The next morning, Illyria awakes in her bed in the tower of Hommlet. Beside her, still asleep, is the prettiest and most innocent of the guards she ended up drinking with the night before. She wakes her gently, and the embarrassed guard picks up her clothing from the floor and quickly leaves, making her walk of shame back to the barracks.
The rest of the party wake in less questionable circumstances, and soon they are having a combined breakfast and planning meeting in the main room of the tower. Regular checking with truesight and detect magic reveals no attempts to scry on the meeting. There is a general desire to pick off more high-value targets in the enemy horde, like the dragon the party killed the previous day. The problem is, how to locate them? Mortimer sends a message (in phonetic Elvish, courtesy of Sal) to Seleria, queen of the owl-riding elves who are stationed in Theria, requesting some reconnaissance of the horde. Seleria is happy to oblige, but it will take time – she instructs Mortimer to contact her again the next morning for a report.
Unwilling to spend a day twiddling their thumbs while the horde advances, the party forms a new plan. They will again travel via the Grey Wastes to the edge of the horde, but this time will remain in the Grey Wastes and move into the midst of the enemy, only returning to the material plane once they have identified a suitably high-level target to attack. Then, once the target is defeated (or if the battle is proving too difficult) they will all teleport back to Hommlet once again. There they will rest, awaiting the elves’ reconnaissance report.
Breakfast over, the party prepares to depart. They transport themselves into the Grey Wastes, around where the horde ought to be by now if they have continued their march, and find – nothing. They should be able to see the entire horde as shadow figures before them, but instead all they can see are the ghostly impressions of the open countryside. Nothing is moving, except for two or three owlbears away in the distance, but even they seem to be keeping themselves to themselves.
Lacking much in the way of options, they decide to come out of the Grey Wastes into a copse of trees on a hillside. Illyria blasts a tree to splinters out of sheer frustration. The more mobile members of the party do some scouting – Sal on foot, and No Name in the form of a bird. Neither finds any sign of the horde. Both Mortimer and Illyria try scrying – he with a vessel of water, she with a bowl of blood – but neither has any success. Mortimer even tries sending a message to the Vizier asking for any available information, but all he gets back is a torrent of abuse, and the information that the person Tuakiin attacked was not Javier Asturro after all, but an impostor.
After making camp, the party debates at length where the horde could have got to. They might have turned right or left from their route, which would at least delay the attack on Theria. Or they may have gone en masse into another plane – presumably the Feywild – but that would require prodigiously powerful magic. One possibility would be to teleport to the vicinity of Theria and wait for the horde there, as that is still presumably their target. However, no one really wants to sit waiting for a week or more when they could be taking action.
Illyria decides she will try to contact her lord. She is reluctant to do so out here in the wilderness, given the dangers of the spell going wrong, but needs must. Mortimer, as a fellow devotee of Asmodeus (albeit in his own special way) agrees to look after her if she falls into delirious madness.
She falls into delirious madness. Sal has seen this before, of course, and No Name pays little heed, but Mortimer does his duty and ensures she comes to no harm as she writhes and babbles in Infernal gobbledegook.
Illyria has a series of nightmare visions. In the first, she walks through the door into Asmodeus’s study, only to fall into an endless pit of demonic monstrosities, tearing at her body as she plummets through the horror, one wrenching off her leg. She hears Jack’s voice, saying “I’m your friend. Please trust me.”
Sal, listening to Illyria’s babbling, makes out a word in Infernal: “Leg”.
Then she is on a vast, icy plain, crawling across the cracked and frozen ground. Jack’s voice says “I’m your friend, Here’s a blanket.”
Sal makes out the word “Frost”.
Now Illyria is in a wilderness of mirrors, stretching out to infinity on all directions. She looks into one of the mirrors. She sees Jack waving back at her. He says “I am your friend. Trust me. I want to give you presents. I want you to win.”
Sal hears her mutter “You”.
After some hours, Illyria comes round. She does not tell the rest of the group about her visions, but after they have all slept for the night she takes Mortimer aside, on the pretext of morning rituals, and confides in him about Jack’s presence in her dreams.
Also in the morning comes the report from the Elvish reconnaissance. They have found no trace of the horde. It seems all the party’s sources of information have come up empty.
In desperation, Illyria tries to contact her lord once again. This time should be less hazardous, however. Despite her apparent disdain for this business, No Name has prepared nature magic that can lift Illyria’s madness should it come upon her again.
It is not needed. Illyria finds herself in Asmodeus’s study, face to face with her lord once more. He tells her that the horde is no longer on the material plane, but this news seems almost irrelevant to her compared to the passionate intensity of the long, lingering kiss he places on her oh-so-willing lips. When they finally break their embrace, he tells her “Whatever you wish, will be done”.
Her audience with Asmodeus over, Illyria relays the information to the rest of the group. It seems that the way forward is for Mortimer to use the Wish spell which is in Clausis’s spellbook. At least, this is what Illyria advocates, and she can feel the hand of Asmodeus on her shoulder as she does so. Mortimer, however, is reluctant. There is so much that can go wrong, he doesn’t even know what plane the horde is on, he has so many objections. But Illyria keeps pressing. She can hear the voice of Asmodeus telling her that nothing can possibly go wrong, and she repeats to Mortimer “Nothing can possibly go wrong”. Mortimer still prevaricates, and now Illyria even sees a vision of Asmodeus, telling her it will not go wrong. Again she pushes Mortimer, telling him again and again that their lord has assured them that it will work.
Eventually, Mortimer acquiesces. He studies the spell in the spellbook, in all its inefficient and archaic layout, and meditates upon the precise wording of his wish. Meanwhile, Jack, Lubash and Sal are looking at the view, discussing what they want for the future. Lubash wants to help ogres who are downtrodden or repressed, and Jack assures him that he completely agrees with the principles of the Ogres’ Union and that he will be sure to always uphold them. Lubash isn’t quite sure what to make of this, but welcomes it in any case.
By now Mortimer has decided what he is going to do. He speaks aloud as he begins the spell:
“I wish that Azarr Khul, all who follow his word, and all those who count themselves a part of his horde, and the Feywild, and all those who hide themselves upon it be irrevocably destroyed.”
In the Feywild, the horde of Azarr Khul is on the march. A golden light suffuses them and each and every one of them, hobgoblins, manticores, ogres, giants, sphinxes and the great Azarr Khul himself, disintegrate into golden dust. The light rushes through the Feywild, annihilating all in its path.
Still encamped in the copse of trees, the party presume that the spell has succeeded and the horde is destroyed, but they are not immediately aware of any change. Apart from Jack, that is. He springs up, saying “Thank you, I knew you could do it. You’ve all helped me in so many ways.” A crown appears on his head. “Thank you all again. I am the Summer King. And I’m going to give you presents.” He walks through a golden door into his domain.