Before the characters head east towards Zamboula, they embark on mission to find Ajarharr, the Vendhyan thief who stole the Bloodstone of Bel-Hissar from them (adventure 8). Some times earlier, they have received information from Jalek that Ajarharr is rumoured to be staying in a certain city state in Corinthia.
Characters travel to Corinthia and enter the city state. The city has, led by king Murilo, just recently won a decicive victory in a war against her neighboring state. Characters soon learn that a priest of Noth named Skardas was the mastermind behind the victory and for this reason Murilo is in debt for him. The cultists of Noth preach the end of the world on the streets and at the same time sell religious goods like The Purifiying Water of Dhool. The citizens consider the cultists as mostly harmless people who occasionally feed the poor and maintain their temple one mile to the north of the city. The cultists use a greeting Dhool-Yog! It is also rumoured that a gateway to paradise lies in the center of the Noth’s temple. Those who learn and stay true to the teachings of Skardas are lead through the gate into a better life… a paradise! Also, it is rumoured that Murilo will soon make Skardas the ruler of the newly conquered city.
Some information gathering done among the mercenaries and citizens give a hint that a man who resembles Ajarharr is in the service of the temple of Noth – The Gateway to Wisdom And Infinity, and that the guards are led by a Nemedian called Orestes Galvus and a Corinthian named Alexander. After that Roxanna sneaks into the temple’s guard room and using a soap succeeds in making molds of some keys. Rest of the day and the following night are spent looking for a discreet lockcrafter who prepares the keys for the characters.
Next night the characters sneak into the temple. The low wall is easy to climb. The domed building located on the northern part of the compound is entered after some lock picking. Echoes on the halls and corridors tell that some kind of ceremony is taking place in the eastern parts of the temple. Characters decide to head west, towards the main temple where the recently acquired key is used to open the locked doors.
From the main temple upper floor the characters have a clear view into the lower hall. And it seems they have found what they were looking for; The Bloodstone of Bel-Hissar. The gem is detached into an enormous mirror that stands in a place where the altar would normally be located.
Characters decide to search the upper level before descending into the lower level. From the upper floor they find residential chambers but only litte loot. When they are leaving, a group of enemies enter the second floor’s hall and a battle begins! Characters are facing Orestes, Ajarharr (disguised as a Stygian), and a guard soldier. The guard soldier’s head is quickly lopped off and as it rolls around floor, the characters charge towards the enemy!
Ajarhar is hit in the chest by Fingal’s sword, and being unarmoured, he is immediately knocked out. Orestes just ain’t that easy victim…He is extremely mobile and agile. He fights with great skill and hits Fingal straight into nose with his greatsword. The barbarian is nearly felled. Blood is flying everywhere. Now, badly wounded, Fingal enters his fighting madness and decides to fight mercilessly to the bitter end… Petro and Fingal exchange sword strikes with Orestes. Steel strikes against steel. It is possible that Fingal has met his match now. Roxanna sees an priestess coming into the corridor. She pursues the priestess and knocks her out before she can raise the alarm. All is well… except that the pet jaguar of the priestess, who was waiting in the lower level, does not like what Roxanna has done to his mistress. The beast roars and leaps towards the rogue. Desperate counterstrike is not what the animal was expecting. Roxanna’s scimitar opens his side and the cat falls on the floor… together with his blood and guts!
The battle still continues in the upper corridor. Behind the combatants backs, Ajarharr recovers and surprises Fingal with his loathsome weapon (2 poisonous snakes hidden under his robe…). First snake hits Fingal’s ear, but the bite is deflected by his helmet. The second snake fails to penetrate the barbarian’s shoulder armour. Finally, Fingal slashes the rogue with his flamberge and kills him with a neat cut to abdomen. Soon afterwards, Orestes is wounded to his arm and is then slain by Petro and Fingal.
Having now cleared the main temple, characters move back to the main hall and approach the sinister looking mirror. When given a closer look the mirror’s surface seems to be made of some sort of silvery liquid. The whole place bathes in red light radiating from the Bloodstone.
When Fingal removes the gem from the socket, a mighty earthquake hits the area! Parts of the tower and the upper floors of the temple collapse and the liquid substance, that was the mirror’s surface, is spewn across the temple. Then, from the smoke, dust and devastation, a mighty demon rises.
The demon is huge, it has thick black scaly hide, black claws, long powerful tail and eyes that burn red with hatred. When it opens it’s jaw, rows of sharp black teeth are revealed. The terror stands before the characters who are nearly stunned unconscious by the monstrosity’s wickedness and inhumanity. It attacks without hesitation and characters see that they cannot outran it.
A desperate battle is fought. The demon bites Petro on face, delivering a grievous wound. It also bites, slashes with its black claws, and stomps on Fingal. The warriors hack the demon desperately with their swords, while Roxanna throws daggers from a safer distance. Finally, after a long battle, the demons falls crashing to the ground. Petro’ bleeding wound is hastily bandaged before the group takes advantage of the chaotic situation and exit the temple grounds.