The heroes faced off against Valzad, with no healing surges and no daily powers remaining. With little chance of victory, the party attempted to flee. As they prepared to escape, and Valzad began firing bolts of ice and death at the heroes, Durzo jumped between the lich and Naven. “You are my rachma,” Durzo called to his allies, “and a greater enemy waits. The illithid plot and scheme, they threaten to destroy the world. You must live to stop them! Now, go!” With that, Durzo charges Valzad, throwing him off balance with his flurries of punches and kicks. The rest of the party fled back across the stone bridge and out of the Firepeak
They returned to their ship, the Inquisitive and set sail back to Sarta. There, the heroes found a golden ship in the harbor, with sails showing an upright sword set against a large sunburst. Amethyst became acutely anxious. Peregrine waited for her at the pier. They had a hurried conversation and walked into town together. In town, the rest of the party learned from Benley Brightmorrow that workers underneath Thoril had uncovered passageways that may lead into areas of the original city of Thoril, capital of the Nerath empire. Such a find may lead to items of legend, or ancient texts, or perhaps to great dangers.
While the party was discussing whether to journey toward Highreach and investigate a possible mind flayer plot, or to journey to the tunnels beneath Port Thoril, they saw a dark shape dart past the windows, followed by screams outside. More shaped quickly flew by. Lorgrim prepared to leap out a window to tackle the next shape that went past, but as he began running for the window, the entire wall exploded inward, revealing a giant skeleton wielding a greatclub. Smaller skeletons could be seen behind it, through the gap in the wall, advancing toward the house. Splintering glass from the upstairs balcony heralded the arrival of two flying skeletons. The party quickly engaged to foes, moving between the upper and lower floors to attempt to gain tactical advantage. The flying skeletons made piercing shrieks causing high burst damage, which Ardan neutralized by giving the party resistance to thunder damage. The minions were dispatched fairly quickly, but each round seemed to bring more of the creatures to their door. On the third round of fighting, a dark skeletal figure entered the house, with wings of darkness and a large scythe. Naven teleported the giant Skeleton Juggernaut and forced it to attack the newly arrived Dark Reaver, slowing its engagement of the party. The Dark Reaper quickly put Lorgrim down with his Disembowel attack and an action point. Soon after, another Skeleton Juggernaut tore into the house, followed by more minions. The heroes retreated upstairs, using their powers to limit the ability of the reaper to close on them. The party, growing more desperate, used all of the powers at their disposal, including Amethyst’s Punishing Eye, eventually bringing down the first Juggernaut, which allowed each member of the party to spend a healing surge. The party then risked engaging the Reaper and brought him down as well, allowing each party member to regain the use of an encounter attack power. The momentum of battle shifting, the party then was able to dispatch their remaining foes.
In the brief silence that followed, the Keepers of Ostra picked themselves up, dusting off their armor, when the heard a jingling of chains from the darkness outside the now ruined house. The skeleton for of Valzad, the tiefling lich, strode out of the darkness, his chainmail jingling Softly. “Give back what is mine!” he said and began firing bolts of death at the party. The heroes moved to engage him, though Valzad’s ability to fly made it more challenging. Valzad used his frost attacks to slide the heroes off the stairs and blasted them with death bolts giving them ongoing necrotic damage. Eventually, though, the party was able to corner Valzad and damage his corporeal form, causing him to explode and summon an aura of crackling necrotic damage around him. The heroes fought on, but soon their courage faltered and they feared they could not defeat the lich, once he had nearly killed Naven, leaving him unconscious at the lich’s feet. The party fled from the house, escaping from Valzad. They hid underneath one of the piers at the edge of town, huddled together until dawn broke, and silence settled over the outpost. The heroes then quickly gathered their belongings and boarded the Inquisitive, planning to escape Valzad, traveling up the Lunzar River to Edomere, and then travel toward Highreach to investigate the possible Illithid plot. That also gives the party time to reflect on their recent battles, and train more diligently, entering the paragon tier, preparing for the next time Valzad finds them.