By the time you get this letter, you will most likely already know what transpired. Still, while everything is fresh in my memory, I would like to record it.
Marsys hesitantly told all of us that she had a dream several weeks ago that only one person would be able to travel to the Isles of Woe. We were all slightly irritated that she hadn’t put forth this information sooner, but she apologetically explained that she had hopped Zagyg would be able to find some way around the issue before the day came for us to go. So we contacted him using the communication crystals.
He arrived inside a giant cake for reasons that likely make sense only to him. Even he seemed put out that he hadn’t been able to circumvent the restrictions on traveling to the Isles. However, he would be able to temporarily use Loreli’s curse to turn us all into tattoos. Once we arrived, we would be be released. Naturally, Loreli was unsettled by the idea, but we put our faith in her and let Zagyg work his magic.
My next memory is of being on the Isles of Woe in the Temple of Boccob. As we moved forward, it was quite evident that Bartholomew had beaten us there. Powerful guardians were slain left and right, traps literally torn from the walls… He had left a path of destruction in his wake. Arriving at the altar room, Bartholomew looked more than worse for wear. He seemed to be melting into black ooze, barely held together by force of will alone. The Codex of Infinite Planes merged itself into his chest and began to speak to us.
He blithely mentioned that Asmodeus had actually planned to use Balthasar as his host all along. Jack and their breeding project was merely a backup plan. The very thought that both our families were nearly destroyed for a contingency plan was infuriating! The Codex went on to ask if we had brought Jack along, pointing out that Bartholomew was not exactly the most ideal host.
The ensuing battle was surprisingly quick. The Vestige arrived but was confused since it was getting orders from both Bartholomew and the Codex. Idrys had evidently asked Zagyg to bless one of his arrows before coming and took that moment to shoot the Codex, embedded in Bartholomew’s chest. A rope shot out, allowing Villius to use his incredible strength to forcibly tear it out. The Vestige took it’s place, but we were able to slay it and free the souls inside. Bartholomew dissolved, and Jevan contained him inside a force cage. Moving quickly, we pinned the Codex to the Altar of Boccob with Hanna playing the Song of Ages, and Tulla used Flamestrike to destroy it once and for all.
We found ourselves outside on the surface of the Isles with a very irritated looking Balthasar. Of course, it was immediately evident by his presence and glowing red eyes that he was, in fact, Asmodeus. The arch-devil complained mightily that we had ruined his plans, but wasted little time before attacking us. A great blanket of magical darkness covered us right as Lianna dropped from the sky, trying to crush us. After getting out from under the wretched beast, I noticed that Devil Breaker’s light was able to cut through the darkness. My wedding ring also was glowing. It seems Jack, ever clever, had modified Claire’s ring slightly.
Idrys later told us that he could also see through the dark thanks to his tethered demon. Ashell, it seems, was getting orders from Grazz’t. Loreli’s fiancee, in his rainicorn form, leap free to do battle. Lianna took a great breath, ready to use a magically altered breath weapon of fire, but Ardes tossed flames from his holy gauntlets down her gaping maw. This had an unexpected effect of negating her breath and knocking them both back. Confused, she took to the air with Villius clinging to one of her claws. Idrys fired one of the daylight arrows blessed by Emperor Akihiro at Lianna, and Tulla used a spell to grant her powers from Garl. Between the two sources of holy light, the unnatural darkness was dispelled.
Ashell then turned to Idrys and explained that he was being turned into some sort of bomb by Grazz’t. The intent was to kill everything on the surface of the Isles. It seems that Ashell had been listening to his elven companion’s urgings towards redemption and made a surprising choice. Freed of his tether, Ashell flew into the sky where Lianna was just as he exploded. Villius allowed himself to fall just in time to avoid the blast, but Lianna was utterly torn apart.
We had no time to mourn our surprising savior as Reason’s Might smashed through the barrier around the Isles of Woe with a battering ram — evidently my wedding gift from Heironeous! Idrys snapped the stick that Zagyg had given us long ago. A strange mist billowed out, forming into what looked like a giant glowing chef. It began turning the devil’s Asmodeus had summed into… pastries which then started to animate and gather.
Now well and truly frustrated, Asmodeus split himself into three. One began attacking the massing pastries. The Asmodeus I was facing decided he had enough and attempted to destroy Devil Breaker with his Ruby Rod. I was horrified when I saw how much damage had been done, but our formidable sword wasn’t entirely broken. Idrys used his final blessed daylight arrow to shoot Asmodeus. The holy light resonated with my ring, and I realized that both Claire and Marcus were there. The light seemed to act as a catalyst and began healing Devil Breaker’s damage. Not wanting to injure my faithful friend any more, I decided to simply punch Asmodeus with the ring. It was more effective than I had expected as there were great bursts of sunlight at every strike.
Reason’s Might swooped in for a landing, ramming the third Asmodeus clone. Faern used an amulet he had gotten when we fought Drennik to summon the spirit of one of his ancestors. A great, ancient dwarven weaponsmith appeared, more than ready to do battle. He grabbed Faern’s arm and used some sort of ability built into his hammer to fire himself at the Asmodeus staggered by being struck by the ship. Between the two powerful dwarves, they completely obliterated the clone.
Villius was aided in fighting the second Asmodeus clone by the Garment Sage spirit that Loreli called forth. The pastries he had been trying to destroy formed into an enormous lizard creature that breathed frosting and started devouring shocked devils. At the same time, Idrys began looking about for Badr al din. Using True Seeing, our vigilant elf spotted the death knight standing right behind me! Moving quickly, Idrys shot him with two arrows, dispelling the invisibility and doing a significant amount of damage.
The Death Knight was not well pleased and advanced on our elf even as our pirate allies spilled from the ship to attack the remaining devils. Ardes stepped forward and used his gauntlets to catch the abyssal fireball Badr threw at them. They all seemed a bit surprised when the monk simply blew out the fire as one would snuff a candle. Our monk companion then used another power of the gauntlets to assume a fiery form and pummeled the former Baklune until he was finally and truly dead.
Rather than joining his crew in the fray, Jack came rushing towards Idrys with clerics of Rao in tow. They handed our archer the Crook of Rao, modified to be fired like an arrow. Jack then shouted instructions to Jevan, telling him to use one of his spells to pin Asmodeus in place. Taking careful aim, Idrys fired the Crook and struck Asmodeus square in the chest. We all dropped to the ground, but the giant confectionary lizard… thing swallowed the King of Hell and exploded in a shower of frosting and pastries. Lying on the ground was the Crook of Rao, none the worse for wear.
There are still things we are concerned about — no one knows what happened to Celasur or Arabell — but our quest is finally finished. We decided to turn Bartholomew, or what is left of him, over to the clerics of Incabulos. Now that their god is no longer insane, perhaps they can help him. As for valiant Ashell, we hope that his soul will be freed of his demonic curse and able to move on. The Islands sank quietly back into the water, leaving no trace of the battle that took place.