The Freeport Chronicles

The Jewel of Zindafar

A single glance and nod suffices. Lando prepares a spell as Maydrane drops from the ceiling. The gnome launches himself into the air, reaching out to touch the centaur in mid-flight and transport both via a dimensional portal to the opposite platform. The cultist wizard flees from the balcony and exits the vault.

With the other companions battling the giant naga-worm, Maydrane and Lando follow the retreating wizard. The ante-chamber beyond features several marble statues around the room, with alcoves to either side. Two of the statues portray the same man, a tall regal individual that points to his mirror image. The other statues depict female figures, both of whom direct their gaze towards a door leading from the room. One scowls accusingly while the other smiles knowingly. The marble representations appear similar to those featured in the murals viewed before entering the subterranean city.

The cultist wizard speaks with a robed acolyte near one alcove, while a similarly adorned figure stands threateningly on the other side of the room. Maydrane addresses the group, requesting that they lay down their weapons and leave in peace. The offer spurned, the centaur charges the wizard to engage in melee. While this occurs, Lando creates an illusory image of the other companions entering the room in hopes of tying up the other acolyte. The ploy works as the robed cultist unleashes a lightning bolt, destroying the magical decoys.

The two acolytes prove adept at sword fighting, and the ensuing melee costs both sides dearly. Although Maydrane bests the two, the cultist wizard is able to retreat from the battle. Opening the door to the inner sanctum, he pleads to his master to join the battle. The request is met with soft laughter and a lightning bolt blasts through the doorway, incinerating the wizard in the process. Silence descends.

Maydrane and Lando take a short breather and prepare for their assault. Lando magically enlarges Maydrane and cloaks her in invisibility before entering the shrine room. An intense heat meets their approach, as if the two were entering a furnace. The chamber features unadorned granite walls and a vaulted ceiling. A large block of granite sits on a square dais in the centre of the room, a grasping hand rising from the block. A female cultist, her robe thrown haphazardly on the floor, stares intently at a large jewel gripped in her hand. Molten gold flows from the jewel, dripping down her arm.

Although she cannot see Maydrane nor Lando, she senses their presence and turns to their approach. Her gaze never leaving the jewel, she creates a magical web that suffuses the room. Maydrane strides purposefully through the strands, landing a vicious hit on the cultist. Unfazed, she responds with a magical ice storm that bombards the room.

Gold continues to seep from the jewel, completely covering the body of the cultist leader. As the spell fades, a blast of energy emanates from the jewel. The air crackles and flames come to life around the room. The energy swells, engulfing the cultist leader in a swirling ball of fire. The flames build higher and higher, producing a heat that causes Maydrane and Lando to look away. Finally, the seething elemental force bursts through the ceiling, the temple unable to contain it any longer.

With the roof of the building removed, a growing sound draws the companion’s attention. Behind them, molten gold has risen beyond the banks of the canals, covering the city again in a new blanket of gold. Above them, the gilded undead dragon regards the scene. The massive fire elemental towering above them, Lando utilizes a pearl of power to magically enlarge Maydrane again. The centaur increases in size to match that of the fire elemental and they engage in hand to hand combat.

Given her training, Maydrane is able to quickly gain the upper hand and pin the elemental. She makes eye contact with the undead dragon as Lando teleports magically to the creature’s side. The wizened gnome advises the dragon that they are here to save the city, and redress past wrongs in the process. They watch as Maydrane reaches into the chest of the elemental to tear out the jewel. The magical entity implodes, the swirling fires dying down until only the dead carcass of the cultist leader remains. Maydrane tosses the empty husk into a nearby canal as she, and the other companions who have dispatched of the giant worm, join with Lando.

With the fire elemental destroyed, the undead dragon entertains the companions in conversation. A bit rusty after not having an opportunity to chat for many millennia, she relates that she was lured to the city by the Whispering Tyrant, captured, tortured, killed, returned to life, and finally enslaved to serve as an eternal guardian of the city. The jewel carried by Maydrane represents the essence of Zindafar, and as such, must remain in the city. Although they wish to keep it for further study, they understand the conundrum and agree to entrust it in the undead dragon’s care. In return, the dragon will assist them in leaving the island.

Unable to exit the city by the same route that they entered, the undead dragon takes them on its back and flies up through a vent in the ceiling of the cavern to the night air above. They soar across the island in style before returning to the peak of the mountain where Ganyelt resides. The ancient vampire is happy for their return and Anton is returned to their care. He is true to his word and agrees to answer one question in recognition of the fine work the companions completed on his behalf. Lando takes out the octagonal disc that the group found in Deep Scar Keep and asks Ganyelt what is it. The vampire druid turns the disc over several times before advising that it is essentially an immobilization trap. Although it exists across all planes, it can only be used in hell. It represents one item in a set of eight that was crafted by the great Ironjack himself.

The companions thank Ganyelt for the information and prepare for their journey off of the island.

—> Flip to next chapter
—> Return to prior chapter

Comments

688777630

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.