Our research indicated that if we’re indeed getting raiding parties all from the same place then there most likely exists some kind of planar focus allowing someone on the other side to “hold” the portal open to one location. Should the portal be held in this way, the traffic should be both ways and we can also go through to the plane to try and take the planar key from them so they can’t just raid at will.
While Breela and I had gone back to Isenfell to research the planar gate, Eran and the others stayed behind so that he could fill the cave with stone walls to buy us some time. While we were gone, they said they’d heard something trying to break through the stone several times. Once reunited, I cast a commune spell to try and discern the appearance and nature of the focus we’d be looking for once we took the fight to the other side of the gate. The information I gleaned was the key can destroy the portal and that it’s small and will radiate magic when searching for such things. Armed with that knowledge, we destroyed our stone barricade and waited for the portal to solidify again. Three days waiting have finally been rewarded by it opening earlier today and us heading through into a group of demons led by a nalfeshnie holding up what we presume to be the portal key (at least, it’s obviously fey in origin and I can’t think of what else it would be). Unfortunately, the nalfeshnies don’t get to be leaders by being stupid and it immediately teleported away when we came through the portal. We wiped out its little raiding party and headed to the nearest place we thought it likely to go, an ominous fortress nearby.
Not wanting to waste magical might when the fortress looked to be only half a mile away, we simply walked. Not like our arrival was going to surprise the occupants anyway if it was indeed the hiding place for the nalfeshnie…
The easiest way in looked to be flying up to one of the towers, though they obviously saw us coming and headed down and closed the trap doors. Nothing a little Jiro-key couldn’t handle though. There were runes on all of the flat surfaces of the keep, presumably the mark of the demon in charge. The only resistance we encountered on the way down were packs of goat-demons called schir. In the courtyard, Jiro noticed more of them and ran out to lure them all back to us (they’re clearly not the smartest thing around here). Khismia, Jiro and Ilona proceeded to show them why they should have just walked away. However, while they were busy doing that, the nalfeshnie ported into the tower we’d just came out of. I tried to hit him with a dimensional anchor spell, but got interrupted and some schir managed to move to block the door allowing it time to get away again.
We ducked down into a grate which led to a maze with things scratched into the walls like, “No way out,” “Don’t know how many days, getting hungry.” We came upon two very old corpses in a room with a final message, “Sick of wandering, we will go no further. Maybe we can wait this out.” And in the next room over, something reached out of the floor and grabbed Jiro’s ankle. I don’t know what he did to anger every spirit we encounter, but they sure seem to like him. The creature moaned that it was “So hungry!” and had a nasty con damage attack, but didn’t pose much threat other than that. We presumed they were the final remains of the dead in the previous room. At least they’re truly dead now rather than stuck in an undead state. With no good way to get through the maze I utilize a find the path spell to get us back out and we come upon some non-magical tokens marked with the same rune as the rest of the keep.
Betting that these hold the key to successfully traversing the maze, we do some experimenting and find that they lock the rooms of the maze into place so it stops leading us in circles. While doing this, Khismia reported receiving telepathic sendings, presumably from the nalfeshnie saying, “Your kind do not belong here, leave this place,” “Leave before you face Raziel, leaders of the armies of Baphomet. This is your final warning.” (Baphomet being the Demon Lord of Minotaurs for those who don’t have a friend embroiled in a demonic war…) We ignore it and work our way through the maze, finding a trophy room and at last being halted at a vault door.
At this point the voice shifts to Jiro’s head, asking to make a deal. He declines, “For the glory of Gorum!” and the voice sounds resigned as it tells him, “Fine, I’ll summon her. She will torture me, but she will destroy you.” We go back to trying to figure out how to open the vault door without touching it and Khismia summons a huge earth elemental to that end, but we’re interrupted by the sound of the nalfeshnie wailing and turn to find four glabrezu and a marilith have ported in. Deciding that it can’t hurt to be bold, Ilona demands that she stop raiding our lands. She looks surprised (more for the request or that we would dare demand, I can’t say), and says she has been doing no such thing; it was her minion (glaring at the nalfeshnie). She refuses to give us the planar key to seal the gate, but says she will leave us alone as she has more important matters to attend to. Ilona demands that the nalfeshnie pay for the lives its raiding party has taken and the glabrezu comply by holding him still while Jiro executes him. Not wanting to tangle with a marilith on her home turf, we decide that discretion is the better part of valor in this case and plane shift back home where we immediately teleported back to the gate site to again fill it with stone. Interestingly enough though, the gate itself was gone when we got there, so I guess Raziel closed it?