Apotheosis

Tempus Fugit

The city of Absalom sits on the edge of a knife as the ‘Tempest Murders’ come to a head. With their superiors pushing for more and more extreme measures, the Agents of the Varlokkur must decide how far they are willing to go and which of the allies they have accumulated to trust, as a final showdown with the anti-theist serial killer looms. But all is not as it seems with the murders. With their loyalty to the organisation they have so tirelessly served on the line, will the heroes have the resolve to finally end this threat once and for all?

With only a few days to catch their breath after the rescue of Eloranta Naslun, the agents spend what little time they have catching up with their own affairs. In a brief moment of celebration, former agent Julian and his new wife, Brenna, return from their honeymoon is Osirion.

Their reprieve ended, the five heroes are summoned by Alexis to view his secret project in person. After teleporting through a magic circle, the full scope of the diviners operation is made apparent to the agents. Within his hidden halls, Alexis has dozens of junior arcane magic users installing and preparing enough scrying focus to monitor the entire city for Tempest. Alexis advises the group that all he needs before the undertaking begins is the official sanction of Lord Gyr, the primarch of Absalom. Albert expresses some concerns over the project, and seems unwilling to take steps as drastic as spying on the entire city, with the other agents opinions split on either side of the fence. Nevertheless, the agents agree to follow orders, use the influence they have gathered in the city and appeal to the primarch to authorise the project.

The agents seperate across Absalom to approach various personalities and organisations they have managed to gain favor with. Almost everyone the heroes approach agrees to offer their support, but several do so in exchange for further favors. Behnam secures the support of the Chelish embassy, but not without letting information about their investigation slip. Nazuk convinces Grandmaster Torch to exert his influence in their favor, but promises him access to the scrying network upon completion of the investigation. Albert convinces his mother and the Blakros family to offer their vote, but finds himself betrothed to Imrizade Blakros as a result. However, it is while Albert is visiting the Arcanimirium professor, Artore Sadailis, that he notices the lecturers interest in the names of local clergy from a list on his desk.

Whilst the others collect support, A’hymhu instead decides to investigate recent Tempest sightings in the Puddles district of Absalom. The elves initial sweep doesn’t seem to turn up any evidence of the presence of the serial killer, but when he ventures into an alleyway mentioned in a few of the accounts he triggers a strange vision. As the skys darken around A’hymhu he witnesses a young woman fleeing a storm of lightning. Arcs of electricity lance down into the stranger, killing her before A’hymhu, much like many of Tempests victims. With the womans last word, she pleas for ‘Alexis’, apparently unaware of the rangers presence, suddenly the images fade and the elf in once again alone in the alleyway. On his way back to the agents headquarters, Behnam is summoned by his temple to his own dwelling. Within, the cleric finds his own parents murdered, again with the circumstances matching those of Tempest. A magical warning indicates for the agents to cease their investigation, or more will die. Behnam advises the temple to leave things untouched for the time being, with the promise that he will sort arrangements in due course.

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With almost a dozen favors in their pockets, the agents attend the meeting with the primarch of Absalom, Lord Gyr of House Gixx. The primarch takes a vested interest in the group, having heard tales of their adventures and finding himself intrigued with the undertaking, having grown increasingly desperate to see ‘Tempest’ brought to justice. Following their well presented reasoning and the documentation voicing support, the primarch agrees to the plan, but advises he wants the network dismantled immediately upon completion.

The agents take their leave of the Lord Gyr, discussing how best to approach the next steps en route back to Alexis. However, the group find themselves waylaid by an agent of House Thrune and her armored Hellknight retainers. The Chelish operatives demand the information the group have about Tempest and access to their scrying network, tipped off due to the information Behnam let slip. The heroes quickly decide not to comply and a skirmish erupts between the two factions. Albert gives the agents an advantage by cutting the agent of House Thrune and the Hellknight signifier from the melee, allowing the rest of the group to overpower the Hellknight combatants. Deciding to take advantage of their success, the group flee whilst the agent and signifier finally overcome the magical stinking cloud used by Lord Doel.

Painfully aware that the Chelaxians are now looking for them, the group decide to use the sewer tunnels to return to Alexis, briefly recalling their earlier adventures in the same sewers. While Alexis is surprised to see them, he is glad to hear that the primarch has given his permission. The diviner confirms the remainder of the plan to the agents. Advising that once they have the network active, clergy will again take to the street in an effort to lure Tempest out. Albert immediately balks at the plan, concerned about the prospect of putting innocents in harms way, but when Alexis asks for an alternative all the young wizard can reply is that there are other routes of investigation. Alexis dismisses the agents, but Albert suggests that they quickly check out Artore’s office, mentioning the documentation he saw earlier that day.

Despite the early hour of the morning and the worsening weather, the agents quickly travel to the Arcanimirium, with Nazuk tracking behind them. Thanks to Albert dispelling the wards and A’hymhu picking the lock, the group quickly gain access to the office and begin to explore. Unbeknown to them, A’hymhu triggers another hidden alarm while investigating a magical chest and Artore becomes aware of their presence. Originally believing students are searching his office for test answers, Artore teleports into the room and confronts the assembled agents. With Albert taking the lead, the group accuse the professor of involvement in the Tempest killings. Artore denies the accusations at first, but eventually relents and confesses to tracking his brother whom he believes to be the killer. However, Malius see’s through the sorcerers ruse and reveals the whole thing as a lie. Infuriated, Artore reveals himself as Tempest, the victim of abuse at the hands of the clerics of Asmodeus as a child. Before the agents can act, Tempest transforms himself into a twenty-five foot elemental storm, destroying the exterior of his office in the process.

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Following the transformation a climactic battle spills onto the grounds and spires of the Arcanimirum. Behnam and Albert desperately attempt to dispel the sorcerers wards and enhancements, but the spells prove too powerful despite them both giving it everything they have. Malius and Nazuk find themselves unable to engage the arcane lightning storm, instead dedicating themselves to supporting and attending to their allies. A’hymhu proves the agents trump card again, assailing the sorcerers elemental form with a hail of arrows. Quickly realising the threat, Tempest magically paralyzes the elf and launches a barrage of lightning spells at the group. Mercifully, Alberts protection magics absorb the majority of the damage, however, Tempests assaults begin to wear them down regardless. A’hymhu regains mobility in time to launch another torrent of arrows at the murderer, but is repaid with a targeted lighntning blast, both immolating the elf and leaving Behnam unconcious on the floor. Malius and Nazuk quickly bring Behnam round and the cleric calls upon his divine powers to prevent A’hymhu’s soul from departing his body and repairs the worst of the damage done to his ally. As the rangers breath returns to him, he leaps to his feet in a burst of heroic energy, unleashing another stream of arrows into their arcane opponent. As if guided by the hand of fate, each arrow strikes true, tearing Tempest from the sky and sending the lecturer tumbling to the earth as he resumes his normal form. Riddled with arrows from A’hymhu and broken from the fall, the heroes approach to see the murderer and their greatest enemy to date both defeated and dead. As the dust settles and the smoke disperses the group realises they have been watched by locals beyond the gate of the Arcanimirum and by numerous students and professors from the University. Quickly collecting the body of their slain foe, the agents make their way back to Alexis, ignoring their still tender wounds and storm drenched attire.

Surprised to see the group again, Alexis beckons the them inside and enquires as to what has happened. After being brought up to speed, the diviner seems conflicted, unsure how he feels about the death of the man he spent his adult life hunting. Nevertheless, the Varlokkur judge suggests they see the primarch immediately. After allowing the group time to catch their breath and tidy themselves up, Alexis teleports them all to another meeting with Lord Gyr. While Gyr seems taken aback by the situation, he commends the agents on their success and advises that he will see that his men take over from here and try to get the matter under control. The heroes agree and return to their homes to rest, before they do, Alexis assures them that he too is proud of them and will see the scrying network dismantled.

While the rest of the agents return home, Behnam collects his parents body and takes them to his temple. There he and a select few initiates prepare the bodies for the funeral overnight. The following dawn, the priest performs his parents funeral in a quiet ceremony within the temple, before finally retiring himself.

Over the next few days, it quickly becomes clear that news of the groups deeds have not stayed out of the public eye. Infact, the agents are commended on the street and cheered for their success. Lord Gyr personally visits them to advise that he has announced the group as heroes, having acted on behalf of the city to bring Tempest down. Furthermore, he has appeased the House of Thrune by agreeing to turn the body of the killer over to them once the authorities have finished with it. The primarch requests for the group to attend an award ceremony where their heroics can be publicly acknowledged, which they accept. After Gyr departs, Alexis informs the group that in line with Gyrs wishes they can no longer act as agents for the Varlokkur, given their new public profile. However, new positions should not be hard for them to come by. Furthermore, he advises that he himself is stepping down from the Varlokkur. Now that Tempest is no longer a threat, the diviner feels his sister deserves another chance to live, as such he has decided to dedicate himself and his resources to locating a way to return her to life. While some of the groups seem concerned, Alexis assures them he has learned from his mistakes and will be cautious.

Within a matter of days, the five former agents are brought before the city in a well attended function in the Petal District. Under the eyes of some of the most influential individuals in the Inner Sea. During the ceremony, the group are named as ‘Champions of Absalom’ with each awarded a badge depicting their service and position within the city. With a fanfare from the band and a roar of applause from the attending masses, the cities heroes enjoy the culmination of their efforts, allowed a moment to rest on their laurels before they begin a whole new chapter…

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