Chapter 41: Banishment

It had been seven years since Loral had retired from his days of adventure, but he had one last job to do. Loral walked slowly around the cavern, carefully inspecting every detail of the large room. Any flaw in its construction could spell disaster for those within, and eventually all of Norrath. Two large ballistae, huge crossbows with bolts two meters long, were bolted to the floor corners of the room. Seeing these siege weapons in such a small room would make no sense to any outside observer, but to Loral, they were critically important. Loral checked the chains that ran across the floor ending at two huge stone wheels on the far end. Loral looked to the two armored barbarians that stood to the sides of the large wheels, iron hammers slung over their shoulders. He turned and looked to the two elves that manned the giant crossbows. The resolve of these warriors would be more critical than the flawless engineering of the room and its furnishings. They were about to see something few mortals ever did, and fewer still ever lived to talk about it.

Loral took out a black gem from a pouch on his belt. A single word activated the priceless gem, and once activated it could never be deactivated. The huge crossbows, the unbreakable chains, and the strength of the warriors would all fail if the gem was not activated properly. Each was a piece of a large puzzle, each had to be put in at just the right time or they would all die. Loral took a deep breath. It was time to release Xuzl. Loral took the battered shield off of his back and set it in the center of the floor.

"Awaken Xuzl. You are free."

A vibration filled the room, rattling the chains on the floor and drawing concerned looks from the guards. The edge of the shield began to glow and then burst into flame. The circle expanded outward forming a large pool of fire. A sudden blast of hot air filled the room as the portal to the Plane of Fire opened.

A red claw reached out of the pool and gripped the stone floor. Another claw followed the first and the two heaved up the rest of the demon's bulk from the pit. Xuzl's green eyes beheld the small priest. The foolish priest had kept his word. Xuzl was free.

Upon blackened hooves, Xuzl stood above the fiery pit. He stretched his full fifteen feet height expanding his wings to the edges of the room. He beheld the priest again with his burning green eyes, he hissing laughter filling Loral's mind.


The word of command activated the black gem. The shine from Loral's earrings and rings faded. Two magical gems that lit the room darkened immediately but the four torches of the room stayed lit. The demon felt the shell of invisible protection surrounding his huge frame disappear. He called upon a column of lava to incinerate the priest but no fire came. All of his magical powers were gone along with all other magic in the room. All magic within one hundred feet of the black gem ceased to exist.

It mattered little to Xuzl. Even without his powerful magic, the demon was stronger than a the Ice Giants of Permafrost. He could crush all five of these pitiful creatures with a single stone. That was when he noticed the ballistae.


Two huge bolts, each a six foot steel rod tipped with a black barbed tip, tore through Xuzl's arms. The huge chains, attached to the end of the bolts, raced up the ground and criss crossed Xuzl's massive chest. Xuzl roared and the guardians felt their knees grow week. One of the elves manning the ballistae fell to the ground, his hands covering his head.

The two barbarians bashed out two logs that held the stone wheels in place with their hammers. Behind the wall, a four ton stone weight fell. A network of levers and pulleys behind the wall pulled the chains tight around the beast. Four huge chains wrapped the demon around the chest, crushing the bones of the beast's wings. Three more wrapped around its legs. Xuzl was pinned to the wall, the chains held tight by the huge stone weight. The strength of twenty frost giants could not break their bond.

Loral had spent years studying the powers of extraplanar creatures and in almost all cases they had three powerful weapons; physical strength, magical abilities, and psionics . Two of the demon's three weapons had been removed. Only one remained.

While magical energies were drawn from the outer planes or their gods, even from one plane to another, the psychic abilities of outer planar demons came from a different source. Unlike magical energy which would be stopped by the black gem, psychic energy worked on the internal powers of the mind and would be unaffected. Sometimes these psychic effects were subtle. Xuzl's was not.

The elf that manned the left ballistae screamed, a scream so violent that his throat ripped itself apart from the strain. Blood flowed from his eyes and ears, running rivers down his cheeks. Loral felt his stomach heave when he heard a small pop and the elf fell dead to the stone floor, his brain crushed under the might of Xuzl's powers.

The barbarian to the beast's left took out a large black shining helm he had hanging on his back. The helm cost almost as much as the black gem, its shape forged from instructions over five thousand years old. It was built from a material known to block the mental intrusions of the Shissar and was used as armor by the ogres of Old Norrath. The ogres used the armor to keep psychic intrusion out, but this helm was designed to keep it in. Most importantly, the power of the helm to block psychic abilities was not magical but natural. It would work within the stones antimagic shell.

The ogre put the helm over Xuzl's huge head, the form fitting perfectly around the demon's black horns and covered the green burning eyes of the demon with smooth black metal. A latch clamped the helm shut, tight against the creature's head. Loral let out a sigh of relief. Had the helm not fit, they would have all died as their elven companion had.

Xuzl felt his senses crash down. He could no longer hear the thoughts and emotions of the attackers. He could not send out his psychic tendrils into their minds. He could not summon his powers to call forth waves of lava or reopen a gateway back to his home world. He could not even see. For the first time in fifty thousand years of life, the arch-demon Xuzl was afraid.

Loral watched the chest muscles of the huge beast flex against the strain of the giant chains. He saw the black claw clench into a fist and extend as if reach for something, anything. The chains pinned the creature completely to the wall, his arms wrapped around him in some obscene embrace. Xuzl's roar got softer and softer, turning into an inhuman whimper as the chains tightened around his chest. Loral could not see Xuzl's eyes under the black helm, but the whimper was one that brought no hatred into Loral's mind.

For the first time since contemplating the trapping of this unholy beast, Loral had doubt. He would have thought this feeling was one of Xuzl's psychic tricks, but with the black helm in place he knew such a trick was impossible. Who was he to trap so mighty a creature? He had orchestrated and carried out a plan to trap this beast forever within this tomb. What right did he have to do so?

Another vision filled Loral's head. One of the beast Xuzl plucking an armored female elf off of a hill far away in the lands of Tunaria. The beast flew high, crushing the screaming paladin in an immortally strong grip. With a smile and a chuckle, the demon bit off her screaming head and swallowed it whole.

Loral's vision snapped back to the trapped beast, faceless under the black helm. To remove such a creature from the world of Norrath was necessary. To have such a power free in the mortal world or even the planes was against all that was good.

Loral and his remaining companions left the chamber, sealing the door behind them. After a few hours, the torches burned themselves out and the room was black. The only sound was the forced breathing of the demon, his chest too constrict to scream or even speak.

Loral walked past the illusionary treasure room filled with a king's ransom in platinum and magical items. Two stone guardians, built and enchanted by gnomish arch-mages stood motionless, protecting the room from intrusion forever. Should any adventurers get this far, an almost impossible feat, they would think the treasure room to be the final victory. None would suspect the giant rock on the opposite wall to contain the unholy beast Xuzl, and his eternal tomb.

Thoughts of the demon flowed out of Loral as the thick liquid of the potion of forgetfulness flowed down his throat. In moments, he and his three remaining companions would forget the entire experience. It was the only way to ensure their secret remained so. All three stepped out of the maze-like catacombs and into the inner chambers of the Church of Tunare. Soon all three were walking through the streets of Felwithe, the encounter and its location already forgotten.

None of them remembered that a few hundred feet below the streets of the elven city of Felwithe, chained to the wall and bathed in pitch blackness, hissed the eternal breath of Xuzl the demon. The demon, however, would never forget.