When we last picked up, our group was camped in the forest, about three days away from Kara Kai monastery. After the most restful night of sleep in several days, we almost didn’t notice that an amber light was creeping up over the horizon earlier than usual. It wasn’t until three wolves ran past, paying us no mind, that we started to suspect something was awry. Helicon was the first to realize that what we had thought was the rising sun was actually a raging forest fire that was tearing across the plains and headed for us. As Zefir conjured up several mounts for us with her wand, Kellin took to the sky and confirmed that we were indeed in the path of a wildfire that was a mile wide. While we took flight, we passed through a very small town where two cabins stood like fodder for the oncoming inferno. We yelled “Fire!” towards the cabins, and two confused elderly people emerged, unaware of their plight. We continued trying to rouse them, but they seemed exceptionally slow on the uptake, exclaiming “Huh, what?” instead of rushing to action. Feeling as though we’d done our part to warn the innocents, we worried for ourselves, and left them behind in order to salvage our own lives.
Soon we came to a shallow river, and when we crossed it we saw that a massive bank of clouds was amassing over the approaching fire. Through spell craft, Zefir was able to determine it was a Control Weather spell. The clouds began to rain down on the fire, quenching the blaze. We continued on our way and approached a small village, where we found a tavern and decided to enter and warn the townspeople of what we’d just be fleeing from. Two customers within the tavern left shortly after we entered, and the bartender, named Jefferson, seemed none too concerned about the wildfire. Perhaps the magical storm had quenched any worries when it had quenched the flames.
While we inquired about a place to stay, the barkeep seemed anxious for us to leave, claiming no rooms were available. Raven sensed his motive and could feel his nervousness, and suddenly, a chair lifted off the floor and flew through the air, narrowly missing our heads. The barkeep was not shaken by this strange development, and said it’s something that “you get used to” around here. Pressing him for info, we learned that once a flower lady had once been killed in the tavern by several bricks that had become airborne in a similar way. As three other strangers entered the bar, the barkeep suggested that speaking about more of this would put them all in more danger, and that we should just move on. Raven cast a Detect Thoughts spell, which revealed a ten year old girl hiding just outside one of the tavern’s window. She was repeating a nervous thought pattern: “They are just strangers, they are going to move on…”
Mat snuck towards the window, creeping through the shadows, and when he got near the girl, whispered to her non-threateningly. She yelled, “No!” and Mat was flung back against the stairs, pushed aside by an invisible force of telekinesis. One of the strangers that had entered the bar screamed, “Just get out of town!” and Raven was able to persuade the bartender to admit that these people were under attack by demons that demanded they be obeyed. Just at that moment, a Mehrim demon appeared in a puff of black smoke, which our battle ready heroes attacked without hesitation.
Over at the window, Mat pulled the little girl inside the tavern with Lucky’s help, and standing at the outskirts of the room, he sensed another presence upstairs. Raven revealed its presence with a Glitter Dust spell, which coated the demon and made it unable to hide. A third demon entered through the fireplace, its gray skin and membranous wings revealing itself as a Garazu demon.
As our group coordinated an assault against the demons, the little girl escaped through the window and was gone by the time the last demon was vanquished. Afterwards, Mat questioned the people in the tavern, and we found out the girl was named Leanne, and her parents had recently drowned. The townsfolk claimed that these demons were triggered when strangers came poking around town, and the bartender said he often found a demonic face imprinted upon his bread when he pulled it from the oven. They gave us the address where Leanne’s aunt Rosalie lived, an elderly clothes maker who was found to be pale and declining in health. Rosalie was none too pleased with Leanne, going so far as to call her a little bitch that only brought trouble to the town. She gave no indication of knowing where Leanne was.
Raven decided to cast a Detect Object spell that was attuned to Leanne’s shirt, and we were next drawn to a grove in the village where Leanne was hiding. We offered her a shepherd’s pie, which she greedily ate, but still urged us to leave or else “she” would hurt us. We realized Leanne was referring to an unknown entity which seemed to speak in her head, when a pitchfork rose and flew past our heads. Not wavering, we pushed Leanne for more info, and soon were able to get her to write down the demon’s name she seemed so afraid to speak aloud: Kali Ann.
Zefir’s knowledge of the plains informed us that Kali Ann was a Balor demon, and had been a major figure in the demon war. Leann told us that she was hearing terrible things in her head warning her that something was about to happen. We questioned her about what had happened to her parents and she finally relented and told us that she had wished for her parents to return one day, over at the river’s edge where they had passed away. We asked her to lead us to the river, and once we got there, for a split second we glimpsed a huge hulking demon hovering over the water, seeming to blink in and out of reality. Zefir detected a strong aura of evocation magic from the area, and Kellin’s keen sight caught the glint of something metal about ten feet under the rushing rapids.
Before we could investigate, three demons appeared and a skirmish ensued at the water’s edge. One of them was a Glabrezu demon that called forth five mirror images that gave us even further hassles. We soon overcame the demons with no serious injuries. We now saw that there was a candelabra set into stone at the mouth of a waterfall. Kellin evolved his form and enlarged his size for more strength against the current, and dove down to affix a rope to the candelabra. Back on the shore, we all grasped the rope and pulled, noting that young Leanne had quite strong biceps for a 10 year old girl.
The candelabra dislodged under the strain, and we were able to pull it to safety. While Zefir examined it, the candles lit by themselves, and an audible hum was heard. Zefir was able to tell that it could cast the Blasphemy spell once per day, a powerful evil spell we thought we probably shouldn’t mess with. Luckily Bru had been carrying a lead box we could store the artifact in, and we agreed that we would take the candelabra to Kara Kai monastery, to either trade it to someone trustworthy, or destroy it in the lava flow, if all else failed.
Just as we were about to leave, by a stroke of insight and good fortune, Mat perceived something behind the rushing waterfall not far from us. There was a hidden cave behind it. Using a rope tied around our waists and Kellin’s ability of flight, we each secured safe entry to the cave, bringing Leanne along with us. As we descended deeper, the cave became even more dark and smoky, until at one point we realized that the coalescing smoke was actually a mass of wispy, smoke-like demons, who now seemed to be aware of our presence as one approached and attempted to reach down Mat’s throat with a smoky claw.
Suddenly Leanne ran deeper into the cave, alarming our group as we fought our way through the Belkir demons. Raven cast a Slow spell on six of them, which turned the tide and allowed us to defeat the otherworldly creatures in a long, tough battle. In the scuffle, Leanne had been gravely wounded and then pulled back from the brink of death by Zefir, and Mat had seen the Balor demon flicker in and out again over a chasm. We felt a magical effect in the area, as if we had to strain all of our will to resist some unknown deadly effect. We discovered that the dirt was disheveled in a particular area of the cave, and after digging through it for a few seconds found human bones buried within it.
Zefir continued to work on restoring Leanne to full health, and soon Leanne recovered and relaxed enough to tell us that she was no longer hearing voices in her head.
As questions still swirled, we began to plan our next steps.