After a brief respite in Avernus, it was decided to follow the trace of power from the Triumvirate, rather than simply chase after Raziel. Quite apart from anything else, there was a growing reluctance to actually give the thing to the Fist of Heaven – especially with his increasingly rash actions.
So, following an active portal into Minaros, the party descended deeper into hell. While the Endless Bog was certainly physically challenging to them, the celestials did not find the need to continually fly particularly difficult. After a few days of flight, a raft of rotted matter was spotted – and a Gate with a village around it. Or, it was a village. The devils and lost souls within had been slaughtered by Raziel’s forces. As the trail of the Triumvirate’s power did not point further into hell, they left behind the destruction and flew on across the layer.
Passing a number of pillars, they learnt the origin of the immense siege-hand on Dis – More of them were being grown from rusted iron, the substance of the marsh, and corrupted Maelrhyssian technology.
Eventually, an incongrous White wall was spotted, holding back the marsh. Flying over it, the celestials each felt a slight resistance, but this barely occupied their thoughts – inside the wall were orderly fields, tilled by seemingly happy souls. And in the distance…a heavenly city.
The Deva guarding the gate was surpised to see them, and overjoyed to hear that Raziel had survived the wars in heaven. He was saddened to find that his own Paragon, Barachiel, had been slain. He did not allow the group into they city, stating that he had to report to his superiors. He did offer them lodgings, and sent them to a nearby inn. Here, they were given delicious cabbage meals and ale – including Joyful Bunny, a non-alchoholic cabbage beer for children. After the night ,even the suspicious Lyrus was convinced that these souls were indeed happy, and had apparently been rescued from torture in the hells.
The next day, they were invited into the city itself, were they met its leaders – the Lord Ramzazael and the Lady Seras (a Throne Archon and Sword Archon). Ramzazael greeted them, and told them that until he was sure that hell had no influence on them, there would be a few areas in the city they could not access, but otherwise, they were free to wander. He also told them that it was impossible for them to leave.
Obviously not taking him at his word, Keirna and Lyrus attempted just that. Keirna was not restricted, but Lyrus was repelled. Lyrus found the entirely sitution confusing, and attempted to find information – leading to a history book that had had odd pages replaced.
Meanwhile, Keirna fixed the Artificery (which was suprisingly poorly set up), Danara got a wonderfully crafted Ballgown, and Echo tried to get information from a Bellringer. Eventually, Lyrus confronted Ramzazael with the issues from the book, and although his suspicions were rationally addressed, part of him was still unwilling to accept this haven at face value.
Unfortunately, he was right to be suspicious. Zariel informed Keirna that these angels smelt odd, and she wanted to summone her armour. Worse, many of the angels smelt of nothing at all, save only their weapons, which smelt of dead angels.
Decided to get to the bottom of this, the group stormed into the Citadel at the centre of the city – only to find the chamber powering the barrier around the cty…in a room ringed by angels impaled and dead on hooks around the room. Blocking their access, Ramzazael and Seras engaged them – with both revealed to have the same strange power as Danara, Seras forced almost all assaults to target her, causing her shield to scream in agony. Meanwhile, Ramzazael summoned increasingly powerful servants – culminating in armouring himself with an unstoppable beast that with one blow smashed Danara’s own futuristic suit…and then a corrupted, decaying armoured figure nearly the full height of the immense room. The simple presence of this creature sickened everyone in the room – the Fallen God Guardian.
But before it could attack, swarms of butterflies filled the room, distracting it and allowing the group to counterattack. Disarming Seras of her shield, she was quickly killed, leaving the heavily armoured Ramzazael alone. Despite his overwhelming power, he was brought down by combined assaults – not least because of the intervention of a white armoured figure.
After the battle, everyone tried to make sense of what had happened – much was explained by the realisation that the angels that had inhabitated this city had been drained as power sources for a grand deception. One only foiled by the refusal of the Sealed Triumvirate to release its wards. Ramzazael, in death, was revealed as a true devil, horned and hooved. Expectantly, everyone waited for Seras to revert to her true form…
She did not. Examining her, a pair of internally spiked, delicate metal bracers was found embedded into her wrists. Each bore the mark of the God Razor.
Seras was indeed an Archon. And worse, with her soul trapped by the power of the Seal, there was no way to restore life to her.