The third night was one spent in sobriety as the party saw to their final preparations before leaving. When the morning finally arrived, the party was given a small drum and a warning: the drum was to be played if they found the portal and needed help and the warning was that a dragon had been loosed. With that, they set out to the East.
On the request of Vivaja, Raijna was left behind. He spent the entirety of that day with the warpriest, Vlad, preparing a ritual. The next day Raijna was brought in to watch as Vivaja was absorbed into a diamond, then given the diamond. When she put it on, she found that she could hear Viv’s voice in the back of her head and that he seemed to have an awareness of her surroundings. He bid her to leave the city, riding directly towards the portal.
A few days into the journey, party noticed that a dragon was making frequent overhead flights. At first they hid, resulting in the dragon flying down and grabbing Fred, Bubba’s horses to be carried off for lunch. From then on, they simply kept moving, and the dragon did not bother them.
The day after they noticed the dragon, they saw it rise from the ground in the morning. They headed in that direction, finding a small alcove eroded out of a hillside. The party hid, letting the dragon come back and fall asleep before they ambushed it. While the dragon fought fiercely, it was not capable of matching the party and took to hiding in a cloud of utter darkness it had produced during the fight. He shouted out to the party to stop it’s attacking, offering a truce. It seemed the dragon had been summoned by Ahad, the vampire who the party had encountered in the South a few months before. He was being used to scout the surrounding areas, and was compelled to return to the Hell Gate every day. The dragon just wanted freedom, to leave the frozen Northlands and return to it’s natural habitat.
The dragon conversed with the group in Infernal, and therefore many of the members could not understand it. While Memnon and Eldre told Bubba to wait quietly, he was growing confused and angry. Once the dragon dissipated the cloud surrounding him, Bubba tossed Mjollnir. The dragon turned to flee, although not before Memnon was able to utter a Healing Word, reviving the dragon.
As the dragon left, Bubba ran after it, yelling his apologies. After a moment the dragon turned around, seizing Bubba and riding high into the air with him before the party got a chance to catch up. The dragon exchanged a few harsh words with Bubba, then claimed it would be back in the morning to see if they wanted a truce. Dropping Bubba from the air taking small injuries.
Six hours later, the dragon was back. The party agreed to help it, asking a few more questions about it’s plight, before they took off traveling. Following the dragons directions they turned slightly to the North. After two days of traveling in this direction, Tom was awoken in the middle of the night. A strange chill hung on the air, and there were some large cloud formations that he recognized. He called out to everyone to wake up, and they all stood as the clouds reformed into the shape of men.
The battle was over quickly, with every member of the party downed except for Tom. He ran, heading towards the werebear pack he knew was only half a day away. The rest of the party was tied to their own packhorses and hauled away.
Tom arrived at the camp in the early morning. He told the head of the pack, Roxanne, of his plight. The party loaded camp quickly, and began heading towards the hellgate where Roxanne figured they would be taken.
Towards evening, a familiar shape appeared over the side of a hill. Raijna, riding her horse nearly to death, had been heading directly to the hellgate. The werebear pack was moving just slowly enough that she managed to catch up with them.
Memnon, Logan, Bubba and Eldre spent the next two days floating in and out of consciousness as the vampires used them for feeding, keeping them within an inch of their life. The second day of their capture, though, the four seemed to recover enough to start a plan. Eldre used one of his spells to burn through his ropes, then managed to get Logan untied before a vampire woke up. Bubba acted quickly, hoping to his feet and lunging into the vampire, buying the other two enough time to run out to their pack horses and take off. After the escaped they punished Bubba for his brave actions.
Halfway through the day, the dragon appeared again. Upon hearing that they had been capture by vampires, the dragon took to the air and circled above the werebear camp. Tom, knowing he was an ally, directed the werebears to follow the direction he had come from. By the time night fell, Logan and Eldre had caught up to the werebear pack.
The next day, Roxanne changed her destiny. She had an idea of where the vampires would camp that night, and sure enough by late afternoon she had found the small area that the vampires had created for just such an occasion. The pack ambushed the vampires, and managed to kill them with only a few wounded. The party, united again, began heading towards the hellgate.
After two full days of travel and few hours in the morning, the party found itself standing on the top of a large hill. Nestled at the bottom of the hill was a well-worn stone building, about forty feet by sixty feet long. It was built into the hill, practically impossible to see unless you were paying attention. The party laid out a plan with the werebear pack; the werebears would lay an ambush and pull the attention of the vampires. Once they were all outside, the party could sneak in and deactivate the Hell Gate. Now all that was left was to wait for nighttime.