ‘But our agreement!” – Bruilinde gently responds that she herself had not touched him. Odos and Henrich are shocked and incensed at this maneuver; Heinrich in disappointment and anger begins to chastise them for this display. Bruilinde shrugs that the imp had been careless with his words, and Lux tells him that honor only leaves you dead. As he takes the reins of the cart, Heinrich responds that in this life, honor is all you have.
Before the party can set out, a woman with black wings and a sickening smile lands in front of the wagon, wearing skillfully crafted plate armor. She is accompanied by what seems to be the devil who escaped from the prior battle. Driven by rage at the loss of her servants, she raises her sword and tells the assembled heroes to prepare for their own deaths.
Will our heroes manage to stop this dark soldier of hell? Will they find Hax and retrieve the missing staff? Will they escape Hell and return to their own plane? Find out next time…