Bram and Zot faced down the tremendous foe before them. Khromax crept closer, taunting them as he went. Urged by Korg (the spirit now residing in the paladin’s waraxe), Bram stepped forward to try and reason with the Khromax of days long past. As he did, Zot slinked out of sight, cast incantations of greater invisibility and flight, and soared upward to assist the caged barbarian. Bram spoke plainly to the dragon, petitioning the goodness that he knew was trapped within, beneath the festering evil that was Thetus, the barbed devil. As Zot unlocked Kaan’s cell door and placed an enchantment of flight upon the last member of the Elk Tribe, Bram succeeded in his efforts. Khromax, the shining silver dragon of legend seized control of his wits and tossed Morzaad’s phylactery to the dwarf. In doing so, the wyrm violated his contract with the hellion inhabiting his flesh. The dragon collapsed to the ground. His eyes and mouth blazed with the flames of hell itself ad Thetus was ejected from him.
“Return the phylactery to me at once, paladin!”
“Come and get it.” came the response.
An epic battle ensued. As the final blow sent the devil hurtling back to hell, Buferd (who had magically tracked his companions to the dragon’s lair) entered and praised his allies for their victory. Khromax, cursed to suffer an agonizing death as a result of his violation, apologized for his transgressions and gave thanks to the group for their heroic deeds. As an act of mercy, Bram offered the fallen dragon a quick death and split the wyrm’s skull with a single blow.
Retrieving Grig, the party ventured back to Barton’s Cove to consult with Dickmyer regarding the destruction of the lich’s phylactery. As the approached the village, a fine golden dust enveloped them, causing them to sparkle and blinding Kaan and Grig. Guessing that Cantis Rathbone was about, they began hurling taunts in an attempt to draw the wizard out. A fireball came down upon them from above, giving them a clue to his location. Buferd acted quickly, calling upon the power of Torag of both anchor the mage to this location and outlining him with an emerald sheen, spoiling his invisibility spell. At Kaan’s request, Zot enchanted him with magical flight once again and the barbarian sped skyward to thrash his hated foe. Bram likewise used his newly acquired boots of levitation to bring in swinging distance of Rathbone. Zot launched lightning bolts and magic missiles at their enemy, and Buferd placed magical silence on the barbarian, limiting the wizard’s options. Before long, Cantis was defeated, plummeting to the ground where he died from the impact. In typical fashion, Kaan removed Rathbone’s fingers and tongue to ensure that he would be helpless in the afterlife.
The fellows entered Barton’s Cove as conquering heroes. Ella, healthy again, greeted Zot as they arrived. Speaking with Dickmyer, they discovered that Morzaad’s phylactery was only vulnerable to a blow from a powerful artifact… which Kaan just happened to possess. Summoning forth all the might of the elk, Kaan brought Winter’s Fury down upon the ornate silver box, resulting in a concussive shockwave that left the relic reduced to a pile of ash. Following the phylactery’s destruction, the group made their way to the chamber holding the ancient lich. The barbarian blew the ashes of his phylactery into his face before Bram (following a barrage of insults, of course) and Kaan laid the creature low, ending his centuries of occupation on the realm of Kaeyden.
An enormous feeling of relief fell over them, especially Dickmyer, who had one final request for the companions. The old wizard asked that they free him from his eternal stay on Kaeyden as well, showing them to the magical statue that bound him to this land. In doing so, Barton’s Cove would need leadership until a suitable ruler could be named. Dickmyer asked that Bram take on the role of steward and accept the task of finding another to take on the task permanently. The paladin agreed and offering thanks to the wizard for all he had done, past and present, took up Korg’s own hammer and demolished the statue. Dickmyer’s ghostly form smiled as he dispersed.
Over the course of the following weeks, the group enjoyed peace and quiet in the Cove. Alvin, the town sage, lent his knowledge to Kaan, calling upon powerful magic to reveal the true strength of Winter’s Fury to the barbarian. Bram and Buferd took to the forge, for the first time since they had arrived here feeling at home. Zot and Ella were seen scuttling about town and fishing off the docks, bickering back in forth in their usual playful manner. At last, tranquility had come to the weary heroes. Peace is a wonerful thing, unappreciated by many, but like anything else, peace does not last forever…