After the Nozdormu drew the sword from the pedestal, a burst of light returned everyone to their original forms (if there were any need of it), also restoring their energies and powers. Then, a pitch black scabbard formed itself around the sword's edge.
As the group left the mysterious and ancient place, they faced a surprised city guard that looked shocked at the three individuals that walked out of a stone wall. The paladin noticed that the sword on his hip became warmer since they left the wall. Confused by their strange appearance and strangely unquiet by the sight of the divine sword, the soldier pointed his spear at them and ordered the adventurers to surrender their weapons and go with him. Of course, the party was not willing to be taken to prison like that, and as the lone soldier grew nervous, Nozdormu noticed his fangs and bursted a fire stream at him. The vampire soldier was able to dodge most of the flames, being barely scorched, and started to attack Chivas using his long pike. The dragonkin and the dwarf approached the creature, forcing it to drop its weapon and fight with its claws, also driving it further from the sorceress. The paladin was not able to land one single hit on the vampire, but the joined efforts of the magicians took it to the ropes, and Orum dealt the coup de grace, destroying the monster with his Moonbeam. Then Refulgent Shadow cooled down to its normal state.
Obviously, the intense show of lights and the sounds of battle drew the attention of more city guards, that seeing the remains of the fallen "guard", immediately uttered their prison order, deaf to the party explanations. Nozdormu tried to deny their orders with his higher military patent, and Orum tried to smash his way through, turning into a giant goat, but the City Guard Chief shot a paralyzing dart on the druid and overridden the paladin orders. All three were taken to the jail.
A few hours later, a figure shows up in front of their cell door. Count Babak was there to explain their situation.
"I must say, you lot have really made it this time, the king is terribly annoyed. But, as I am sure that you must have a reason for what you have made (and I am not a resentful man), I convinced the king to give you a chance. In a few hours, the city arena will be crowded with common people that would just love to see a good fight. If you are able to put up a good show (and survive, of course), he just may let you explain yourselves. Your battle begins in two hours and your gear will be returned before you enter the arena. I wish you the best of luck. Ta-ta!"
Perplexed, the adventurers exchanged glances, wondering if that pale nobleman truly was the evil monster that they believed him to be.
The time to fight came, and reequipped, the fighters entered the enormous arena. A great circle filled with sand and stone were seen through the opened doors in front of them. A noisy crowd screamed, cheered and booed at the challengers before them. On the opposite side of the great coliseum, on his private sector, was a very upset king. Even though he was angry with the murder of one of his guards, he always disapproved the uncivilized horror show that are the gladiator fights. After the narrator announced the entrance of the challengers, introduced their adversaries. – "Against these brave warriors, stands the legend of the pit, with an impressive score of victories. You know who he is ladies and gentleman, the King in the Arena, Ssssssssportacus!" – The crowd exploded in cheers as the doors on the opposite side of the arena opened to reveal a single human warrior, bearing a shield, a spear and a short sword on his hip, wearing just a light leather armor. Before the party had time to be confused with underwhelming opponent, the announcer continued. – "Accompanied by his always faithful friend. They are inseparable and unstoppable. We all know and love her! Vvvvvvvvesta!" – Another burst of applause and cheers, but nothing happened. Suddenly, from the same door from which the gladiator came, a lump of sand started moving, until a blue drake emerged from the ground to stand beside his master. Sportacus was a professional. A skilled fighter who fought with precision and ability to amuse the crowd, not a bloodthirsty barbarian who fought for pleasure and the rage of battle. He stopped waving at the crowd to inspect his foes, and as he acknowledged powerful adversaries, his expression became serious and focused. Before the start of the battle, Nozdormu shouted: "May we fight with honor" – to which the gladiator replied with a punch in his own shield and a bow, showing the paladin that the respect was mutual.
Suddenly, the master of the pit and the giant lizard rushed to face their enemies. Orum transformed into a tiger, Nozdormu braced himself behind his shield to receive three powerful thrusts from Sportacus' spear, and Chivas widened the gap between her and the fight. In response to the gladiator's attack, the paladin landed a crushing blow on his shoulder, forcing the warrior to stand on one knee, while Orum and the drake faced each other in a clash of fangs and claws. Chivas repeatedly casted spells trying to slow down the resilient fighter. Sportacus counter-attacked with a insanely strong shield bash that was able to knock the big draconate down, following with two fast downward thrusts that Nozdormu dodged rolling side-to-side. After standing up, the paladin once more tried to slash his foe, but this time he was able to dodge the attack. Chivas kept piling up damage upon the fighter, what resulted in a spear thrown at her. Thankfully the spear missed and her next spell would bring the famous gladiator to his knees. Even being terribly wounded, Vesta abandoned her fight with Orum to put herself between her masters and the ones threatening his life. Dropping his shortsword on the ground, as he leaned on his scaly friend to be able to stand up, the King of the Pit raised his empty hands in a sign of surrender, smiling to the adversaries that disrupted his record. He slowly left the arena, as the spectators shouted and threw lots of coins into the pit as an offering to the victors.
The party left the arena through the same door they entered, and an employee from the coliseum gave them their share of the sum collected from the pit (a total of 168 GP). The man then asked the adventurers to follow him, as the king would see them now. They entered a room teeming with guards. In the back of the room, the king Damian stood, sided by lord Babak. With a severe voice and expression he ordered: "Explain what happened last night."
Nozdormu stepped up and told in details the events of the previous night, showing, in the process, Refulgent Shadow for the king's astonishment. He then proceeded to demonstrate the sword's power to reveal the truth by forcefully ending one of Orum's transformation. As he finished his explanation, he noticed that the sword was, once again, warm, then looked to Babak. Once more, he noticed an distortion aura around the Count, as the ones seen when there's vapor distorting the sight in a hot day. After asking for the king's permission, Nozdormu inspected everyone in the room (except for Chivas) by touching them with the divine blade. At last, the moment came to inspect the Count. Seeing the nervous expression of the paladin, the nobleman said "Come." The calmness and conviction in his voice shook even more Nozdormu's doubts. As he approached the blade to the man before him, he suddenly felt resistance, as if the air had become solid. Babak's grin widened in a large smile, and Nozdormu's conviction was restored. He thrusted the blade through the barrier with all his force, turning the movement in a legit attack. The following second passed slowly. As a strange barrier popped like a balloon around the Vampire Master, everyone in the room watched baffled as the truth was revealed with the Count's macabre smile and fangs. The holy blade slowly approached the monster's chest, but when it was about to touch him, the Count turns into a dark mist, flowing effortlessly through cracks in the walls and disappearing. There was a cold moment of tension, in which seemed like the whole world had held its breath, and then, everyone in the room sighed, releasing the tension.
After taking a moment to breath and relax, the king and the adventurers discussed about what kind of power would be able to conceal so well a Vampire Master's presence, but came to no conclusion. After realizing the danger he was in, the king dismissed everyone and gave guest rooms in the castle to his saviors, so they would wait until the next day when he would again speak to them.
Next day, afternoon. The three adventurers were summoned to the king's presence. To thank them for their bravery, loyalty and heroism, the king awarded them the former Count's properties, as well as his title, to deal with them as they pleased. It seemed that Babak's family as well as some guards disappeared through the night. Chivas and Nozdormu already were part of noble families, but they weren't part of the king's court until now. Orum never even cared about this nobility nonsense, but he was now also part of the court. As requested, the king arranged so that their new lands were marked in a map, and shown to them in person, so the new counts could get to know their new properties.
Later that night, the king threw a feast, to thank once more his saviors and to introduce them to his court. The Counts met many nobles, got contacts and made… "friends". While Nozdormu spent the night chatting with some fellow dragonkin nobles, Orum and Chivas were looking for something more "intense". The dwarf got ironically involved with the paladin's cousin, Shirley, while Chivas fancied the strong gladiator Sportacus, whom she summoned to her quarters. While Chivas night ended to be quite disappointing, Orum had a good night and, even though he may not be aware yet, he now has a son to come soon.
Past the festivities, now the group is departing to meet their new lands. On their way to the city borders, Orum found the little homeless boy, Souta, whom he had helped days before, and took him under his care, what made the kid shed tears of joy. Now they are on their way to their main property, where they can rule their other feuds and store their riches.
Party XP – 5550 (1850XP each)
168GP (56 each)
Skills – Nozdormu discovered Refulgent Shadow's "Detect Evil (Divine)"