Beyond Countless Doorways

Session 12
The Clash of Jesters
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Session 11
The Blight House
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Session 10
Into the Pyres

Standing on the Mortuary steps the group surveyed the Square before them and took in the sights they had only glimpsed when they first headed into the building. The large open Square was surrounded by a variety of buildings and businesses but at its center it was dominated by a tall obelisk contained within a walled off section. Intrigued by the obelisk the group made their way into the walled area to find several sets of flowers and other objects left behind, while numerous people scanned the walls and the obelisk itself. Inspecting the walls the group were able to make out a very finely carved script covering most of the walls and extending all the way up the obelisk, disappearing from view. Inquiring as to what the script was with a nearby Dustmen, the group was informed that the Dustmen try and carve the name of every being that has passe din the Multiverse, so there may be a record of their existence. When prompted as to how the Dustmen would actually find and carve all the names of all the beings in the Multiverse, the Dustmen simply shrugged and replied that their faction has all of eternity to carve the names. When asked about the beings who passed without their names being known the Dustmen again shrugged and replied that eventually their names will be found and added to the list.

Moving on from the Obelisk the group decided to head south along Shuffle street to investigate the other attack they had heard about involving a Dwarf from Rattling alley. Upon reaching the street the group found that the area gained its name from the series of decorations upon the street’s doors. Upon every door leading into a house or business along the street there was a large and ornate door knocker of a variety of designs. The most common feature among all the knockers however was the morbid theme that also permeated the District, death. Many of the knockers featured skulls of some sort, while those that did not still included images along the same lines. As the group took in the sight a strange wind blew down the street causing the knockers to rattle, causing a cacophony of noise that lent an erie mood to the street.

Turning down the twisting road the group nearly stumbled into a tall, lanky individual who reaked like a rotting corpse with a faint smell of roses. The individual was muttering to himself about following the True Death and that he must not act out, paying no attention to the party. But then suddenly the figure stiffened and glared at the party. It let out a short shriek and then turned and fled from the party. The party quickly made pursuit and followed him through several twists and turns until being led into the Pyres, a part of the Grey District that was nearly destroyed in a great conflagration some years ago. It was here the unfortunately that the party lost the trail of the figure. Deciding it would be better to turn back and visit the dwarf who was attacked, before venturing too far into the Pyres, the party slowly made their way back to Rattling Street.

Finding the dwarf’s house the group knocked upon the door only to find no response. Knocking a few more times a young dwarf finally answered the door and asked them their business. After explaining that they were sent by the Voices, the young dwarf allowed them inside and introduced himself as Gyrkos. Gyrkos explained that he is apprenticing with his uncle who was recently attacked while on his way home from a business deal at the Smoldering Corpse Bar. The dwarf then lead the group upstairs and admitted them to a bed room that was dimly lit. To the side of the room stood a bed upon which lay a pale, sickly, older dwarf. The dwarf tried to rise to a seated position as the group entered but could not find the energy and instead slumped back down into a heap. Summoning some energy the older dwarf asked who they were.

The young dwarf quickly moved forward and eased his uncle, while explaining that the group has been sent by the Voices to investigate his attack. Dyrkos then explained that he had been finishing a deal at the Smoldering Corpse Bar and then headed home along Smoker Street. He cut down an alley when suddenly he was knocked out from behind. Just before he was knocked out he smelt a putrid combination of rotting death and roses. As if someone tried to cover up the horrible smell with perfume. Awaking some time later he felt intense pain and he tried to rise but was forced back down. That was when he realized that the attacker was feasting upon his body, but he was too weak to do anything. Luckily a man came running down the alley scaring off the creature. The next thing the dwarf remembers was waking up in his own bed as he must have fallen unconscious again. The man who saved him was named Sougard, he was at the Smoldering Corpse Bar that same evening. The other strange thing was that when he was brought back to his home he smelled like that rose perfume but he also had soot all over him, as if he had rolled in a fireplace.

Leaving the dwarf’s house the group made their way to the Smoldering Corpse Bar to see what more they could find about the attack. When the group entered the bar however they were greeted by an incredible sight of a burning corpse standing in the center of the entrance area. The body appeared to be engulfed in flames and struggling as if it were burning to death. Yet the corpse did not fall or succumb to the obvious pain it felt. Instead it simply stumbled about in short circles, occasionally flailing its arms about.

Moving past the inflamed living symbol for the bar, the group questioned the bar tender who pointed them to Sougard, a solemn looking individual at a table on the far side of the bar. Offering to buy him a drink the man offered them seats at the table and told them his tale. It was rather short and the man tried to make himself sound more heroic then the act was worth, but it confirmed the story of the dwarf. Sougard told how he came to the district to try and help with the problems he heard were brewing in the district. However he has been having problems finding anyone who would hire him because of his affiliation with the Mercy Killers.

Deciding to move on from the bar the group headed back into the Pyres in search of the individual they had lost there earlier in the day. After some time wondering around, lost in the collapsing alleys of the burnt out buildings the party ran into a pair of Bugbears who demanded money for safe passage through their territory. Making quick work of the Bugbear leader the party convinced the Bugbears to help them find the source of the strange occurances in the district. Leading them through the Pyres for a short time the Bugbears led them to the “Blight House,” a building that once used to be a tenament, before being converted to a plague house, and now is a broken ruin that apparently acts as a headquarters for some individuals that may be the people the party was looking for.

Splitting up, Anora and Tree moved towards the front door while Baruke and Fuk moved along an alleyway towards the rear of the building. Unfortunately along the side of the house Baruke and Fuk encountered a pile of ooze that lurched toward Baruke aggressively. Fighting it off with his axes, Baruke was able to make quick work of the ooze, but was left somewhat puzzled about the nature of the ooze and how it had been able to absorb some of his blows when there was solid stone underneath the ooze. Anora and Tree did not fair much better either as when they entered the building through the front door they fell into a pit. Tree was able to launch himself across the pit but Anora was not able to do so and instead fell down into a dark basement.

Standing up and examining her surroundings, Anora lit a sun stick discovering what appeared to be some sort of lair. The area was once an old wine cellar but most of the shelves and store had been destroyed, scattered across the floor. Off to one side however there was a pile of rage that seemed to function as some sort of bed, around which were scattered bits of bone. Moving off to one side, Anora discovered a door which she slowly opened, only to discover a hallway where hundreds of bats had decided to roost. Her sun stick’s light scared the bats causing them to fly into a swirling rage, before they scattered out of the hole in the ceiling and off into the Pyres to find another roost.

Meanwhile, Baruke and Fok broke through the back door discovering a small back entrance hallway crisscrossed with footprints and other strange prints. Working their way through the house the group was able to reunite with Tree before exploring further and discovering a series of doorways. Opening several the group made their way into what must have once been a dining room, but now was covered by some huge web. In front of the web stood a tall spider like creature that stood upright like a human, and wore a large leather jacket and pants, as well as a top hat. The strange creature removed its hat and performed a deep bow for the duo.

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Session 9.5
A meeting of new friends

Waking from a well deserved rest in an actual bed, Anora and Baruke made their way down to the common room of the Whispering Word to break their fast. Taking a seat at one of the tables, a serving women brought them a simple meal of porridge, bread, cheese and slices of cold meat. They were also given a strange warm black drink that had a strange smell and tasted slightly bitter.

After the meal Grum came over to their table with two other people in tow. All three had a seat at the table and Grum introduced the two new comers as individuals that the Voices have interviewed and accepted over the past few days for the same position that they had accepted to perform.

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Session 9
Welcome to Sigil

Stumbling out of the portal the duo breathed deeply trying to catch their breath from the flying leap they just made through the portal. The found it hard though as the air was thin, as the air is on top of a mountain, and laced with smog from some unknown source. An array of smells assaulted their noses that were now free from the omnipresent smell of burnt ozone that covered all of Avernus. They smelled cooking fires, trash, unwashed bodies, tanneries, and thousands of other smells; common smells of a city.

Looking around the two picked up Halitsu who was laying upon the ground, apparently knocked out from the toss Anora gave him through the portal. Then finally taking in thir surroundings the group found themselves in an alleyway between what appeared to be large hastily or cheaply built tenement buildings constructed of a variety of material. The sky was obscured by the overhanging buildings and the clothes lines that were strung between the buildings, and the alleyway itself swung off in one direction in a haphazard manner blocking a line of sight. In the other direction was a dead end with a collection of trash. In the pile of trash appeared to be a man dozing contently.

Worried about the man’s condition Baruke woke the man to make sure he was alright. The man awoke, startled, spouting some language that neither of the group understood, including the small devil. Standing up, the man brushed himself off and pushed back the wide brim hat that had been covering his face, revealing dark ebony colored skin speckled with white scraggly hair. Speaking more in the language the man looked questioningly at the group. Shaking his head he switched to another language, before finally speaking in some sort of Dwarven that the group could understand, although it was heavily accented and filled with several words that did not make any sense.

The man introduced himself as Famwe and inquired as to why he was woken up. Quickly brushing over the matter Famwe brought the topic to who the party was and why were they here in Sigil. Discovering that the group were new to the planes he offered to take them to a place that they could find work and possibly a place to stay, something he recommended they should do as it was not wise to be with out a safe haven in Sigil. Leading them down and out of the alley way he turned into a dirt street and set off into the city.

The sight of the street amazed the party as it was a fantastical sight. The street was filled with an amazing assortment of creatures of all shapes and sizes as well as beings they were used to seeing, albeit in different dress styles and manners. A creature that was like a centaur out of legend walked passed them however instead of a body like a horse it was a goat’s body, and two goat horns sprouted from the creatures head. Further down the road there was a cart, pulled by a rather miserable looking mule, that was filled with dead bodies. Even stranger was that tied to the back of the cart by a length of rope, appeared to be a walking corpse!

Looking passed all the creatures however lead to an even stranger discovery. Tracing the length of the street it appeared that it ran uphill until reaching an end at some buildings. However the hill looked like it continued passed the buildings rising up further. In fact it looked like the hill rose so high that they could not see the sky beyond it. Tracing the hill further and further the two travelers found themselves dumbfounded as they traced the city until it was directly above them. It appeared some distance away yet they could almost make out the movement of other people and carts through streets just like the one in which they stood.

Laughing at them for nearly tripping over themselves, Famwe explained that their reaction is pretty much the same as everyone else’s who first come to the Cage. He said what really puts people through a loop though is figuring out that we are actually on our side. He then pointed off in the distance outside of the city. Just barely visible in the distance was what appeared to be the top of a large, thin mountain jutting up from some unseen landmass. Watching the reactions on the duo’s face, the man laughed again and urged them to continue on, adding on to watch out for Knights of the Post, they’ll nip a purse if they get a chance.

Leading them further through the city the group eventually found its way to a large square which at the center stood a large fountain. The fountain was carved of some sort of black stone and it depicted three demon like creatures with long necks like dragons, which swung down leading to open mouths that poured water into the fountain’s basin base. All around the fountain gather different groups of people all in various states of grief, facing the statue with different holy symbols raised. Passed all the groups were a scattering of tents, like some sort of market. Famwe explained that this was Wailer’s Square the center of the Grey District. It is the hub of the surrounding community and functioned as a roughshod market place for all kinds of funerary goods due to the close proximity to the Mortuary the headquarters of the Dustmen. The fountain in the center of the square is also said to have magics within it that acts as a conduit which connects those who wish to send word to their loved ones in the after life. Famwe then commented that most of the most “animated” wailers here in the square actually belong to the Wailer’s Guild, a group that maintains the fountain and act on behalf of people who wish to contact family. Professional Mouners.

Pushing his way through the crowd and calling for the group to follow he made his way directly across the square to a stout looking building constucted of stone on the first floor and wood for the upper two. Above the door hung a sign depicting a black cloaked women who held up her hand as if in a quieting motion. “The Whispering Word” says Famwe, “the best establishment in the district.” Stepping inside the group was greeted by a rather morbid atmosphere as the tavern was decorated like it were a funerary home. All the tables were shaped like coffin lids and across the room were various skulls displayed from many different species. A serving maid came to greet them but she scowled when she recognized Famwe. After exchanging a few words in a language the group didn’t understand the maid disappeared into the back room, returning a few moments later followed by a sizable older man.

The man had the tanned skin of a many who has spent years working in the sun. He was bald and appeared to have a nose that has been broken in too many fights. Approaching Famwe the two men shook hands and exchanged a few words before leading the group to a table while Famwe went to the bar for a drink. Offering them a seat, the bald man took a seat across from them and then spoke in very slow speech. “My name is Grum, the owner of this Inn, Famwe tells me that you are new to town, so sorry if this is a bit hard for you to understand, but you will have to get used to it as it is the common tongue here on the planes.” The man had to repeat a few words for the duo but slowly the words came together for them. “It is one of the mysteries of the planes but somehow some thread of speech made its way through a large number of worlds. It appears that your worlds was touched sometime in the past and so we can understand each other if we choose our words. After a few days you will get used to it so that people with a fast tongue like Famwe over there can be understood. Now we need to wait for the other two Voices before we can discuss the business that Famwe brought you here for however since you two look like you have seen better days how bout some food and drink. I will send some out for you.” With that the man stood and returned to the bar, passing word to a serving maid who went into the back room returning quickly with a tray holding bowls of stew and hunks of bread. Picking up mugs of ale pour by Grum, the maid brought the food to the table and placed it before everyone. “It’s not the best food you can find in Sigil, but at least it won’t kill you.” The maid said with a smile, before setting about to other work in the Inn.

A short time after the food was finished, two figures entered the bar and were greeted by Grum. After a short conversation the three figures made their way to the party’s table and took seats across from the party. The taller figure was a skinny man with dark hair that look pale and sickly. The other was a shorter women, dressed in black robes, that also had two small ivory horns extending form her forehead. Grum introduced the two as Brom and Mother Xero, the other two Voices of Wailer’s Square. He explained that the Voices had no real authority but instead were like village Elders that the rest of the community looked to for guidance and advice. Unfortunately it has come to pass that a number of problems have occurred in the area and they are in need of people who would be willing to work on behalf of the community and restore order. The Voices have settled on looking to outsiders such as the party because it would avoid any entanglements with Factions that may cause problems as the outfit would go about its business. It also provides an alternative to letting the Harmonium working wholesale through the district, something everyone in the community would want to avoid.

If the group would be willing to accept the position of Community Guard then they would be provided room and board at the Whispering Word as well as compensation that would be appropriate for their actions.

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Session 8
What the Hell!

Awaking from their alternating naps the duo gathered themselves and made their way south to the Great Road. After several miles the party found their way out of the rolling hills to be find a fearsome sight. In the distance was a huge fortress that covered several square miles. It was constructed of what appeared to be brass or bronze although it lacked the luster that the metals normally carried. Instead the metal seemed almost dull, as if it absorbed what little light shone on the plane. At the center of the fortress stood a large castle around which was what appeared to be some sort of city. From the party’s vantage point they could make out a great gate through the fortress’ wall which streamed with countless amounts of beings, going about numerous tasks. The distance was too great to make out any significant details but it was obvious they would not be welcomed there. Setting off on a trail that ran away from the fortress the party stumbled upon the Great Road only to discover that the road was occupied by a great force. A army of Devils were marching towards the fortress they saw to the west during their travels. Halitsu explained that the host was part of the Blood War and was probably marching to some foreign battlefield to fight the Demons.

Waiting patiently for the force to move on the party darted out from their hiding place onto the road so they could pull out a brick. However the brick proved much more troublesome then they first thought. Despite pushing and pulling with all their strength the brick would barely budge. Finally after about twenty minutes or so they were finally able to pull the brick free. Yet the victory was short lived as they heard a screech down the road. Glancing at the screech’s origin the party discovered six flying black creatures soaring towards the group who was exposed in the middle of the road.

Tossing the brick into Baruke’s backpack, the party ran off the road and into the steam vents that lined the south side of the road. Using the vents as cover turned out to be a smart idea as two of the devils were shot out of the air by an exploding vent of super heated steam. The other flyers closed in on the party slashing at the group with razor sharp claws. Two of the devils were able to dig into Baruke before he could make quick work of them with his axes. Anora lashed out with her rapier stabbing one of the devils as the steam vents exploded around the swirling melee. The party eventually prevailed and ran out of the steam vents across the last few hundred feet to the rock outcropping that was their destination.

Upon reaching the rock outcropping a shadowy figure greeted them from atop the stairs that were carved into the rock face. After the variety of strange creatures and people the group met during their journey in Avernus the party stood reluctantly half way up the stairs to deal with the figure. After some demands from the party the creature introduced himself as Al’kermon the guardian of the portal. The figure explained that as the guardian of the portal he has control over who can and can not use the portal. Thus if the party wished to use the portal they would have to perform a simple task for him. The party must carry with them a small silver orb through the portal to Sigil. Obviously reluctant to do the task, as there must be something more to it then the creature explained, the party refused to do the task. Growing slightly angry with the party, Al’kermon, said that if they did not wish to make the deal with him and carry out such a simple task then he could leave them to deal with the other devils cashing them. He then pointed out across the steam vents at the approaching rear vanguard of black flying creatures like those they just dealt with from the Great Road.

Pulling Halitsu aside Anora questioned him as to whom this creature may be. Halitsu explained that he did not know who he was or even if he claimed to be who he said he was. The little devil explained further that all Baatezu strive to advance in rank so that they may one day become a Lord. Bel in particular just achieved his rank not too long ago, displeasing many Baatezu. Thus this creature may be one of those that who wish for Bel’s downfall so that they may take his place. Avernus also has many “rogue” devils known as the Rabble. These are devils who have fallen out of favor with the main Baatezu force but have been able to gather some power on Avernus, as Bel’s hold is a rather tenuous position at the moment.

Baruke, growing impatient with the figure, then leaped forward brandishing his axe and held it to the creature’s throat. Baruke spat at the creature that he has grown tired of the creature’s games and that he will let them through. After a flash of anger, the creature smiled and then slowly pulled back his cloak revealing a suit of black armor and a long bastard sword constructed of some strange greenish metal. Al’kermon then let out a short laugh and reiterated that if they did not accept the deal then he could leave them to the horde.

Deciding it would be better to take the deal, Anora pulled out a rag and asked for the orb. Taking the orb the group walked to the portal. The creature asked for the gate key but Baruke ignored the figure and activated the portal himself, by simply stepping close enough to the gateway. The party then ready themselves for the portal lining up in front of it. Then just as they stepped through Anora tossed aside the orb, grabbed Halitsu and tossed him through the portal. Anora then grabbed a hold of Baruke so that they could dive through together. Al’kermon,reacted quicker however and whipped out his sword slashing at his closest target; Baruke. The sword stung Baruke as it slashed across his face leaving him with a nasty gash that spouted blood. Luckily that was all the creature could do as the duo stumbled into the portal sending them to whatever waited for them on the other side.

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Session 7
To Hell and Back?

As the party stepped into the portal in the town square time seemed to freeze as the mystical energy pulled at their very means of existence. The group was flung forward at an incredible speed as they traveled into a giant silver void that stretched far beyond what they could see or even comprehend. Barely able to make out shapes the group found themselves inside of what appeared to be a tube running through the void within a cluster of other similar tubes. As the flew through the tube they saw shapes shoot past them in the other tubes. The shapes moved much too fast for them to make out but it was possible that they were other people travel as they were.

After what seemed like ages, or perhaps just seconds, the group was flung out of the end of the tube with a great flash of light. Picking themselves off the ground, Anora and Baruke needed to shield their eyes from the harsh light that burned their eyes. As their eyes adjusted, they were set upon by an oppressive heat and a horrible smell of burnt ozone. The group found themselves standing in a box canyon hewn very roughly out of some strange rust colored stone, that not even Baruke could identify, despite his long years in the Dwarven Halls of his youth. Carved into this strange stone was an ornate lattice work in the form of an arch which was covered in a strange set of ruins that neither human nor dwarf had ever seen before. At the very center of this arch was a small glowing dot that winked out of existence just as the group reached for it. This disheartened the group as it was the only link they knew back to their home.

Yet before the duo could gather themselves they heard a gasp of fear from behind them. Turning the group found a short devilish creature that looked like the creatures that had just destroy Bogenhafen but of much smaller stature. Advancing towards the creature caused it to drop the small spear it was carrying and push itself further into the wall, as if it could try and hide by forcing itself into the stone wall itself. Anora began to explain to the creature that they meant it no harm but demanded to know where they were. The creature stood dumbfounded, frozen in fear of the duo. Thinking quickly Anora cast a charm spell upon the creature, calming it slightly and making it more comfortable to the party’s presence. After shifting through a few languages the small devil itself cast a spell, ending with a tap upon its own head, it then spoke in a tongue the duo could understand.

After a short questioning the party was able to gather that the creature was named Halitsu a Spinagon of the Baatezu, the creatures who inhabit the plane of Baator. More specifically the party learned they are on the first layer of Baator, named Avernus ruled by Bel, a Baatezu Lord. The little creature had no knowledge of the invasion of their world, suggesting that it may have come from any of the nine layers of Baator, but of course he is so low rank that he would not be told of any plans unless he was directly involved with the invasion. When the party began questioning him about the terms he was using Halitsu gained a little more confidence in himself asking if they were of the clueless and if they were then they stumbled into a heap of trouble. Bluffing their way through this the party was able to convince Halitsu that they were agents of Bel and that they had been working with Bell to bring about the invasion. They however needed to get off Avernus since they were on another mission. Halitsu was not willing at first to help but after threatening to turn him over to Bel for punishment, Halitsu suggested that they go to visit the The Mad Witch who had taken residence in the mountains to the east. Since she was a Planar like them then she might know of a way to get out of Baator.

The journey across the Plains of Avernus was not an easy journey as the land was not forgiving and signs of death surrounded the group. Occasionally the ground would shake like a earthquake and in the distance explosions could be heard, followed by great plumes of smoke rising into the sky. Eventually the party reached a river they had not spied earlier as it had been hidden by the hills the ran along side of it. The river however was not what the group expected as it was filled with what appeared to be blood. It was a gruesome sight as the blood sloshed against the rocks, scattered throughout the river, leaving behind stains that dyed the rocks red. After testing the blood, and finding no other choice the party walked into the river, fording their way across.

Leaving the river behind the group made their way up into the foot hills of the mountain, finding a trail that appeared to have seen some use recently. Following the trail the party made their way up-slope finding a dead corpse of a few scattered trees. Scattered through the woods were strange mounds constructed of debris. Stepping close to one the mounds, the ground began began to shake and suddenly explode as a skeletal figure raised itself up, drawing a rusted sword and shield. Striking at Anora, the skeleton did not prove effective in its fighting, as it swung wide allowing for Baruke to charge in an cleave the skeleton in two. The fight was not over however as the rest of the ward that had been cast over the woods triggered, causing the rest of the mounds to reveal more skeletons, as well as what seemed to be a champion of some sort as it was large and better equipped then the rest.

Baruke charged across the field of battle, flinging himself at the champion while Anora set to work shooting at the rest of the approaching figures. Making short work of the skeletons, equally due to the groups skill and the skeleton’s lack of it, the party turned towards the cave at the far end of the woods to find a small hooded figure that was the The Mad Witch. The old crone yelled at them that they will need to pay for destroying her guardians and that if they come any closer then she will have to use her magics against them. Anora tried to cast a spell against her but it was expertly turned aside by the old women, who cackled a the attempt. Beckoning them to come closer the Mad Witch told them that she would have to perform a test upon them before they could have any dealings. Throwing some Holy Water on the two party members, the old women shrugged to herself and said that they were either too powerful Devils for her magics to work or they were not Devils. Either way they might as well come in to talk, but they would have to leave the Spinagon outside. Halitsu protested saying that he feared the Witch and that he should return to his post. Not thinking this was a good idea Anora grabbed the creature and tied him to a post outside of the cave’s entrance.

Once inside the cave they were given seats by a small fire and offered tea. After the party politely declined the tea the Mad Witch took a seat by the small cooking fire and sipped some of her tea. She began by introducing herself as Hexla and answering the groups’ initial questions. This eventually led to an explanation of how she found herself in Avernus. The story began with her research on her home world of Raliel where she stumbled across the existence of the Multiverse while formulating a new spell that accidentally triggered a portal. The portal was too unstable for her to use and it lasted only a short time before disseminating. But the spark had been placed and it triggered an incurable desire to try and find a way to control and use portals to other worlds.

She delved into her research finding as much as she could about the use of portals and the multiverse that it lead too. Finally the day came when she was to perform the ritual that would create a portal. But somewhere in her spell she had miscalculated and the portal was unstable and beyond her control. It sucked her in and dropped her into Avernus. She has been able to scrape by since then with her magics but it has been a tough experience. She devotes most of her time to trying to reformulate the spell so that she may go home but her resources are extremely limited here.

The party quizzed her some more on the Multiverse, drinking in the tales she spun about the different planes and how they connect to one another. This of course led to the ultimate question of whether she knew how they could get home. Unfortunately since she herself was stuck here until she got her spell right, she was unable to provide them with an answer. However she was able to point them in the direction of the Pillar of Skulls, a collection of knowledge to say the least. Bidding their good byes the party left the witch’s cave to seek the Pillar.

A short travel to the south the party crested a hill to a grotesque sight. Before them stood a pillar that stood a few hundred feet tall and about twenty feet wide, but the pillar was not exactly constructed of skulls. Instead the pillar was made up of thousands of heads, of all species and race, all in various states of decay. The air was filled with a cacophony of sound as all the heads were yelling and arguing with one another. Upon the party’s approach the pillar silenced slightly as a few of the heads attempted to “organize” the rest. It was almost as if the heads were arguing for control of speech.

The party had a few short conversations with several different heads, including a Giant’s head, a Gnome’s head, a Dwarf Rune Priest, and an Elven Sage. All had different stories but a few commonalities emerged. The party should head towards Sigil, the City of Doors, where they could hopefully find a portal, or at the very least a person how may be able to point them towards their home world. How to get to Sigil was the point of contention however. Between all the stories three portals were suggested. There was a portal in Bel’s Fortress, one in the mountains to the East and a portal in the South just beyond the Great Road. Trusting in the Dwarven Rune Priest the party set off south to the Great Road to acquire a brick, which would act as the Gate Key to the portal.

After a few hours of traveling south from the Pillar the group re-encountered the River of Blood, which must have curved aback around the foothills. The river her though was much deeper and ran through some rapids, giving the river much greater speed. Thinking quickly the party tied a lasso and began traversing the river slowly but surely. Much to the chagrin of the party however two giant Blood Worms reared out of the raging torrents and lurched their way towards the party. Acting quickly the party moved towards the opposite shore so that they may gain some sure footing to take on their foes. The worms closed in quickly launching themselves at Baruke. One worm was able to latch its toothed mouth onto Baruke’s chest but the dwarf was able to pry the worm off without much effort. After some quick blade work the worms were vanquished with one fleeing, severely wounded and one missing its head.

Tired from the journey and the battle across the river the party took shelter by a rock outcropping and made a quick camp to try and some light rest.

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Session 6.5
The End of Leogeon Silentread

The young wizard ran down a side street off the Gottenplatz, away from the chaos that was engulfing the center of town. A thousand thoughts ran through his head as contemplated what happened to his two friends who had disappeared through one of those portals created by the energy bolts. It excited Leogeon that there was now evidence that other worlds did exist, however horrible they were as evident by these disgusting creatures.

He then cursed himself for not listening closer to the teachings of his Elders back in the Academy, concerning the hell creatures he now faced. The ancient texts spoke of portals to other worlds and how some of these worlds were inhabited by foul creatures like these. They also spoke of how there was a war that occured long ago that sealed the portals leading to this world, protecting it from the outside dangers. But now it appears that with the work done by that greedy Tugen those thousands of ears of protection were no broken.

Rounding the corner of the street, Leogeon found himself confronted with a pack of the devils herding a group of citizens towards a portal. Leaping forward, he stuck two of the creatures with his staff and launched an arcane bolt at the third. Side stepping a fourth creature, he pulled out his sword and made quick work of the creature. Feeling emboldened by his actions, the once cowed citizens turned on their captures, letting go the fury they felt for their destroyed homes.

With the immediate threat dealt with, Leogeon directed the group to make their way out of town and spread the word about what had happened hear. Word must reach other cities so that armies can be rallied and brought to put an end to this menace. A man stepped forward and said his brother lived outside of town and had horses. The elf told them to head there and then send riders out. With that, Leogeon headed off, rounded back around to get a better sight at the giant fountain of energy that consumed the center of town.

The fountain was a menacing sight, as the creature that perched atop the fountain stared down at the fleeing people with a grin upon its monstrous face. He must do something to stop that creature, as it seemed to be the source of the power for the invasion. Setting off through the town he began to make his way closer to the fountain, despite the many hazards that blocked his way.

Entering a building whose door had been ripped from its hinges, he found the stairs and climbed his way to the roof. Settling down just out of sight of the creature, the young elf thought back upon his studies. Thoughts raced through his head like lightning as he tried to devise a spell that might have some effect upon the creature. Settling upon a variation of a summoning spell, it was perhaps possible to modify the spell and banish the creature. His powers were no where near as strong as his teachers, but he must try something. Reaching into his pocket he produced the ring the devil Gideon had worn; Leogeon felt that if he perhaps focused the spell through the ring it might be able to effect the creature like it did Gideon.

Chanting the words of the spell, the elf felt the surge of mana flow into him, forming the spell. Trying to work quickly and avoid detection, Leogeon continued to gather more mana then he needed to cast the spell. His teachers had warned him that he might burn himself out, or worse even kill himself, but if he didn’t try this then he would probably die anyway. Forcing the pulsating energy through the ring, he then traced the arcane symbols for the spell in the air and pointed to the creature. The spell flew true and smashed into the creature with a brilliant flash.

Leogeon roared with pride as the spell found its target. But the excitement left his face when the light cleared and the creature still sat perched on top of the fountain. The grin upon its face though shifted to one of anger as it turned his direction and settled its eyes upon the roof top where Leogeon stood. With astonishing speed for a creature its size, it shot its arm down towards the roof, snatching for the elf. Reacting in just enough time, Leogeon threw himself from the roof, falling the two stories to the cobbled streets, landing with a jolt, tearing at his left leg. Collapsing with pain, giant timbers tumbled down around him as the creature’s hand smashed into the building tearing it apart as if it were made of twigs. Forcing himself to stand despite the now broken leg, Leogeon shuffled down the street trying to escape the now furious random attacks of the giant devil.

Ducking into an alley way down the street, Leogeon sat down and began to treat his leg. Unsure of what to do next, he breathed deeply as he counted his options. He then began to stand when the building he sat across from exploded, exposing the face of the creature who hunted him. Standing defiantly, the young elf, faced the creature as it examined him. The creature then smiled as it began to reach for him. Trying to quickly gather more energy, he was unable to handle any when the creature grabbed him and hauled him hundreds of feet in the air. From this height he could make out, much of the town on fire or destroyed, yet many of the citizens had escaped beyond the city walls. Hopefully word will reach the seats of power for the Empire and something could be done. The humans should have the magics to turn back this force, and if they don’t then woe be upon this world.

Reaching the pinacle of the fountain the creature returned to its original shape as it held Leogeon before its face. Leogeon began to chant to himself the words of his ancestors,a prayer for those who have passed and those who will be. A calm settled through him as he felt the presence of his family and all those who had come before him. He was consumed by the bright light of his family’s star as he prepared himself for his journey to the afterlife. He felt as the creature lifted him over its head, and the heat the emanated from inside the creature as it opened its maw. A great blackness with a distant fire faced him from that maw. With the final words of the prayer, the creature dropped Leogeon into the maw which slid shut behind him. A giant smile returned to the devil’s face as it returned its attention to its forces conquering the town.

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Session 6
To Stop the Ritual

The group decided that since they were not sure what they faced at the warehouse, a few scouts were sent out from the group Bruggmen had gathered. They returned to tell how there were a group of strange cloaked men, who were obviously armed, gathered around warehouse 13. However the scouts were not able to gather too much beyond that because when they got too close the men questioned them and sent them off. With the warehouse being owned by the Tugen Family and the suspicious activity occurring there, the party set of towards the warehouse. The group’s confidence was shaken slightly when they noticed the face in the moon now moved. Its eyes spun around in its sockets before settling upon a gazed towards the town. A slender tongue then flicked out from between the face’s lips, licking as if awaiting a delicious meal.

Once the group reached the warehouse, the group split up with the Thieves’ Guild members dispersing through the are as not to attract attention. While this was occurring a cart bearing the sign of the Tugen Family arrived at the warehouse, depositing three cloaked figures carrying a large sack that was writhing as if someone was inside. These figures moved quickly inside shutting the door behind them. Several guardsmen also climbed from the back of the cart taking station by the front door of the warehouse.

Gathering behind the warehouse the party helped four Guild members onto the roof so that they may gain an advantage during the assault. This did not go unnoticed as a guard stationed by the parked cart heard them scaling the walls. Drawn to the rear of the warehouse the group quickly adopted the guise of a drunken group loudly celebrating their merriment. Shouting word to his fellow guards the party was pushed off into the night, but saved from discovery. While the group moved off another carriage arrived dropping off several more cloaked figures who hurried inside the warehouse as the carriage pulled off into the night.

Anora and Bruggmen then doubled back to were the guard stood by the carriage. Sneaking up behind the guard Anora attempted to stealthily kill the man from behind but the guard sensed her at the last second, just barely able to deflect her attack while still receiving a nasty gash across his shoulder. The guard slashed at Anora in retailiation but she deftly ducked under his sword attack and in return drew her rapier in one swift motion. However her attack did not find its target as the man shifted out of the attack’s way. Bruggmen seeing Anora in trouble ran forward to help, dodging the guards attempts to defend himself, plunging his sword into the man’s side. With the man defeated the two stuffed him into the carriage and took up positions for the assult.

Meanwhile on the other side of the warehouse Baruke Splintersteel and Altair made their way to some barrels by a small window looking into the warhouse. Hoisting himself into position Baruke peered through the window to find a horrible sight. At the center of the warehouse stood the reconstruction of the Hidden Temple from the sewers. The centerpiece was a large copper ring on the floor with a pentagram drawn within. At each point of the pentagram stood a silver candle stick holding a black candle which burned with an erie glow. In between each candle stood a hooded figure chanting in an unrecognizable tongue. Looking closer Baruke then noticed that there was a stripped man laying at the center of the pentagram restrained with some chains. The man struggled slightly but appeared slightly drugged, probably to calm him or maybe as part of the ritual.

Looking across the rest of the warehouse Baruke found Tugen dressed in similar robes as those who stood in the circle but his hood pulled back to reveil a skull helmet with cow like horns on either side. He stood chanting at an alter upon which lay a silver platter and a kriss. Painted upon the back wall of the warhouse was a large beastial face similar to the one in the Ordo Septenarius symbol. Off to the side of the alter stood Gideon Tugen. Tugen then suddenly stopped chanting, and wielding the kriss, turned to the circle and offered a demonic prayer. Striding forward Tugen stepped into the circle and plunged the kriss into the restrained man carving open the man’s chest. Reaching into the newly opened wound Tugen pulled out the man’s heart and raised it over his head while the other robed figure’s chant rose into a crescendo.

Jumping down from the window, as he had seen enough, Baruke and Altair moved forward into position for the attack. Seeing the signal that all were ready, Anora gave the attack signal. The party and their allies surged from their hiding spaces assaulting the guards who stood fast at the warhouse doors. It was a quick battle with little injuries to be had by the group. The guardsmen fell quickly to the groups tactics and superior numbers. With the guards dealt with, the group turned the the warhouse door and the horrors that awaited them inside. Anora doned Magirius’ vestments, hoping to sneak her way into the ritual but was floundered when she found the door locked. Stepping forward Altair quicky went to work picking the lock and was finished in a few minutes.

Sweeping the doors open Anora stepping into the warehouse just as Gideon steeping from beside the alter. He raised his hands above his head while chanting in a horrible other worldly voice. Gideon then removed the black Ordo ring he wore causing a ripple of arcane energy to fly through the room. His figure then flickered as he pulled his arms in around himself and settled into a crouch. There was a flash and then in the place stood a demonic figure nearly eight feet tall. The devil spread its wings, as if stretching before letting out that same laugh the group heard in Magirius’ home. Pointing at Anora in Magirius’ vestments, Gideon roared that she would have no need for the robes as it was already too late.

With those words Gideon stretched an arm forward and sent a bolt of red energy into the center of the circle. With that bolt a rumble began shaking the entire building. A bright red light then formed around the circle before shooting up to the ceiling. The rumbling grew more powerful, before the circle of light fell in upon itself, collapsing into the copper circle. As the light hit the inside of the circle the ground within the circle gave way, taking with it the cultist as well as the now dead sacrifice. The cultists’ chants quickly changed to screams of torment as they fell into the bottomless pit. Anora stood frightened as the screams continued until they faded into the distance as if the pit was so deep one could not hear the bottom.

At this point the awesome sight was too much for the Guildsman, who ran off into the night leaving the group alone with Altair and Bruggmen. With this Tugen laughed and began thanking Gideon for now his soul could be returned to him. Gideon laughed as well but then quick as a striking snake, lashed out with a clawed hand and grabbed Tugen, lifting him off the ground. Stunned Tugen grasped at the devil’s hand unable to do anything against the creatures strength. Gasping, the man was able to say “Why?” Laughing Gideon explained that Tugen was a fool. Did he really think that he would have recieved his soul back? What a simpleton. No my “friend,” he had simply been a pawn in a greater plan. Why settle for one soul, or even seven, when the entire world was ripe for the taking? “We, Baatezu” the devil explained, “often find it hard to cross over into the Prime with our own powers, but with the help of a greedy mortal like yourself, we can open a direct portal to the Pit. The portal just needs on more soul to complete it.” With that the devil threw Tugen screaming into the hole before turning to the party.

Gideon then smiled at the party and spit out “You all have been a trouble in my side the past few days but as you can see, your trouble have still been to no avail, the ritual is now complete. Now you may see the awesome power that has been summoned.” With that the light around the hole pulsed and again the red column of light shot out smashing against the roof sending thousands of bits of debris flying outward, covering the party and the surrounding area. The column of light grew to what must have been a mile high, consuming the moon. The face in the moon looked to be laughing as the moon faded into the fountain of red light. Bursting from the light, and assuming a seat upon the fountain, grew a large demonic figure bearing the face that was upon the moon. Leaning back as if laughing, no sound issued from the figure, until an unearthly roar from a distance filled everyone’s ears.

Overcoming the horendous sight, Anora drew out her crossbow and fired a bolt at the devil Gideon. The creature took the bolt in the shoulder but appeared unfased by the attack. Flying into a rage Baruke then leaped passed Anora slashing into the beast. Chopping wildly Baruke was able to make a few attacks passed the horrible black blade that Gideon wielded, digging deeply into the creature’s red flesh. Leogon, not standing idly began to fire off arcane magics at the creature. Taking one last blow at Baruke, Gideon realed at the fury of the dwarf before diving into the slowly growing pit that had been the copper circle. Deciding it was best to leave the warehouse the party rant to warn the town.

Leaving the warehouse district the party quickly discovered the town in a panic. This panic rose into a riot when the column of evil energy began to pulse and shoot off giant bolts of energy that fell to the city, smashing through buildings and into the streets. As the party entered the main Plaza of the city, one such bolt slammed into the ground not far from were they stood. The bolt then formed into some sort of arch whose outline then solidified into some kind of border. As the group stared in amazement, two oversized skulls came flying through the arch screaming in some strange language. The skulls flew into the air before circling down to harry the fleeing townspeople. Legeon let loose another arcane bolt which smashed into one of the flying skulls. Before much else could happen two more beasts emerged from the arch presenting the group his a disgusting sight. The creatures, standing about four feet tall, appeared to be made of a melting flesh-like ooze, constantly shifting in upon itself and dripping to the ground.

Anora lashed out with her rapier slicing into one of the creature’s shoulders. The blade dug deep however the flesh closed up around the blade, seemingly healing itself. Anora quickly withdrew her blade, noticing that the wound had only partly healed itself. This drove the creature mad, as it lunged at Anora, who was able to quickly dodge away. Baruke meanwhile had confronted the other beast and placing all of his strength behind his attack was able to cleave the creature in two. As the two halves fell to the ground a strange energy rose from the body and flew back into the portal. The dwarf then turned to see Anora fending off the creature, ruched over dealing a quick death blow. Again the strange arcane energy rose out of the body and retreated into the portal.

As the group shouted at one another about what to do, another bolt of energy slammed to the ground on the far side of the plaza. Again an arch formed but his time taller lizard like creatures emerged with what looked like lassos on the end of poles. The creatures began to gather humans and drag them back into the portal. Deciding that the fight must be carried to the source Anora ran over to the portal and reluctantly place a single finger into the mystic energy. Strangely the portal, despite its fiery color, felt cold to the touch. Then a strange feeling arouse within her, as if something was brushing against the inside of her mind. The feeling then grew taught and pulled her forward into the portal. Watching his friend get pulled into the portal Baruke charge forward and dove in head first, not knowing where the portal would carry him. All he wished was that they would not end up in a land where those disgusting fleshy creatures were allowed to live.

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Session 5
On the edge of a Knife

After retiring to their inn for the evening Baruke was awoken by a strange noise. He was quickly able to establish that his room’s window was being opened by a cloaked figure breaking into their room. Jumping from his bed the dwarf let out a shout of warning while he launched himself at the figure. Attempting to grab the figure and pull it inside the room. The figure, not expecting the speed of the dwarf, lashed out with a dagger allowing it to avoid Baruke’s grasp. The figure then launched himself backwards and onto the roof of the neighboring building, taking off running.

Following quickly Baruke leaped from his window onto the roof while Anora rising from her bed ran to the window to spy the figure trying to escape. Thinking quickly she chanted a few words to cast Mage Hand and pull the tiles out from under the escaping figure, successfully tripping it. Falling to the roof the figure rolled about to face the pursuing party, deftly launching a dagger at the dwarf, lodging it in the dwarf’s shoulder. Filled with rage the dwarf tackled the figure and wrestled with it, preventing it from escape. Anora then made her way to the struggling pair and threatened the figure with her crossbow to stop struggling.

Now in close proximity the party could now see that the assassin was under some sort of spell holding him to his duty. Wrestling the figure to the ground Baruke attempted to subdue him but before any progress could be made the figure’s eyes bulged and his mouth began to foam as he was killed by the magics that held him to his duty. Looking about the party spied another cloaked figure who must have been watching the assassin attempt to kill them. This new figure turned and ran off into the darkness. Baruke turned to run after the figure but slipped from the roof top falling to the street below, badly hurting himself. Anora lowered herself with some rope to Baruke and brought him to the local temple for some healing.

Upon returning to their inn, the Innkeeper was not pleased with the actions that the party caused in his inn. The group began to apologize but before they could explain too much the Innkeeper was waved off by a man who they had been standing by the bar waiting. Inviting them to a table and ordering a round of ales the man introduced himself as Altair and that he had been sent to them as a representative of the Thieves’ Guild here in Bogenhafen. He explained that his group was not responsible for the attack that just occurred nor the thugs tat had accosted them the previous day. He suggested that they were probably agents of the people they have been investigating. Altair explained that his group had been watching them since they had entered in the sewers as they use the sewers and they were worried that they may discover something. And behold the group nearly stumbled into their Guildhall entrance, if they had pushed their way through the blocked entrance. Anora questioned him only to have him reply that they knew who she was and what she did in Tilea. This silenced Anora but drew question looks from the rest of the party.

Altair finished by offering his organization’s help in any way that they can provide, although their resources have become limited due to the pressure placed upon them by the Town Council and Town Watch over the past year and a half. He then drew the groups sign on the table in sawdust for the party and explained that if they look for the symbol it will lead them to people who can help them. Bidding his goodbyes, Altair began to leave but Anora caught his arm out of the party’s hearing. Whispering the question of where she could locate her contact Altair told her to look for him in the Cross Pike Inn. The man then ducked back into the night.

After catching some rest for the next few hours the party rose and began to break their fast in the common room of the inn. Suddenly the entrance flew open and in the door stood a visibly shaken Magirius. Moving to the party, Magirius stated that he must speak to the party. Already drawing strange glances from the rest of the common room the party moved outside asking Magirius what the problem was. Magirius quickly explained that he was told by Tugen to do whatever it took to send the party away when he spoke to them the day before. But the Ordo had a meeting last night about their upcoming ritual. The ritual was to take place in the Temple discovered by the party in the sewers. But since the party had discovered the ritual had to be moved to another location which Tugen had not reveiled yet. The ritual was to be a great spell that would be able to shift the economy of the enitre Empire. It would make Bogenhafen rich beyond anybody’s wildest dreams, especially those who help lead the ritual.

But Tugen informed Magirius, and the other inner council members last night at the meeting, that the ritual was to call for seven sacrifices. This was too much for Magirius. He could dabble in the arcane arts, as much as he hated to, so that he could become rich, but sacrificing people for it would be too much. He then explained that he could not go to the Watch or Council as Tugen has both groups under his thumb and he would be risking his life if Tugen found out that he was becoming a turncoat. So he came to the party as they were obviously causing problems for Tugen and the Ordo. Magirius suggested that he will send them word when he found out where the ritual was to take place and that they could interrupt the ritual. If they could interrupt the ritual then they would be able to save those being sacrificed and thus catch the Ordo red handed, there is no way the Watch could deny their evil ways. Agreeing the party said that they would wait for his word and formulate a plan in the mean time.

The party then began to stroll through the city trying to develop a plan of action. Finally they decided to try the Thieves’ Guild to see if they would be willing to provide any help to their problems. Heading to the Cross Pike Inn the party was surprised when they entered to find that a large portion of the clientele were members of the Town Watch. Asking the Inn Keeper for Bruggmen he pointed out an older man seated at the end of the bar eating his midday meal. Anora approached the man and after passing a few words between the two he lead the party into the kitchen and down into the storage cellar. Pushing aside a hidden entrance he led the group into a back room, much large in size then would be expected for being under the inn, which housed a table and a set of chairs.

Taking a seat the man offered them some drinks and asked what he could do for them. After explaining their situation Bruggmen offered that he could help by gathering some men from about town who were loyal to his organization and able fighters. He would need a few hours to do so but they would be available by evening.

After leaving the Cross Pike Inn the party visited some local shops to gather materials for the upcoming fight. When they stepped out from an Apothecary shop a young boy of 12 wearing a servants livery, ran up to them and offered them a message. Without even waiting for a tip or a return message the boy ran off into the city. It was a note from Magirius telling them to visit him at his house. Heading off to the house the party was greeted at the door by the same young boy who had dilivered the message. Leading to the back of the house the boy brought them to Magirius’ study. However, Magirius was not in the study, confusing the group. Questioning the boy, the boy simply pointed to the desk. Looking to the desk the party noticed that there appeared to have been a struggle as the desk was swept clean. They then noticed a large blood stain on the bookshelf behind the desk, which drew their attention down, leading to the body of Magirius.

Spinning around the party confronted the boy who simple answered them with and other worldly laugh, a laugh much too deep for a boy of only 12 years. The boy then produced a stern look upon his face and stated that they should have heeded the warnings he sent them to simply leave town and stop looking into matters that dont concern them. If he could kill them directly he would but this would have to do. He began to laugh again but as he did his image began to fade to nothingness. The laugh continued for a few seconds after the by had disappeared.

Deciding it would be good for themselves to disappear as well, the group ran to the front door. However when they opened up the door they saw the young boy out in the street talking to a Watch Patrol and pointing at the house. Raising an alarm the Watch Patrol began to run towards the house, cutting off the main entrance for the party. Ducking back into the house they ran into the kitchen and out the servant entrance into the backyard. Finding the yard walled in, the group quickly scaled a tree and launched themselves over the wall. Escaping down the alley way the party gathered themselves some distance away from the house to form a plan. Anora decided she was going to disguise herself and go back to the house to see what she could discover while the rest of the party was going to go through the sewers to reach the Thieves’ Guildhall for safety.

The party was able to make it into the sewers but not before being seen by a Watch patrol. Luckily due to Baruke’s night vision they were able to run into the darkness providing no light for the Watch to follow. Meaning while Anora made her way back to Magirius’ house and enter undetected due to her disguise. Finding two Watchmen exaiming the room where the corpse lie, she asked what happened. They said it looks like Magirius was stabbed to death and had his throat slit. One of Magirius’ servant boys said that he saw a Tilean lady and a Dwarf kill Magirius but was able to run to the Watch before they killed him. Anora asked if she could examine the body, and upon being granted to do so, she discovered Magirius’ Ordo ring. She then noticed that written on the side of the desk, in his own blood, Magirius had written “WRHS 1…” with the last number being smudged and unreadable. Searching the rest of the house Anora then discovered Magirius’ Ordo robes in one of his wardrobes.

Heading back to the Cross Pike Inn, Anora informed the rest of the party of what she had discovered. They then set to work on formulating a plan for their assault against the Ordo Septenarius.

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