Archana left the site of her successful assassination, walking right out the front door into the storm with a renewed sense of pride for herself and her abilities. The rain and winds were furious and lightning continually struck the taller buildings of the city, illuminating everything around them. After a minute along the road, she felt an ominous presence watching her and as she quickened her pace, something tried to grab at her ankle and trip her. She was able to dodge her captor, but knew that this was no mere feeling anymore. Archana looked around, but saw nothing. When lightning struck once again, she managed to catch the outline of some angelic being behind her and in the moments where the rain relented for a second, the sounds of someone bound and squirming farther back.
At the same time, Leon and Narciso found themselves in a very problematic situation. Their massive contribution caused the priestess to go out of her way to find the two refuge and where better to send the two than the castle itself. Priestess Lilly sent her message off and at 3am Lady Raven responded. Leon and Narciso awoke to the sound of the storm when the temple entrance opened. The priestess heard it as well and dashed from her bed to greet the newcomer and welcome them to the Temple of Sarenrae. Lady Raven responded and dread filled the minds of the adventurers as they figured out what had happened. Seems the best intentions bring about the greatest disaster. As Priestess Lilly turned her back to awake the adventurers, her body was heard hitting the stone of the temple floor. Raven summoned something from the shadows and then silence greeted the two until they both felt ghostly claws slice through their flesh, passing right through their armor. Narciso fell to the ground, his body becoming stiff as the paralysis from the ghoul’s touch took hold. Leon found himself the only one standing and surrounded by thirteen ghouls. Leon become a being a pure positive energy, a divine gift from his god, and stood over Narciso, the healing light keeping them both from death’s grasp. The shadowy ghouls continued to claw at the adventurers, but each time they did a bit of their essence destroyed itself in the holy light. Channeling the divine power of his god through the symbol on his shield, positive energy radiated from Leon and bathed the scene in its healing embrace. The touch of life vaporized the ghouls and nothing remained once it faded. In the doorway stood Raven, her face emotionless and her stance not so friendly.
Archana walked bristly int eh direction that she had seen the Temple of Asmodeus earlier that day, picking up her pace as the mysterious entity continued to close distance. The temple was hard to miss even in the pouring rain, its red marble a stark contrast to the gray stone of most of the city. As Archana approached the temple doors, the figure finally made itself known. From her studies of the devils of Hell, Archana knew the woman to be an erinyes. The fallen angel challenged Archana to a duel in Hell with the offer that if Archana was able to best her, she would gain the erinyes’ power. Archana eagerly accepted, wanting to test her new strengths and to garner even more power for herself. The duel was a close match, but in the end, Archana bested the devil. The two agreed to meet at an inn back in the city of Korvosa called the Frisky Unicorn. The devil said the name with a repulsion more for having to be around so many mortals again more so than the name of the inn. Archana took the portal the devil created and found herself back in front of the Temple of Asmodeus.
Raven approached Leon and Narciso slowly, her intentions being made clear. On her wrist, two charms disappeared from the elegant, script-laden, silver bracelet she wore. Simultaneously in her hands, a battle scythe appeared, the shaft carved from bones and the blade an unreflective black jet, almost appearing to ripple on occasion. Around her, dark mithril fullplate appeared, the armor etched with magical runes. Raven slammed the jagged point at the bottom of the scythe into Leon’s skull, but through the force of will, he managed to survive the blow. She allowed Leon to crawl away, his life force almost nonexistent and turned her attentions to Narciso, paralyzing his body with her touch. Narciso managed to snatch the strange silver bracelet before succumbing to the paralysis. She swung the blade of the scythe into his still form and the clink of the blade coming into contact with the stone under his body was evidence of his fate. Leon’s divine gifts had healed his wounds and he managed to drink one of his final potions of invisibility before making his way to Narciso’s corpse, trying everything he could to bring his friend back from the grave. Raven stared into him and softly asked, “Your blood calls to me Leon, why would you go through the trouble of hiding yourself from my vision?” She made her way over to him and placed her hand on his head. The world went black for Leon.
Her second visit to Hell had intrigued her curiosity and Archana ventured into the Temple of Asmodeus. Archana found herself drawn to worshiping the Lord of the Nine and his dogma appealed to her beliefs and her way of life. So she joined the church as an initiate. She met Archbishop Ornher Reebs. The head of this temple and learned even more about her new patron, making sure that her new duties to the Lord of the Nine did not conflict with those of Achaekek. She left the temple a worshiper of two divine beings now and a servant of all the gods. Where the gods willed, her blades went.
Archana’s next move was to find the Frisky Unicorn,a task that happened to be much simpler than she thought it would. She entered the inn and found the innkeeper asleep. She paid for room 6 and then made her way to room 9, where she had agreed to meet the Erinyes. Inside, the erinyes stood, her wounds from the fight earlier healed and her clothing replaced. On the bed to the right lay an infernal contract. The Erinyes explained the circumstances that had brought her to this point and such an imbalanced contract, bringing up a person of the void yet again. Archana noted that this figure had come up several times before responding to the question of signing the contract. She signed in blood and as the final drop spelled out her name, the signature burst into flames and consumed the contract, spiraling around Archana as well. The unholy power of the erinyes flowed into Archana, burning into her soul and enhancing her form: increasing her strength, agility and endurance. When the flames subsided, seven erinyes stood in the cramped room. The one that had offered the contract moved forward and smiled a devilish grin, “I look forward to hunting your soul in Hell, mortal.” A gate to Hell formed and the erinyes each flew through, sounds of rejoice coming though as they embraced each other on the other side, each freed from the torments they had endured. Archana found a copy of the contact in her hands and the room now silent. With the night storm still raging she figured the best plan would be to get a good night’s rest before anything else.
Leon awoke, his hands pinned above his head by Raven, whose fangs were currently buried in his neck. She no longer wore the fullplate and was once again robed in only the slimmest of black silk. He looked up to see his helm on the ground next to him, Raven must of ripped it off as she performed her foul act. Leon tried to break her pin, but she held his arms tight and his legs were pinned under hers. He looked to see Narciso a few feet away, a pool of blood forming around him. He felt a bit of his life drain away through her fangs, each pulse sending a bit more into her. She lifted her head and wiped a trickle of his blood from her lips. “A bit more angel blood in you this time around Leon. Seems you’re always one to please. I’m sorry for having to kill you, but orders are orders.” Raven moved off Leon slowly and after standing without taking her eyes off of him, she made her way to Narciso and placed her hand on his chest. After a few minutes the shadow monk awoke, choking, but alive. “It was the only way to keep you both among the living.”
Raven went on to explain that the adventurers had been gone for about seven years during the Spellplague of Riddleport epidemic. Leon and Narciso were shocked at this, thinking they had only been gone a month if that. The group went on, the adventurers learning a bit more of what had gone on during their time away before Raven had to leave at her master’s beckoning.
The sun rose shortly after Raven departed and the two left the scene of their deaths as quickly as they could. The priestess stopped them on their way out, using magic to ease their fatigue, oblivious to what had transpired. The two barely stepped out the door before noticing their faces plastered on posters all over the city. Quickly dodging out of the way before the guards took notice, the two made a plan to rush to the clothing shop and make themselves a disguise. Neither having a clue how to disguise themselves, they rushed to the clothing shop unsure of the next step. Narciso was spotted, but shadow-jumped into the alleyway and vanished from sight, trailing Leon until he could find a way to disguise himself. Leon somehow made it into the shop and managed to throw together a ragtag outfit, enlisting a beggar on the streets to dress him, paying him two gold to do so. The ecstatic beggar gave him the shirt off his back and found himself decent clothes and went off to start himself a new life. Narciso smeared some dirt on his face and put on a wig and called it good. Somehow, this worked for the two of them and they passed through the crowd and through the guards throughout the city, no one noticing the poorly disguised duo. The two learned of the execution to take place at noon and of a strange event called the Moonlight Reverie taking place in the Moonlight Gardens tonight at midnight. After a series of questions, they found that the Moonlight Gardens were taken care of by the Sanctuary of Shelyn and were only open to the public once a year, tonight being that night. They took a carriage to the sanctuary in the upper part of the city to hide themselves from the eyes of the guards, saving time and a chance of identification on their way tot he sanctuary. When the two arrived, it was too late to return to the castle in time for the execution. They went into the sanctuary to scout it out and relax, their deaths leaving them rather shaken. The two sat and listened to the music of the clergy of Shelyn, the goddess of love and creativity.
It was around this time, about 11am that Archana awoke from her long night of rest, ready to take on the next day in the city that continued to come up with new surprises. As soon as she stepped outside, she noticed the posters as her allies had and quickly threw on a masterful disguise to move around the city freely. Her first goal was to complete the assassination contract by giving Lord Carson’s signet ring to his mother. She knocked on the front door of the estate and was greeted by an older gentleman that asked her name. Archana replied with “Jakalyn Carson.” Confused, the butler bid her to wait a moment and alerted Lady and Lord Carson of her presence. The butler returned, confused, but following the orders of the lady of the house and showed Archana to the study upstairs. Archana entered the study still disguised as the elderly woman she had used to get around town. Lady Carson asked her husband to leave and when he did so, ordered Archana to drop her disguise. Archana obliged, revealing who she was and handed over the signet ring. Lady Carson stepped outside and ordered the butler to retrieve the payment agreed to from the vaults. He quickly returned with sack of platinum coins. As Archana placed her reward into her handy haversack, Lady Carson mentioned that the Sable Company Marines that had allowed her and her allies into the city were being blamed for their accused part in the death of Magistrate Carson. Archana felt partly responsible at this and quickly made her way to the castle grounds, running through multiple ideas to free them from this unjust execution about to happen.
Archana quickly arrived in the castle courtyard and went ethereal to enter the castle, hoping to find the marines before they were brought outside. She donned the disguise of a squire once inside and found a suit of armor to don. She quickly searched the first and second floor, but found no trace of the marines. As she turned to leave the second floor and proceed to the dungeons, another guard stopped her and asked what she happened to be doing. Archana evaded the question and asked what had happened to the prisoners. The guard answered that they had been taken from the dungeons tot he courtyard about ten minutes ago, confused at the question, but unwilling to risk getting himself into trouble. Archana and the guard made their way outside and joined the still growing crowd in the courtyard, the marines bound at the hands and feet in the center of the crowd. Also moving among the crowd are the hellknights that Archana had seen last night in the Temple of Asmodeus. With the new vision granted through her erinyes-bound powers, Archana saw the Hellknight Signifier for how he truly looked. Huge black wings folded behind his form and in place of the armor of his brethren, only darkness resided, shrouding his form completely. The shrouded figure seemed to sense Archana staring at him and slowly made his way over to her, calling her by name once he was close enough. He seemed to read her thoughts and told her that he was interested to see how her plan would go off. At the same time, Runelord Sorshen began to make her descent f=down the stairs of the castle entrance. Before anything else could go wrong, Archana put her plan into action and approached the prisoners, climbing onto the wooden platform they were on and pricking each with the tip of her sleep venom-coated dagger, knocking five of the seven out. To the last remaining of Rothchild’s men, she forced a potion of invisibility down his throat. To Rothchild himself, she threw a necklace of adaptation around him and tossed him into her handy haversack.
Leon and Narciso decided that they had had enough of the strange saxophone player in front of them, his oscillating hip movements a little too much for the two of them to stand for long. They left the sanctuary and ran into a mage about to dimension door, tired of looking for a carriage. They overheard that he was headed to the execution and convinced him to take them along. The two arrived at the castle courtyard as the guards realized that the guard on the wooden stage was stuffing one of the prisoners into his magical bag and began to take action, the imposter guard vanishing from sight as they turned towards him.
Before anyone else could take action, Runelord Sorshen calmly stepped off the last of the stone steps leading up to the castle and yelled, “Enough!” The heroes felt strong compulsion magic come over them and their bodies moved to stand in the crowd, immobilized by the runelord’s magic. Another wave of compulsion came over the crowd, but the heroes managed to shake this spell off. The rest of the crowd was not as lucky and they now regarded the Runelord as their lord and savior. Behind her knell Raven, a noose around her neck and the other end in the hands of the runelord, who slowly began to float in the air as she began her speech declaring Raven as the head of the group responsible for the murder of Lord Carson and the other council members. The enthralled crowd stood and watched as Raven lifted into the air. Two creatures flashed into view on either side of the Runelord, their bodies appearing strangely humanoid with clawed hands. Bursts of light continuously pored from their eyes and moths, burning those they fell upon. The emaciated creatures focused the burning light bursting from them upon Raven and she burst to flames, her body turning to ash as it hung from the silken rope. As her final dying screams faded, the world stopped and the three heroes found themselves able to move again. Standing a bit from the crowd was the hellknight inquisitor, his cloak the only thing other than the heroes moving. The heroes questioned the figure and he responded by telling them that he had given the heroes one minute to escape, the brutality of the execution of the fool girl too much for him to do nothing about. He told heroes that he had given them one minute to plan their escape from the runelord. The heroes quickly set in motion a series of spells and ways to get the prisoners away before time caught back up to them. They managed to blind the runelord and momentarily stun her. They quickly sped off towards the Temple of Asmodeus, Archana strangely leading the vigilantes to freedom.
One of the strange creatures that had executed Raven caught up to the group and Archana sent her mantis minions ahead with the escaped prisoners. The party turned to face the creature and were bathed in intense light, blinding Archana. Leon quickly healed her blindness and the party took down the creature, it’s fiery touch and corrupted light ineffective against Leon and Archana. Narciso felt the wrath of the creature though and its touch corrupted the positive energy of his life force and he began to burn from the inside. The creature fell and the heroes found that only darkness could extinguish the corrupted light burning through Narciso. With the creature sent back to its own plane, the party continued to the temple and found that the marines had made it safely. Archana sought refuge for the marines in the temple and after a debate with Archbishop Orner Reebs, they were taken in by the temple. The party decided that their next course of action would be to attend the Moonlight Reverie tonight and await what would happen next.