Alek's eyes opened slowly. His head pounded and his entire body felt like it was on fire which was the first sign that he was actually alive. The throbbing in his mind had not abated but they had lessened considerably. It was a small comfort to the Warden, but as his eyes focused on the room around him he realized it may be the only comfort he'd know for a while.
Directly to his left Mariz slept, his eyelids fluttering madly and his muscles spasming as if he was still trapped in combat even in his dreams. There were others too, multitudes of wounded lay on cots and makeshift bedrolls where they could. Those able to sit upright or stand were packed along the walls of the temple: all shared the same war weary expression on their faces. Like flies around a corpse the Sisters of Selune flitted from one patient to the next, their aprons a macabre painting of the grisly work they were attending to. Each sister silently went about her duty but their eyes told stories that would keep most people up at nights. These priestesses had seen horrors... For a moment Alek wasn't sure that he actually was alive.
Alek craned his neck to see if Furakas and the Tress girl where still where he had left them in the temple but he could not find them. The cot she had been resting in was now occupied by a hulking bear of a man covered mostly in weepings sores. His bandages were soaked through and it was unclear if any amount of magical healing would return him from the edge he was perched over. Obviously this man needed the space more than Regina and her fast-healing lycanthropic wounds.
Alek heaved himself to a standing position, every muscle of his body cursing the motion, and kicked the cot Mariz rested on. The Watersoul stirred but did not awaken. "And where do you think you're going?" The voice was raspy and as he turned Alek noticed it belonged to an ancient grey haired woman dressed in a similar, yet noticeably different, smock that the rest of the Sisters wore. Alek tried to croak an answer but his voice did not come at first. The woman offered him a drink of luke warm water and a seat - which he declined - before restating her question.
Alek learned from the woman many things; he and Mariz had been unconscious for three days time, the city of Neverwinter had begun to burn in his slumber, and the spellfire that hungrily consumed the city hid terrible monstrosities. The populous in general had many tales for how this had come to pass, but common belief was it was a continuation of the False Heir's attacks upon this city. This time led by her new lackey, a Banite who led an army of madmen. The slender figure wrapped in red and bearing a skull mask brought with him blue fire that crept as if alive and gangs of roving marauders who would drag innocents into the sewers. All attempts to follow him to rescue those taken ended in death as the fire itself seemed to protect its master.
Alek learned the Furakas had taken the Tress girl from this place after she failed to respond to the sisters' treatments. The grey hair did not know where he went and did not think to ask. Dwarves after all have their own ways and she knew better than to pry. The Drow elf Barra had been seen a few times over the days checking in on his comrades, but never asked about their health and never left a message for the two. The grey hair's impression was the drow had a lot on his mind and did not want to trouble her.
Lastly, Alek learned that General Sabine had withdrawn the Mintarn's back towards the Hall of Justice, leaving most of Neverwinter to its own devices. The streets were chaos. With another kick he finally managed to stir Mariz's sleep and set himself to the grim task of donning his armor. The adventuring company he was found himself a part of had split up and he had no way to assemble their ranks. He did have Mariz though and a strong inclination where Dunn would be.
The two companions decided their best option was to head to the Hall of Justice and petition Lord Neverember for a force to lead into the sewers. Both companions had wisely kept their badges of friendship from the Lord were able to use these to move freely through the streets which were now under martial law.
During their travels through the city they came upon a outpost of defenders being overrun by the plaguescarred. Beyond the wall the companions could see huge purplish-blue tentacles writhing from the chasm. The rubbery appendages were easily over 100 feet long. The Mintarns who held this gate were badly outnumbered and for a moment both Mariz and Alek felt they should turn to aid the guards, in the end though they chose to keep moving and leave the men to their fates. As they ran ahead they could hear the screams of the dying guards echoing through the empty streets of New Neverwinter.
Soon Alek and Mariz had found themselves in the company of Lord Neverember and his council. Mayor Galt seemed openly hostile to the heroes demands, General Sabine seemed keen on taking the attack to the enemy, and Lord Neverember himself took a pragmatic approach to the heroes plan. Lord Neverember would order no soldiers into the sewers save those willing to volunteer for the mission. Also those volunteers would only be allowed leave to attend to the mission if Dunn and Mariz could find a way to control the fire hazards that had ended all previous expeditions.
Mariz gave a stirring speech and managed to stir the bravery of a small force to come to their aid. Finding a way around the fire was easier than they expected as someone who could solve that particular problem had sought them out. A tall Tiefling in blacked iron bracers, flame-licked robes, and a overall aesthetic of pyromancy offered his services. The Tiefling gave his name only as Payne and offered his services free of charge. Tieflings are naturally fire-resistance and this one had mastered the arcane usages of the element. Not feeling it was the right time to question the man's generosity too much Alek and Mariz agreed and the expedition set out.
Returning to the aberration nest was no easy feat. The spellfire did indeed seek to hamper their movement but Payne, true to his word, was able to control the flames and grant the rag tag party passage.
The mercenaries who had volunteered on this mission provided support and created an opening in the defensive force so Alek, Mariz, and Payne could slip forward to strike at the true mastermind of the attacks.
The trio fought their way through a host of aberrations before finally seeing the true threat for the first time. A spellscarred aboleth, his flesh a criss-cross of burning scars, floated at the center of a burning chamber and funnelled his twisted eldritch energies through a plaguechanged Dunn. The Avenger's body was warped and twisted and the familiar cold-fire of the spellplague rolled off his flesh. His body seemed covered in sucker like mouths which opened and closed in a mimicry of speech.
Payne immediately focused his efforts on the twisted form of Dunn, his strikes aiming to incapacitate instead of kill. Alek and Mariz threw themselves at the Aboleth with their full fury. The Mintarns covered the exits and held back the aberrant forces from coming to their master's aid.
The Aboleth proved a dangerous foe but ultimately created his own demise by his addictive need to bathe in the flames of the spellfire. After a hard fought battle the bruised and battered heroes finally vanquished thier true foe. Without the spelllplague corruption being fed into Dunn the Avenger shifted back into this normal human form. Neverwinter was safe, but the city was covered in fresh scars and never to be the same.