Chapter 43: The Master Archfiend
The four carried on through the depths underneath Charlock Castle. Ron and Alice did their best to raise the spirits of the group. However, it was clear that Ortega's death had shaken them all, especially Suzanne. And all were all too aware that their sorrow and despair were feeding the Master Archfiend. This knowledge caused them to press forward with an almost reckless haste.
After the large bridge they had crossed was another wide hallway. One end of the hallway led to a dead end with only another statue of a muscular human. The heroes quickly left after determining it to be a dead end to keep from being attacked. A locked door partway up the hallway led to another dead end.
However, another door was found around a corner and it led to a room with treasure chests in it. Alice used her magic to find that two of the chests were actually mimics. The group opened the other four chests and found a stone with a gem set inside it, another large crystalline stone on a string, a large leaf, and a ring. The group recognized the first stone as a Stone of Life, the ring as a Wizard's Ring, and the leaf as a Leaf of the World Tree.
"Wow, this must be Zoma's vault!" exclaimed Ron. "These are all some powerful stuff!"
"I wonder why Zoma wouldn't keep these things with it?" wondered Suzanne.
"Perhaps it can't use these items," guessed Thomas. "If it gains its power from misery, pain, and suffering then perhaps these items, which deal with avoiding or removing such things, don't have their intended effect on the Archfiend."
"Then why leave them here?" asked Ron. "Why not destroy them?"
"Such powers and items work normally on other monsters," answered Thomas. "It might have been saving them for one of its underlings when the time is right."
Alice had been examining the other stone they had found, the one they were not familiar with. It was then that Alice spoke up. "Oh my… you guys, this is a Sage's Stone!"
"What's that?" asked Ron.
"It spreads healing power over several individuals," answered Alice. "You know that powerful spell that Thomas has sometimes used which heals all of us at once? This stone can mimic its effects!"
"That's incredible!" exclaimed Thomas. "Does one have to put magic into the stone for it to work?"
"No," answered Alice. "It works like Ron's shield. Mortal peril is what draws power out of the stone."
"Since it's a Sage's Stone does that mean you're the only one that can use it?" asked Suzanne.
"I don't think so," said Alice. "The reason it has that name is because it is said sages of old were the ones who could create these objects. Only the greatest sages have ever made one, though. I certainly don't have a clue where to even begin!"
"Nevertheless, how about you hang on to it, Alice," said Suzanne. "Tom is the only one who can heal all of us at once on his own. Having a second person with that capability could be of a great strategic advantage."
The four used the Wizard's Ring to regain as much of their magic as they could before it crumbled. Then the heroes left the vault and continued onwards. The large hallway made another turn. There was another door on the side of the hallway that led to a dead end. The four were ambushed inside but came out no worse for the wear due to Alice's use of the Sage's Stone. They were attacked several more times by monsters as they traveled along the hallway. Suzanne, Ron, and Thomas were able to keep the monsters away from Alice while she continued to erase their wounds with the Sage's Stone. The hallway ended with a descending staircase.
The staircase led to a large room with one exit leading to a staircase that went up a bit. Past the staircase the four could see nothing.
"Alice, can you light the way for us?" asked Suzanne. Alice cast a spell to create a light. However, her light was eaten by the darkness and did not reveal anything beyond the top of the staircase.
"Should we use the Sphere of Light?" asked Alice quietly.
"Not yet," answered Suzanne. "Let's not tip off that we have it just yet."
The group cautiously climbed to the top of the staircase. Darkness surrounded them on every side except the one they had just come from. After a moment some flames appeared on the ceiling and dissipated some of the darkness, revealing a portion of the area around them. Then a horrific voice began speaking into their minds.
Suzanne! called Zoma. I bid you welcome to your altar of offering! It is I who will bring about the destruction of all things! All living beings shall be demolished by me and the entire world shall sink into despair. Commencing with your own demise, Suzanne! Come, my servants. Destroy them so that I may thrive on their suffering.
After Zoma had finished speaking a five-headed dragon walked out of the darkness. The group recognized the dragon immediately as the same one that had killed Ortega.
"Trust me on this," Suzanne whispered to the other three. She then immediately charged at her father's murderer. Three of the dragon's heads turned to meet her suicidal charge, each with a grin on its face as they waited for their next meal. However, Suzanne stopped herself and held up the Shield of Heroes. The dragon, thinking that Suzanne's anger had beaten her sense, had not bothered to launch a complicated attack against her. Suzanne was able to block two of its heads with the Shield of Heroes while the Armor of Radiance saved her from most of what the third head could do.
The group's trust in each other was well rewarded after that. The other three knew after Suzanne had whispered that she had not given in to her rage. Suzanne's maneuver had left three of the dragon's heads open for attack. Alice cast a spell upon Ron to increase his strength. Thomas took out an eye on one of the heads. The head angrily snapped at Thomas, cutting into his shoulder and forcing him back. The attack cost it dearly as Ron with his increased strength separated that head from the rest of the body.
Alice cast the same spell on Suzanne that she had cast on Ron. Suzanne reacted quickly, before either of the other two heads that attacked her could react. With a roll and a rising slash another of the dragon's heads fell to the ground.
The dragon followed that up with some surprising agility. It whirled around so that its three remaining heads faced its enemies. One of the heads breathed forward gales of flame, covering the four. The other one reached through the flames to bite at Suzanne. With her vision obscured by fire the dragon was able to slip past the Shield of Heroes and get some of her leg. Thomas cast a healing spell upon himself while Ron went for the dragon's torso. He managed to jump upon the dragon's back and bury his blade inside. The dragon knew it was in a dangerous position now. It wildly bucked and spun until Ron was thrown from its back, his sword still buried deep inside the dragon's torso.
Alice held up the Sage's Stone and some of the four's wounds were healed. While the dragon had been so desperately focused on removing Ron from its back it had left no heads to pay attention to Suzanne. Suzanne ran forward and slashed deep into the dragon's side. A head came over to try and devour Suzanne but Suzanne was too aware and executed a subtle sidestep. Her move was performed flawlessly as she was then able to bring herself forward to take off another head before the dragon recovered.
The dragon was near death now and it knew it. All sense had left it as it wildly thrashed at its enemies in a desperate attempt to hold them off before they could finish it. The four knew how to deal with it from there. Suzanne blocked another head while Ron dove to grab his sword out of the dragon's back. Then Ron and Thomas removed the head that had attacked Suzanne. Soon the last head was gone as well. The four made sure the cut the torso into pieces to make sure that the dragon was truly dead and would not simply regenerate from its wounds.
Impressive, Suzanne, congratulated Zoma. I had thought your despair had consumed you for a moment.
Some more fires appeared around the area, dissipating more of the darkness. However, the four still could not see the back of the room. Blue waves came out of the darkness, engulfing the group. The heroes felt a great chill run through them yet they were not harmed by the blue waves.
"What were those waves?" asked Alice quietly.
"I don't know," said Suzanne. "Is anyone hurt?"
"We all seem fine," said Thomas.
"How about we just end this now!?" challenged Ron. "If you want our misery then just come out here and get it!"
Zoma did not pay attention to Ron. Bomus, your chance has arrived. Accomplish what your kin could not and you shall be the next Archfiend in its place.
Out of the darkness came another monster. The four were surprised to see this one: it looked just like Baramos! It even wore the same style of clothes. The only difference was in the colors. While Baramos had yellow skin this monster was turquoise. It wore blue robes with a green cloak. Its face was almost identical to Baramos; it had the same snout-like nose, bump on its head, and elongated mouth.
Baramos was not the true name of the Archfiend you defeated, explained Zoma. That is the name of their kind.
"Gonus was weak!" declared Bomus, this new Baramos that stood before them. "He never deserved to be an Archfiend! I will feast on the innards of those who slew him! Then I shall feast on all those of your kind that live in the other world!"
With her enhanced reflexes Alice was able to cast a spell before anyone else could act. A soft light covered the four, a spell meant to help protect them from any fire or ice that Bomus would breathe out. Alice remembered that the last Baramos they had fought had used breath weapons.
Suzanne and Ron ran up to engage Bomus up close. Both dealt solid blows to the creature's midsection. However, they noticed that it was still tough to slice through their enemy's skin. Suzanne realized what this meant.
"Alice! Your spell has worn off somehow!" Suzanne called out.
Bomus laughed and launched a clawed hand at Suzanne. With surprising skill his hand got around the Shield of Heroes and grabbed her sword arm. He then pulled in an attempt to rip her arm right out of its socket. Realizing the danger Suzanne had to allow herself to get pulled by the monster and get thrown to the ground. Showing the same aptitude for multitasking that the other Baramos did Bomus cast a spell with its other arm. A tremendous explosion filled the area, a spell that the other Baramos had also cast often.
Thomas cast a spell of his own. Sparkling lights appeared on the heroes, healing them of some of their wounds. Alice recast the spell on Ron to augment his strength. Bomus's wounds were healing themselves, yet another trait it shared with the Archfiend the group had fought. Suzanne and Ron tried to fake Bomus out. Suzanne stayed lying on the ground thinking that Bomus would go in for a quick kill. Bomus did not take the bait. He focused his attention on Ron. However, with the spell Alice had cast on him Ron blocked a claw from Bomus and then severed the arm that had attacked him near the shoulder.
Bomus cried out in pain but still was able to conjure up another explosion. Suzanne could see Thomas beginning to cast a spell and called out to him.
"Tom, let Alice heal us!" Suzanne ordered. "We need to conserve magic and this fight won't last much longer!"
Suzanne leapt to her feet and attacked Bomus. Bomus managed to use his remaining arm to keep her from stabbing his midsection though he took a cut to that same arm for his trouble. Thomas stopped casting his spell and joined the melee. With only one arm and his attention focused on Suzanne Bomus was not able to defend himself as well from Thomas's attack. It tried to sidestep but it took a slash to its shoulder, almost losing its stump.
Alice held up the Sage's Stone and some of the group's wounds were healed. The other three focused on finishing off Bomus. One arm was not enough for Bomus to defend itself with, especially with Ron's enhanced strength. It managed to claw Suzanne in the leg as it fell to the ground, succumbing to its wounds.
Again, more fires appeared in the area, lighting up more of the room. The four still could not see the very back of the room. Blue waves once again came out of the darkness.
"That's what caused my strength enhancing spell to disappear!" realized Alice. "Those waves are dispelling the magic!"
It seems I have placed too much faith in the tribe of Baramos, noted Zoma.
"Don't be so hard on them!" called out Ron. "Let's see if you can do better!"
Zoma again ignored Ron. Let us see if there is merit in another chance. Gonus here has been eager to meet you again. Go, Gonus, acquire your vengeance against the ones who had slain you.
A third monster rushed out of the darkness. This one did not wait for an introduction or say anything to the group; it rushed straight ahead. The monster was a large purple skeleton. This skeleton belonged to a humanoid with two arms, two legs, and a single protrusion on the top of the skull. On its hands and legs were three digits each. It rushed out and clawed at Suzanne. It was all Suzanne could do to avoid being crushed. The skeleton showed tremendous strength and Suzanne went flying to the side.
Alice recast the strength-enhancing spell upon Ron. Thomas healed Suzanne of her wounds. The skeleton pursued Suzanne and tried to stomp on her. Suzanne rolled out of the way in the nick of time. Ron wound up and released a mighty slash at the skeleton's legs. His sword cleaved through most of the leg but Ron was surprised to find he did not take one of the legs off.
"Damn! These bones are tough!" he called out.
Alice cast a spell to enhance Suzanne's strength. Suzanne leapt up and prepared to meet the skeleton's next attack. The skeleton tried a swipe with both its claws. Suzanne blocked one with the Shield of Heroes, though the force still pushed her back. As the skeleton came at her for a follow-up attack Suzanne sidestepped and slashed at the skeleton. She also was not able to cut all the way through the bone.
While the skeleton continued to focus on Suzanne Ron and Thomas were able to attack it without penalty. Thomas, without enhanced strength, was able to barely scratch the skeleton. Ron aimed a precision strike at the leg he had already cut into. He was able to hit the wound he had inflicted and finish cutting through the leg. The skeleton seemed to hardly notice as it did not stumble at all with one leg removed.
The skeleton continued to fixate on Suzanne. It managed to grab her and tried to crush her. Only the Armor of Radiance saved her life. Suzanne was just able to free herself. As the skeleton reached for her again she tried Ron's tactic and had the same success: removing a limb from her enemy. Alice healed Suzanne of some of her wounds. Thomas and Ron continued to take advantage of the lack of attention the skeleton was giving them. Soon, another leg was removed.
The skeleton was left with only one arm now. The three melee fighters circled their foe until it chose a target for them. With surprising agility the skeleton used its arm to push itself into the air and then came down on Ron with a devastating claw swipe. Ron was sent flying to the ground, bleeding from several large cuts. Thomas immediately healed Ron of his wounds. Suzanne began working on making the skeleton pay by cutting into its remaining arm. With his wounds already recovered, Ron got back to his feet and removed the arm completely.
After that the skeleton could do nothing but wiggle around. The four went to work further dismantling the monster as they typically did to make sure there was no way it could get back up to be a threat.
Yet another burst of blue waves came out of the darkness, removing the spells placed upon the four. After that some more flames appeared and removed the darkness. The entire room was now visible to the heroes. Standing at the back of the room was the Master Archfiend. For the first time the four were able to look upon their true enemy.
Zoma was a large humanoid monster over twice as tall as even the largest human. It had blue skin and large muscles giving it a build even the strongest human would approve of. It wore a long orange robe and wore several necklaces and pendants, including one with a skull on the end. Upon its shoulders was a purple mantle that hung down to its feet. The mantle was tied by a ruby underneath Zoma's head. It wore an elaborate headpiece consisting of white cloth that fanned behind it and a helmet with two large horns and a giant, wide open eye looking out of it. Its eyes were wide and its mouth already curled in a large, evil grin.
Suzanne! Zoma called out. Why do you struggle to live? My joy is your destruction. My beauty your death! Come forward then, and die in peace!
Zoma did not wait for the four to come forward. It moved with speed that beat even Alice's enhanced reflexes and unleashed a horrific ice combination on the heroes. Zoma breathed out a terrible storm of ice from its own mouth. The icy breath was more terrible than the group had ever seen. They felt as though their very bones were freezing. That was only a part of Zoma's attack. He also cast an ice spell upon the party, raising jagged spires of ice from the ground. It augmented the intense cold of Zoma's breath attack and added serious cuts to the group as well.
The group was left in a desperate state. Suzanne and Ron were hardly able to get back on their feet while Thomas and Alice were unable to get back up. Their misery served to only strengthen the Master Archfiend who seemed to fly across the room and land in front of Alice, ready to finish her off.
"Alice, now!" called Suzanne desperately. Ron was trying to run at Zoma to keep it from killing Alice but his wounds were slowing him down.
Just before Zoma was able to reach out and crush Alice she was able to withdraw an item from her person. The Sphere of Light filled the room with its brilliance. As it had been when the four had first acquired the Sphere its light was not blinding to them. However, Zoma roared in pain, the first actual sound they had heard come from the Archfiend. While the light had no adverse effects on the heroes it had tremendous effect on the master of the darkness. Zoma's clothes and skin seemed to get washed out by the incredible radiance, causing his entire self to look a sickly blue.
The light stunned Zoma, keeping it from killing Alice. However, Suzanne recognized that her group was still in rough shape. She called upon the mysterious power within herself and cast a mighty spell. Bursts of lights covered and swirled around the four heroes, erasing every wound they had sustained. Even Thomas was not capable of such a great healing spell. Nevertheless, the spell cost a great amount of magic power out of Suzanne.
"Desert in Lancel!" called out Suzanne, which was the group's code to indicate that Suzanne was out of magic.
It was a new battle now. Alice cast a spell to augment Suzanne's strength. Suzanne put the spell to use as she and Ron ran up to engage the Master Archfiend up close. Zoma's speed and reflexes were greatly reduced from what the group had just seen before the Sphere of Light. Suzanne easily slipped past Zoma's defenses and slashed at his midsection. She was surpised that, even with her augmented strength and the Sword of Kings, her sword met considerable resistance from both Zoma's seemingly cloth robe and its skin. Nevertheless, it was clear that she had done some damage as black smoke and liquid, presumably its blood, came forth from the wound.
Zoma began to reach for Suzanne. Ron slashed at one of Zoma's arms to stop his attack but his strength had not yet been augmented and so he had an even tougher time drawing blood. Zoma made no effort to avoid Ron's attack and shrugged it off as though it did not happen. It reached out with both its large hands and grabbed onto Suzanne, lifting her into the air. Suzanne struggled to get out of Zoma's hold. Ron continued to attack Zoma's arms and the Master Archfiend responded by inhaling sharply. Just before it could let out another horrific blast of ice a soft light covered the four heroes, conjured by Thomas. The spell came just in the nick of time as Zoma let out its freezing breath and, though still very dangerous, it had less effect than it had had the first time Zoma used it.
Zoma still had Suzanne within its grasp. It was trying to get a firm hold of both the top and bottom of her body so it could then twist her until her spine snapped. Alice recognized the danger and cast a spell to augment Ron's strength. Thomas cast a spell to heal the wounds of the whole group, giving Suzanne more strength to struggle against Zoma's grasp. With Alice's spell Ron was able to unleash an upwards slash that nearly severed one of Zoma's hands. Zoma reacted by throwing Suzanne against the nearest wall. Then Zoma released strange blue waves from its hands, the same blue waves that had come out of the darkness before. The group knew that the enhancements they had received from their spells were gone. Further, Suzanne and Ron could see the wounds they had inflicted already growing smaller. Zoma regenerated quickly from its wounds the same way so many of the group's foes had.
Alice cast a healing spell on Suzanne, restoring her to full strength. Thomas recast the spell which helped protect the four from Zoma's icy breath. Suzanne and Ron ran back towards the Master Archfiend to engage him up close. Now that neither of them had enhanced strength it did not bother as much with defending itself from them, instead depending on its tough robe and skin. It unleashed the blue waves from its hands, nullifying the spell Thomas had just recast, and then unleahsed another nightmarish blast of ice from its mouth.
Alice held up the Sage's Stone and Thomas cast a healing spell upon the group. The two efforts combined healed all the wounds the four had. Suzanne and Ron continued to put their swords into Zoma's flesh. Zoma unleashed yet another blast of ice and then sent Ron flying with a tremendous backhand. While Suzanne and Ron had managed to do some damage over the past few moments Zoma's self-healing had erased a good portion of their work.
Suzanne realized what Zoma's tactic was now. Zoma's regeneration was going to keep it alive unless the four could manage to do more damage to it. It would be content to allow Thomas and Alice to focus on healing and defense until they ran out of magic at which point it could finish the heroes off. The only way to break this cycle would be to have Alice enhance their strength. However, this would mean less defense and thus a higher chance Zoma could just kill them outright. Nevertheless, Suzanne knew it was a chance they would have to take.
"Alice!" called out Suzanne. "Troll!" That was the signal for her to focus on enhancing their offense.
Alice had been about to heal Ron. She was surprised to hear the order from Suzanne but her trust in their leader overwrote her action. Instead, she enhanced Suzanne's strength. Thomas cast another spell to heal some of the wounds of all four. Ron was still hurting but was able to get up and rush towards Zoma again. Suzanne patiently waited for Ron to return before making her move.
At the beginning of the fight Zoma would have been able to dispel the spell on Suzanne and attack them but his reflexes were too slow since the Sphere of Light had been drawn out. As soon as Ron reached the Archfiend Suzanne launched an attack as well. Zoma was no fool and focused on defending itself from Suzanne's attack but this left it open to Ron's attack. Ron had a clear shot at the creature's back and thus buried his blade as deep as he could get it. Even Zoma's tough skin could only stop so much and it would take some time for this wound to heal. Suzanne was able to deal a serious cut to the creature's arm as it tried to bat her sword away.
Zoma let out the blue waves from its hands again and filled the room with its frigid breath yet again. Ron was left in awful shape after this but another healing spell from Thomas revitalized the group. Alice recast her spell upon Suzanne as Suzanne and Ron continued to cut into Zoma's flesh.
"Drought in Dhama!" called out Alice.
"Drought in Luzami!" called out Thomas. This meant that both Thomas and Alice were running low on magic.
The situation was getting bad, Suzanne realized. Once Thomas and Alice were out of magic Zoma would have little trouble finishing off the group. The others seemed to realize this as well as she could begin to see the signs that they were losing hope in the fight. The journey to make it to the Master Archfiend and the fight itself were just too much for them.
Then Zoma changed its tactic. Instead of continuing to dispel the magic being cast on Suzanne it grabbed Ron and threw him directly to the ground. The Master Archfiend, with a savage grin on its face, continued the barrage of devastating ice. Ron was left near death at this point, unable to get back up. The situation had gotten even worse.
However, Suzanne came to a realization. Zoma's actions throughout the fight had been calm and calculated. It did not stray from a tactic as long as it was working. That it would suddenly switch now meant it did not think it would win if the battle continued its current course. She snuck a quick glance at Zoma. With Suzanne and Ron chipping away at it and Alice constantly re-enhancing Suzanne's strength they had done considerable damage to the Master Archfiend. Deep cuts, oozing black smoke and liquid, covered its body.
"It's weakening!" called out Suzanne. "We've almost won! Alice, the Stone! Tom, heal Ron!"
Suzanne's exclamation gave the other two new hope. The Sage's Stone was not as powerful as Thomas's healing magic but it would be enough for the three to survive another blast of ice. Thomas cast his most powerful healing spell on Ron. In Aliahan Castle Thomas had been unable to revive Ron due to Zoma's influence. However, his skill in the healing arts had progressed immensely since then. With no doubts in his mind Thomas was able to restore Ron to full strength.
Ron got to his feet. A quick glance around showed him the new resolve in his friends' faces. That resolve caught on to him and he rejoined the fray. Suzanne, still under the influence of Alice's spell since Zoma had not erased it this time, waited for Ron to flank the Master Archfiend. Zoma focused on trying to avoid Suzanne's attack but this left it open to Ron who was able to bury his blade into the creature's back, into the wound he had created earlier.
Zoma renewed its efforts to kill Suzanne. As it spewed ice around the room again it came at Suzanne intending to crush her into the ground. She avoided one of its fists and took the other. Had she not been wearing the Armor of Radiance she surely would not have been able to stand. The Armor protected her just enough that she was able keep fighting. Alice healed her wounds while Thomas healed the wounds of the whole group.
There was no doubt that the Master Archfiend was on its last legs now. It had counted on its attack taking Suzanne out and had left itself in terrible position to defend itself. Ron continued his assault on Zoma's back while Suzanne leapt up and nearly beheaded it. Zoma was left in desperation mode and seeing it struggle gave the others renewed strength. Its icy breath finally stopped as it was reduced to thrashing around, desperately trying to keep Suzanne's and Ron's blades from it.
Alice cast her spell on Ron to enhance his strength. Suzanne and Ron circled Zoma, taking relatively minor blows from its desperation attacks. Then they leapt up together and plunged their swords into Zoma. The tips of their blades met inside Zoma's body at its neck. Zoma ceased moving at this point, allowing the two to continue cutting into the Master Archfiend, ensuring its demise.
Then the four heard a voice talking. It took them a moment to realize it was Zoma speaking. It was no longer speaking into their minds but instead audibly.
"Suzanne! You have defeated me!" conceded Zoma. "But heed my words. So long as the brightness exists so does the darkness."
"Your darkness won't last for much longer!" taunted Ron as he cut into Zoma again.
"So short-sighted is your kind," replied the Master Archfiend. "I can clearly see the pieces in motion that will one day bring this land to ruin again. So obvious to me and yet you know nothing. This vision I do see. From darkness deep, one more will follow me."
"If that happens we'll beat that darkness back too!" called out Alice.
"I am afraid not," said Zoma. "There was a time long ago when I did not need to kill or torture your kind to find sustenance. Simply watching the years destroy your bodies was enough. How feeble you are. Even if nothing kills you you will still die. The four of you are no different. When the time of darkness does come again you too will have aged and died." Zoma let out a loud, mocking laugh. Its blood, the black liquid and smoke, came out of its mouth as it did so.
"Shut up!" shouted Ron as he destroyed Zoma's mouth with a sword slice. The Master Archfiend let out a mix of an anguished cry and a gurgle and then made no more sounds. With a few more cuts Zoma was reduced to nothing more than a puddle of black liquid and a small cloud of smoke. Then even that dissipated. Zoma had been destroyed.
"Is that it?" Ron asked, gasping for breath. "Is it dead? Did we win?"
"It could be some final trick," said Thomas.
"Alice, do you have any magic that can check for illusions?" asked Suzanne.
"I can try," Alice answered.
Alice hardly had the opportunity. She had hardly begun casting a spell when the room began to shake violently. All four were unable to stay on their feet. Giant pieces of stone began falling from the ceiling. Holes opened up in the ground.
"Could this be Zoma's final attack?" asked Ron.
"Alice! Get us out of here!" said Suzanne.
Again Alice was not given the chance to cast her magic. Before the heroes could get back to their feat a massive fissure opened up in the floor underneath them and they fell into the abyss below.