Last week on the Tuesday game...
With no other obvious way to get off the summit, the party of three decide to head back down the tunnel, where they soon hear sounds of combat. After a harrowing encounter with a pair of heavily armoured hobgoblins, the party are joined by two other adventurers: the intrepid singer-songwriter Diggory the Bard, and the chunky but hunky beefcake Thokk the Paladin.
The pair explain that, like Delwyn, their goal to stop winter have lead them to Mt Amarath, but after seeing how heavily guarded the main path up the mountain was, they decided to take a hidden path. Unfortunately, this path proved to be just as treacherous, and they found themselves chased by a clan of ferocious hobgoblins guarding the way up.
The new party discuss their options, and they realise that short of rushing the mindflayers or the hobgoblins, there was only one way down: jumping and then, when they were about a minute or so away from hitting the ground, casting Feather Fall. Holding hands around the Tenser's Floating Disc that held Gabriel's corpse and their gold, the party do exactly that... and, to everybody's surprise, actually made it with not so much as a scratch.
Unfortunately, the sudden deceleration from the Feather Fall caused the disc to suddenly lose momentum, and most of the gold that wasn't weighed down by Gabriel's corpse went flying the moment the spell kicked in. Accompanied by a literal shower of gold coins, the adventurers slowly drifted down to a nearby village as awe-struck peasants stared at them as they ran around collecting the gold.
Believing that they are angels sent from on high with a gift of gold to alleviate their current misery, the village slaughters a pig and feasts the party in their honour. The night passes pleasantly enough, and when day breaks, Diggory asks if they can lead them to someone who could possibly help them bring their friend back from the dead. The village elder willingly obliges and immediately sends someone to bring them to the "village witch".
The woods around the witch appears to be untouched by the winter, but when they enter the witch's cottage, the entire house immediately gets up on two gigantic chicken legs and starts running towards a nearby lake. The party hold on for the entirety of the bumpy ride, and it's not until the house settles itself in the lake (becoming an island) that Alistair peeks out of the window.
It does not take long for the friendly-seeming witch to row up to them in a quaint-looking rowboat, and it takes even less time for the witch to agree to help the party revive Gabriel. She only has one condition: once the ritual starts, there can be no interruption no matter what happens. The party agree, and she begins drawing a circle around Gabriel's body using some sort of red rag that she pulls from a nearby basket.
The ritual gets underway, and the party feel slightly uncomfortable as she begins chanting in a strange, eerie language that makes the hair on the back of their necks stand. That discomfort is deepened further when a proper angel - complete with wings, halo, and burning sword - descends from the heavens and demands that they stop the ritual. Alistair refuses, and the party find themselves dragged into a fight that neither side wants.
After exchanging a few blows, Diggory and Thokk refuse to continue the fight, and Thokk asks the deva if there is anything that they can do to stop this madness. "Yes: kill the witch." Alistair refuses yet again, saying that this is their only chance to bring Gabriel back to life, and chooses to blast the angel with his Tenerian Fireball in an attempt to drive the creature back. The black flames lick at the angel's once-pristine wings and clothing, obviously causing it great pain, but it does not seem to deter the creature: it merely makes it more determined.
Consumed by despair at the fact that he's the only one still trying to kill the angel (with Diggory and Thokk refusing to fight, and Delwyn and Fulcrum being mostly useless against a flying creature), Alistair flees into the house, but the angel is relentless. Eventually, realising that the only thing that will stop the angel is the destruction of the witch, Diggory picks up his sword and stabs the witch with it. Screaming as the spell spirals out of her control, hellish fire consumes the creature, reducing her to nothing more than ash and bones.
Mollified, the angel flies back to the island (after dropping Fulcrum into the lake) and sets about looking for Alistair. As a paladin sworn to the ideals of justice and righteousness, Thokk tries to intercede on Alistair's behalf, saying that the wizard was merely trying to bring his friend back. Sure, the witch might have been dabbling with dark forces beyond mortal understanding, but at the end of the day, it was just so they could face the end of winter together; could the angel not understand the importance and value of such a task? Did the end not justify the means?
Staring at the paladin with inhuman eyes, the deva asks Thokk what he would do in its shoes. "Nothing at all," he replies. "His cause was just, his purpose pure." The angel shakes its head and, rising into the air, makes a pronouncement: as the paladin has willed, it will do nothing to the wizard Alistair. However - and here, the angel pauses to address Thokk directly - they should be careful: they are walking down a dark and dangerous path, and the steps on that path are treacherous and slippery. One false move, and they will just as easily tumble into the Abyss as they would into the Nine Hells.
Its task completed, the deva takes to the skies once more, leaving the party wounded and confused about what has just happened.