With Von Sterben’s weapon recovered, the adventurers could return to their hunt for Dante — but without much direction, the best they could do is guess. And so they did: after returning to Nieheim, the group resolved to travel north to Teilenstadt, and from there seek passage to the island of Belcan.
The road was long and uneventful until, a day’s march from Teilenstadt, they came across a lone traveler beset by attackers. In thanks for his rescue, and as payment for an escort to Teilenstadt, he also offered to find them lodging and some reimbursement.
After finding them room in an inn — the man insisted upon paying — he brought them to his home where, after rummaging through his possessions, he gave the travelers a magical artifact: spectacles that made terrain in the darkest night appear as day, as well as a small stipend.
Upon returning to the inn, the enigmatic Mr. May finally made an appearance, where he made Abdul an irresistible deal: for Von Sterben’s adamantium (or maybe it was divine steel?) sword, he returned Abdul’s ancestral sword, Scourge — and a hint: they would find Dante by traveling, not to Belcan, but to Wustestart.
The bargain struck, the party secured passage by sea south to the fort of Burji Migdal, through which they’d passed mere weeks ago. Joining the growing tide of refugees from the crusade in the south, they arrived to find the gate of Wustestart closed to refugees — a situation Abdul resolved with a heavy bribe, drawing presumably on his Nizari back-pay.
After setting up shop in the inn, the adventurers met with the city’s leadership, Herzog Jurgen Hagelstein of Wustestart. The short conference taught the group several important things: First, the Herzog knew where Dante was — not that he’d admitted it. The second was that a cult had arisen among the refugees, teaching sloth.
A quick chat with the leaders of the cult in the refugee camp suggested a more sinister backing, and after coercing the location of their headquarters — under construction in a cave nearby — they set out. Arriving at the cave, they posed as new recruits sent to help with the construction.
The group — well armed and armored — was asked to trek into the mountains beyond The Nest, and recover a special, magical rod hidden at a shrine there. The travel took several days, and when they finally arrived, they found an empty case under the gazebo.
Believing they had been beaten to the find, the adventurers set out on the return trip at a fast pace, not stopping at night until finally they were too exhausted. Giving up the rod as lost, they returned to the cave and explained their failure.
To their surprise, the acolytes at the cave were not upset. Rather, they led the group deep into the complex, showing them a large room. In the middle sat a throne, surrounded on all sides by sleeping acolytes. And above it rested a rod — a mace, in fact.
They struck down their guide immediately, but too late to stop it — Balfegor entered the world, and the adventurers could only ready their weapons. At once eight images of Balfegor appeared. The fight was long, the adventurers struggling to hold their own, killing images one by one, until the tide began to turn against them.
Finally, Perrin dead, Uni bleeding out, only one remained. Knocked back by a blast of foul wind, Abdul leapt to his feet — and into Balfegor’s grasp. Before one could kill the other, though, a rush of fire and light swept into the room, and a shining sword decapitated the demon. The angel Michael turned, demanding, “Where is my brother?”
After healing the party, they made their way — new angel in tow — to Wurstestart, where they met with the Herzog again. Brooking no feigned ignorance now, they forced him to tell where he knew Dante was. Directed to The Nest, they set out at once.
What they found waiting for them was a very solid iron door — which, impatient, Michael promptly destroyed. Beyond was a staircase, and so they started climbing. On the next floor they found a chess puzzle of queens. Father Greg made several cautious moves, but each time they moved a piece, a ghost accosted them. Finally, Uni took over, solving the puzzle, and they moved on.
The next floor was locked by a letter puzzle, which was ultimately solved, leading to their greatest trial yet: a snide talking door, over which was written, “The password is hubris.” Hours were wasted here before at last someone thought to force the door itself to say its password, and with a click it opened.
Racing to the top, they emerged on the surface of The Nest — a large stone slab overlooking pass from Durji Migdal. There, they found another group of cultists, surrounding a scorch mark on the ground. Slaughtering the acolytes, the adventurers met one last challenge: Dante’s dog.
Which Abdul cut down with a single swipe of his poisoned dagger. Limping over to a covered body, the dying animal collapsed — and was reborn in a flash of light, as a cerberus. When at last that, too, was defeated, only one thing remained — the covered body.
The adventurers crowded around Michael, who had already lifted the sheet. It was Raphael — and he was dead.