After rescuing Hoffat we reconvened with the other group, who were accompanied by TWO imps. Both of which had wings. Which merely proves that Devoir is crazy. Annnd right away Devoir started trying to question these imps and wanting to cut off THEIR wings as well. They obviously werent telling us something and he wanted to know what it was.
The Imps did have some kind of information about a way out of Hell… something called, “The Door in the Floor”. A way out that certainly sounded fishy. We decided not to trust the other imps, as Stu, our Imp offered us a way out of Hell.
So wishing the other group fairwell, and hoping never to see the fools again, we split up. I didn’t enjoy travelling with an evil minotaur to begin with.
So, Stu our friendly resident Imp told us that he knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a sailor… how a sailor could be useful… who knows but if it would get us back to the mortal realm (although in the mortal world we couldnt do much damage).
As we travelled the heat affects us once more. I was able to resist it once again, but my friends were quickly becoming exhausted. It was becoming harder to breathe. As we walked we examined the necklace around Hoffat’s neck. It was the source of Hoffat’s drunken stupor, but to remove it could drive him permanently insane. We inquired with Stu about how to get it off.
He asked us if we had a cleric or a wizard… both of which were part of the OTHER group.
As the arguing persisted about what to do with the necklace and to escape first or get the necklace removed first Stu announced we had to head toward the River Styxx. So we headed down to the docks, and passed by another town crier, “Hear ye! Hear ye! The traitor Hoffat has escaped! Anyone who finds Hoffat and turn him in for a reward!”
I quickly removed my dark cloak and put around our ‘drunken’ Tiefling friend. As we passed by some buildings three attractive women whistled and winked at me, trying to lure me over. I resisted the temptations of hell quite easily.
Down the street we spot a chariot heading toward us, we quickly get out of the way after seeing others doing te same. Blackened skeletons with fiery horses called Nightmares were pulling it. It went past us and then came to a halt. I turn and a skeleton points at me slowly,
“You! Are requested by the Mistress!”
In shock, I looked to my friends knowing full well if we tried to fight or flee on the open street like that we would all be dead. I took a deep breath and nodded. I looked to my allies and told them I would catch up with them. I climbed in the carriage despite their protests, and we sped away as the door slammed shut behind me.
A devil princess named Lilit sat beside me. She spoke telling me that I reminded her of a man she knew. She asked if I had any relatives. I told her my father. She then offered me a deal. For the exchange of Hoffay she would locate my father for me. He had disappeared during the war along with Rachel and Ai. It would be a way of getting them back… but… to trade my friend’s life?
I tried to talk my way around the situation. But she held her ground, not willing to give any more information. She handed me a glass of red wine and I took it and drank, not wanting to offend my host. We shortly thereafter arrived at her mansion. It was large and gothic in style.
In the courtyard there were many statues of men and women, one of which was a statue very familiar to me. It looked exactly like my father, Majo Berenson.
She led me into her mansion and asked me to stay for a while as I told her I needed time to think about my decision. She showed me around, further trying to sweeten the deal. She showed me paintings of others, one of which was my mother from when she was 20…. just about the time she would have travelled through Hell with my dad. She then offered a way out of Hell if I traded Hoffat.
I coudn’t figure out a way to deceive her. She was too wise for such a thing. But suddeny a commotion came from downstairs in the mansion. Lilit looked to me and said, “That’ll be your friends.”
I mutter, “Shit.” Knowing regardless of my decision they probably brought Hoffat right to her.
She told me to go down and adress them, so I walked downstairs and they said they were there to rescue me.
I told them they shouldn’t have come. They were all badly injured and burned. Pluck, Medb, Dreth, and Hoffat.
The skeleton guard at the bottom of the stairs looked to me and said, “The offer?”
I asked back if Hoffat’s life would be guarenteed to be kept. They didn’t answer that question. I asked for an audience again for all of us with Lillit, and she refused through her skeleton minions.
I turned, ready to have to fight… to die and said, “I decline.”
The Death Knight skeleton stared at me for a few moments and finally said, “Then you are free to go.”
In shock we quickly left the mansion with Hoffat. As we left I told them of the offer she made me and of my father. They were not so sure they would have chosen the same and been as loyal to Hoffat as I was. But I, myself, could never trade one life for another. It wa equivalent exchange. I felt a deep sorrow wallowing up inside me, but I kept it hidden. Devoir rejoined us outside. It seemed like they had been assaulted by the ferocious guard dogs. Devour was particullary burnt up.
Stu the Imp led us to another Inn, this one called the 11th look. A beholder of all things was the proprietor. He was friendly enough though and only charged us 20gp a person for the night. We accepted and the next morning we went to a bar by the docks and Stu told us to stay in the fron and don’t act suspicious while he went and spoke to his contacts. He came back several minutes later and told us of a Wizard, a woman who could probably sail us out for a fair price. Devoir decided Stu had earned his wings back, with that info, but it had to be explained to the Pixie that wings of Imps did not come back as easily as that.
I thought of my dad. I could sneak back… but then I could never turn Hoffat in.
Before I could think for long said Wizard approached us and introduced herself as Captain Soot. She had black hair, dark skin and mesmrizing eyes. She asked us for payment, but first we wanted to know about the pendant Hoffat had and how we could remove it. She looked at it, and then quickly told us the price would be increased because she would have to harbor a fugitive on board. We could easily pay it off if we explored a newly found island in the Astral Sea. It was uncharted, with no name, or knowledge of what was there, but we were free to come with her should be search it instead of her sending her mens lives into danger.
As that was going on an invisible creature tapped me on the shoulder, he whispered his name was Inkblot the Imp. A map appeared out of thin air and I took it. It was a map of the 5th level of hell Stigia the Frozen Sea. There were directions on it to the city of Tantlin. The imp told me the map was from the Mistress.
Was this some kind of test? Or was it the location of my father? I could not take the chance. I asked about passage to Stigia and the party was perplexed why I would want to go there. I had to explain myself, but the price would be the same. The island for passage to Stigia and then out of Stigia.
I was not happy about the detour, hoping time was not a sensitive matter… and boarded the ship and sailed up the River Styxx though Avernus the first level of Hell. There we witnessed mighty legions of Hell training… All I could think was this was where my father, the great captain Majo Berenson of the army of RAGNAROK, and my mother first saw when they arrived there… and they had survived the entire thing and defeated Takonian, the one who ruled before Asmodeus.
How I could only aspire to be like them and there friends, Jacob and Julia.