Zarantyr 8, 1001 YK
The vizier offers to have the party stay at the palace for the night while Conlon recovers from his Eltimar-induced madness. They agree, and in the ambassador chamber they have a tense meeting with the Sulatar. Meanwhile, the Sultan tells Vice that his vizier is plotting against him, and Vice suggests making an example of him. The Sultan agrees enthusiastically and believes Vice is offering to kill the vizier for him. He gives Vice a ruby rapier, a favoured weapon among efreeti assassins.
The rest of the party meets with the Sultan who has now returned to the palace, just barely missing Vice as he begins his search for the vizier. The Sultan states that he is inclined to take the Sulatar’s offer for the pyramidal Khyber shard he possesses, and the party grabs for a counter offer. Desperate, Xulgos offers Iadoes’ life, as the Sultan hates ice magic. He agrees to give the shard over if Iadoes survives the “Ring of Fire,” which, as the Sultan puts it, is “a gladiatorial contest where the odds are highly stacked against the contestant.” Iadoes begrudgingly agrees and begins preparations.
Vice finds the vizier’s bedroom and manages to break inside and hide until the vizier arrives, at which point the man just stands and stares at the wall. Vice waits a while before attacking, and the vizier is revealed to be possessed by Atrava the Frozen, prakhutu of Levistus, the Bringer of Ice (which Conlon already knew, though he was in no state to share). A short fight ensues, but Vice is quickly brought down by the rakshasa, who tears out one of his eyes before he descends into unconsciousness.
Zarantyr 9, 1001 YK
The next morning, Iadoes is met by two efreeti escorts who bring him and Xulgos to a fire skiff, though Xulgos is told he cannot enter the arena. They go towards a brass dome at the edge of the Pyraculum district, and Iadoes is brought through a passageway where he is allowed to select his weapon. He takes a potion, and is brought into the pit where he is booed for his ice magic affiliations. The first (of five) waves of opponents is a fire elemental, and it is during this fight that Namfoodle reveals himself to have been hidden in Iadoes’ cloak all along. His displays of agility and bravado impress the crowd, but they continue to boo Iadoes. Xulgos leaves the arena at this point.
The fire elemental is beaten, at which point the Sultan arbitrarily sends six efreeti members of his honour guard forth. Namfoodle and Iadoes fight hard, but Namfoodle is brought down by efreeti wielding swords. Midway through the fight, the Sultan summons the entirety of the Cult of Lharvion to “make things more interesting.” 10 members die from the initial landing, 74 more cult members are killed in the space of 10 seconds, and the remaining ones kill themselves to cast a spell powerful enough to eradicate most of the efreeti. Iadoes, however, is still beaten — not by the efreeti, but by consuming the pa’kkkh he acquired earlier, and passing out from the resulting arcane surge.
By this time, Xulgos has retrieved the Phoenix Eclipse from Captain Kqrush Bigarm, and he brings the airship (with some difficulty) to the Long Castle, where the ataz-bal still waits. He picks it up with the ship’s crane and drops it on the Sultan’s Breath fountain, causing the shell to melt away and extinguishing the fountain. Soon after, he is visited by Atrava and given a ring “for his service.” The ring is made of icy Khyber shard, the same as Levistus’ prison.
A few hours later, Iadoes and Namfoodle awaken in the arena. No spectators remain, nor do their enemies. The only others left are the Sultan, who is hanging off his balcony with a ruby rapier in his back. Behind him, a one-eyed Vice surveys the scene with confusion, having recovered from Atrava’s possession of his body. They speak briefly and meet up again with Xulgos before going to the palace and negotiating with the “vizier” (Atrava) for the pyramidal Khyber shard, revealed to be one of 13 shards of the Rage of War’s prison. To seal the deal, Iadoes makes the same pact with Levistus that Conlon did previously. As soon as they have the shard, they take to the sky with the Phoenix Eclipse and leave Fernia.