With the sound of defeat echoing in Branan’s mind (he had once again failed to answer the riddle correctly), a fight commenced with the third demon chieftain of this hell hole. The battle could have gone poorly — Charlie had exhausted many of her healing spells, and Branan struggled with the singing of his songs. Alatir, stout as ever, maintained the interest of the demon captain, and Gortek, despite being knocked out briefly in battle, landed many a brutal blow until finally the last demon was slain.
After the last enemy had fallen, Serine explored the furthest reaches of the now vanquished hell hole and discovered Nerryn lying on the ground in a near catatonic state. Zomi observed that Nerryn seemed caught between two planes of existence, and Serine discerned (with the aid of Aliaga) that it was Nerryn’s amulet that had seemingly trapped her in this state of existence. The amulet, which draws on the life force of any nearby enemy or place of power in order to protect Nerryn’s life, had become entangled in the demonic energies of the hell hole.
As they discussed how to help Nerryn, Branan heard the approach of distant footsteps. From the deeps, the Dwarf King had dispatched a contingent of the Dwarven Guard to assess and tear down the newly formed hell hole. Branan and Gortek quickly intercepted them and pleaded with their leader, Nostrix, to give them more time to help their friend.
While Nostrix insisted that the hell hole be torn down at all costs, Serine, Zomi, and Charlie devised an enchantment that would allow them to protect Nerryn until they could discover a way to safely remove her. Surprisingly, their combined magical energies allowed them to move Nerryn from the hell hole itself, although she remained in a near catatonic state, only briefly moving in and out of consciousness. Emerging from the hell hole, Branan asked Nostrix if he would send a message to Pannan, which Nostrix did with great haste.
The path forward remained unclear — Nerryn needed help beyond their skill, but the places with power to potentially heal her carried their own great risks.