Quinn stands in awe watching his half-orc friend deliver such devastating blow. He snaps out of it and unleashes another volley.
Using 1 Ki Point for Ki Arrows. Ki Arrows - zen archer may spend 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action to change the damage dice of arrows he shoots to that of his unarmed strikes. This lasts until the start of his next turn.
***INACTIVE*** Human Archaeologist Bard/9; Init: +4*; Perc: +19; HP 27/63, F: +7/R: +10*/W: +7
A look almost of pity flits across Ianez' face. Poor fool...Urgathoa has him. No one deserves that. But grim determination replaces it. "Unruhe, Sie mussen Ruhe werden!" The archaeologist plucks the string of his bow, then begins to hum at a pitch that matches the tone...almost. Strange dissonances and overtones creep into the sound as the volume increases sharply. But it is the alchemical golem that bears the brunt of the wall of sound. Casting shatter on Unruhe.
Spell damage, DC 15 Fort save to half:9d6 ⇒ (2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 6, 5) = 31
Hareton notices Ianez has pulled his hand free from the lobotomy needle. "You..." he sneers. The next second, the wall of sound slams into him. "Grrnnnth...UH!" He throws his hands up, as if pressing against the soundwaves and trying to resist. But cracks form, then deepen into stress fractures...then...
He shatters into a thousand pieces!
The explosion cascades outward, and blows out the windows of the laboratory. Glass shards burst into the dark night, and rain down to the ground below.
The fires in the room are raging now, whipped up into a blazing inferno. Amid the flames lies the dead body of Dr. Hareton Grey.
In the center of the room, there's a burst of blood, and an avatar of Urgathoa appears (at M-13). Not the goddess herself...she would never appear just for the sake of a lowly minion...but a manifestation of her energy concerned with her plan. The porcelain face, the skeletal legs...all drenched in blood. The strange croaking voice. NO! This can't be! I won't let Pharasma win! This world will be MINE!! Her torso separates from the lower half and flaps through the air on batlike wings, her fanged face a hateful mask. The hips and legs disappear, leaving only the disembodied upper half from the waist up.
You may have killed him, but you won't leave alive! With a shriek, she swoops through the air and attacks your group.
Avatar of Urgathoa will take its turn after Blackacre. PCs can make a Knowledge religion check.
This avatar of the goddess of undeath is only a fragment of her energy, yet potent and dangerous. She takes the form of a Manananggal, an exotic vampire native to Eastern lands. In this form, Urgathoa can attack with claws and cast spells, but has light sensitivity and is vulnerable to attacks with light blades. She can also be dismissed by damage to her lower body, which she has likely hid elsewhere in Hareton's lair.
The squadron of glowing lanterns circle dizzyingly around Urgathoa, shooting her with their rays (placed on map). She growls and tries to shield her eyes, but is unaffected by their aura of menace.
Blackacre's sword dazzles, strobing with a borealis of blue, white, and yellow light, a glorious aura of electricity and holy energy. He arcs it like the fist of Ragathiel, bringing the pain onto the bat-winged demoness. They clash against each other, two avatars of their respective faiths, dauntless good versus immeasurable evil! Urgathoa is beaten back.
A series of explosions rocks the lower levels of the Tower Out of Time. The entire edifice shakes. There is not much time.
Outside the windows, far down below, skeletal ogres and zombie ettins crash to the ground. Seige engines and catapults fall apart. The apocalyptic fires all over Ustalav dampen and extinguish. The torrential rains begin to subside. The dark clouds begin to part.
You see hosts of supernatural beings winging their way up from the battlefields to the pinnacle of the Tower, where you are. Some are dark angels with ashen-colored skin and white hair. Among their number flies a linked pair of ghaele-like beings. One of the pair gleams white and blue, while the other gleams a bright orange and ebony.
Pharasma's servant...the Steward of the Skein.
Also, there approaches a creature named Birthed-in-Sorrow. This servant of Pharasma is a ravid, a planar outsider creature, with clerical powers. Additionally, arrives the Echo of Lost Divinity. This minion is a spectral warrior bedecked in expensive dress. It bears an uncanny similarity to known renderings of Aroden.
And far down below, even attends the Endless Gravestone, which appears to be an animated, wheel-like being composed of rock.
The hosts of Pharasma.
Glory to Pharasma! Our Lady of Graves has returned!
The Avatar of Urgathoa pushes aside Blackacre's sword, struggling with him in divine battle. The horrific creature with her ragged, hanging torso snaps and bites at the inquisitor, and swipes at him with her claws. But her attacks miss and can't get through his armor.
As La Siréene casts her spell, summoning circles appear around her wrists - only to change, warp, into other shapes, her left hand surrounded by binary, her right by shadows, billowing like smoke. She brings them together in front of her, and then slowly pulls them apart, as if clawing a tear in reality itself.
From her open arms, a shadow flies across the lab, landing close to the Avatar, where it takes form.
The shape is the same, insectile legs, massive bulk, tremendous second mouth, but no longer does it have a greyish hide, instead the entire outside of the creature is black and without clear texture, the collection of red eyes, the sight of flesh within the two mouths and the massive collection of sharpness within these mouths the only color upon the mass.
La Siréene summons the Void Creature, on 11,12-P,Q
Hareton's body has failed. But he was already gone. Everything that made him Hareton had been removed or altered, leaving him merely a tasteless extension of this Urgothoa, mistress of undead, master of constructs without potential.
She dares empty my world of interesting creatures.
La Siréene walks over to the Void Creature, gives it a spell, and a command.
"Rip her apart."
It's not easy to make La Siréene angry, but Urgotha has managed it. She moves to 13O and casts Magic Fang on the Void Creature.
The avatar sees the shadow beast rush towards her. In darkness created, in darkness known, by darkness hidden, she croaks. Inexplicably, the image of Urgathoa disintegrates into a wall of smoke, then reknits back together again.
The Avatar of Urgathoa prepares to radiate a death-pulse, immediately destroying everyone and turning you into undead. However, at that moment, ghostly entities appear in the room with you. The Osirion Pharoah...the officers of the Swamplights...Caromarc's colleague, Sandru's creator, and Olivia's uncle, Dr. Fennick Nym.
The Pharoah raises his hand in a commanding gesture to Urgathoa. "Stop, you cretin! Do not presume you rule the rest of the dead." With that the Swamplights close in and surround her. Nym approaches her and dispatches her with an ethereal, glowing dagger.
The avatar screams a banshee-like wail and disappears!
Nym smiles knowingly at Caromarc and Sandru. The Swamplights salute Quinn. Then, the ghostly entities fade away.
Avatar of Urgathoa is dismissed back to the Abyss.
When you reach the town square with the crystal foci, you see that they are gone. The Tower Out of Time explodes into a waterfall of cascading blue and purple energy, glittering with twinkling stars. It fades completely away.
The landscape is decimated, with small fires burning here and there. But it is also strewn with hordes of undead that are defeated and sent to the great beyond. Once you're on the ground, you confirm that Hergelund and Agnes are with still with you. S limps towards you. She looks beautiful and exhausted, her dark hair framed against the pale lavender and orange sunrise of the brightening sky. She nods professionally. "You did it," she says. She pats Quinn on the shoulder, and looks over at Hergelund. "You saved Hergelund," she says with a smile. "Thank you."
***INACTIVE*** Human Archaeologist Bard/9; Init: +4*; Perc: +19; HP 27/63, F: +7/R: +10*/W: +7
Ianez tries to relax as he is borne to safety, but cannot keep himself from looking around for Amelie, Iozef, and Therez. Farewell and rest well, my family. We have avenged you. You and so very many others....
Paige Carlisle wears a bandage around her head, over her right eye, as a makeshift eyepatch. Her once pretty features are bruised and battle-scarred. She directs your attention to a group of drow in the distance, huddled in a circle with their backs to you, looking at someone lying on the ground in their midst. "Madchën fought bravely, with the strength of a hundred drow. But she did not make it," she announces sadly. "Her drow followers are already arguing over who will take over the business and lead them." She shakes her head. "Do not interrupt or blame them though. It's just the way of their nature."
A spark of Hareton Grey's soul spirals downward along with the debris of the Tower, amid cascading energy and stars. It swirls in circles, spinning around and around like a whirling snowflake, like a fanciful dream, or a hazy fantasy. His soul travels backwards through this fateful night. Back down the Tower Out of Time, through the dusty bookstacks of the Library of Anaphexia, along the fine-polished floors of the Salon of Sorcerers, through the sewers, back to the beginning of this adventure outside the Hospital of Pharasma.
But this time, somewhere where you are not...in another time, on a different plane...it is he who lays in the alleyway, wounded and dying. The fabric of time has changed. The nature of redemption.
"I am sorry, my love," he says. He grimaces. His body jackknifes in pain.
"Shhhh," says a voice in comfort. "Everything will be fine." The touch of his love, Olivia, gently closes his eyes.
Her tears fall on his cheeks and mingle with the rain.
The surviving citizens of Ustalav come out from the rubble and their hiding places. They tentatively step forth and approach your party. Men, women, children, mothers with babies, the old and infirm, young lovers, doctors, nurses, people from all walks of life whom you have saved. They surround you with cries of joy and tears of gratitude. What help they can give you to rebuild, they enthusiastically offer. What treasures remain, they gladly reward you (to richly supply you for further adventures). They will carve statues to memorialize you! They will compose lyrical ballads to sing of you with praise!
Blackacre - A young herald stumbles into the square. He skids to a stop, and leans on his knees, panting and out of breath. "My lords, my lords!" he cries. "A great emergency has arisen in the next town over! No sooner did the undead attacks cease, than a great lich necromancer arrived and began looting the citizenry! He is committing murder...all manner of crimes most foul...and needs to be stopped. He's too strong for us to defeat on our own. Are there any adventurers you can spare to lend a hand?"
Ianez - Ianez is approached by distraught administrators of the local museum. "Mr. Gastnicht, we have heard you're an expert on Osirion, and have need of your help." They invite Ianez to oversee the restoration of the Library of Anaphexia, and also serve as a diplomat regarding Ustalav-Osirion relations, with an anthropological focus on shared worship of Pharasma.
Quinn - Hergelund chuckles wearily, and sighs. "Quinn, I'm an old, tired dwarf. I've had great times, but the adventurin' life is too exciting for me." He and S exchange a knowing look. "I'm gonna help fix things up around here. But then I'm going to retire. Mebbe find a nice cottage somewhere and raise Agnes in peace."
"I propose you and Agent S become the new head of law enforcement for this city, and recruit new police. I was wrong about things, Quinn. I can't do better than you. Time to hand the torch over to de younger folks. It's yer time now."
"Mebbe after things are settled here, you can even help S with troubles in her own homeland, back in the east..."
Caromarc - Paige Carlisle gazes fondly at the monk. "You're cute, muscles. But like I always said, it would never work out between us."
She turns her attention to Lord Caromarc. "Good job you did up there," she says, indicating where the Tower stood. "Hey...not to blindside you, but I have a proposition you might find unexpected." She goes on to say that she is the only surviving member of Der Salon Freiheit und Nonchalance Nekromantie zu üben. She was wondering if Caromarc would like to restart the Salon...a rehabilitated, non-villianous organization...devoted to high-level magic and spellcasting. "I mean, now that you're unattached..." she nods, motioning to the Caromarc's former construct who is now shadowing La Siréene.
"And also..." She reaches up and gingerly touches her scarred face. Her hand jerks away, the pain and shock still fresh. Her eyes fall on Caromarc's pale skin, tracing the path of stitches on his features. "I think we might understand each other a little better than before. Who says a girl can't learn the error of her ways?"
***INACTIVE*** Human Archaeologist Bard/9; Init: +4*; Perc: +19; HP 27/63, F: +7/R: +10*/W: +7
Despite the fatigue engendered by the multiple combats, Ianez stands straight, smiling in the light of the falling Tower. He makes a round of the party, offering bows, handclasps, or embraces. "Sandru--well struck, at the end and all through our trials. Though I was initially put off by your rough appearance, your nobility of spirit quickly became apparent. La Siréene--even after all we have been through together, I do not think I understand you, but I am in your debt (for a bow and a belt, if nothing more). Gaston--your zeal was likewise somewhat distancing, until I gained a better understanding of what it meant to be so driven. Earl Caromarc--it has been a pleasure to work with you, and we shall have to do that again sometime. Perhaps the next time might be a little calmer? Quinn--I suppose I can forgive you for being a better archer than I will ever be...if you can forgive me for being a better scholar. It was an honor to stand at your sides, and even if we never see each other again in this life, I count myself blessed beyond measure to have known you."
He grins at the twins. "And the two of you, too! At some point, Agnes, I'd like to talk to you about history...but not now. Come, let's go meet the people we've saved."
Ianez nods at the offer. "Of course I will. I have a debt to pay, to one who returned at the end to aid us."
Sandru - Phoebe finishes catching up with her sister. She kisses her, and with tears in her eyes, says goodbye. Agnes walk over to Hergelund and takes his hand.
Phoebe ignites into flames and levitates into the air. She holds out her hand to Sandru. "The time has come, my friend. Dr. Grey is defeated. Ustalav is saved. And the balance between Pharasma and Urgathoa is restored. I must depart. Let us go together, you and I, and return and bask in the Plane of Fire. Many great adventures wait for us there. If this is your choice."
La Siréene - The construct that was formerly Caromarc's Manservant shadows your step. It practically trods on your toes as it gets used to its new body. It hears what you say and follows instructions, and yet it remains mute.
HP 56/88 Male Half-Orc Barbarian 1/Unbreakable 2/Rogue 6
Can it be over?
The pure blue flames licking my cutlass recede as I approach the young fire goddess. Reaching my hand out, I place my palm against her fiery one.
I love you, Phoebe. I am only sixteen, what do I know about love?
Please do not be hurt, but I must stay here. I looked the meaning of my name up in the library earlier. It is short for Alexander, "defender of man", and I can defend people best if I stay here, close. Watching over them. A living gargoyle.
In some sick twisted manner, he did make me... better. Everything that happened, did. Tears begin to streak down my young but all too jaded face. Seen too much.
I will be bold and ask a favor, still. Kyrie Eleison, down the road that I must travel. Kyrie Eleison, through the darkness of the night... I heard monks chanting it one night. Silly.
Will you watch over me? It will keep me from feeling alone, from wavering, from ever... giving up. I take a knee.
Hareton's soul descends, through space and through time, finding closure. He finds peace, and Olivia lives on, both here and there, now and then.
Hareton. He made me, as I am now, possible, in so many ways. Gave me opportunities. He created so much potential, both good and bad. Many will remember the bad. I will remember it all. Both the good and the bad. I will remember him as human, neither a villian nor hero.
"Rest in peace, Hareton."
As they descend the remains of the tower, and land on the ground, La Siréene places a hand on the mass of the Void Creature, affectionately. It accepts the gesture loyally, faithfully remaining with its mistress, until it fades away.
As it disappears, La Siréene looks to the remains of Madchën Sabina.
Gone now. Too bad, she was fun.
La Siréene looks around at and thinks about the people around her, their happiness, their sadness, their goals and dreams.
I wonder what happens now. What do you say, Shadow Sibling?
Then, -La Siréene-, you can do whatever you wish. You can travel with the mad man, help battle his immortal foe. You can be with one of your friends. You can stay here in ustalav, as a human or aasmiar, living out your life. You could make yourself the new leader and guardian of these drow, guiding them in Madchën Sabina's place. Whatever you feel you want to do.
I believe I, and the Void Creature, and Olivia, love you unconditionally. We will follow you, support you, and keep you alive, as best we can. We want you to be happy, mistress. You created us.
Not alone, perhaps, but you put the final touches on us, and we give ourselves to you now. Maybe I shouldn't speak for them - or maybe I should be their voice. We love you, mother.
As La Siréene quietly takes this is, she feels the Shadow Sibling laugh.
Jornel Caromarc looks around at those who saw him through this night.
"Ianez - I would be delighted to collaborate with you at any time of your choosing. My arcane ambitions are undaunted, but my academic aspirations have been put in perspective by your achievements. Perhaps we could collaborate on a book detailing the history of this long, dark night. Few historical events have historians at their centre."
"Sandru - I apologise for overhearing your farewell with Phoebe. Forgive me if I am selfishly glad to hear that I will not also lose you this night."
"Phoebe - I hope that this need not be farewell. It may be that through my studies I may be able to open a door for you to this place from time to time - and perhaps Sandru would be interested in attending when that happens. I am unsure what happened to your little wire guardian - but while you may have transcended my protections I hope that you know I will always remember you fondly."
"Hergelund - You made a bad decision in desperation, but realised your error. Don't do it again - but learn to trust that you won't. Do not let it haunt you."
"Agnes - I know you will miss your sister. Should I be able to facilitate her arrival you are - of course - welcome to attend. Please always feel free to visit. It is never an easy thing to know of that which was Not Meant For Man - please call on me should you need an ear."
"Quinn - I am sure you will do well here. I have come to trust your insight, and your bow, and if you desire to further expand your significant arcane potential I will be delighted to share my resources with you."
"S - I am glad to know you managed to survive. We barely met, but but we were comrades in arms."
"La Siréene - ah Mademoiselle. We have a bond, you and I. We were reborn together. I fancy that makes my sister, in a way. I hope you will remember your curmudgeonly brother in Weird. It eases my heart to know you have survived the night with your alien mysteries that have so often exceeded my own."
He looks at the Manservant, hesitates, then speaks
"Olivia? - I... If you need help with your body please come see me and I will do what I can. I know it is no fault of yours what happened to the... previous occupant. He gave his existence that you might return. He gave it to try to help a lost one find his way to the light. But I find that when I look into your eyes I keep hoping against hope that once more I will see his perspicacious gaze, or hear his droll tones. I do not wish to abandon you, but it brings me great pain... but should you need assistance, do not hesitate to require it of me. In a strange way you are my... grand-daughter, I suppose."
"Ms Carlisle - I would be delighted to assist you in an ethical institute of arcane study. This night especially has shown me that it seems all the truly accomplished of our art have placed a foot upon the dark path at some time. Perhaps together we can keep each other from turning the wrong way." he unconsciously fingers 'Grandfather's Legacy' as he speaks "But you are mistaken in thinking no other member of your cabal has survived... and so we come to you, Mister Blackacre."
"It is not goodbye for us, yet, I think. If you intend to take on Volst then my arcane skills may be of use."
"I don't think I understand you either, Ianez, but I'm glad we met."
Following the example of Caromarc and Ianez, she says a few words to her friends.
"Phoebe - You have found a new way to define yourself. Congratulations. And good luck."
"Agnes - Thank you. I personally enjoyed your talents, vis a vis my past. It was helpful."
"Darling, Quinn - it's been fun." She gives him a hug and a playful kiss on the cheek.
"Dear Sandru - I'm pleased to have been with you as you have grown and changed, and to have had you with me as I have done the same." She places hand on his shoulder, giving him a smile both happy and sad. "Thank you, for carrying me when I could not walk." She embraces him. "I quite enjoyed our philosophical quandaries."
La Siréene draws her hand across Caromarc's cheek, over his patchwork skin. "Dear Jornel, we have a bond, yes. I'd be happy to consider you a sibling, a brother. I want ask you for a favor, however. I think I need to stay here for a while, sort through my past here, and what has occurred this night. I need to consider what I have been, what I am, and what I may become. While I probably won't have any difficulty finding lodgings here now, I'd like to ask to live with you for a while, or otherwise intrude upon your hospitality, while I decide what I should be. You have my word I will care for Olivia to the best of my ability."
Finally, she turns to Blackacre, giving him an energetic embrace. "Mad man. If you are going to face Volst, I, too, would be happy to fight at you side."
"You all helped me with what was left of my past, and for that I am grateful. I've been glad for your company."
Quinn approaches all his friends individually and says a few words to each. "This is not the end for us. I will accept and help build law and order here."
"Master Caromarc, there will be none other better to head up the Salon but I would suggest a new name, one befitting the new era and one befitting the new master. Perhaps, I will take you up on your offer to continue learning the arcane." The monk gives the mage a hand shake and then pulls him to give him a hug.
"Fair lady La Sireene, you always know how to make me blush." He accepts the peck on the check and responds with a tight hug. "Please don't hesitate if you need my bow."
"Dear friend Ianez, you are much the scholar than I am. If you like, I can continue your training the bow. You have much potential" The monk offers the scholar a hug.
Quinn continues and approaches Sandru, "Half-orc! It was a great honor to fight by your side and even a greater honor to call you friend. This is not the end for us. There will be time I will require a friend to stand and likewise for you when you have troubling times. Please do not hesitate on calling me for assistance."
Lastly the monk embraces Gaston. "We are brothers of faith even though we have different deities our goal is the same. Please call upon me if you need assistance with Volst. I will gladly offer you my friendship and services against a threat like that."
Human Inquisitor 9 | HP 51/64 (fast heal 5) | add'l +3 att +8 dmg | AC 24 [16t 21f] | Saves F+10 R+9 W+13 -- Left: 4/6xLv1, 5/5xLv2, 2/3xLvl3, 5/9r bane, 1/3 Judgments (0/1 surge), 9/9r detect lies -- Init +5 Perc +14 Sensemotive +15
As Grey's spirit flutters to the ground, Blackacre leans briefly on his sword. Done.
At the herald's coming, the inquisitor, who looks as though the long night is catching up to him, does not hesitate. I will be there.
He turns back to his victorious companions, the inquisitor's face seems somewhat less hard than usual. He returns each embrace with gusto.
Friends, we have done something great this night. This place was saved from a brutal fate- He looks around the square, then to the sisters- many innocents have been spared, then to Paige Carlisle, some redeemed... He watches the scene with Hareton and Olivia. ... and one has finally accepted his fate.
Blackacre sighs deeply. Still, as you know, I cannot rest long on this achievement. I must complete the mission that brought me here. The villain Dagomir dan Volst is still ... (alive is not the word)... he still exists, he still threatens, and the crimes he committed in my home country remain unpaid-for. As you might suspect, I resolved as soon as he fled that I would chase that evil down and snuff it out, Angel guide me.
Any of you who wish to accompany me are more than welcome - I walked alone for some time, and trusted few, whether they deserved that trust or not. Each of you is a true asset to this place, and I have been honored to work with all of you.
if you look closely:
...is he getting a little misty-eyed?
I hope that you, too, will consider me a friend. When Volst is finally defeated, I will be sure to visit you all. I have a feeling that, one way or another, Ustalav is now my home.
And so, new relationships forged, old ones ended...the story of the six adventurers marches on.
La Siréene informs Caromarc that she will take care of Olivia to the best of her ability, but a short while later she hears in her head a polite, feminine voice...not her own...remark, What was that? You'll take care of me, La Siréene? Why, of course I don't mean to be much of an imposition, and I thank you most gratefully.
But...is Olivia's personality now in her head? Before she has time to react or consider the implications of this, La Siréene looks over to the construct, the former Manservant, where it traces invisible letters on the ground with its scythe. She observes only a moment, and doesn't realize that the construct is tracing the words NOT OLIVIA, NOT OLIVIA...
The construct turns away from La Siréene for just a moment, pleased with its ruse. In the machine, Maria smiles to herself. I'm back! An interesting body for right now. La Siréene doesn't suspect a thing. Good...good... She waves at La Siréene, and hefts the scythe.