The trail to the sword Blackrazor picked up behind an illusory zoo seemingly conjured by the ogre mage. There, three not-at-all illusory manticores guarded a lever that opened the apparently unopenable door at the bottom of a drained well.
The door provided access to a tunnel, which was patrolled by a pair of efreeti. Zarra pulled the sword Frost Brand and strode out of the shadows to face them, while the ranger Hessa, under enchantment from Devil Pancake, skittered up the walls like a spider and hewed at the efreeti from the ceiling. The efreeti could not withstand the attack, and they crumbled to ashes — no doubt with tales of the Lady of Frost to spread across the elemental planes.
The tunnel led into an underground cave that was littered with bones — bones that formed the body, such as it was, of the wizard Keraptis, who took the form of an undead dragon, or who, perhaps, had always been a dragon. Keraptis set upon the party mercilessly. Father Dominco withered under the dragon’s breath, and Lancet was nearly torn in half and lay bleeding out on the cavern floor, while Devil Pancake’s spells proved useless — at first. But then the party rallied and landed telling blows, and the tide of the battle suddenly turned. They emerged with scars but also with the victory — and also with the sword Blackrazor, which only Hessa had the physical strength to claim.
They also rescued the warlock Burne, who had been held captive by Keraptis these last weeks. Burne told them what he had learned before his captivity: that the Slave Lords are real, that they can defy death by some unknown means, and that they might have a secret lair under a desecrated temple on the outskirts of the city of Highport on the Wild Coast.
The long journey back to Hommlet passed uneventfully. But upon returning home, the party found two messages waiting for them. First, that the Temple of Elemental Evil was…asking for them again. Second, that Countess Tillahi, mother of Murfles, had requested their presence in the city of Courwood in Celene for an official audience.