Gestalt:- Army of Light

End of Stories, part 1

On the return to Dreamkeep, the group seperated to their city lives. Keirna promoted a number of apprentices to Journeymen in their own right, Constance’s school finally lived down the the card game scandal, and Danara even managed to attend a lecture.

But something was wrong. Tekeral had not been seen for a long time, by anyone, and on investigating, they found his sword shackled to the base of his tower by strange black vines that seemed to simply absorb anything they could possibly throw at them. These swiftly spread to engulf more and more of the city and its inhabitants, with very few even being able to percieve them. The largest grouping had spread from Echo’s Asylum. Echo’s long absence was explained….

These vines seemed to be interfering with the natural functioning of the city. The perfect direction simply ceased to work, and in the Courts of the Exiled and Forgotten, people began remembering. It was only a matter of time before the city’s ability to keep its different perspectives and roles seperated was comprimised. But before this could occur, an order was issued for the arrest and execution of Maria – the daughter of Marius and the bearer of The Silver and Razor, one of the tiny handful who had survived in the world of the Tower.

And to make matters even worse, the order had come from an imposter claiming to be Tekeral. Despite Keirna’s assault on him, he could not be prevented from killing Maria. And as she died, the city’s gates opened to the infinite armies of Tower Forces outside the walls.

Unopposed, the Tower marched into the dying Dreamkeep.

With the last of its energy, the city opened one last mirror. But with Dreamkeep’s death, the stability of the mirror fractured, and they arrived long after the Tower’s ultimate victory, after even time itself ended.

Finding themselves in an impossible cloud of dust, the party flew above to see where they had ended up. Keirna reacted first to the impression of a broken city with a library extending out from it, framed by the broken and shattered Spire at the centre of great wheel. Enraged, Keirna flew into the ruin of the City of the Silver Wing, the heart of Maelrhyss.

Flying over the bodies of thousands of defenders to her once-home, Keirna found the pathetic bodies of a small group of kobolds huddled around the music box she had long ago made for them.

Meanwhile, the others entered the city at a rather slower pace, and found themselves witnesses to time lost fragments of the fall of the city. They heard orders given ,and bore witness the desperate actions of heroes. No sight of the attackers was gained.

Outside the ruined bridge to the Great Library, Keirna and the others regrouped – alongside the mountainous body of a dragon larger by far than anything that they could truly grasp. After a shocked pause, Keirna realised that it was the legendary draconic demigod Maelrhyss, the founder of the country bearing her name.

In the library itself, Danara entered the fitful portal to HEaven, finding it a monochrome plane of Ivory, perfect and endless. Outside, a hooded being approached the library, obviously out of time, but nevertheless with existence here.

Shouting with rage, Keirna attacked it. Despite the obvious wounds inflicted, it appeared to not take her seriously, although its mere touch robbed her of her most powerful spells. With a grunt of pain, it duplicated again and again, quickly matching the numbers of the heroes. IT was only when Danara summoned the Rellekhan God Guardian to empower their weapons that the group began to inflict any meaningful damage (God Guardian strategically hiding behind the tower).

In whatever timeline this creature actually existed in, it was assaulted by Korae and Keriath, who suceeded in briefly distracting it, but were quickly slain.

As the hooded youth walked into the tower, Keirna glanced upward, and highlighted against the stationary not-sun, was a brief impression of a humanoid owl. A Guardinal?

The hooded youth disappeared into a wall, ignoring Danara’s last attempts to stop him. Exiting again a moment later, he carried a bright shard in his hand – the Mythos Shard of the Saviour, containing the souls of Malachi and The Sunwyrm. Smiling grimly, the hooded youth absorbed the Shard, detonating a scythe of destruction that cut down everything in MAelrhyss.

Everything except the heroes, as in their timeless timeline, Keirna activated her defensive magics, surrounding the creature with self destructing furballs. This action earnt the heroes a brief look of annoyance, and the swift time locking and imprisioning of Keirna and Constance. Danara was only able to draw her last card, knowing that it could not possibly save them.

And it was not a card she knew. A mass of conflicted and unsettled destiny seethed across the card’s surface. As the hooded youth sprang towards Danara, easily destroying Hope-Lily and Zerato with barely a thought, she poured all the power of both of her the Rellekhan shards into the strange card.

And everything ceased. A strange sense of observation troubled the heroes, including the released Keirna and Constance.

They knew they had a choice to make. One alteration to the timeline….and it had to be enough to prevent this from ever coming to pass.

Looking back across their tasks, they reached out as one, and on Paradisio, Echo decided he could not trust the strange creature he spoke with, did not give him the vine of the soul tree.

And so the timeline unravelled. The heroes had seen the end of everything, and had seen the final evolution of the tower. They’d gained a second chance to stop the Perfect becoming the Sin of Hope.

Defiled Ivory, Part 2

The mekillot made its incredibly slow way in Bodach. Eventually, it reached a very well ordered market place, overseen by thousands of clone soldiers. As the group tried to sneak out of their cover under the mekillot’s saddle, the crew inside struck – revealing themselves as powerful members of the Veiled Alliance, they flew towards the painfully stretched and emaciated figure on a balcony observing everything.

Very few even got close. And those that did, that met the gaze of the figure, sagged to the ground and stared around in confusion, seeming lost. They were quickly overcome and dragged away.

Even stranger, the native Athasians collapsed during the attack, sharp pains filling them. Even Danara was effected, as where the hundreds of thousands of Kreen surrounding the city. Shortly after this, three bright lights were seen streaking across the sky.

Taking advantage or the confusion, the group managed to sneak up to the balcony Doubt had been occupying, and inflitrated his palace. Passing a number of the beaten and abused girls they’d seen at the gate, the group reached a large chamber. In the centre, Doubt was talking to a monsterous insect – The Sin of Consumption. He turned as they tried to sneak past, and nearly obliterated Keirna’s self will before Constance bravely intervened. Even an Eladrin Paladin quailled before the revealed power of a Sin, but Doubt had other plans than to obliterate them all personally.

Leaving, he removed the floor and let his test subject engage them. To Danara’s consternation, this was swiftly revealed to be her father Brandis. Despite all of their best efforts, none of the group could get through to the Mul – Keirna even tried reading his thoughts, only to find the Tower.

Just as they decided to get serious – that he must be a clone – Brandis channelled a spell Danara had never heard him speak of. As the air around them filled with hideous energy, everyone dived into the clear space around Brandis, who was all too happy to engage them in melee. This proved costly for him, as Constance stepped inside his guard and carved into him. As he staggered back, Keirna dived out of the roiling energy and cut through him with a single blow from Compensation.

As the energy cleared, the room was revealed – rows of coffin objects, each containing a growing clone of Brandis. After attempting to burn them, Keirna grew frustrated and cut the wires leading into each tube. This forced the unstable Brandis compounds out, and as they amalgamated, the group wisely hid from the Brandis Ooze. Finding that it had solified blocking the only passage out, they blew up a wall into a control centre. The Overseers inside proved barely a distraction before they looked around, saw a deeply suspicious vault, and blew a hole through the wall to get to that as well.

After clearing the traps here, they opened the door…and found Nothingness. Danara jumped through it anyway, and was apparently obliterated. After a time, Constance followed. Keirna decided against it, and waited outside, gradually more and more worried as the entire palace seemed to be shaking.

Inside the Nothing, Danara had found the true Brandis sitting alone in a dark sphere. Attempting to get through to him seemed to have little effect, and the sphere only got more cramped as equipment was thrown into it, followed by an armoured paladin.

Neither Constance nor Danara could find any exit, but strangely enough, Constance’s cat seemed quite capable of exiting and entering at will. They began using him to deliever messages to Keirna, informing her of what was going on.

Meanwhile, Keirna had rummaged through her pockets, and found the Caltrop. Not really sure why, she decided to throw it into the Nothing. Inside, it began swiftly growing – eventually it pierced the door and Keirna dragged it out. Throwing it back in again, it was noted that it pushed back the sides of the sphere surrounding Brandis, and was getting hot. Eventually, it ceased expanding the sphere, but cracks were appearing around its points.

Danara managed to get briefly through to Brandis, but it was minor at best. Still, it was enough to get the barbarian to throw Danara out of the sphere, something Brandis felt he would have no problem doing.

Thinking fast, Keirna realised that it was Brandis’ doubt keeping him imprisoned, and the cat could enter and leave because it was feline, and therefore simply incapable of doubting itself.

With this in mind, they re-entered and tried to persuade Brandis to stop doubting himself. Unfortunately, with some very poorly chosen words, he decided to end things. Taking up a shard of Ashkandi, he slammed it through his own skull.

Ironically, this dropped the sphere of doubt. Dragging the slowly healing Mul with them, the group ran for it through a steadly shaking and collapsing palace. Heading up some stairs towards sunlight streaming in through a breached Tower, they observed an immense, hundred armed monster fighting Doubt and his armies. Leaving the Hekatonkhire to its fight, the group ran into the desert, where they found a convinient hermit psionic master to heal Brandis…and then Dreamkeep dragged them back.

Defiled Ivory, Part 1

After heavy preperations (largely consisting of filling bags of holding with proper food, water, and metal), the group dived through the mirror to Athas hoping to save Danara’s father, Brandis.

They found themselves in a crowded street, pounded by the relentless sun. After checking to see if there appeared to be an anti-flight strictures, Echo took to the air to try and get a better understanding of the land. Unfortunately, this drew rather a lot of attention, and soon several robed, uniformed men approached, and via hand signals (in seemed the Celestial ability to understand languages did not function) communicated that Echo, Danara, and Constance were to follow them.

Keirna and Vara’zs managed to avoid notice and followed after, into a huge palace with iron doors at the heart of the city. Here, they were given audience with the Sorceror King Rikon. Echo told him they were looking for Brandis, was told that he was a myth, and then did a sterling impression of a crazy person.

This did not prevent Rikon ordering them imprisioned. Echo slipped away from the guards by virtue of shrinking drastically, but then got lost in the immense buildng – finding his way to first the harem baths (baths! On Athas!) and then the armory.

Meanwhile, Keirna and Vara’zs followed Danara and Constance’s captors. The two prisoners were placed in a room with arcane runes hidden under the tiles of the floor. Both were easily able to resist the life draining effects of the room. After some time, Keirna managed to break through the door (after it resisted two guards, several kicks, having the hinges removed and being shot by the Railgun That Broke The Will of Hextor, she realised she should remove the magical protections).

Rejoined by Echo, they decided not the fight their way through the Templars massing at the top of the stairs, and instead ran the other way, past more prison rooms. Eventually finding a trapdoor in the ceiling, they progressed to a spherical, golden room with more runes on the floor – and an Obsidian Egg in the centre that drained heat into itself.

Keirna quickly shot it with the Railgun, causing it to explode.

After a brief magical translocation, they escaped through an ancient, sealed off arena, bribed a young girl with enough gold to buy significant parts of the city, got mugged by half of the people within ten miles, and heavily overpaid in order to get a minor psionic ritual.

They then found a bard who told them tales of Brandis, and said that he was likely to be in the North, past Urik or Draj. He also made the sign of the Veiled Alliance, to which Danara responded. Deciding to go north, Danara advised everone to negotiate with the elves – a decision which proved rather difficult, as the elder elf woman in charge recognised them as non-native, and therefore tried to extort vast sums of metal from them. This was eventually sidestepped by offering her parts of the Obsidian Egg.

While on the trip north, toll stations were noted on the road. These were manned by Tower clones.

In Uruk, the celestials found themselves compelled to aid a group of slaves up for auction – buying 56 of them was not enough for Echo, who attempted to negotiate for all of the slaves for several months. Unfortunately, on being asked to prove what house he was from, he made up a house mark and tried to persuade someone that it was from a well known Tyrian house. This swiftly required subterfuge on the behalf of the others. Uruk was left rather quickly.

After nearly a month’s travel to the north, the group came upon signs of prolonged and heavy battle – mountains of dead Thri-kreen, their carapace dry in the sun. The area radiated a strong aura of doubt – strong enough to afflict both Keirna and Echo. Although Keirna was able to shrug it off by embracing the personality of her Mythos Shard, Echo had no such defence and needed clerical help.

They soon determined this was the effect of the Sin of Doubt – and that the White Towers the bard had told them about in Bodach almost certainly refered to the Tower. REsolving to travel back south, they eventually reached the city (after being pestered by hundreds of immensely dangerous creatures) and found it surrounded by a miles deep phalanx of perfectly still Kreen warriors. On a well maintained road, merchants travelled through this daunting living wall to the city proper – here, there was no wall…but there was a gate. Before this, Tower arbiters inspected the papers of the merchants, aided by a number of clone soldiers and (oddly) two very beaten looking women.

The group spied a Mekillot coming, and hid across the vast bulk of the elemental drake as it entered the city….

Return of the Light

It was quickly decided that extracting the Celestial Host from the trap in Hell was of utmost importance. So the group entered the mirror showing Hextor’s throne room.

Aided by a rather foolish priest of Hextor, the party were guided to Pistis Sophia’s prison. Here, they found Briarius, who offered them a deal. He would open the door for them – a door he believed none of them had the means to open – and in return, Danara would release his brothers from the Sealed Triumvirate.

Eventually, Danara agreed, assuming that there were only two Hekatonkhire imprisioned. This was not the case, as nearly a hundred manifested around him, making the infinite realm of chains seem crowded.

Briarius kept his word, and opened the door. By casting a simple spell. He, and the Hekatonkhire disappeared (after various attempts by the group to enlist his aid against the Tower had been met with incomphrension).

The group burst into Sophia’s prison and rescued her suprisingly easily. Carrying her back towards the exit, they met Raziel, who was barely concious (obviously kept going only by pride). Keirna transformed into her draconic form, carried Sophia and requested that Raziel guard his sister by sitting on her back. This appeased his angelic pride (otherwise he’d likely have flown himself to death).

Outside, the Celestial Host was finally under attack by the denizens of hell that had been tormenting them. Lacking any other options, they were being slaughtered in their thousands. Diving towards them, the group used their scrolls of transference to attempt to get the Celestials into areas they could access their powers. This backfired slightly, as two of them ended up in a mortal city – along with vast parts of the army of heaven, but more importantly, huge numbers of the forces of hell.

Worse, when the transference ended, all of the mortals in the area were pulled back with the angels and devils.

However, all was not lost, as Keirna (perhaps due to some ancient pact with MAelrhyss) had been returned to her home. Spreading the word swiftly across the City of the Silver Wing, when she returned, she brought with her several regiments of Skyguard and nearly a hundred dragons. Not enough in themselves to seriously impact the forces of hell, the Maelrhyssians were able to cover the retreat sufficently that the forces of heaven could retreat from Cania -and even allowed for enough order that most of the mortals could be kept alive in the subarctic temperatures.

Retreating through the portal, the fleeing angels ran into the welcome arms of the fortified Eladrin courts under Seshiel. Able to rest and recuperate (to a degree), the Celestial Host slowly retreats across hell- seldom challenged, as the Fourth layer is erupting in a civil war between Hextor’s forces and those still loyal to Fierna. More of a challenge awaits on the second, but by this point, the armies are well organised again and can cut their way back to Avernus, reuinte with the half of the host left to hold that layer…and freedom.

Tunnels of the Dead

The group travelled through the mirror to Faerun, where the Underdark was being overrun by Undead created by Briarus’ staff. They eventually managed to navigate the tunnels to Menzoberranzan, where Aeyliss and Yurt were defending Arach-Tinilith from the endless hordes of the dead.

Despite their stealth – and a number of Cunning Plans – used to reach Menzoberanzan swiftly and silently, the group decided to pick a fight with the vast army besieging the Drow fortress. It quickly became clear that while they vastly outmatched any of the entities that made up the shambling horde, the numbers would eventually overwhelm them. Especially as more and more undead Beholders were rising up out of the ranks. Adopting the better part of valour, they ran for the fortress, and managed to avoid being slaughtered.

Here Aeyliss told them that the undead had been dealable with, but recently had begun adopting strategy – she felt they were beign controlled, and while little could be done to lay the entire horde to rest, perhaps killing this controller would allow some fragment of a chance.

The group used Aeyliss’ long neglected House Insignia to teleport to Ched Nased, another (long abandoned) Drow city, and descended far, far beneath it. Here, they found an ancient tomb city. Carefully negotiating its trapped entrances, they encountered a robed figure – a lich, they thought – in conversation with a Lord of the Tower. Attacking it, they discovered that it was not, in fact, a Lich – but something far worse. It was three Demi-Liches acting in concert.

Despite being outmatched, the group managed to triumph (mostly by tricking the Lich into detonating several high level spells on its own position). At this point, they looked around, and saw tens of others shambling around the pillars flanking them. As they readied their weapons for a futile death, the leader the Demi Lich conclave stepped forward, and offered them a chance. They were no more happy with their dead comrade interacting with the outside world than the living were, and so in recompense, they would allow the group to leave – as long as the group was willing to have their memories of the Lich Conclave wiped.

This was accepted, and the group found themselves teleported to the ruins of Waterdeep, and from there, swiftly returned to Dreamkeep.

Awakened Dreams

Awakening from Devastation’s assault, the group found themselves on cobbled streets. An odd man introduced himself as Tekeral, and told them they were in ‘Dreamkeep’. He seemed confused that they were not aware of their roles – apparently everyone summoned into the city should be. He was rather abrupt, warning them that they shouldn’t take anything at face value in the city – a slave could be a demigod. He then disappeared.

Exploring, they found the city possessed of many strangenesses, but that it was largely quite cooperative – it was nearly impossible to get lost, for example. Flight Licenses were acquired, and a guard questioned – he felt that probably the best people to ask about odd summonings were either the university or the fae – the fae being the only people capable of entering and leaving under their own power. While Danara split her time between attending school and trying to get into the Fae Gardens, Keirna set up an Artificery and Echo set up a clinic.

The only interuption to this suprisingly peaceful time was the occasional silent alarm, when all the Powers inhabiting the city would fly to the far East wall and engage in battle. Joining them once, the group observed that the attackers were very obviously part of the Tower, although with warriors and weapons far greater than that deployed so far in their world.

During one of these attacks, the group tried to join in, but were forced back by the city – only to find the south gate being assaulted by Tezzerich. The Sin of Time was shocked when Dreamkeep intervened in the fight, shunting the group into the same fast time as Tezzerich. He responded by sending temporal clones of himself backwards into time, although obviously with little effect – although one sent back to assault Brandis did suceed in denting Ashkandi slightly. He seemed rather offput by his inability to write them out of time, and this doubt strongly affected his ability to fight – leading to his eventual, and suprising defeat.

The city gave no time to rest, however, as everyone was instantly returned to Hextor’s domain, where they faced the brunt of Devestation’s attack – before them, Hope and Zerato revealed briefly absorbed the impossible power of the Sin’s punch, leaving them heavily wounded, but alive – and still occupying Tezzerich’s enhanced time stream. While Devastation glacially prepared for a second punch, they attacked with all the power at their disposal. Despite Echo calling upon the will of heaven to override Devastation’s thoughts – making him scratch an itch – it obviously wouldn’t be enough. And so Danara called forth the Sword of Heaven, giving it to Constance. The power of this weapon very nearly killed Danara, but proved just enough to defeat Devastation….upon which, Dreamkeep drew them back.

To a room ringed with Dreamkeep’s Mirrors

The Cost of Rage, Part 2

The group entered into Fiernas palace, and made a safe camp to rest from their battles across Phlegethos. Waking in the morning, they found Lyrus gone, and the large Mythos Shard with him.

Exploring Fierna’s palace, a number of fiendish strongpoints were found and avoided, but eventually they managed to naviagate the massive, opulant structure to find the gate chamber. To the suprise of all, it was occupied by the surviving Eladrin of Raziel’s army. Led by Seshiel, they had removed themselves from the impossible situation Raziel had placed himself in on Cania.

Joined by the Eladrin Constance, they resolved to follow their orders and get the Triumvirate to Raziel. Heading to the frigid Cania, where it was immidiately obvious the Celestial Host was pinned down and broken – thousands of devils swarmed the air, but seemed content to leave the Celestials to freeze. In the distance, an immense chain covered Siege Hand slowly crawled away – HExtor’s domain.

Entering the Celestial Camp, the group did what they could to speed the healing, but quickly headed towards the hand. Scouting it quickly, it became obvious that any form of assault was foolish at best – Kyton stood hundreds deep around the edges. There were a number of postern gates leading into the hand itself, but these were sealed shut, and Constance informed the group that the chains themselves were quite capable of defending the hand. At the front, however, the gates inside had been melted through. The only problem with using them was the army of Kytons and their Pit Fiend overseers.

Lacking anyone specialised in subterfuge, they did their best. Keirna summoned Zariel’s armour, and used the evil aura to pretend to be an emissary from Asmodeus. Echo disguised himself as an undead minion, while Danara and Constance mimed captivity. Landing, Keirna attmepted to browbeat the Pit Fiend Captain into giving them entry.

This he did, although in retrospect, it was quite obvious that he wasn’t fooled in the slightest.

Inside the gates, and infinity of immense chains waited, all leading to an imposing citadel. Below them, on another chain ,was the evidence of Raziel’s assault – a broken path of devils and the occasional angel. Following theirs into the citadel, the group found themselves in a throne room (one of, it turns out, a lot that Hextor maintains). Chained to the floor was the Half elf that Briarius had been fighting – Korae, while the heads of several of the Lords of Hell dangled from the ceiling.

After a time spent gloating, Hextor unleased the reformed Korkoran (Slain by Brandis at the battle of Light’s Hope) and forced Korae to attack the group. Korkoran fell easily to the party, but Korae was a rather more daunting proposition. Despite her obvious efforts to make herself miss and pull blows, the sheer power difference between her and the celestials was immense.

That changed when Echo cast Heart’s Ease on her, briefly weakening Hextor’s hold on her. Taking advantage of this, Danara spoke movingly of the power of friendship to overcome, and the others offered their support.

Still, while Korae was putting up a heroic effort, this itself would never be enough. Keirna, pitting the inventiveness of mortals against the pure, manfested will of a greater god, fired her railgun into the chain around Korae’s neck.

No mortal force should be able to dent that chain. It was forged from the iron will of the Lord of Tyranny. Those chains had resisted god like power. But against one critical mortal shot…the will of a god failed. The chain gave. It did not break, but a link snapped.

And from that, Korae was released enough to fight back against the forces compelling her. The group was able to find her controllers hiding behind the walls, and with their will compelled by Echo’s power, undefended they were easy prey. Freed from physical control, fighting the will of her divine father, Korae was unfettered, but exhausted. Having done all they could for her, the group pressed on towards Raziel.

They found him and his few remaining bodyguards engaged in a battle with Hextor’s guard. The Lord of Tyranny sat on another throne, while ahead of him stood the flaming man last seen in Dis, and another, deliberately calm man next to him. The Sins of Devastation and Wrath.

Despite Echo’s comment that they were flies with no chance, despite all trepidations, the party lept into the fray. The Triumvirate close for Raziel to draw on its power, the Fist of Heaven called forth the sword. Even sheathed, its power was nearly enough to blast Keirna out of existence. The pit fiends were not so lucky.

The Sins stepped foward. Devastation into combat with Raziel, and Wrath to the party, where he simply talked. He informed them he was required to offer them the chance to join, although he would prefer they did not. As they duly refused, he faded back to his original position by the throne…in time to see Devastation punch through Raziel.

The shockwave of that one punch blasted across the room, scything down the group, casting them broken to the chain floor of Hextor’s fortress.

Interlude:- Wrath, Tyrant.

At the foot of the iron throne, Korae whimpered as her chains dragged her to the floor. Again. Apparently, her father wanted her out of the way….Again.

She pushed her head up against the unyielding chain, barely getting a glimpse of the bizarrely mishappen and smouldering claws of her father’s guest. It was enough. The Sin of Wrath. She could feel the floor heating from his presence, and hoped it wasn’t likely to be long this time.

“Lord Hextor. I have done your..request. Every lord of hell save only Asmodeus and Fierna have been destroyed or deposed.”

The Lord of Tyrants spoke – contrary to mortal expectation, his voice was calm, collected. Certainly contrary to the half restrained barking shout of Wrath. “Asmodeus…yes, we agreed that he would be simply contained. But I am suprised that your power was balked by an incestuous whore”.

The floor blazed. She could feel it melting from tens of metres away. “Ah…it was not. She has been removed. Phlegethos is hardly able to stand against you now even without her”.

Hextor stood, armour clanking dully against the throne work, chains pattering in an orderly counterpoint. Barely a second to spare, Korae grabbed the chains around her throat as Hextor gestured, raising his trophies, herself amongst them. Heads – Dispater, Mephisopheles, Levistus – slowly dripped their ichor onto the floor.

And the lord of Tyrants smiled. "Well. It is done acceptably. The Shadow Angel once rallied us to fight against you. He failed. And you have shown me your world. "

He paused, watched his daughter’s struggle to breathe for a long minute. “So many failures. But your world? Your world…I approve of. Your world, I could support. You have done as I asked, proven your power.”

Wrath hissed – his equivilant of a laugh, from what the struggling Infernal-elf could tell – “So you will forge hell into our weapon? You will march with us? You will impose our order?”

Hextor finally looked down at the Sin of Wrath. The floor cooled, and despite all the Wrath was, something in him was matched by the Lord of Tyrants. “Your order? Do not judge me by the mewling lords of hell. I have not weakened. I am tyranny. Your realm will feed me far more than this. I will march with you. And I will oppose a proper order. Yours? No. Mine. Always mine. Consider your Tower blessed that your order and mine are…aligned.”.

The Sin of Wrath drew himself up, fire rising..and then supressed. “…As you say. Ah. Incidentally, one final gift. The Celestial Host…we have lured it here. We have lured the brother of your little toy to you.”

The Cost of Rage, Part 1

After reading Ramzazael’s notes on the Sealed Triumvirate, Danara terrifiedly confided in Keirna. They both decided to keep this information from the other celestials, due to Raziel’s ability to command Celestial obeidience. Besides, they had a more current concern – how to remove the power of the third piece while not dooming the good souls present to a return to their tortured existence in hell. Eventually, Keirna, Danara, and Lyrus bound them into the Sealed Triumvirate itself, preserving them and the Celestial City (as well as all of its precious, precious cabbage fields.

This collapsed the shield, allowing them to leave – After something of an argument, they returned to Avernus again to check in with Borael (and to gain time to think). After Lyrus and Echo continually tried to pry whatever Danara was hiding from her – including direct attempts at mind control from the erratic bard – they went before the Throne Archon and asked his advice. He read Danara’s mind, saw her worry and advised her to trust her companions.

This eventually she did, revealing under incredibly magical protections what exactly was bound in the Sealed Triumvirate. Not only were the weapons of heaven bound within, but also an unknown number of Hekatonkhire – Briarius’ brothers – and perhaps worse still, the ‘Angels of Genocide’.

Lacking real options, they eventually descended through hell again, finding themselves in Phlegethos – a layer of burning ash, magma and scoured rock. At a small encampment left behind to secure the gate, they were informed of the difficulties all Celestials had with connecting to heaven this far down in hell, and were each given a scroll allowing them to overlay hell with the Prime Material – and advised that once used, they could not be replaced. Worse, they were informed that hell had unleashed incredibly powerful creatures to cut Raziel’s supply lines, and if they wanted to join the front, they should be careful.

They decided that the best way to do this was for Keirna to take on her dragon form and fly. Unsuprisingly, this attracted quite a lot of attention – including Duchess Hadriel and her pet creature, a seven headed monstrousity frequently refered to in apocalyptic texts. Attempting to fight it in hell proved swiftly futile as it simply ignored the best of the group’s attacks, so Keirna used Lyrus’ scroll to overlay them onto a Prime world – specifically, several miles up and falling.

After a brief worry, it was realised that the overlay would expire long before they’d hit the ground ,and more pertinantly, the Herald had no way of flying. Even with this disadvantage, it put up a significant fight, tearing into the party with a variety of terrifying breath attacks – and physically into Lyrus, who insisted on moving up to the creature. Eventually, it was dispatched, although not before Echo was nearly obliterated and saved only by the power of Danara’s friendship – and not before Tezzerich made another of his warned appearances. This was less than effective, as all it seemed to do was delay Lyrus’ ability to teleport and make him slightly older.

As the overlay ended, the beast smashed into the fractured landscape of Phlegethos, and was duly looted. Everyone continued, once again flying. In response to the attention this engendered, Lyrus turned into an imp, was swatted by the unthinking reflex of Keirna…who in turn was hit by Lyrus’ contingencies. Despite this altercation not adding any extra attention to them, everyone swiftly decided to be stealthy – especially Echo, who had by now somehow perfected his ability to pretend to be a cloud.

Arriving at Fierna’s – the lord of the layer – palace, they found it shattered and broken by Raziel’s army. However, at the gate, they were met by a strangely attractive doll girl. Danara recognised her from her father’s stories, and Lyrus was able to tell everyone that this was the Sin of Lust, Tori – a traitorous lord of the Tower who had helped the heroes that killed Malachii, and had been given a new body in return. She accidentally tried to mind control him, but it was weak and half hearted, so he easily shrugged off the compulsion.

She warned them that her brothers Wrath and Devastation were active in hell, and that she’d had to rescue Fierna from Raziel for an unspecified reason. She also warned them that she’d figured out how to return all the Mythos Shards to reality….and gave them a gift – a Shard at least three times the size of any they had encountered so far. Looking into this shards, the only story that could be seen was that of an entire universe, expanded, growing, flaring into life and..then being gradually consumed by nothing. The only sense from overriding, slow rage.


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