Following the defeat of Velspar and the freeing of Cheelast, the adventurers took some well earned time off. Each dedicated their time to completing various constructions, carousing, or simply getting as drunk as possible. Eventually it was time to leave, and the group departed Cheelast to make way to Nitru's village far to the south. Here they spent another tenday before Nitru called them together to discuss their future and how they would depart.
Nitru made them an offer, to continue in the service of Jacobi and complete the task they had been recruited for by Braston. After discussion the party decided to continue on this path, to aid Jacobi in whatever quest he had planned. Nitru would send one of his greatest warriors to escort the party to the nearest portal to Sigil, for protection and to activation.
The following morning they met Krull, a young shadowborn warrior on what seemed to be his first solo task. He led them out of the village and soon disappeared, scouting ahead of the adventurers in the way to the portal. After a good days march they arrived, the portal a simple magic circle carved onto the top of a low hill. Krull got the party to stand in the circle as he began to recite the activation phrase: Klaatu, Berada, Nektu! As the circle activated Argos caught a glimpse of Krull’s face, his features changed from that of a shadowborn boy to devilish. It was too late, the portal sent them on their way.
Their vision returned and they saw they were not in the Shadowfell and longer, but they were also not in Sigil. They stood atop a low hill made of broken stones. The sky was a boiling red and the ground a deep ochre, fireballs burst from the ground and exploded seemingly at random, and a small devil cowered in fear as it lay eyes on them. The small baatezu introduced itself as Halitsu, tasked with guarding this portal from intruders, but certainly not expecting anyone to come through.
Interrogation revealed Halitsu had no knowledge of a way out, but he knew of the Mad Witch who should know how to escape. She was from another plane so must know of a way out! With guarantees of keeping his silence the party departed towards a distant river and the mountains beyond. By the time they had cleared the small group of hills they had arrived in the adventurers looked back to see Halitsu flying hard to the south, obviously going to report their arrival. Feeling the devil had tricked them the party decided to follow and go on the offensive.
To the south they encountered the River Styx, a meandering flow of blood that cut the land in half. It proved no barrier however, as Saggy simply used his Water Walking to get everyone across safely. Once across they saw Halitsu’s destination, a fortress of insane dimensions built on a mountain and surrounded by more mountains. Thousands of devils could be seen on the ground and in the sky patrolling the fortress, it was clear that approaching any closer would mean a quick death.
Returning to plan ‘A’ the party turned north again, crossed the River Styx, and sought out the Mad Witch. Soon enough they found a cave with smoke pouring from it, and the Mad Witch, Hexla, came out to greet the newcomers. She claimed to have arrived from Sigil, and had been living in her hut in this cave for quite some time. She offered food and drink, as well as a place to rest. When questioned Hexla admitted to not knowing a way off this plane, but suggested the Pillar of Skulls to the south-west would be able to answer their questions. For a price.
After a restless sleep the adventurers left Hexla and set out towards the Pillar of Skulls, finding it across the Styx at the end of a blasted valley. The heads that composed the Pillar constantly bickered and argued, with the loudest offering information in exchange for a service. The largest, an ogre, asked for the sacrifice of a party member; a halfling wanted the Spell Key for Baator; and an elf simply wanted the ogre removed. Removing the ogre saw the elf reveal the location of a portal, but the halfling quickly interjected that it was too far and a nearer one was just to the south.
Armed with this information the adventurers first scouted the portal and then made for the Great Avernus Road, requiring a brick from the road to activate the portal. Even this was not easy, as a mighty host of devils mustered on the road stretching as far as they could see in both directions. It was hours before the host snapped to attention, Bel himself flew in to lead, and the legions marched on. Seeing an opening Rynn raced to the road to grab a brick but was surprised by several dozen Abishai flying to catch up to the main host.
What followed was a frantic chase across the wastes to the portal, stumbling across the broken landscape with the Abishai breathing down their necks. As the devils almost had them the adventurers reached the portal, only to be greeted by a strangely humanoid devil who seemed extremely friendly and pleased to see them.