The party braces themselves for immediate combat with the cruel-looking Erinyes who accosted them, threatening them with death for killing the devils who attacked them earlier. As she levels her sword and prepares to charge, Bruilinde makes a last-ditch attempt to speak with her and avoid combat. Though the devil does stop, curious as to why the bard is chattering at her, it merely delays the fight.
The heroes use their surroundings to their advantage, leaping off and on the roof of the cart, throwing the spined devil under the carriage animals, and at one point going so far as to have Heinrich throw the Erinyes, stunned by Odos, into the river Styx to drown. As they breathed a sigh of relief, thinking their path was clear, the water churned and the she-devil shot into the sky with an inhuman screech, calling to her sisters. Very soon, a second Erinyes joined the fray.
Things looked grim for the group, as the first Erinyes bound Odos tightly with an enchanted rope and several attacks flew wide of the combat-experienced devils. Then, stepping out from behind her sheltering rock, Bruilinde dominated the second Erinyes – who had yet to be touched – and yelled to her team to down the first Erinyes. With the assistance of the magically dominated – and definitely furious – second Erinyes, their first tormentor was slain. Quickly, they relieved the mind-controlled devil of her rope and bound her tightly with it before Bruilinde released the spell.
Taking up positions around their former attacker, the devil knew that she was outnumbered and proposed a deal – to take them to her local Lord, Bulyabat, for his help, in return for her freedom. Heinrich angrily refused, believing she would double-cross them – however Bruilinde, slightly familiar with how devilish contracts worked, knew that if an ironclad agreement was struck, the devil could not violate it.
She negotiated the following terms with the party with the devil, who called herself Eyearae, in exchange for her freedom:
- Eyearae must give them information of her superior in this region.
- She would go ahead of them to prepare the way for the party at the stronghold of Bulyabat.
- She would tell them of the battles across the river Styx, and if she knew of any sightings of Tragar.
- She would not harm them or send them into any situation/cause any others to harm them.
- How to leave the plane of Averness, if she knew.
- HAS TO TELL THE TRUTH.
The contract struck, loopholes closed, Bruilinde signed the contract with Eyearae, also using Comprehend Languages to discover her true name (a shortened endearment of which she would use to annoy Eyearae for the rest of their encounters).
Eyearae flies ahead of the party to prepare the way, while Odos and Lux each take the magical ropes left behind. After looting the dead Erinyes’ body of expensive plate armor, the party takes a short rest before setting out on the cart for Bulyabat’s stronghold.
As they arrive at the gates of a fortress, suspended over a pool of bubbling lava, the party is greeted by a veritable host of devils of all shapes and kinds. Heinrich, trusting in Bruilinde’s word that Eyearae must abide by their contract, strides ahead confidently, with Odos and Bruilinde following. Lux, still muttering about however she got into this deal, trails after.
They are escorted by Eyearae to the top floor, where their senses are assaulted with the foul stench of vomit, feces, and body odor. As their view clears, they see the bulbous, obese devil sitting on the throne, covered in a filthy robe which exudes these smells and many more besides. Speaking in guttural tones between spittle and gags, he introduces himself as Lord Bulyabat, welcomes them to his home, and invites them to sit down for a feast in their honor….