“We’re not leaving yet,” Jinnaari stated as the group stared at the portal.
“But,” Adam objected, “we destroyed the soulmonger. The curse is over.”
“Acerack isn’t dead, though.” Lor replied.
Jinnaari nodded. For once, the other Dragonborn was right about something. “Lor’s right. We came down here to kill him. And we’re not leaving until we’ve done that. Or at least made sure he’s not coming back anytime soon.”
Caelynn spoke, one arm draped protectively around her sister’s shoulders. “There’s only one more door we know of. If he’s not there, he’s not anywhere in this tomb.”
Not wanting to hear any arguments, Jinnaari jerked the door open. Beyond the threshold was a library that, at one time, might’ve been nice. Now, cobwebs and mold competed with the dust. Three skeletal corpses hung from the ceiling near where an old man snored in a chair.
He motioned the rest of the party to stop and activated his senses. The old man was definitely evil. As was Helix and the spider he rode.
Turning his head, he stared at the Tabaxi. “You and I are going to have a talk when we get out of here, Helix.” He wasn’t going to hurt him. But he did need to discover what exactly Helix was up to before the evil consumed him.
He raised his sword and charged at the sleeping figure, screaming, “Arm thyself!”
Rounding the corner, he stopped short of the chair. The figure hadn’t moved. It still slept. Reaching out, Jinnaari gently poked the man.
How could he swing at someone who was defenseless? That’s not what Bahamut taught him!
He glanced back at his companions as they came into the room and shrugged his shoulders. Thia gave him a puzzled look.
“Is he dead? It doesn’t look like Acerack,” she commented.
A mad laugh filled the air as the form shifted into multiple versions of itself and sent a chain of lightning through the group.
Jinnaari swung at one figure, swearing under his breath as the insubstantial image disappeared when his sword pierced it. Looking at the room, he watched as the mirror images were dealt with by his party.
The sorcerer, whoever he was, sent out another bolt of lightning and knocked Caelynn to the ground. She wasn’t breathing.
“Thia!” he screamed, pointing at their fallen companion.
“On it,” she replied. “Take care of that thing!”
By the time Jinnaari finished off the creature, Thia had revived Caelynn. Helix and Lor began to pull books and scrolls of the shelves and put them into Caelynn’s portable hole.
The bard turned to Jinnaari, “Now can we leave? That wasn’t Acerack. We dumped all of those phylacteries into the lava. If he’s coming back here, he’s going to be hurting when he gets up.” She looked back at her sister. “Jocelyn needs to get home. We did what we came here to do. The death curse is gone.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” he conceded. He didn’t like leaving without dispatching the lich one and for all, but there wasn’t anywhere left for him to hide in here. “Let’s get back to Waterdeep.” He led them back to the portal room and they took turns returning to the surface.
Jinnaari was the last one to come through. The air was damp, but fresh. “I’m not going with you,” Lor said, her voice quiet. “My home is here, in Chult. And I cannot leave until I know all of Acerack’s phylacteries are destroyed.”
Adam nodded, “You’ve been a good companion, Lor. May the Gods guide you on your quest.”
One by one, they clasped Lor’s hand in parting. The jungle no longer hindered them, and they returned to the port city. Once there, they found a ship and sailed back to Waterdeep.