August 18, Zarjasz al-Ulaq
I rushed the Dread Reliquary, moving as quickly as I could so to give our spellcasters room to work. I damaged the mechanisms in its head, but it grabbed me in its huge claws, all but crushing the life out of me. I tried to break its grip with my hammer to no avail. The others assaulted vigorously and it dropped me, changing is fighting stance.
By Lady Laracroix was ready for it, and unleashed her fury upon it. Her previous attacks had allowed her magical sword to attune to the Reliquary’s armor, and now her attacks cut through as it was not there at all. The construct shuddered and collapsed.
Victory, though, was not yet at hand, for the crystal sarcophagus opened and the remains of Bennura rose, a lich of no doubt fearsome power. But such might was naught before the will of Pelor. Lyr admonished the creature and it was destroyed utterly in a burst of holy light.
A glowing object, about the size of a large pomegranate, tumbled from where the lich’s heart should have been. We had found the Cintamani.
Searching the room, we found a shaft leading down into another room. Some of my companions descended to investigate, while I planned to ascend, for we had heard shouts of triumph and relief when the Reliquary was destroyed. The Guardian had failed instantly. One of the Marut descended first, simply jumping down. I explained what he was looking at, that the pile of dust was all that remained of Bennura. Eframostis verified this and, once the other remaining Marut were satisfied, they left.
I ascended to inform the other groups what was happening. I made my explanation quick, for the others were calling for me.
In the chamber below was a peculiar apparatus, the teleportation device Mudu had told us about. Feng had tried the apparatus first. While none of us were sure what, exactly, happened, he did disappear… Sehera, determined to reunite Khegan with his sword, tried the apparatus next, taking the key to Al-Mhuqtebel.
The other parties arrived shortly thereafter and we all evacuated the fortress-temple.
In the camp, we were greeted with much excitement, which Asha Druj cut short. With yet another of her peculiar rings, she summoned forth a titanic creature, like an armored jellyfish the size of a ship that hovered in the air. This thing struck Zarjasz al-Ulaq with powerful magic and, suddenly, the entire structure was gone.
The disruption momentarily liquefied the sand and nearly everybody was sent tumbling down into the pit or just vanishing beneath the surface. Feng, in a stroke of luck, had taken a staff from Bennura’s sarcophagus that allowed him to control earth; with a great effort, he caused those buried beneath the sand to be ejected. Many received minor injuries, but none were killed. I do not think that Asha Druj was concerned about violating the contract, though…
Our portal to Al Mhuqtebel was now quite a distance up in the air. Indira and I rallied a few hands and we quickly erected a large net, using some destroyed canopies, to ready for Sehera’s return.
Exhausted, we went to bed.
Later, Sehera described her meeting with Khegan. He had been travelling across the desert, having had some form of vision commanding him to return to his people. He was all too happy for the shortcut Sehera provided. They met with Cressida, who seemed busy but well, and enjoyed themselves for a few hours. Apparently, the Zythu encampment was being broken apart, the tribes separating again and resuming their nomadic way of life.