Part Seven

The three Solars in the Wyld, along with Zaph, now turn their attention North towards where they believe the lair of the behemoth and its precious eggs to be. A series of narrative conceits lie in their path.

First a huge vertical wall, predictably inhabited by giant spiders, leading to yet more rescuing of Zaph, and a series of stunts involving swinging one handed from vines. Kairos' is upset to discover that armour does little against spider babies, nor is it possible to parry a swarm fo them, but his frown turns to giggles as he brushes off their feeble attempt to hurt him.

With the spiders dispatched our brave heroes get to the top of the wall to find a ruined temple, and a thunderstorm waiting for them. Along with a mere 8 Raksha Nobles, each more powerful than the one who had given them so much trouble in front of the sword. But rather than fight, the Nobles seek to negotiate, still bound by ancient oaths to allow the solars to attempt their quest. Negotiations do not go well, though Kairos is impressive as always more than one of the Raksha is at least his equal. It seems the key problem is the presence of Grey Wolf's sword, and eventually a compromise is reached to banish it to elsewhere until he emerges from the wyld once more. Mollified, the Fair Folk disperse and our heroes continue onwards.

Their next challenge is to be found in crossing a huge canyon with a sickly green river running along the bottom, using massive vines slick from the recent rain. Half way across a flock of razor birds swoop into to attack, and though the flocks injuries are much greater than the heroes Kairos ends up plunging towards the river with only a carcass to act as parachute. Raiden quickly follows him, though aiming for the forest.

Grey Wolf chops through a vine and he and Zaph swing towards the cliff face, sustaining minor injuries but reaching their destination much sooner than by their original route. The heroes regroup on the banks and as the river now bends north they choose to construct a raft and follow it. The raft proceeds uneventually for a couple of days before once more things get exciting.

A giant mutant crocodile rises from the water and smases the raft. As the solars cling to the remaining floating pieces a large water snake joins the crocodile and attempts to grapple and drown Raiden. Kairos and Grey Wolf fight off the crocodile but have trouble penetrating it's hide. And, naturally, they soon realise that they are speeding towards a waterfall. Kairos allows himself to be temporarily swallowed by the crocodile, in order to attack it from within, and as Raiden manages to dispose of the snake he emerges and ushers everyone into the crocodile where they will be able to shoot the waterfall safely.

Grey Wolf and Zaph reluctantly agree, but Raiden refuses and together he and Kairos use the corpse of the crocodile to surf over the waterfall, Kairos hanging on for dear life and Raiden leaping down from rock to rock and tree to tree in hot pursuit. The crocodile is more or less destroyed, but the heroes are round a bend from their goal.

The behemoth they seak is a many-headed sea-serpent, guarding it's own floating nest full of eggs. Raiden sneaks into the middle, escaping notice by the mere skin of his teeth. The others have prearranged a signal to mount a daring fly-by pick up and the plan goes off with only minor problems, Raiden is almost swallowed by one of the Behemoths heads, but escapes with a monumental haul of eggs to return to the queen.

Pursued by the heads, the four intrpid adventurers speed back to the waterfall, and out of transportation magic can't imagine what their next move will be. But Zaph stairs deep into the misting spray of the waterfall, and with a surge of some newly discovered power plunges through it seemingly stepping into solid rock. The solars follow him, and find themselves returned to Mist Island and a heroes welcome.

Whilst all this has been going on the other Solars have been busy in Nexus. Having fully explored the great manse in the sky Fox and Azir return to the city in order to continue their campaign against the skulls.
They track individual members of the cult and try to divine the location of some of their safe houses. They make steady progress and recruitment to the rival cult is proceeding well. They discover that the old mausoleum has been cleaned up but on the other side of town a new one has been put in place, this time with defences that are a little more substantial, and Fox's keen nose picks up several scents indicating more of the Death Exalts are around.

Things begin to go wrong when the solars receive news that one of the two leading lights of Fox's cult has been captured by the skulls. Fox again manages to track them down to a previously discovered warehouse in the docks and the solars develop a plan to storm the place. Bursting in they are disappointed to discover that this level of the warehouse is mostly empty, but clearly the skulls are using a basement room. Two guards at the top of the stairs are dispatched rapidly, with the minimum of fuss.

Without pausing for breath the three heroes continue their charge, but sadly they have alerted the skulls to their presence and as they reach the bottom of the stairs both Ferric and Fox are struck by vicious blast from some sort of shoulder-mounted necrotic firewand device from a new one of the death exalts. Undaunted Fox races to rescue his disciple as Ferric and Azir cover him, but the Preacher cuts him down. About to be finished, the preacher is startled as his captive tears free of his restraints and dives to defend his prophet. Ferric races to recover the body before Fox slips from unconsciousness to death, but again luck is against them and Ferric too is cut down.

Azir flees, sprinting until he is far enough away to be sure he has avioded pursuit. He casts Stormwind Rider and at top speed, returns retrieving the fallen bodies of his two friends before the Skulls can interfere. He takes them back to the manse in the sky and gives them both a funeral pyre in the temple on its roof. Though Ferric's passes without incident, Fox's funeral is notable for the unexplicable occurence of a zenith caste anima power, and the distinct feeling of the presence of a great power as the body vanishes without trace.