One of Mammon’s emissaries appeared around this time, possessed by the spirit of Mammon to plead with the party to not go through with this half-cocked plan of theirs. Hadn’t Mammon been good to them, really? Hadn’t he kept up his end of all of his bargains, even giving Raziel a free sword that he didn’t need to give him? Only to have the gifts destroyed, only to have himself hurt over and over by the very man to whom he had given life? The party was unswayed by such arguments, so Mammon dropped his biggest bombshell: the child who had been sacrificed by Raziel’s mother to Mammon had, in fact, had his very soul taken by Mammon and placed directly into Raziel’s mother herself to create Raziel. In other words, there was no lost soul trapped in Hell after the deal, because Mammon had given it a new life, which he felt meant Raziel owed him a little freakin’ appreciation. Raziel let the news slide right over him, and bid the Devil Lord leave, which he did.
There was still plenty of fight left in the party, so they immediately packed their bags (figuratively; they actually didn’t have any bags, or spare clothes, or field rations, really) and hopped on their airship to visit South Mexico and find the Scimitar of Greed, a sacred artifact that was given to the locals many years ago by their God of Gold. Cheryl believed that this God of Gold was actually Mammon, and that the Scimitar of Greed contained some of his power. By destroying the Scimitar, the party hoped to drain enough of Mammon’s power to give Mammon’s rival the edge he would need to take Mammon out.
They contacted Mammon’s rival through Divination; or, rather, they tried, and Mammon’s rival blocked their call, *69’ed them, and called them back on his terms. He was a diviner of some great strength, and he always knew when he was being spied upon. He agreed to sign the contract that the party had gotten from the Judge’s judge if they would help him take over Lawful Hell from Mammon.
Satisfied that their plan would probably work, they arrived in Mexico and started searching for the local religious authority. They found an old church, where they were ambushed by a group of believers and their head priest, Milton Javier. After fairly easily murdering the whole lot of them, the party stuffed the corpses into a closet, took the head priest’s clothes so that Artemis could disguise himself, and read all of his books. They learned that the Scimitar of Greed had been sealed in a nearby pyramid a long time ago, so they stepped outside, looked around a little while until they saw the pyramid, and headed on over.
They were stopped and nearly assaulted by Condora, but were able to convey the truth of the situation to her and convince her to join them. It wasn’t really a particularly long scene, and I almost forgot to even include it, but it is pretty important.
The outside was guarded, but Artemis, in disguise as Milton, said that he had business he needed to attend to inside. Once inside, the party had to fight and think their way through several floors of traps and ancient sealed monsters and demons. The details aren’t super important, because none of them are coming back again later. There was one guy who was super invincible against everything, so the party had to find a way around him, and one room where the floor collapsed as they walked on it, so they flew across it, and one room with big mind-possessing monsters where they just closed the door and launched magic through the door at the room where the monsters were until the monsters were dead. So it was all very exciting and interesting at the time, but to go over it again now would be very self-indulgent and not particularly thrilling.
As they explored the pyramid, they found large engraved murals depicting the history of the pyramid. The people of the region had been very poor, until a stranger from another world had struck with them a deal. The people had practiced ritual sacrifices, killing chosen members of their society to please the gods, and one had finally been pleased enough to appear before them. He gave to them a magical golden scimitar, which, if used as the tool of their sacrifices, would transform the offering’s body into valuable gems.
The people used the scimitar for years, butchering members of their society for the sake of wealth. The stranger who had given them the scimitar was the God of Gold to them, for he had given the people a valuable tool for trading with other areas, and gold poured into their city. The God himself asked only for some of that gold to go to him, as the one who had made it possible, and the people were glad to give it to him.
Although at first there were fears that the people would run out of citizens to sacrifice, the real problem came in the form of basic economics: supply and demand did their thing, and the gems slowly lost their value. By this time, the city was one of the wealthiest in the nation, and the people never forgot their God of Gold. They enshrined the scimitar where they hoped it would not be used again.
Eventually, the party reached the lowest level, where they found a pedestal that was used to open the door to the final stretch of the pyramid. Touching the pedestal caused a booming voice to echo through the chamber, saying that the intruders would be destroyed. The party immediately recognized the voice as belonging to Mammon, as the pedestal was rigged to alert him personally if his pyramid were disturbed.
When Mammon realized who it was that had actually invaded his pyramid, he found the whole thing hilarious. He had made a contract to never directly harm Michael Arclight or his descendant Raziel, it was true, but centuries before that, he had made a contract that he would defend this pyramid from intruders. The older contract had precedent, and he had the legal right to send his full might after Raziel and the rest of the party. The chamber immediately began to fill with Devils, but Cheryl was prepared: she cast a Forbiddance spell over the entire area, which would prevent further Devils from being summoned there from Hell.
The party dealt with the immediate threat, and found the Scimitar of Greed. Cheryl’s Forbiddance spell meant that they had to climb their way back up, and when they reached the pyramid’s exit, they found a large group of Devils waiting outside for them. The party readied themselves for a fight, but, as it turned out, these Devils were working for Mammon’s rival. They had been sent there when Mammon started to send his own Devils to the pyramid to stop the party, and were defending it from Mammon’s forces so that the party would have a chance to flee. The party took their opportunity without questioning it further.
Back at [[Vardiss | Vardiss’s]] manor, a black carriage waited for them. Suspecting it was Mammon again, the party cautiously entered, and found Beelzebub waiting for them inside instead of Mammon. She was sitting at the dining table, single-handedly working her way through Thomas and Balmorn’s entire food stores. She said that she was there entirely on her own volition, and that she wanted to make a deal with the party. She would not oppose them any more, or try to stop them in their quest, but on the condition that they allow her to stay in the mortal realm after the barriers between planes were strengthened. The party had a quick meeting, and agreed that they were alright with the plan to live and let live. She also flirted with Donavin, who decided later that he was alright with that.
After she left, Thomas and Balmorn told the party that they did, actually, know how to destroy the Scimitar of Greed. Time had rendered the crystals that the scimitar could create (which were quartz) nearly worthless, so there wasn’t much reason to keep it, anyway. Most civilizations had unlocked the secret of melting sand already.
The Scimitar had the power to transform a living being into quartz, but also the power to transform gold to lead. The only way to destroy the Scimitar was to use it to destroy more than 500 pounds of gold in a single swing by destroying one mass of gold.
(As it turns out, gold is incredibly dense. A block of gold weighing 500 pounds, condensed down, is a cube of less then nine inches per side. A typical 155-pound human has a volume of about 66.4 L, or 0.0664 cubic meters. A block of gold of the same volume would weigh approximately 2,830 pounds, or about 18 times as much as that same human.)
Although the party started thinking of ways to get that money together, Balmorn kept nervously glancing towards the corner of the room. The party realized that Balmorn was looking at the statue they had kept of Ivillios the Gold, the Elven lich who had inadvertently ended his life when he coated himself in molten gold. Ivillios’s phylactery, which he had given to Mammon for safekeeping, had pulled his soul into Mammon’s Hell, where he had been forced to stay, rendering the statue an inert hunk of gold covering a very old, very badly burned skeleton.
The party realized what was up, and Raziel, or maybe it was Artemis, I don’t really remember, but I think it was Raziel, took the Scimitar of Greed in hand and swung it into the statue. As he swung, he noticed a strange pendant around the statue’s neck that he had not seen there before. The statue began to transform into lead starting from the point of the blade’s impact, and one arm on the statue slowly began to bend upwards. The fingers flexed and closed, and the thumb lifted to point upwards. The statue eventually became a massive hunk of lead, now in the shape of an elf giving the party a cheerful thumbs-up. A mere moment later, the statue, the scimitar, and the pendant all collapsed into a dusty pile of bones and chunks of lead. Thankfully, the dust was all from the bones, and nobody in the group inhaled a lungful of lead. Only a lungful of dead elf, which, while probably grosser, has fewer long-term health consequences.
The party stayed the night at Vardiss’s manor, and the next morning brought several surprises. Mammon’s rival, now undeniably Ivillios instead of almost certainly having been Ivillios, had taken over Hell from Mammon, and he was wasting no time in paying back the favors he owed the party, as well as Thomas and Balmorn. At breakfast, Balmorn was excitedly devouring a platter of sandwiches, which he ecstatically said had been cooked by Mammon’s personal chef, who was staying at the manor for several weeks to teach his maid, Alexis, some cooking techniques. He offered some to the party, but they declined, deciding that they did not want to become hopelessly addicted to ultimate sandwiches that had been made by a demon in his kitchen of pain.
Thomas was a bit less excited. He showed the party that a delivery had been made for them, and was waiting for them in the mansion’s front hall. The delivery was a man in a rumpled white business suit, bound hand and foot, with a bag over his head that had a note pinned to it. Raziel knew right away who this was, and moved to kill him, but Cheryl stopped him. They took the note and read it. It was from Ivillios, saying that he appreciated what they had done for him, and he was giving them a gift as well as holding up his end of the bargain. A second page of the note was the contract, signed by Ivillios, saying that he would go along with the aligned afterlife planes being sealed by the Judge.
Raziel removed the bag from the man’s head, revealing to no one’s surprise that it was Mammon. He had had all of his divinity drained from him, reducing him for the second time to the status of a normal middle-aged human. He didn’t put up any fight, and seemed resolved to the fact that the tiefling in front of him was going to kill him. He was spared on Cheryl’s insistence, though he was also inflicted with a Geis: he would have to atone for his sins, and become Good. The party even went so far as to find him gainful employment under Elroar Shipsail as an accountant working for the city guard. Mammon grumbled and complained, but he took the job anyway.
With Mammon deposed and two of their three contracts now signed, the party had only to convince the Lawful Good Lord to sign the third before their mission would be completed.