Sam takes a seat near the entrance to the sanctum and dedicates half an hour or so to firing crossbow bolts into the tiger until it is very dead.
“I fucking hate that tiger, and using it for dragon bait didn't work”.
Then she calmly goes back to crafting. She's not quite right. You realise she's not quite right, right?
Just before the dawn ritual there is a cry of “For Balentyne! My father, know that this day ye shall be avenged!” and a party of adventurers appear. These are the Sons of Balentyne. They came together amidst the charred wreckage of the Keep, each having lost a relative to the Posse's treachery, and dedicated themselves to vengeance. They've followed Tiadora's breadcrumb trail of wracked and tortured villages and smallholdings across the island all the way to Farholde, and now they act to prevent the final ritual!
With the spire nigh deserted and with the Posse no longer spending their time flicking through the “cctv” it's a lot easier for this group of do-gooders to get close and get buffed up without being detected, although it still requires considerable perception, detect magic, knowing about the existence of the stairwell from secret archives at the Convent, and use of passwall. Having got past the sadly neglected outer ring of defences they now have to negotiate a wall of undead before they can murder Fitch and thereby disrupt the ritual.
Their first act is to channel positive energy to damage the Undead Army of Death
After this their mage is swarmed by Adelea and Grumblejack, and with tedious inevitabilty goes down in a crumbled heap before he can get a spell off. (In fairness, this is really his fault for not rolling better initiative).
Trik clambers up the rubble and channels negative energy, partly healing the undead again
Sam casts Hold Person on the cleric, and the cleric is indeed held.
Fitch keeps chanting, as it would be quite annoying to have to do another 222 rituals after this one.
Creel casts prayer, and then watches as Mad Meinhard Mott takes down his froglok zombie with a couple of attacks.
The Paladin Sir Richard Thomasson Havelyn smites Grumblejack, doing considerable damage
The dwarf zombie carries out a coup de grace on the helpless and immobile Brother Carthus Donnagin, who goes down with his throat bitten out. Mad Meinhard takes an attack of opportunity as it does so, but the zombie is not phased.
Adelea steps up and slaughters Mad Meinhard Mott
Creel exchanges blows with the paladin, and comes off much the worse, but still very slightly not quite dead. Sam is irked to realise that her terrifying array of charm spells will not affect the paladin, and that she will not be able to intimidate the fanatic religious warrior either, even if she accurately points out that all of his friends have died in mere seconds. She casts haste instead. Adelea then flanks Havelyn and kills him, hastily.
The fight was incredibly brief and brutal. As the echoes of Fitch's chanting of the second last ritual fade away, a hush falls over the sanctum again. The Evil Posse of Evil have done it! They've defended the sanctum against all comers.
As they strip the bodies a strange thing happens. An incredibly bright nimbus of light springs up around Sir Richard's body, forcing the party to look away. When they look back, the body is gone.
“Do we still get the stuff though?”
Yes, Sam, you do.
The very last ritual takes place at dusk, with Sam sacrificing the heir of the Victor. Fitch is slightly disgruntled, having done all the other rituals recently, but Sam gently and politely explains that this time it is important, and Fitch acquiesces.
At the stroke of midnight, the seal shatters, with several of the Posse being hurt by the shards. Vetra Kali strides out, demanding his eyes. For every eye, Sam asks a favour:
“We ask your mercy. Do not harm the mortals assembled here.” Vetra Kali agrees
“We ask your greatest gift, the Tears of Achlys, so that once more every corner of the world may know your mercy”. Vetra-Kali asks if they swear to see it distributed amongst mortals. Sam affirms this, and the demon prince, cackling with glee in his bird-like, screeching voice, hands over a vial.
With the third eye, Sam asks that Vetra-Kali leave this plane of existence and never return.
VetraKali shrieks in immortal rage. “Traitors! Devil-whores! You have the smell of the failed god Asmodeus all over you! You think you’ve won? You think you’ve outsmarted me?! Taste my vengeance, impudent mortals!” And with that, Vetra-Kali swallows the third eye, vanishes from this plane, and the Horn begins to shake. Vetra-Kali has left, and he has taken the magic that supports the much damaged Horn with him.
The Evil Posse of Evil flee from the horn, hurling themselves from the balcony and floating gently to the ground thanks to feather fall (except for Adelea, who has a magic evil horse thing). Behind them there is the screech and groan of tortured stone as the entire horn collapses in on itself and into the caverns below, leaving a jumpled pile of huge stone shards and rubble. The daemons Hexor and Vexor, once bound to the Horn, return to their home plane. Somewhere within the rubble, no doubt crushed by thousands of tons of debris, is whatever remains of Artephius the somewhat psychotic alchemical golem. Just outside the circle of wreckage, in their own small individual craters, are the smashed remains of Creel's Undead Army of Death™, who did not have feather fall but gamely tried to follow their master from the balcony nonetheless.
Sam takes a seat near what was the Horn of Abbadon, the Posse's base and indeed home for months. It's the end of an era. Their evil organisation is much reduced, their cohorts have mostly betrayed them and/or are dead, and their Evil Spire Dungeon Base Lair is in ruins. But they have what they came for.
She breaks the clay tablet.
Tiadora appears, and is unusally complimentary when she realises the Posse have succeeded in the impossible task set by their evil master. She teleports off, and quickly returns with a bag holding 20,000 gold pieces' worth of emeralds – and also some instructions from Thorne.
“The master sends his regards. Your work here in Farholde is done. You must make your way to the great city of Ghastenhall. There you will meet a fellow who will know how to best use the terrible weapon you hold in your hands. This letter gives the details.”
She glances at Grumblejack and then looks back at Sam – “Your pet has changed a little, hasn't it?”
“Grumblejack not pet! Grumblejack… “
he screws up his face a little, for a second, then it clears and he says, proudly
“… King of All Ogres!”
Then he looks at Tiadora and says, quietly and firmly, as though stating a simple fact rather than any kind of threat,
“Grumblejack eat you up someday”.
Tiadora does not reply, and teleports away.