The party ventured deeper into the next layer of hell and paw an imp perched on a sconce on the wall near a torch. It spotted them as harvey fell down the stairs. it started to make a break for it and zuriel shadow stepped in its way and tackled it to the ground before it could alert anyone. They questioned it as to where the man in the white suit was. and he told then off to the north down the stairs and to avoid the fire giants that zalto traded to the man in the white suit for a piece of a giant mechanical construction. the party let the imp go and it flew back upstairs as the party pressed onward. Zuriel scouted again after having invisibility cast upon him and directed the party around fire elementals, hell hounds, and helmed horrors until they cam across a pool of running magma that they had to get across. Zuriel shadowstepped across and spotted 3 fire giants guarding the stairs. With the wintersday orb and brought the rest of the party with them and they jumped the giants. a battle ensued and the party was victorious getting the element of surprise on the giants. to their dismay when they got to the north part of the cavern they saw the north route split into 2 ways, a clean path to a stair case and one filled with a river of magma in the way. they brought out the reindeer flute and summoned a flying reindeer to check the magma river 1st.
They went down the southern staircase and came across a riddle written on a door
I begin eternity,
And end space,
At the end of time,
And in every place,
Last in life,
Second to death,
Found in your breath,
Contained by earth,
Water or flame,
My grandeur so awesome,
Wind dare not tame,
Not in your mind,
Am in your dreams,
Vacant to Kings,
Present to Queens.
After much debate Harvey being good at riddles figured out the answer was the letter E. and the door opened. Zuriel and prim descended below into a room that seemed impossibly cold compared to how hot the other room was. it was filled with 5 pools of liquid and a seemingly dead adventurer in the middle of the center pool. Zuriel walked around the edge of the pool and prim poked the body with his mage hand to no effect. He dipped the mage hand into the cold water and it rippled and forms began to coalesce in the waters and abominations wrapped in black puddings began to emerge from the waters so they both hauled ass out of the room and back upstairs. to tell the party they didn’t find anything good down there.
The party inspected the clean pathways staircase and discovered another riddle door which read
What is it which builds things up?
Lays mountains low?
Dries up lakes,
And makes things grow?
Cares not a whim about your passing?
Ans is like few other things,
Because it is everlasting?
Harvey was also able to solve this riddle yelling out TIME as he heard the words off of the door and it opened into the hottest level they have been to yet. the chamber was an I shaped platform and the rest of it was filled with a pool of running hot magma. standing at the end of the room was the man in the white suit. He turned around and said “prim pressleaf so nice of you to come down here and bring me your soul after all. That is mighty sporting of you.” Prim tried to convince him to return pokeman’s soul but to no avail as he explained that is the way devils gain power in the hells and ascend to having more authority so he couldn’t do that but he would gladly make the party apart of his rise to the top. And with that he summoned 6 bearded devils which appeared adjacent to the party and activated a stone golem which began marching down the pathway to them. Fire elementals began to rise out of the magma. The man in the white suit dropped his illusion and revealed his true form as Barathrum the Pit fiend of this plane of hell.
Feeling outnumbered the party called the reindeer to fight and Prim summoned his succubi which were bound to the fiddle to stand against their old master. They knew how they had been mistreated by him before with him killing them again and again only to re-spawn here in hell with their souls having nowhere else to go. They were willing to do their part. Pokeman Jones and rowan took on the fire elementals, zuriel jumped in the way of the statue to try to block its progress, Yue the reindeer the succubi and Harvey began to fight the bearded devils while prim squared off with Barathum trying to pin him to the ceiling with his illusions.
The party fought bravely but things began to look dire a few bearded devils fell but the Pit fiend broke free of prim’s grasp and mauled harvey out of the sky who dropped to the ground and was knocked unconscious while on fire and began to slowly cook. Prim tried to stop the Pit fiend but was slashed by his claw and was engulfed by a fire elemental and sliced open by a bearded devil. the infernal wound was too much to bear and Prim Pressfleaf died in battle there. Barathrum took out a soul gem and proclaimed “Now I will have your soul after all Mr. Presleaf” and laughed while he watched his foes start to fall. Zuirel took heavy damage from the stone statue and was almost smashed by it but one of the succubi took the golden fiddle from prim’s corpse and used it to a fire storm shattering the golem sending pieces into the magma. The Pit fiend noticed him and struck zuriel unconscious with a tail swipe. Pokeman jones fought through a fire elemental and was helping the rest through some bearded devils. the reindeer was cut down in this conflict while the pit fiend struck down Jade. rowan attempted to resurrect prim but to no avail as yue kept the bearded devils at bay pulling out missiletoe after missiletoe sending magic missiles screaming all across the battlefield and pushing them away with thunderwaves.
Pokeman jones squared off against the pit fiend angry he has seen 3 of his companions fall and thinking about how he needs his soul back to help everyone he put everything he had into lashing out at the pit fiend and they had a knock down drag out fight with both heavily injured and bleeding but it just wasn’t enough and the pit fiend crushed him into the ground with his mace and he stood above him gloating about to deliver a killing blow on his unconscious form when Rowan’s Lightbringer made a sickening thud and smashed in the back all the way out the chest of the pit fiend with radiant energy as she screamed FOR LURUE!
Yue finished off the remaining bearded devils and fire elementals and the room grew quiet the exception of the magma bubbling. Yue and Rowan almost collapsed from exhaustion but found the energy to feel potions to those unconscious unfortunately harvey and prim seemed to have died. They quickly gathered Pokeman’s soul off of the dais and took back prim’s off of the pit fiend’s body and quickly searched for any useful loot. as they were looting they heard the sound of marching down the stairs and discovered an entire force of Zhentarim were standing before them. They recognized Shalvus Martholio from goldenfields but he called a creepy looking albino cloaked figure in robes “boss there they are, thats them I told you about.”
The cloaked figure introduced himself as Auctorias and explained that a little girl and a pirate woman asked if anyone was willing to venture into a hell hole to rescue their friends who had long gone missing. Auctorias said “upon hearing your description we knew who you were and came down here to offer you a deal. It looks like you are pretty beat up with some of your friends dead over there and so I have my priests resurrect them and we will escort you out of here in exchange for you helping us take territory on the sword coast. in particular we want Goldenfields Bryn Shander or perhaps Phandalin.” Rowan protested in her weary state and said they would be fine to handle themselves that they could just leave. Auctorias clarified that they would not make it out of hell without them and if they tried they would make sure of it. Zuriel coming to realize the situation that they were in signed a contract assuring that they would help the zhentarim get a foothold in one of those location and that his body and soul would be help as collateral for this agreement. And with that business agreement signed Auctorias was satisfied his business arrangement would benefit his cause and instructed his priests to revivify. the fallen and instructed his hired muscle an elf named Psaro to go search any of the remains of the devils for anything useful the party may have left.
Harvey was revivified immediately and the priests noted there was no soul tether to bring prim back until Zuriel gave them a soul stone to use to bring him back and they reinstated Pokeman Jone’s soul as well. With the party bloody but very much alive and victorious they made their way out of hell with their new acquaintances.