Aya comes to as she watches Aras run over to check on Fiva. It’s apparent that she’s completely unconcious, and seems to be out of the fight. He starts yelling at her to wake up, shaking her in utter fear for her life.
Yarvdenn continues to watch on in a observant manner – not leaving his pedestal, and very content to let the fight come to him if it must. He informs them that to fight now is a waste of their lives, and that they should turn around and run if they wish to live.
Aya yells at Aras that this is not the time to wake up his unconscious friend – she informs Aras that this sorcerer is far more powerful then her if he was able to break her shield spell so easily, and that they’ll have to be cautious in the event they fight. Aras disregards her advice, however – the sight of the love of his life laying motionless has stirred one more rage inside of him, and he decides that he has to end this now.
He begins immediately charging at Yarvdenn, though the sorcerer smiles as he had been expecting this from such simple minded people. As Aras approaches, Yarvdenn prepares to finish him off with one concentrated blast of negative energy – but realizes that Aras was actually using himself as bait in order to allow Aya time to maneuver into a more suitable location to blast him with her own spells. Aras watches on in shock as Aya’s two magic missiles are deflected and dissipated harmlessly upon Yardman’s own shield spell, and he redirects the spell he was going to cast upon Aras at Aya before the fighter can close the distance to engage in melee. Aya looks utterly surprised underneath her hat, not having expecting him to have been able to cast so quickly and negate her magic so efficiently, and is caught in the ray of enfeeblement. Aras watches on in horror as Aya falls limp from being blasted, the spell having been too much for her to bear.
As Yarvdenn turns back to blast Aras with a similar ray, arrows suddenly start flying from behind the fighter towards the sorcerer. Aras looks back to see Fiva smiling at him, yelling at him to carry on with the attack. Yarvdenn finds himself now pinned as the wood elf does not let up the arrowfire, being unable to concentrate on any other spell without breaking the shield spell (and thus leading him to be perforated with quite a few arrows in the event it breaks).
Given the opportunity to strike back for all the losses he’s encountered with his time fighting against Yarvdenn, Aras rushes the sorcerer – his eyes going white with rage as he forces himself to ignore his wounds one last time in order to kill the man responsible for all of the deaths of his new allies.
Aras immediately starts swinging at Yarvdenn as he gets within range, slamming Kinsir upon the shield spell in order to break it. Yarvdenn is forced completely on the defensive as Aras is bearing down on him and Fiva is keeping him pinned with arrows – though he reinforces his shield spell in order to keep the fight prolonged.
Fury and rage have completely overcome Aras at this point, who doesn’t realize his sword swings are having no effect as they’re being deflected upon the force shield – only thinking to swing his sword as many times as possible at the man until he falls dead. As Aras continues to break through, Yarvdenn uses the opportunity to shuffle around and force Aras’s back to be in front of Fiva’s line of fire – which stops her immediately, as she realizes she cannot get a shot at Yarvdenn without putting Aras’s life in risk as he’s moving around wildly in his attempt to cut Yarvdenn down. Knowing she has to move in, Fiva starts charging in as well to help him.
Yarvdenn smiles as he sees the wood elf come running towards his duel with Aras – knowing that he’s got all of his pieces the way he wants them. As Aras prepares an overhead swing, Yarvdenn breaks his own shield spell in order to cast the enfeebling blast directly into Aras – wiping the fighter out in one go as all of the energy he had is sucked right out of him. Aras stands motionless after the resolution of the spell as Fiva watches on in horror – he’s basically dead already from what she can tell. Yarvdenn pushes Aras back off the pedestal with one of his own magic missiles, sending the fighter falling onto the ground below the pedestal. As Fiva rushes to his aide, Yarvdenn fires off one more enfeebling ray – taking her out as she falls to the ground some ten or twenty feet away.
Yarvdenn watches on to see how his enemies have fared – the witch remains motionless and from what he can tell is deceased, and the elf appears rather dead as well – though he watches as she holds her hand out for a few moments towards the fighter before falling limp.
Aras seems to be somewhat moving, however, and the sorcerer smiles as he looks down at the fighter. He informs Aras that this was the only way that things would have occurred – there was no way that any of them could have possibly stood a chance without having had Adgar present to assist them, such is why he was killed first. At this point, Aras has only accomplished getting his allies killed, and Yarvdenn specifically points out the wood elf after watching her attempt to reach out to him. Aras is boiling over with rage, but he no longer can control his body – beginning to fade quickly as he watches Yarvdenn go back to finishing the spell to open the portal to the Plane of Shadows.
Aya quietly watches on while she plays dead, however – noticing a red light gleaming from the ruby necklace the sorer is wearing. She notes that this must have some significance, however, and prepares her only spell remaining. She casts magic missile one more time, having waited for the man to go back to reading his book.
Yarvdenn is taken completely off guard from the spell emanating from the “dead” witch, and it strikes directly into the ruby – shattering it into pieces. As the sorcerer recovers and stands up after being knocked to the ground, he quickly realizes that Soli is hovering directly in front of him. He lets out an pained yell as he attempts to cast a spell to hold her back, but is too late – in her own form of rage, Soli begins immolating Yarvdenn.
Aras watches on as Soli begins engulfing Yarvdenn in flame, and then realizes that Fiva is now kneeling on the ground away from him, taking one last shot at the sorcerer as he’s distracted. Yarvdenn looks towards her at the last possible moment, and is ended as he’s shot in the face with her only remaining arrow – Soli maneuvering around his head so that she wouldn’t be hit by it.
Aras looks over to see Fiva breathing heavily after having killed Yarvdenn, thinking to himself that she didn’t need anyone to protect her, and that she’s grown so strong since he met her. After musing over that request she made at the inn in Iranel, he falls limp – appearing to be rather dead.
Fiva stands after catching her balance, being horribly exhausted after the enfeebling spells have worn off. She sees that Aras is laying motionless on the ground, though, and she becomes visibly afraid and worried and she runs to him and sits by his side. She calls his name out and realizes that he doesn’t reply – knowing her worst fear has happened. She immediately embraces him as she breaks down, sobbing uncontrollably as she holds onto him. Aya wanders over as she watches on, and appears uncomfortable as she turns away. Soli also watches on, being depressed that the person who helped rescue her from Yarvdenn died.
Selea, Wekus, and Adgar make their way into the grand chamber, however – as Selea notices that Aras is down, she immediately rushes to his side. As everyone watches on, Selea realizes he’s barely alive, and uses her last healing spell in a desperate attempt to begin trying to revive him. It appears not to work, until Fiva hears his heart beating again. She’s overwhelmed by Selea’s miracle working, and begins cradling Aras. Overcome with emotion herself, Selea embraces the two – thanking them for protecting her people.
Aya begins slightly smiling as she realizes things are all fine and well, until she notices Adgar holding the Book of the Realms and begins incinerating it with a fire spell. She at once realizes who exactly he is (muttering “Soros?” under her breath), and asks him why he’s destroying such a vitally important piece of history and power. He informs her that the world doesn’t need such things – this was why this city became ruined in the first place, and the world itself would follow in that path in the event this book continued to exist. Despite being saddened over the loss of such an artifact, Aya realizes his reasoning is for the best.
Some time afterward, the party has exited the ruins – Aras having buried their four allies who had died on a scenic outlook with their weapons planted in remembrance (Travner’s remains were left within the ruins for obvious reasons). Selea gives the departed the last rites of Ayer as the others watch on, and they begin departing from Mount Fresa.
Soli is now free from her service to Yarvdenn, and now really has no where to go now – she cannot exist for long on the material plane, as elementals will diminish and fade from existence if they do not bond with an elemental source of their type or return to the plane of the elements. Adgar smiles as he states that he has just the thing for such an occasion – pulling out a new ruby in his pocket. Soli appears immediately afraid that he intends to capture her now – but he informs her that he has casted a spell upon this ruby that will allow her to travel back and forth between the plane of elements and the material plane as she chooses – she’s free to do as she pleases. She’s grateful for this gesture, and after thanking her new found friends for her assistance, returns to the plane of the elements to join her kind once more. Adgar offers this ruby to Aras for safekeeping, but he declines and says that Adgar would be the best person to look out for her.
Aya begins wandering off on the party without so much as a goodbye – though Aras calls her name out and asks why she’s leaving. She rudely informs him and the others that she has other things to take care of, and turns back around to continue on her way. He stops her though, turning her around to thank her for having helped him – as everyone would have died without her. He squeezes her hand in a gesture of appreciation and tells her to take care, and that he hopes she stays safe in whatever she does. The others give her their thanks as well (though are still kind of insulted and bitter in regards to how rude she was in her last remark to them), and Aras walks back off to join them.
As she wanders off onto her own journey, she brushes the hair out of her eyes – revealing that she has tears welling up while she smiles slightly.
As Aras, Fiva, and Selea watch over the rest of South Ahrea from the top of Mount Fresa, Adgar and Wekus inform them that they too have to go on their own separate ways – Wekus intends to go back home to his family, and Adgar states he needs to return to Castle Ahrea in order to report to the King about what has just happened. The five all trade their goodbyes to one another, and Adgar and Wekus depart from the Mountain.
Fiva’s rather content that the whole thing is behind them now. She puts her arm around Aras as she points out that they’re free to go to where ever they want to, and that she wants him to choose where he wants to go. Feeling that he has one last thing to do before he can truly put the events at Mount Fresa behind him, Aras tells Fiva that he needs to go to Durden. She’s a bit surprised (and a bit frightened at the prospect of again having to go into a highly populated city again), but says that she’ll go where he needs to. The trio depart from Mount Fresa, taking one last look at the ruins behind them.
Once they have arrived to Durden, Aras finds the one house he is looking for and knocks on the door. Gragus’s wife answers, and is surprised to see the three. She asks Aras if this was the party that her husband was traveling with. Aras informs her that it was, and remains silent as she asks what became of her husband. She realizes this means that Gragus passed on, and breaks down. Aras becomes depressed himself and states that they would have not been able to accomplish their quest if he hadn’t had helped them, and that his actions saved the lives of countless people. Gragus’s wife doesn’t seem to care too much about this information, and continues weeping.
Aras knows there’s not much else he can do, but hands her the bag of coins that Gragus gave him to deliver to her – and then hands her his own share of the treasure that he received at Mount Fresa, telling her that he wants the money to go to the people who need it most. Fiva and Selea are utterly surprised by his donation, and upon feeling her own sense of remorse for having survived while Gragus didn’t, Selea hands her share over as well. Fiva asks Aras to hand over her share as well – to which she informs him that she wants it to go to the right people as well when he asks if she’s sure. With not much else they can do, Aras informs Gragus’s wife that he made a promise to Gragus that he’d always look over his family for him – saying that he’ll return if they ever need help.
As the three depart and leave Durden, Gragus’s wife realizes that the money they gave her is enough for all of her children to live off of until their adult years – they will never need to work a day in their lives with the amount of gold that they’ve received. She begins breaking down again, thanking them for what they’ve done.
The three leave Durden and begin on their aimless journey again as they stand on a small hill, not really being any financially better off than they were when they had departed the Halls of Sepna Austir. Regardless, the three are relatively pleased with what they’ve just done – Selea noting that they’ll make it by somehow.
However, Fiva mentions that she wonders if she will ever end up in the way Gragus’s wife did – being left to mourn her loved one someday. Upon realizing what she said sounds rather romantic in tone, she begins blushing horribly – and realizes that Aras is doing the same as well. Regardless, he holds her by the shoulders and tells her that as long as he’s still alive, he’ll always be around for her. She smiles and informs him of the same – noting that they have a lot of years to make it through. Aras grabs her by the wrist and begins running down the hill as she’s taken by surprise and follows him – telling her that they’ll have to make those years worth living.
Selea smiles, finding the antics of her two friends rather charming, and walks down the hill after them – unsure of where she’ll end up in the future herself, but certain that it’ll be a decent place.
END OF AHREA SIDESTORY: SOUL OF THE BURNING MOUNTAIN CAMPAIGN.