The party (Lori, Krav, Balthazar, Theren & Karath) returned to the volcano at the former Giant’s Fall at the command of Capt. Rogan, who had been contracted by Prince Yulian, to ensure that there were no other disturbances or issues that came of this catastrophe. Not only were the party conceivably to blame for the disaster, but also they were well-armed and trained, and furthermore, the city’s guard, armies, and resources were tied up with the sudden influx of refugees from the Giant’s Fall area.
Armed with heat-resistant footgear and mental images of icebergs as proof against the still-cooling lava flows, they began to explore the area. Almost immediately, they encountered groups of wandering skeletons, whom the group presumed were made from the newly-dead, and raised by virtue of their own anger. Disposing of those, they found groups of footprints, medium and small, around the lava fields. Further exploration led them to a newly-exposed cave mouth, which began sloping steeply downward almost immediately. The group wandered down pathways on either side of flowing magma, very much alive and very, very hot. There, they encountered tieflings, much to Rabadash’s disgust, other goblins, and magma beasts.
Needing a break from the heat and a place to rest, they returned to the surface, and Krav sent Rabadash to return to town, make a report to Yulian, and gather further supplies. He then took the rest of the group back down to see if there were more fell beasts to destroy. What they found took them completely by surprise: one of the tieflings had been carrying ritual components designed to draw forth purity and holiness, and as they approached the heart of the volcano, they found an evistro demon standing guard over a great corridor.
Recognizing that demons, particularly not evistro demons, are going to do something as mundane as stand guard unless they are being controlled by a very powerful creature, the party realized that they may have gotten in over their heads. Krav ordered the party into tactical positions, and they lured the evistro demons and the harpy accompanying them into a trap, destroying them handily. Entering the ornate chamber at the end of the corridor, they were witness to a terrible ritual: 2 lines of victims were each behind an arcane sigil carved into the floor, and as each stepped into the sigil, they were being exsanguinated. Their sacrificial blood, roiling and writhing on the symbols, were fueling the ritual in the center of the room. 2 chain devils held an angel imprisoned. They were torturing it, making ritual cuts, searing its flesh, and making arcane gestures. A golden aura surrounding it slowly faded, as it was drawn into a dagger-like implement. As the party gaped in horror, they realized that the angel was Ilona—or at least, it was identical to her.
Propelled by Balthazar’s sense of righteousness, and recognizing that while they may not have all cared for Ilona, evil such as this needed to be stopped at any cost, they set out to disrupt the ritual. Some of them dove for the snaketongue zealots sacrificing the ritual fodder, and others for the snaketongue cantor, who was chanting the evil ritual. The group got far more than they bargained for, as Zehir is an exacting and pitiless god; the ritual disrupted, the god himself, or an aspect of him (none among the party could tell) materialized into the room, and with a throaty, rattling cackle, proceeded to destroy the snaketongue worshippers and the devils creating the ritual. Casting a cold eye upon the adventuring party, he gave another sibilant cackle and vanished as suddenly as he had appeared.
Ilona, or whatever it was that had taken her shape, lay near lifeless on the ground. Balthazar tended to her wounds, trying to revive her by his holy magic, and Krav assisting as he could with his healing capacities. Slowly, the figure began to rise, levitating, and the voice of Ilona could be heard, although the angel did not have lips to move. She blessed her heroes, bestowing upon the party gifts, and upon the Dragonborn, titles: Balthazar, Defender of the Fallen, and Krav Khor, the Valiant. She then faded away.