Between mostly the Bugbear - who must be the wandering monster Bruthazmus, and to a lesser extent three enraged Kudra wives, the group has a tough time of it. Bruthazmus seems especially pleased to deal blows against the Syvani in the party, and Tacoriel and Arufadion feel the sting of his enormous flail many times. But when he takes one of Belgrimner's spiritual hammers to the face, the hairy Bruthazmus seems to know that he is outmatched. In a desperate sprint, he runs past the group, through the halls and toward - something... aid perhaps?
Even Hoof, who had taken time out of the fight to murder caged Kudralings, gives chase now, dealing blows to the Bugbear's armored back and drawing more of his blood, but they are unable to stop him before he crashes through the doors of the demon temple, and into the midst of his allies.
The tainted Aasimar, Nualia stands at the foot of a tall, glowing statue of the Demon Queen, her Yeth Hound at her side. Also present are Suto the traitorous Durin brother of Ariana, and a mysterious dark skinned woman in the robes of a priestess or mage.
Hot on the Bugbear's heels. Arufadion plants his glowing sword into Bruthazmus' back as he reaches his mistress, ending the Beastly bugbear once and for all. As Hoof and Tacoriel join the Paladin, Cthulio and Belgrimner take a moment to free their long lost companion, the Druidess Cascade, from her jail cell, along with her wolf companion, Fox, before joining their brothers in the foul temple beyond.
Suddenly, two more Yeth hounds appear from the shadows of the ceiling, treading air like earth. As Nualia summons and suffuses herself with demonic power, Arufadion calls forth the Golden light of the his own Gods, protecting his companions from the fear that threatens to make them all run in terror.
Fortified thusly, Hoof lays into the hounds with his great axe but is answered with snarling fangs and deep, tearing bites. Spells are thrown by Nualia and the mysterious wizardess, but Arufadion's protections turn the evil magic aside. Belgrimner adds his healing aura, bolstering his wounded friends as Suto and Tacoriel engage in a dance of blades. The small, dashing form of Cthulio is hard to keep track of, darting in and out of combat and harrying Nualia and hound alike. Cascade and Fox add spear and tooth to the fray, laying into flying hellhounds with natural purpose.
Then Nualia pulls her serrated sword and with one quick stroke cuts Hoof down. Her strangely calm demeanor only flickers with pleasure briefly, but the hounds bay in delight, and Hoof's companions cry out. It seems things may end in ruin, but the warriors of the Golden Court rally. The Durin warpriest sends another healing wave, and Arufadion pushes forward and lays healing hand on Hoof's bleeding form.
As hounds press in, Hoof surges to his feet, rage long held in check now bursting forth as he cuts a vicious line across Nualia's scarred belly. Taco begins to gain the upper hand against Suto when the wizardess shatters his fine blade into shards and he is pressed back by the grinning Durin Rogue.
The heroes are not yet victorious, but the battle seems to be shifting in their favor. Will Yeth Hounds and demonic forces prevail? Or will GOOD (that whole goblin baby thing aside) win in the end?
... Stay Tuned!
As we rejoin our heroes, like Arufadion's magic blade, the battle is in full swing, and curving in favor of good. Taking sword to demon flesh, Arufadion steps in and cleaves a swath through the Yeth hounds, followed quickly by Hoof's axe in an opposite and equal splash of gore. Tacoriel rallies in spite of his lack of blade, bringing claws and spells to bear. Cthulio darts in and out around Nualia, stabbing where he can and just keeping out of reach, and Cascade and Faux harry the hounds with spear and fang while Belgrimner's healing magic is all that keeps friends from perishing in the fray.
But evil is not through! With a surge, the dastardly rogue, Suto, cuts Tac again and again as the Syvani tries to bring his sorcery to the fore. The Yeth hounds, bloodied but not yet vanquished, rip into Hoof, trying with desperation to protect their evil mistress, and managing to bring Hoof to the ground again and again. Nualia wastes no time in taking advantage, plunging her glowing blade into and through the barbarian's arm. The dark wizardess tries again and again to effect someone - ANYONE, with her spells, and is finally rewarded for her efforts as Cthulio is burned by an acid orb.
Then one and another of the three Yeth are cut down by the combined might of paladin and barbarian, falling from their unnatural perch in the air to land as so much dead, tainted meat at the toes of their mistress.
With the odds now in the group's favor, they press the attack. In response, Suto backs away, joining Nualia and the wizardess, who sends a fan of flames into the hero's ranks. It turns out to be the last actions she ever takes, as Taco rushes forward and buries his draconian claws in the woman's stomach!
Nualia and her last hound fight like, well, demons, and her wicked bastard sword and the hell hound's teeth cut vicious wounds in Hoof, Arufadion and Cthulio, but paladin and priestly magic are up to the task of healing and despite her best efforts, she can't bring a hero down for long.
Suto begins to look worried.
And at last, Nualia is brought low with a well timed stroke of Arufadion's longsword. As her head topples from her graceful shoulders, red lightning plays around the edges of the wound. Hoof spins and cleaves the Yeth's head, cutting off it's eerie and mournful howl. As the sounds of combat die, Suto throws down his blade and backs away, raising his hands in surrender.
The heroes have won.
In the aftermath of the battle, Suto is well tied and secured to a pillar of the demonic temple as Arufadion checks the body of Nualia, assuring that threat is permanently ended. The traitor tells them that they have defeated all of Nualia's henchmen, with the exception of a mercenary named Orik, who probably fled, since he hasn't showed up by now. Unsure whether to believe him, but detecting no lies, they begin to explore the closest rooms.
They find a war room of sorts, where all the major planning of Nualia's goblin raids happened, and a combination study and archeological headquarters, with various ancient scrolls, shovels, picks and digging supplies.
Deciding on a night's rest, everyone settles in for sleep, taking a three on/three off watch rotation in the temple.