As the battle raged outside the party moved down into the lowest reaches of the temple.
PaoPao scouted down the initial hallway, finding only chambers full of human clothing organized by societal rank.
Clanks and hissing rose from behind the party, and they turned to face the bonded serpentfolk wizards Nazith-Yol and Nylla-Jas and a mechanical Siege Serpent.
Nylla managed to magically dominate Darve, but the party sprung into action, Seralya using her previously granted authority to order Bree not to move, and everyone able throwing out anti-mind control magic. These defenses would prove crucial to the coming battles. The spell was broken when Darve resisted an order to kill Rodrick.
The machine was destroyed and Nazith died at the hands of a leaping, grabbing, and snarling Hal. Nylla teleported away.
Further on, PaoPao found the marilith demon Raviaza and the troglodyte Khorak. They had attempted to use illusions for defense, but couldn’t fool the true-seeing ninja.
The combat began and the demon called a wall of blades to separate her from the party. Darve charged through the blades at Raviaza, but Khorak stopped him and the two fought until the stinky lizard was no more.
Rodrick summoned an angel and it rushed into battle with the demon alongside PaoPao.
Raviaza teleported away from the pair to attack the witch and summoner, but Rodrick resummoned Hal, who wounded her enough that she tried teleporting back into the original room where she fell to Sir Darve’s lance.
The party moved on, and entered a great hall lined with columns, a slithering path of green tiles, and statues of serpentfolk. When the witch tried to read writing inscribed on the walls, a shimmering magic snake lashed out, almost hitting her.
At the end of the hall was pair of large doors. Moving through, they found a gigantic cavern chamber, and in the center a raised dais, atop which was Vyr-Azul, high priest of Ydersius, his minion Kestath, Nylla-Jas, and a huge albino snake. Nearby was a massive pit.
On a second platform atop the first stood a massive skull.
The final battle had begun.
Darve called out advanced tactics, and Hal and the knight began coordinating their charges, with Rodrick teleporting Hal back to charge twice as often to devastating effect.
Nylla died of fatal amounts of Hal, and the giant ineffectual snake was killed by Darve. The floor shook and roars echoed from the nearby pit, as something approached.
Vyr-Azul’s mind controlling spells were foiled by the parties defenses, and he summoned a pair of Tyrannosaurs into the battle. Some quick Protection from Evil spells and potions rendered the dinosaurs unable to touch their intended meals, and their jaws chomped and bounced away in a somewhat comical spectacle before they were rendered unconscious by Seralya and finished off by PaoPao.
Kestath was targeted by Rodrick and fell into a hungry pit, where he was devoured.
Vyr-Azul teleported and flew about the chamber, blasting with his spells. His brief magical rampage and a lifetime of plotting was put to an end when he got caught out the open as the target of Darve and Hals twin charges.
Impaled over half a dozen times at once, Vyr-Azul died with a satisfied grin on his face as his master emerged from the pit.
The skull on the dias was a decoy and Ydersius had already been restored, albeit not yet having reached his full power. (His real skull fossilized, and Vyr pulled out the remaining original bone and left the rock shell on the altar as a distraction.)
Looking over the mortal interlopers, Ydersius charged PaoPao. As Ydersius unleashed his legendary power on the party, breathing poison, casting spells, and lashing out with fangs and claws, the party made their final play. PaoPao leapt at Ydersius, landing atop his head and stabbing at him. This provided an opening for Hal, who lunged and delivered a flurry of claws, before being replaced by a glabrezu demon.
From atop the monsters head, Pao Pao chopped at Ydersius, suffering through acidic bloodspray that nearly killed him, decapitating and defeating the serpent deity. The severed head fell to the floor, disintegrating back to a skull as the ninja leapt to safety. The once again headless body stumbled back into the pit, back to its wanderings in the dark.
This act sent a psychic shockwave through all serpentfolk worldwide. Outside the temple, the serpentfolk armies felt Ydersius’s defeat, and the demoralized serpents were routed.
As PaoPao gleefully harvested Ydersius’s divine venom, the mages summoned the angels, who removed the skull to seal it away in Heaven’s vaults, perhaps forever.
On the surface, the party, with pockets stuffed with untold loot, were hailed as heroes by the people of the world they had saved.
No one knows for sure, but some rumors are whispered that Sir Darvan returned home victorious to his king, Hal and his accessory became plane-wandering, swashbuckling heroes, Seralya probably became an enigmatic power in some hidden dark part of Golorian (but only Michael knows), Nyles became the custodian of Saventh-Yhi, and PaoPao was last seen ghost stepping down into the earth probably to return to distant Tien and his drug and poison trade empire.