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My skin ached from the burns the barrage of fireballs left. Felu wass in worse shape as I was a little slow with the energy resistance spell, so I broke out the new wand and concentrated a moment before getting to work. Atz and Huge took care of the rest, though Oona seemed to have checked out. Rather than Lugh babysitting this time (I suppose he’s had enough of that for a lifetime) Macer was chosen as the one in the barrel. Salacious was jabbering and capering about, claiming he’s my familiar now. I’m surprised at just how glad I am to see him and hear his lisping know-it-all voice gleefully explaining anything at all to anyone who dares to ask a rhetorical question. Once patched up, we unanimously decided to take a short breather and I realized that I’ve figured out a few of the new spells I’ve been toying with. All too soon, it was time to press on.
Hours later we approached another lighted chamber and Vex, Atz and Kelyn sneaedk up to scout followed by Huge and then the rest of us. For a wonder, Macer was able to keep Oona quiet. Vex and then Kelyn slipped into the chamber, heading right and left, as I noticed Huge tense up and draw his sword… and vanish, only to instantly reappear farther into the chamber and start hacking on some cultists. I must remember to ask him how he did that, but for now he’s out of my range. Seeing the bows (and remembering the fusillade back in the “shack”) I drink a potion to protect myself, and start to move up.
There’s a pit off to the left, and I cast one of my new spells on Salacious and told him to find the leader and be ready, and he vanished and presumably flew off to follow orders. There are more bone devils in the room ahead, and I’m reminded of how they acted as bodyguards for a succubus back at Fort Donner. At the time, I had asked myself why would devils be guarding a demon? Now, as they cautiously (wth?) closed in on Huge and Lugh, I answered that question: because someone higher up had told them to. Just because they didn’t like it didn’t mean that they would disobey. I made Huge into Huger once again as Felu’s shot quite literally took the head off the last cultist I could see, when suddenly all the devils were standing around me. I had seen this behavior at my Uncle’s estate, and knew what was coming next as the fear washed over me. Unable to stop myself, I dropped my Rod of Absorbtion and crouched cowering before them.
When I came back to my senses (surprised I hadn’t been flayed in the interim), Nina was cowering to my left and Felu to my right. I could see Huge running for his life further into the cave, while Kelyn and Atz were nowhere to be seen. The devils had surrounded Lugh, and I could tell that they were not about to leave HIM unflayed. I hit three of them (conveniently lined up) with a small bolt of lightning, and announced loudly in Infernal that they were working for the wrong side, that there would be severe consequences for them in the real world, and that they would do well to contemplate the error of their ways. Of course they laughed, and once again moved to surround me, but they also seemed inclined to listen to what I had to say.
The ensuing negotiation took a couple of minutes, by which time all my companions had returned. In truth, I don’t remember quite what I said. I recall dropping the name of my Uncle’s devil Lieutenant, and that HE was on OUR side (not too much of a stretch, I think. SOMEBODY had to have ok’d Salacious’ reassignment at this moment), and determined that these fellows were just following the orders of someone named “Itchyrot,” another devil but elsewhere “farther up the hall” and attended by a bunch of demons. Not happy-making for a squad of loyal bone-devils, I can assure you. In the end, I convinced them to cease hostilities (though not to switch sides, at least not just on my say-so), and they gave us some valuable intelligence as to how we might close this portal. In the end, I am absolutely exhilarated. I feel like I did the first time that I told Felu that I loved her, all my nerves are on edge and my senses are tuned to a higher reality. THIS must be what Uncle Boris feels when he negotiates with these beings; at last I begin to understand the attraction of the life he has chosen. I need to be wary of this, the sense of power is quite intoxicating…