Episode 59: the Wizard, the Demon, the Dream and the Dancer
The demon incursion seemingly stopped and the great fiery alnaar demon possessed by a living dream of Vaxrithar the mad beholder sent north at Magnus’s command, the party slowly made their way from the 2nd Tier down the Great Stair of Uman. Towards the 7th and home. As they went they were met by citzens of the city, many still tending to fires and the wounded, or caring for their dead. The citizens cheered them, and thanked them for slaying so many demons, and bending the huge alnaar demon to their will. Magnus declared the party the Heroes of Uman, and the people seemed to agree.
As they walked, they reflected warmly on Whisper’s Hunt Gifts, given earlier that day: A flute for Ara, a book of poetry for Magnus, a serpentine broach for Keen, a Kenku puppet for Sirlius, and a gold piece for Yuna. Despite the horrors of the night, the Hunt’s Festival had given the party rare moments of peace, and the unexpected generosity of the old Kenku warmed their hearts.
Over an hour later, as they crossed the square of the 6th Tier, the party was surprised by an attack from a flying man with 6 tentacled eye-stalks protruding from his head and one baleful, bloodshot eye opened in his forehead: Banu, Adeptus Emeritus of the El Astrum Public Library and lately of Long Drop a town in on the edge of the Thorimfel Plateau and directly north of Uman, now seemingly possessed by the spirit of Vaxrithar Unshackled.
The creature attacked Magnus, beams of energy erupting from the eye stalks to paralyze and consume his flesh with necrotic energy. The party joined the battle and Whisper, with surprising quickness for an elderly Kenku, unleashed a vicious attack with her longbow that brought Banu crashing to the steps of the Great Stair, unconscious. Vaxrithar Unleashed withdrew from the old wizard and possessed Magnus, turning him towards his comrades. Ara quickly rushed to the side of Banu and healed him, restoring him to consciousness, whereupon Banu banished the spectral beholder. This gave the party a moment to heal and plan, though Banu suspected the creature was borne on Telisar, and would return when the banishment spell ended in seconds. This it did, and the party engaged the creature once more and aided by the aging wizard succeeded in destroying it.
Free of the possession, Banu turned on Magnus with a fury: he had not forgotten that Magnus was meant to bring a sizable cache of residium to him, a compulsion which Magnus had avoided by freeing himself from the terms of his servitude to the Library and thus Banu, its representative. However, the wizard was too weakened from his encounter with the possessed alnaar demon, which he described as having arrived suddenly in Long Drop, to attack. He sat heavily on the stairs, and the party described their recent experiences. Banu became increasingly concerned as they did so, and realized that the fanatics who attacked throughout Uman and attempted similar attacks in Long Drop were the same ones responsible for the destruction of the El Astrum Public Library. Banu speculated that the Library, with its multiple pocket dimensions joined by planar gates was a test of some terrible weapon, one designed specifically to rupture the barriers between the planes. A weapon that had now been used to further damage the celestial gates already weakened by the death of Bahamut and bring demons of the Abyss to the Material Plane.
As the party considered this revelation, Banu continued to ply them for information, asking why they in particular continued to be involved in events on a cosmic scale. As they described how they came together, targeted by teleporting goblins with advanced knowledge of residium refinement, Banu declared that the party must be under the influence of some celestial – or infernal – power, some unseen intelligence guiding their movements. Eventually the exhausted wizard took his leave then, to find rest and lodging on the 6th tier, but challenged the party to “find the puppet master, and cut the strings.” And he warned Magnus again that he still expected delivery of a sizable residium deposit.
Sirlius and Whisper listened intently to this discussion with the strange Adeptus, and Sirlius realized that he had actually known very little of the history of the adventuring party he found himself in. He marvelled that of all of them only Keen had been at all forthcoming with his background. As they walked to their manor home on the 7th Tier, he asked if there were anyone else who might be unhappy with the party besides Banu. His comrades listed several, including the Black Tack goblin tribe; Danta Kosht, the Uman crime lord; Tak, a mysterious Bard who Levani had first encountered in Dis; Mera Maryndottir, Yuna’s insane aasimar half-sister; “Handsome” Henry Smalls, the goliath barbarian circus ringleader, a seemingly endless parade of bounty hunters trying to kill Keen; the Skink, a criminal organization at odds with Ara; and Sabetha, the tiefling dancer and assassin in the employ of Madame Elethi.
Arriving home, the party were surprised to discover the Initiate of the Martial Order of Bahamut that had remained behind to guard the manor lying dead in the doorway. Whisper quietly made a search of the house, finding nothing, but was surprised by Sabetha, who informed the Kenku ranger that although she had helped the party enter the Pashtum Bank in exchange for them retrieving Madame Elethi’s ledger, the party had not kept their word. She told Whisper that the attack on Uman had created “an opportunity” at Madame Elethi’s Finishing School for Girls, one not likely to come again. She urged the party to complete their task, or she would kill them all.
Demon/Spectral Beholder Buddy Cop Movie Ending: Plot-twisty!
Party Anonymity Rating: 0
Major Encounters Avoided: 0
RP Rating: Awesome!