After a good deal of back and forth in the wake of the Empty Keg’s encounter with a night hag, the company plots a course using their newfound maps. The trek is not easy — indeed it is difficult to conceive of a worse place to spend the night than unsheltered in the abyss. The consequences are predictable and take a toll on morale, but Azera’s rituals provide some hope of ending the journey.
Though the first day is relatively uneventful, the second begins with pursuit: a flight of demons seems to be searching for the company while a sandstorm brews on the horizon. Unwilling to turn back or to find firmer ground on which to defend themselves against flying foes, the Keg presses on, hoping that speed will prevail. When it becomes obvious that, even magically assisted, the adventurers cannot outrun their pursuers, they turn and stand and fight. Lead by a huge, fearsome demon which appears to be a mighty Balor, the Keg uses every effort to bring things to a swift close. Joshua’s blade seems to greedily devour the soul of the leader, momentarily transforming his swordarm into the stuff of nightmares. While the company is successful at putting down the leader in short order, their flying enemies look to have gained the upper hand until a single whispered word from Azera brings them all crashing to the ground. The battle over, the last remaining demon takes to the skies, leaving the company with a parting warning — that they will never escape the Prince, and that they will never reach the Blood Rift before he can reach them.
Something about what the demon says sticks in Joshua’s mind, some half-remembered story that he can’t quite place his finger on. Finally, it comes to him — though the Blood Rift is said to reach every abyssal plane, and thus be of immense strategic importance, he can’t recall a single tale of a demon lord ever entering it. Meanwhile, Jack sorts happily through the remaining body parts of the demons, finding all sorts of useful components. Eye of newt pales in comparison to beak of vrock and femur of “balor.”
The Empty Keg avoids the sandstorms and stays away from the Blood River until they are forced to cross it painfully and swiftly — they learn the waters are toxic, at least to mortals. After their third day of travel, they reach the outskirts of what they can only assume is a settlement above Morglon-Daar. It is an impressive sight. An enormous tower made of bone, appearing to be a spinal column, stretches upwards and out of sight; it can only be the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin, which descends into the great city itself. The Blood Rift here is vast, cutting across the landscape like an open wound. Blood-red mist rises from the falls which cascade into the depths of the abyss, sometimes obscuring everything nearby. Around the tower itself is a curtain wall guarded by well trained demonic troops. Nearby, a great lift loads and unloads cargo, served by a shanty town of lesser demons who toil endlessly. Though the company may have found Morglon-Daar, getting in to the city is another matter altogether.
Air Battle 1200xp
Roleplaying Bonus 500xp
Essence of a fire demon (Jack might be able to use it to turn any magical weapon into a Demonslayer Weapon of the same enhancement bonus of the weapon used)
Petrified heart of a kulchikur (Jack is more or less certain he can use a minimal amount of residuum to create a Demon Amulet +3 from this)
Failing that, Jack could grind the components into pure residuum worth 4 or 5 thousand gp.