Apotheosis

The Siege Of Absalom

With Raels true identity and objective revealed the aberrant hordes emerging from the Dark Tapestry descend on the city at the center of the world. With worlds literally colliding, the Champions of Absalom are forced to make decisions about just what is important to them, and how far they are willing to go to protect that. With everything on the line, do the legendary heroes have what it will take to save Golarion from an existence it should have never been able to comprehend?

As the hordes of mind warping horrors begin their slow approach to Absalom, the Champions quickly transport themselves back and begin to prepare for the unavoidable assault. All too aware that they have only days at best, the heroes desperately try to figure out a plan of attack or a way to stop Rael and the merging Golarion and the Farplane. As they attempt to get control of their situation, Albert approaches Imrizade and encourages her to flee Golarion, offering her sanctuary in Sigil until he can get control of their situation. Despite being touched by his concern, Imrizade states that her place in by Albert’s side, and whatever they must face she would rather they do it together. Reluctantly, Albert accepts his wife’s request and strikes out to research a solution. Meanwhile, Malias and Set begin rallying their troops and trying to prepare for whatever is to come. Following dealing with his church, Behnam returns home to find Rael in his guise as Albert awaiting him. Rael informs Behnam that he know’s about where the priests wife is and that he will be able to get the cleric access to her, on the condition that Behnam must remove himself from the siege. Rael continues to advise that should Behnam choose not to save his wife, he will never forgive himself, and her suffering will be endless. Behnam reluctantly agrees.

As Alberts research proves less than fruitful, the archmage grows more desperate for a solution, eventually consigning himself to accessing the truly dark texts sealed within the deepest vaults of the Arcanamirium. As the young noble strips away the wards he feels his hand grappled and the familiar figure of Alexis Dashwood preventing him from going any further. After his initial surprise, Albert joins his former mentor in his old room of the Arcanamirium to discuss the situation. Alexis advise Albert that he and the other former agents have lost their way, acting too much as individuals, turning to dark solutions and failing to work together. While Alexis admits that the heroes have achieved far more than he could have imagined or foreseen, now more than ever they need to be a team and address the situation together. The former Varlokker senior admits that he only returned now because his divination abilities allowed him to predict the questionable decision being made by Albert and Behnam alike. The diviner suggests that the Champions muster and meet him at his home and their former briefing point.

At Alexis request the Champions do meet up and draw up a plan together, concluding that they will take control of the defense of Absalom and coordinate the forces of the city in the best ways they know possible. With their former mentors blessing, the heroes join the Primarch and the council of Absalom in their defense summit and propose a plan of defense, making use of all of the resources at the availability of the Champions and the city. The Primarch offers his blessing, despite being alittle put out, and places the Champions in command of large forces of the military for the duration of the siege. With their plans moving into place, the Champions can do nothing but wait for the inevitable storm to hit.

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As the aberrant horde approaches the city, the Champions stand together in defence of the city, dealing with the threats that the more common military stand little chance against. The heroes withstand relentless assaults and aerial assaults, and while their efforts save thousands, some of those close to them fall to the corruption besieging the city, amongst them is Balenar Forsend, bard of the Pathfinder Society and the heroes longtime ally. Nevertheless, the efforts of the Champions afford them a chance to take the fight to their enemy, with Kurgan Duminsson showing up with the Skysentinel at just the right time.

While his allies prepare to depart, Behnam is approached by an innocent street urchin who hands him a token and tells him it is time. With a simple goodbye, the priest plane shifts away, leaving the rest of the Champions to complete the defence of Absalom and take the fight to Rael without him. Completing his shift, the ‘Shining Light’ appears on Caina, one of the levels of Hell. Behnam moves quickly to find his beloved, but soon realises that his appearance within Hell has not unnoticed. Nevertheless, the cleric pushes on, eventually locating his wife imprisoned and guarded by her devil tainted brother. As Behnam demands her release, his brother in law advises that he made a pact for power, and his sister’s soul must remain damned. As hordes of devils surround him, Behnam refuses to relent. Before the devilish army can overwhelm the exemplar, a divine host of angels led by Ybdiel appear around the servant of Sarenrae, beseeching him to rejoin his allies, lest they fail to protect Golarion. Torn between his duty and his soulmate, Behnam chooses the latter. Mournfully, Ybdiel removes the priests mythic spark, sending it to assist the Champions and apologises that he cannot help his ally further. Without further conversation, the angels leave the Light of the Dawnflower to his fate in hell. With neither his mythic spark, or divine abilities, the lone warrior turns to face an endless army of devils to rescue his beloved.

Meanwhile, aboard the Skysentinel, the remaining heroes fly head first into the twisted horde emerging from the planar tear in the Cairnlands. Albert, Set and Malius valiantly defend the airship as it is subjected to an aerial bombardment by the monstrous host. Despite their commendable efforts, the attacks on the vessel critically damage it, fire and smoke engulfing it. Before they are able to react, Ybdiel and the angelic force appear around the shipping, forcing back the aberrant onslaught and protecting the Champions from harm as the Skysentinel crash lands in the heart of Rael’s domain. The herald of Sarenrae informs the trio of Behnam’s decision, bestowing them with the priest’s mythic power to assist them in their final battle. Promising to hold the twisted creatures surrounding them at bay, Ybdiel and his army vow to buy the group time to confront their mindflayer nemesis undisturbed. With nothing standing between them and the monster responsible for the tear in realities, the heroes race into the nightmare stronghold.

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Within the warped tower Rael awaits the trio, stating that he has known this moment would come, and that the outcome has already been decided. Undeterred by the illithids comments and promising to undo the damage he has caused, the Champions launch a prepared assault on the him. Despite Rael’s considerable power and the absence of Behnam, the Champions confidence and divinely bolstered abilities eventually overcome their foe. A combination of Set’s relentless barrage, Malius’ powerful blows and Albert’s magical support overwhelm the mindflayer. As Rael physical form is overcome, the stolen arcane energy stolen from countless artifacts begins to leak through the creatures skin, and as he finally dies, he explodes in a radiant burst of consumed power. Seeking a host, the overload of arcane power floods into the heroes, merging with their divine spark and further strengthening their already considerable power.

As the dust settles and the tear slowly begins to heal, Albert digs through the loose remains of his future self’s belonging and retrieves the alternate version of ’Izryen’s Hourglass’. Intrigued to see what will happen when two of the same item from different points in time come together, Albert forces his hourglass alongside Rael’s. As the two items collide they shatter, the sand within both whipping around the trio in a supernatural sandstorm. Engulfed within the temporal storm, the heroes see’s brief flashes of their own past, present and future appear around them in the sands of time. Within the vortex the Champions witness the celebration of the defence of Absalom, an award ceremony in their honour and the beginning of the rebuild process. As time moves faster around them they see themselves move onto the next stages of their lives, new opportunities, new allies and a child born to one of them. Soon the maelstrom becomes too chaotic and the images to brief to understand, but as that happens the storm suddenly stops.

The trio find themselves back in reality, sat at a table in the passenger compartment of what appears to be a sailing vessel. Slightly more weathered by age and differently attired, the Champions settle into what they can assume is a future version of their bodies. As they take a breath they look across the table and see Behnam sitting with them…

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