Caemlyn is asked to speak with the Committee of the Interior Yan Farsin, about the rising of the undead and underworld activity within the bounds of the city & nation. Farsin hopes that Caemlyn is able to work with a local sorcerous to create a way to prevent further incursions. Caemlyn agrees and goes to seek out the one called Ariana.
Caemlyn reaches a looming tower known as the Needle Ethenium, very long tapering cylinder that disappears into its own cloud. Made up of pristine white marble and no windows, it is daunting. Over the entrance, written in old realm “Knowledge is Power. Through Wisdom, Exaltation”
She walks up the vast steps and realizes she is being scanned. A ramp appears before her and carries her up the rest of the way. She sees various tomes and texts galore. When she reaches her destination, she sees several humanoid entities covered in porcupine quills, pouring salt into arcane pattern to form a circle, where the powerful sorcerous stands, Ariana overlooking the work.
WIthout glancing at Caemlyn, she gestures for her to come over, and asks “Tell me if this is a perfect circle of Abjuration.”
Caemlyn answers correctly, which causes Ariana to finally look at her. “I very rarely look at a woman taller than me.”
Caemlyn says, “I received a message from Farsin, I am willing to help with a proper circle.”
Ariana gives her access to her library, and Caemlyn gets to work
She researches for a long time. She discovers that if a solar circle level spell of abjuration is performed once a year by the exalted, that should prevent further incursions by Shadowlands.
A sorcerous working to seal Rathess against the rise of further shadowlands.
Caemlyn and Ariana begin their casting. Channeling vast amounts of essence, including those that came from various demons in the tower, they succeed in fortifying Rathess.
Ariana gives Caemlyn a book, one borrowed from her past incarnations. They are notes from the 11th Doctor. These notes include information on the Labyrinth. A rubbing, in very unpleasant writing, says “The Black Cycle will spiral into the void from the gift I have made from the malaise of your soul.”
Arianna tells Camelyn that Byrrden is in a Shadowland and will be in the Labyrinth soon. She conjures a small creature made of fire for Caemlyn to follow so she can reunite with him.
Speaking of Byrrden…
Earlier, Byrrden overheard the conversation between Caemlyn & Yan Farsin. He goes a-skulkin, checking in on the homeless and disenfranchised of the city. There are not many. He wanders into an old Dragon King home, and chats with the current occupying residents. They mention that an old friend of theirs came to visit…even though he was already dead. They tore him apart with shovels.
“It was nice of Lord Octavian to visit us like that.
Byrrden continues his journey and ends up in an abandoned scrapyard. He sees a ragamuffin child, sneaking their way between scrap piles. In their hands is a cluster of scrolls. Byrrden realizes that he can see through the pale child. A ghost. Byrrden follows.
Byrrden is led to old town Rathess. As soon as the child steps into the old town, he stops being transparent and solidifies. He seems much more at ease, at home. Byrrden doesn’t recognize this part of the city but continues following.
The child walks up Egyptian style robbed ghost and is about to hand scrolls. “This is what our spies could find of their troop movements, security info, etc.”
Byrrden distracts the ghosts and steals the scrolls from their grasp. He takes off into the darkness, but then sees a small creature made of fire coming towards him, followed by Caemlyn.
As they reunite, Byrrden is about to lead them out when the ghost child catches up to them. “Those are mine.” “
Byrrden goes, “No, they are mine.”
“No, they were yours. Now they’re mine.”
Caemlyn asks why she stole them.
“That git with black skin, and his gits, they work for a deathlord, when a git tells you to do something, you do it, or else, you end up as a face in soul steel.”
They say that they’ll protect her from becoming soul steel if she helps them. She agrees and tells them her name, Wentworth. Wentworth leads them deeper into the Shadowland, saying their friends are already in there.
Back in the Shadowland…
We go through the exit that Gengar led us to. Behind us is a giant sprawling castle. Swarming out from behind us look to be skeletal warriors and ghostly creatures all heavily armed. All are decorated with hangman’s nooses, with victims pulling off nooses to do battle.
Dace’s army is before us, charging. We realize that they’re after the undead, and not us!
A giant hunched figure moves along the ramparts. The pale skinned hunchback creature with a hangman’s gibbet rising from back, hanging wailing spectres with long robes on it.
THE FRICKIN HANGMAN leaps from the belltower and begins swinging from the bell and rings it, sending the various undead towards the team.
Dace charges at Durandal. Shoulder checks him, and slashes at him. T Force of the blow knocks his feet into furrows in the ground.
The Beacon arrives, summoning a skeletal dragon that takes flight firing necrotic breath at the skeletons. Beacon looks over at Durandel, “Is that you? Are you sure you’re not a ghost? Dace thinks you’re a ghost.”
Vox attempts to shine his light on Dace, to break his thinking we’re an illusion. His anima flares as he yells “By the light of Unconquered Sun, let his power pierce the illusions clouding your mind!”
Dace shakes his head a bit, taking a step back. He still seems to not recognize Durandel, but is no longer attacking him.
Durandel asks Nougat what’s going on with Dace. The Nougat says he’s been like this for a while, but it could be the whole being stuck in The Labyrinth.
Vox tells him to tell Durandel to tell Dace something only they would know
“Okay boy, gotta make sure your footwork is correct, if you’re feet ain’t right, nothing is right.”
Dace looks at Durandal. He shouldered him aside, “If you try to fool me, i’ll still kill you.” He begins to bark out orders to his army.
Byrrden opens up trapdoor, finds himself crawling out of a hole dug in where the castle meets the ground, appears to be in some spiraling labyrinth heading towards black void in center filled with mountains, castles, and other landscapes.
They’re behind the lines of well disciplined mortals. Women in green jade armor, attack flood of undead. A Necromancer stands on opposite rampart overseeing flight of child size bone dragon. A flash of gold catches his attention, and he hears Vox yelling at Dace. He sees his party, as well as a castle full of undead.
He casually walks over to an archer. “So um…what’s going on?”
The archer says, “Fighting undead. Are you with those idiots up front?”
He says, “Sure.”
“Then hit the undead with something.”
Caemlyn stands behind them. She sees the necromancer. “That must be Nougat.”
Nougat’s voice rings out. “THE BEACON!”
Caemlyn begins to charge up her spell. Rose activates her style. Vox readies his skycutter. He looks over at Gengar, and says, “Go. Play.” With a vicious smile, the creature disappears. Crunching bone can be heard coming from the undead army.
Caemlyn cuts a swath through the army of undead. The Solar army takes advantage and charges at the castle, invading it. The Hangman chucks a giant copper bell at the team, barely missing. He prepares another assault as the solars go inside.
The solars all leap, to and fro, on top of the falling structure and the various undead, to reach the top of the tower, where The Hangman waits.
Dace charges at The Hangman, swishing his sword with gold contrails, leaping up in the air with thunderclap rush attack thunderbolt attack prana and swarms down on The Hangman’s form. Hangman catches blow with wrist, and gets cut halfway into wrists.
Nougat summons his bone dragon, increases its size, calls Caemlyn to join him, and they ride into the sky.
Rose drops down between The Hangman & Dace. She shoots it square in the face as The Hangman attempts to grab Dace by the throat.
Durandel leaps into action, a corona of radiance surrounding him as pillar of golden flame, follows his slash at The Hangman, who roars in pain.
From ontop of the Skeleton Dragon, Camelyn launches a fiery raptor at The Hangman, the righteous fire burning him and those around.
Dace uses momentum to slash the giblet on its back, blood gushes from wood as he rips it away and hops down, blood steaming off armor as his anima becomes iconic, a massive crystal skull with smoke billowing from eyes and mouth
Nougat shoots off bolts of necrotic energy at The Hangman, cutting a hole of pure void in him.
Rose makes a shotgun cocking motion, leaps up into the air above The Hangman, spinning in the air and calls out the name of her weapon “Repentance Sigh” and launches a pure bolt of heat, an explosive ball that hangs in the air and then explodes in a pyre that shaped like a rose bush.
Everyone takes their turn, slashing at the giant beast, taking him down, one by one. Finally, Dace takes his daiklave, pierces The Hangman’s head, and causes the behemoth to finally collapse.
A moment passes before Dace simply says “Burn this abomination. SKULLS, we’re moving!”
“I see where you get it from, that charm of yours.” Rose says to Durandal, as she watches Dace leave.
When Dace is out of earshot, The Beacon comes over “He’s been strange the past few days. His spirits were already frayed when we arrived, and being here has weighed on him.”
Nougat has been trying to find ways out, but has been unable to locate a path out of The Labyrinth. Vox whistles and summons Gengar. Vox asks Gengar if he can lead them out. Gengar nods and Vox scratches the creature and begins to sniff his way out back into Creation.
“You’re creepy. I like you.” Nougat says with a smile.
Vox instinctively puts on the charm.
“OW! I’m gonna need a minute.” Nougat says, dabbing at his bleeding nose.
Felsic asks Durandal how he’s doing. Durandal just goes, “Let’s get out of here.”
The spiral is very slowly spiraling inwards, towards that void. Towers & Cathedrals start to hit the void and the unkindled spiral, breaking down and falling into the abyss.
Caemlyn asks Nougat about the etching from her notebook.
He says it’s written in The black speech, the language of underworld and void.
“Each portion of the labyrinth is dreamed up by the Neverborn, as they sleep between death & life. Each neverborn has it’s own personality and psyche. This unkindled spiral dreams of conquest, one of castles & cathedrals. There’s no tomb, just the void. This rubbing, was taken off the ways of the Neverborn’s tomb. I don’t know what it’s implying, or if it’s just sinister gibberish, that you just hear and encounter and work close to the void.
This could be gibberish, or it could mean something. I would hold onto this and if something recurs in the underworld, it has resonance. If it only happens once, it’s just nonsense.”
She nods, pockets the note, and everyone follows Gengar out of The Labyrinth.