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Souls for a Devil

Game Master Tordek Rumnaheim

A noble's son has gone missing while on a pilgrimage to Sirathu. Can our heroes find him in time?

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Female Humanoid(vishkanya) Rogue 4/deadly courtesan Init +3; Perception +9, low-light vision; HP 13/27

"I suppose we should hurry there before the girl gets herself into trouble," Zarine continues, "I would prefer to find the Brothers of the Seal, but..." Shaking her head she hefts her pack. "Normally, the priests of Pharasma take the bodies in and the Pharasmans ward the Ossuary, but we could try to go straight to the entrance if we wish to save time."

Knowledge(local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16

Zarine knows that normally only the Pharasma priests carry the body to be interred into the Ossuary. This is not to say that you can't try to go directly to the Ossuary entrance.

Female Oread Monk of the Four Winds/Kensai 2/2

Nyxalia looks a little worried as she says, "We should hurry to get her."
She looks at everyone and stops on Savendir. "Nobody really knows how big or how far down the Ossuary goes. The Pharasmans don't even let the Duskwardens in there, so truly not much is known about it beyond the Pharasman Clergy. If she manages to get in there, she could quite easily get herself lost and we may never find her."

Male Human Rogue 1 / Conjurer 3 / Mythic Trickster 2
Nyxalia Blackstone wrote:
"Nobody really knows how big or how far down the Ossuary goes. The Pharasmans don't even let the Duskwardens in there, so truly not much is known about it beyond the Pharasman Clergy. If she manages to get in there, she could quite easily get herself lost and we may never find her."

"There are always ways of finding people."

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

"We can hope that the Pharasman priests have a common interest in keeping the girl safe. If we encounter them there, perhaps they will be willing to help us."

Are you going to head directly to the entrance of the Godsmouth Ossuary on the side of the cliff or head to the Church of Pharasma in the city first?

"Reet, which is t' best way to get to the Ossuary? Straight there? Is there a shrine at start of t' temple." He drums his fingers across the soft shirt.

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

No one has proposed going to the Church of Pharasma, so I assume we are headed to the Ossuary.

"Might as well head to where t' lass has gone, rather than nattering to her bosses about what they thinks going on." He adds as he sets off through the evening streets.

Female Humanoid(vishkanya) Rogue 4/deadly courtesan Init +3; Perception +9, low-light vision; HP 13/27

"The entrance to the Ossuary is at the base of yon cliffs. Come, I'll take you there." Securing her pack, Zarine sets a direct course for the tombs.

Zarine leads the group to the Bottoms section of Kaer Maga. First they come to the Godsmouth Cathedral. This huge, gothic edifice is the center of Pharasmin faith in Kaer Maga and is dedicated to all three aspects of the Lady of Graves, the midwife, the reaper of the dead, and the mad prophet. The cathedral sits at the edge of the cliff overlooking the Varisian plains below.

In the dim light of the waxing crescent moon, a narrow path can be seen going around the exterior of the cathedral. A few candles twinkle in the windows overlooking the street. The church appears to be closed for the evening.

Zarine follows the path behind the church. It leads directly to the edge of the cliff a few hundred feet above the valley below. The path then makes a steep descent along a narrow, twisted cliffside route and ends up at the mouth of the Unnamed King. Stepping into the mouth puts the party into the Godsmouth Ossuary itself.

The interior of the Ossuary is lit by a series of ever burning torches. A few robed and hooded Pharasmin priests can be seen silently tending to the deceased. Near the entrance, a priest stands at a small writing table. He puts his quill down and looks up as you enter.

"This is highly irregular. Who are you to come at this hour unattended and disturb the deceased in this sanctuary?" he asks in an autocratic voice.

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

Throughout the approach to the Ossuary, Savendir remains alert, keeping an eye out for signs of the oracle or any dangers. When he arrives, he approaches the attending priest directly. "We were sent for by the oracle Cerpera, who, by all accounts, was headed to this place earlier today. Having just escaped peril, she risked a journey here for reasons I do not know. Perhaps her vision led her here for some inscrutable purpose. Is she here? Did she arrive safely?"

At Savendir's mention of Cerpera, the priest's hard face relaxes. "Yes, you may allay your fears. Cerpera has indeed arrived safely. My name is Hortiln Serpenthelm, the night cryptmaster. Pharasma's voice told us of your impending arrival. Before we proceed let me check that everyone is present." He pulls out a list, from the desk. "I have Savendir, Zarine, Nyxalia, Ilias, Owen," He pauses for a moment, "and Ulath." He looks at each individual and checks off the list. "I see we are complete. Please, follow this way."

Hortiln leads the group through luxuriously appointed catacombs packed with bodies. They descend several sets of stairs before finally stopping in front of a pair of gothic doors. "Please, wait here for a moment. I will see if she is ready to receive you." Hortiln opens one of the doors, slips in quickly and then closes the door behind him. The outer chamber is bathed in a soft light from the sconces on the floor. Large carvings of Pharasma's holy symbols cover each wall and the doors.

Female Humanoid(vishkanya) Rogue 4/deadly courtesan Init +3; Perception +9, low-light vision; HP 13/27

Zarine looks at the closed doors in some puzzlement, then glares at Ulath.

"How did he know to expect you?"

Ducking his shoulders at the immensity of the cliffs and structure, he doesn't really like being reminded of the heavy overbearing geology. Though he nods to himself in appreciation at the quality of the carvings, even if it's not his own preferred medium.

"Hope it's not a to do list..." he says about the list looking around the mausoleum, before thinking at Zarines' question. "Maybe they know of good craftsmen? I don't do coffins, but I sometimes supply lumber t' carvers." He glances suspiciously around the room.

Female Oread Monk of the Four Winds/Kensai 2/2

Nyxalia follows the others to the Ossuary and is a little surprised about the pleasant greeting they receive at the entrance.
Upon being told to wait, she whispers to Savendir, "is your Oracle usually this mysterious?"

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

"Unfortunately, yes," Savendir says to Nyxalia. To Zarine he adds, "I noticed that as well. But nothing surprises me. Cerpera receives visions that I would not second guess. She must have foreseen Ulath's accompanying us."

It isn't long before one of the doors opens again. Hortiln emerges and motions you to enter. He says in a low voice, "I will leave you here. Cerpera awaits you in the next room."

The double doors open into a large 30 foot by 30 foot room. Finely polished gray stone floor and walls sparkle as the torch light dances on the mirrored surface. Across the room the source of the sound can be seen. It is a semi circular pool, ten feet in diameter with low walls. Water cascades down the far wall over a relief carving of Pharasma's holy symbol and falls into the pool below. Cerpera stands on top of the water in the center of the pool and looks out at you with unseeing eyes as if in a trance.

Once Hortiln closes the door behind you, Cerpera begins to speak in a flat, deep voice that is not her own.

Savendir should recognize this voice as the same one that spoke at the fountain in Sirathu when Cerpera was about to reveal Lady Zinnastina's treachery.

"Please, come closer." Cerpera pauses until all of you approach the fountain and then continues, "Thank you for your efforts to keep Cerpera, my organ, from harm. You have proven yourselves both brave and resourceful. As you may have surmised, the disappearances are only the tip of an even greater threat. The being behind these kidnappings and thefts is growing into a power that exceeds the great thassilonian runelords. Yet, even this powerful being is but a pawn in a larger game. A game that may end with the destruction of Axis. The initiator of this game has chosen its champion. It is now time for me to choose mine. While I will not involve myself directly in this game, I will tap into a power within each of you that you could not scarce believe existed. However, I will not be coy. The task before you is great and its outcome is unknown. The price may be your very soul ripped into non-existence. Thus, I will not force you to take on this task. If you deem yourself unable to assist, you may leave now. I will not judge you adversely when your soul stands before me in the boneyard. Should you accept your new role as my champions, come forward to Cerpera that I may confer my blessing upon each of you."

The room grows silent, but for the water dropping into the pool.

If you accept Pharasma's request, enter the pool and move to Cerpera. Otherwise, you may leave through the double door.

Female Humanoid(vishkanya) Rogue 4/deadly courtesan Init +3; Perception +9, low-light vision; HP 13/27

Zarone ponders but a moment before addressing Cerpera. "Now it is clear to me why I found this place and this task. If the Lady of Graves needs the help of Vritra, it shall not be denied. In his name, I accept your task. To refuse would be to besmirch my sire."

Standing sword-straight, the gloved and veiled woman wades into the water, heedless of its affect upon her trailing garments, and stops before Cerpera with a bow. "I am ready, Lady."

Cerpera kneels down on top of the water and reaches into the pool and retrieves an object and says something to Zarine in a whisper that the others cannot hear.

"Be wary child. When gods conspire, no one can be trusted. I do not know if your god, Vritra is involved or not. However, I do trust you. Take this pouch to hold items you wish not to be found. As you long as you keep it within reach, you will be attuned to a greater power. Please, return to your place but say nothing until the others have made their choice."

The small pouch, no larger than a fist, is made from snake skin and is adorned with Pharasma's holy symbol. It is a Pathfinder Pouch.

Female Humanoid(vishkanya) Rogue 4/deadly courtesan Init +3; Perception +9, low-light vision; HP 13/27

Zarine bows again and returns to the shore to take her former place, pulling her flowing robes about her. The wet hems leave a damp trail in her wake. She says nothing, only looks pensive as she watches the oracle and waits patiently.

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

Savendir steps forward and speaks in a measured voice. "What I undertake is not for the next world, but for this one. If our collaboration can rid this world of a malicious taint, intent upon destruction and the perversion of life as it ought to be, then I will work with you to see it done. It has become plain to me in my years that the purity of the natural order hangs in delicate balance, and I will not stand by while forces of corruption seek to befoul it." With that, he steps gracefully into the pool.

As with Zarine, Cerpera reaches into the pool of water and pulls an object out of the water and hands it to Savendir. She whispers into his ear so the others cannot hear.

"Dear Savendir, you have had to endure so much in such a short time. You most of all should share my hatred of undead. Take these sandals. They will hide you from the undead. As long as you keep them near, you will be attuned to a greater power. Please return to your place but say nothing until the others have made their choice."

The sandals are made of delicate bones bleached white from age and held together by worn ligaments. Tiny finger bones make up the soles of the sandals and small animal heads form clasps around the ankle.

I will PM you a more thorough description of the sandals. The source is "The Genius Guide to Loot Vol 4 fantastic footwear"

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

With a subtle nod of understanding, Savendir returns to his place.

Female Oread Monk of the Four Winds/Kensai 2/2

Nyxalia is mystified by the change in Cerpera and the enormity of the task being given them. She looks to Savendir, but is surprised to see that it is Zarine who steps forward first. Still marvelling at the sneaky woman and watching her from across the room, she almost misses Savendir walking out to meet the Oracle. Following his return to dry land, she strides forward and kneels before Cerpera in the pool. Bowing her head, she says quietly, "I accept this challenge that you have set us and will try my hardest not to let you down."

Cerpera nods to Nyxalia as she kneels. As before, Cerpera reaches down into the pool and emerges with an object. She leans close to Nyxalia's ear.

"Nyxalia, do not take your abandonment as a babe as a statement of your worthiness. I see the nimbleness and wisdom that you possess. The Elemental Brothers have raised you well. That is why I chose you for this task. You are most worthy of taking on my quest. As long as you keep it near, this wayfinder will guide you on your path and attune to a greater power. Please return to your place but say nothing until the others have made their choice."

The wayfinder has Pharasma's holy symbol etched onto its back. It has a slot free for Nyxalia's cracked Dusty Rose Ioun stone. Placing the ioun stone into the wayfinder causes it to resonate. The wayfinder increases your ability to perform or resist combat maneuvers.

There is a 100% chance of the wayfinder amplifying the cracked stone's magical powers. The wayfinder with the cracked Dusty Rose Ioun stone installed grants a +2 insight bonus on CMB and to CMD.

Female Oread Monk of the Four Winds/Kensai 2/2

Nyxalia's face darkens as she blushes. She stands and bows to Cerpera before hurrying off to stand behind everyone, something small cradled in her hands.

Looking around the gigantic structure, slowly and meticulously at the splendour of the place. The enormousness of the atrium, his brows furrow at the obviously possessed words that spill from Cerpera's lips.

"Champion, me?" he almost snorts, but there's just a hint of pride and surprise to his voice.

Not really one to talk about his thoughts and feelings at this unexpected turn of events. The frightening possibilities of not just death, but being torn from the cosmic wheel - to be lost forever from the universe.
Ulath's thoughts' slip to his niece, his brothers' daughter & her innocent ruddy face lit up with a smile. The forest, that he's guarded and guided for the last few decades - carefully cultivating whilst not molly-coddling. However, if a Goddess is asking for his help to protect this all, then it must be grave. Finally as he realises his inevitable decision, there's a moment of regret for the lost opportunities - that this transformation may rob him of: a normal life, family and kids of his own. However if it's to protect those that he cares for, the sacrifice is already made.

"Now then. What's Axis?" He says bluntly, not one to mince his words. "I'll help where I'm needed."

Ulath enters the pool and wades to Cerpera. She repeats the now expected process reaching in and removing a small item from the pool. She leans over to Ulath.

"Ulath, thank you for accepting my request. Although this may seem happenstance, you have been on this path for a long time. You are the steadfast rock that this party may need. Further, all that you hold dear is at risk if events are allowed to come to fruition. As a master craftsman, you will appreciate this Crafter's Hammer. As long as this hammer is near you, it will increase your craftsman skills and more importantly, attune to a greater power. Please return to your place but say nothing until the others have made their choice."

The Crafter's Hammer will grant a +4 competence bonus to any relevant craft checks for tasks that would otherwise require an ordinary hammer. Source: #30 Not So Mundane Items by this PBP's very own Owen aka Dave Mallon. I'll send you a PM with the full details of the magic item.

Exiting the water, he nods a curt thanks to Cerpera then takes a handful of water and brings it to his mouth for a sip followed by splashing it over himself in a cleansing ritual.

Turning to Savendir, he strokes his beard pondering. "Known her for long?"

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

Savendir clears his throat softly at the intrusion of small talk into such a solemn occurrence. He curtly mutters, "No. Not long."

Male Human Rogue 1 / Conjurer 3 / Mythic Trickster 2

I think Owen's going to wait until last.

Male Half-Elf Summoner 4 {22/22 HP, Init +3, Perception +10 (+14 when adjacent to Oog)}

"Oh, Oog, stop distracting me!" Ilias shouts to the air.

He looks towards Cepera and does not meet her eyes. "I accept your blessing," he says as he steps into the water.

Male Half-Elf Summoner 4 {22/22 HP, Init +3, Perception +10 (+14 when adjacent to Oog)}

Now Owen should be able to go. :)

Cerpera kneels again and withdraws an object from the water. She hands it to Ilias and whispers into his ear.

"Poor Ilias, losing your family and finding yourself abandoned at such a young age is a burden few have survived. Yet, not only have you survived, you have taken the first steps toward rejoining society. Despite your loss, you are still willing to risk everything to help Golarion in its time of need. That is why I chose you to join my champions. Take this Summoner's Hat. As long as you keep it near, it will help the creatures that you summon with extra protection, and it will attune you to a greater power. Please return to your place but say nothing until the final potential champion, Owen has made his choice."

This finely made cloth hat is made from fine linen. It is embroidered with delicate patterns of various creatures using different colors of thread and glass beads.

Twice per day you can summon a creature that emerges from your hat. Creatures summoned from the hat are granted a +1 enhancement bonus to AC and saving throws for 5 rounds after they have been summoned. The source of this item is The Genius Guide to Loot 4 less Volume 10 Fezzes are Cool!. I'll PM you with the full details later.

Male Human Rogue 1 / Conjurer 3 / Mythic Trickster 2

Owen waits several minutes before moving forward, slowly and apprehensively. He moves to within a few feet of the oracle, glances behind him at the rest of the group, and whispers to her.

"I must speak privately. Unsure of companions' motivations. Need to take note of any missing variables. I am able to assist you, though, not sure why I should. Power is desired, but non-essential, as is money."

He pauses, absently fingering the knots in his long coil of rope. He shifts his glance from Cerpera, to the water, to the walls, seemingly lost in thought. After a long while, he begins to whisper again, an uncomfortable edge to his voice.

"I... I do not want to die. None of this matters, but still I want to see behind the veil. I need to bear witness. Nothing makes sense anymore..."

Another pause. An uncharacteristically panicked look briefly flashes across Owen's face.

"What do I need to do?"

Cerpera gazes back at Owen with the same unseeing expression as before, yet the set of face hints that she is listening. Unlike the others, Cerpera speaks to Owen first and then reaches into the pool to extract an object.

""Join me, Owen," Cerpera whispers. "You speak of your concern for death, but we both know that you are masking your greater fear. Entering a trap that you cannot escape even with your superior intelligence. I assure you this is no trap. What awaits you I cannot say. However, I am arming you with the tools you require to succeed. These tools include the companions I have selected to join you. Each brings skills that makes the sum of the parts greater than the individual pieces. Take care, your actions in the library with your prisoner have put doubts in their mind about you. Your enemy may use these doubts as the seeds to your destruction." Cerpera reaches down into the pool and pulls out a scroll case embossed ornately with her holy symbol "You thirst for knowledge. The journey on which you embark will show you things you could never imagine. You will want to record what you see. Take this scroll case. It holds a far greater number of scrolls than you would expect, but more importantly, as long as it is near, it will attune you to a greater power. Now, go and rejoin the others, I will now speak to you all."

She gives you a Case of Infinite Scrolls. Source: #30 Not So Mundane Items, page 2

Owen rejoins the others around the pool. Cerpera raises her arms, her voice echos loudly in the chamber.

"You each have agreed to be my champion. Cerpera has given you an object. As long as you keep it within 5 feet of you, you are connected to a source of unimaginable power that will augment the talents you already posses. Each object is solely attuned to its owner. You cannot share the objects with each other nor if someone else picks it up will they receive its power. It is for you and you alone. Heed my warning, this power is a gift from me to aid you in solving these mysteries and ending the plot against my kingdom. Use this power counter to that goal, it will be taken away."

Cerpera begins to hum. The objects in your hands vibrate slightly in response. You feel an energy slipping into your hands, then moving slowly into your arms and finally, spreading through out your entire body. You feel an intense vigor making you feel almost indestructible. You realize that this pool of energy can be called upon in a surge of power to aid in difficult situations. You're senses are keener, allowing you an edge when confronted. One of your talents, suddenly grows in strength. As you look around the room, everything seems different. It is as if there is an energy inside each object and being that you never saw before. You feel like you can control this energy in ways a moment before you thought impossible. Each of you manifests your new power in a different way as it attunes itself uniquely to your core.

"Go now, it will not take long for you to fully understand how to use your new powers."

Cerpera lowers her arms, and her eyes return to normal. She collapses into a heap still on top of the water and begins to sob softly.

Congratulations, you have ascended to Mythic. You gain 2 mythic tiers. You can use these powers immediately.

Male Half-Elf Summoner 4 {22/22 HP, Init +3, Perception +10 (+14 when adjacent to Oog)}

Ilias grins as he admires his new hat.

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

Savendir regards Cerpera with something akin to pity. "Do you think she will be safe with the priests?"

His choice to discuss the mundane circumstances of the situation, and scarcely acknowledge the profound experience he, with everyone else, has just had, is conspicuous. Indeed, he struggles to maintain his typical, aloof composure amongst his companions.

Female Oread Monk of the Four Winds/Kensai 2/2

For the briefest of moments, Nyxalia feels more confident than she has ever felt before. The feeling passes as the wave of power that surges into her subsides, not gone, but sitting coiled within her, waiting for release.
Seeing Cerpera sobbing in the water, she looks around at the others, before moving forward to put an arm around the girl and comfort her.

Male Elf Purist Druid 4, Heirophant 2 {HP 33/34, AC 16, Perception +12}

Savendir produces a pair of sandals he had tucked under his arm. He carefully puts them on and then looks to the rest of the group. "It seems as if we have our work cut out for us."

With one hand upon his hip and the item concealed in his belt beneath it, he looks around the room with new eyes. His cerulean gaze seems to shine with greater assurance and determination, whilst his stout form seems to wear his workers leather better.

However he looks to the ladies in the water; "There, there lass. T'worst of it is over..."

Oooh, what does Ilias' hat look like?

Cerpera looks up at Nyxalia as Nyxalia wraps her arm around her. Her sobbing begins to subside and the hint of a smile forms at the corners of her mouth. She presses in closer to the oread's arm and closes her eyes.

You can continue to discuss among yourselves the event that just happened or your next steps. When you are ready to move on just go back through the doors you entered.

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