Wary of another set of encounters similar to your previous incursions into the warrens of Kal-ninka, you slip as quietly as you can from hiding and continue your search for Shurensha. The courtyard from which you entered the slums is empty. There are no signs of the Seravash, the bodies of the dead remain where they fell hours ago in combat. A rhythmic hammering can be heard in the distance, drifting down from the upper city, but you ignore it.
At the northeast exit of the courtyard you spy a Seravash sentry. Hoping to provide a distraction and a vantage for scouting, one of you uses the feathered cloak to transform into a raven. In raven form you land on the ledge near the sentry, startling it. As the lizardfolk recovers its composure, you count six guards standing before the magnificent facade of a buried temple. You allow the butt of the guard’s short spear to shoo you away.
The raven provides ample distraction for you to move into position for an ambush. With a countdown, you wield new magics to tear down the stone wall near the sentry, molding the wall into an earthen ramp that affords easy access to the plaza in front of the temple. You begin combat with a surprise attack, a bomb of fire and smoke! As some lizardfolk writhe on the ground, engulfed in flame, you charge through the smoke into melee.
Thunderous magic and a few distracting sneak attacks keep the lead guard busy while you whittle away its minions. When the leader is able to join combat, it unleashes a flurry of deadly arrows from a large bow that find their mark despite the smoke and cover of the multi-level plaza. It is finally brought down after a volley of bombs and spells that would have cut down ten lesser foes. A triangle pendant flashes on its chest as it collapses.
The steps of the underground temple are slippery with blood when the combat ends and an eerie, stifling silence settles. Tendrils of black energy drift aimlessly from the temple, whose interior is shrouded in an impenetrable darkness.
Shurensha must be inside. You gird yourself with spells and ready your weapons. With a deep breath to steel your nerves, you press into the temple and a behold a wondrous ritual in progress. The same purple energy that infused the eyes and dying breath of the shadow demon’s lieutenants paints the floor in a strange sigil. A trio of similarly colored orbs of energy slowly revolve around a blurry figure in the ritual’s center: Shurensha. Protected by some form of displacement magic, Shurensha is invulnerable.
As you close the distance for inspection, the orbiting magical energy crackles to life and spits lightning, though it burns with intense cold. Acting on a hunch and with precious little time between dangerous blasts, you pass one of the triangle pendants through an orb and both are consumed. A shade of the first lieutenant springs into existence and combat begins. You dance around the ritual, avoiding the shade’s heavy blows while cutting it to ribbons.
It falls quickly and you pass a second pendant through the second orb. The hunter from moments ago returns, featureless in death. Its arrows are only loosed once before it is slain again and the final pendant is activated. However, this time Shurensha materializes along with the shaman from the previous day!
The shadow demon is tall and thin, with a horned skull for a head. Its ceremonial robe is blood red, interrupted only by an ornate necklace dripping with jewels, and it bears a three-headed flail that wheezes as it passes through the air. A blast of shadow lightning from the shaman leaves you reeling and Shurensha’s flail bites deep and cold when it hits.
You are hard pressed to defend yourself at the onset. The shadow demon’s power is immense and you are pressed back from the ritual circle, spells and weapons simply fail to find purchase against its defenses. The shaman’s shade eventually falls under the hammering stone fists of summoned earth elementals, but the distraction is enough to allow Shurensha to badly wound you.
It is here that one of Sasha’s gifts and the fervor of its wielder serve you in dire need. Unhindered by the shadow demon’s protective magic, the unnamed warhammer strikes with deadly precision, each blow blasting fragments of Shurensha’s being across the temple floor. Surrounded and outnumbered, Shurensha is pressed back. “You have ruined my plans,” it croaks as it is essence is sundered and a strange wind picks up in the room, “but I will have my revenge.”
With a shriek, Shurensha shatters! The wind rises to a gale force and howls, drawing those nearest towards a spinning maelstrom of dark energy at the ritual’s center. You hold on to each other and the columns of the temple desperately, then collapse to the floor as the sudden vortex vanishes as quickly as it appeared. All that remains of Shurensha is its flail, robes and necklace. The shadow demon is banished.