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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Practical Magic

An investigation into a wizard’s disappearance leads the Agents of the Varlokkur into tangles with an unusual mermaid soothsayer and her obedient servitors, a tattoo-covered magical ghoul, and the deadliest necromancer the city of Absalom may have ever known.

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Fields Of Ruin

The Keep of Fallen Kings fell centuries ago in battle, and her stones and surroundings are now a field of skulls, sundered weapons, broken siege engines and detritus. When an opportunity to foil one of their rivals presents itself, the Agents of the Varlokkur must venture deep within the brutally contested keep. Will the heroes overcome the fiendish dungeon beneath the keep and uncover the fabled Earthcrown, or will they meet their doom like so many adventurers before them?

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Gallery Of Evil

The great city of Absalom is known as a center for trade, education and art. Inside the Ivy District reside dozens of famous artists, but one has the talent to bring his paintings to life and use paint to conjure terrible monsters bent of destruction. Can the Agents of the Varlokkur stop the mad painter before he perfects his art?

Finally able to take some time to themselves, the agents and their newfound members come together to celebrate the completion of construction of their own base of operations, a secret place for them to operate from hidden behind a storefront in the Coins district of Absalom. Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Varlocave’, the surviving founding members allow the newer members access to the location.

After several days to themselves, Albert receives a letter from Asheron Coyl, an art critic he met at the Blakros wedding, requesting he and his associates come to his house in the Ivy District.

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The Blakros Matrimony

The eldest daughter of the prominent Blakros family is set to wed an influential Hellknight, and the Agents of the Varlokkur are invited to the festivities. Dressed for a wedding befitting royalty, the agents attend the ceremony on behalf of their superiors but will their presence ultimately strengthen their relationship with the influential Blakroses, or will events at the wedding bring the already tenuous alliance to a breaking point?

Despite their brief break, the death of Lothaire still weighs heavily on the agents. Despite their grief, Alexis summons the group together and advises them that they will still have to continue with their efforts to ensure that their allies death was not in vain. The diviner advises that the Blakros family are set to wed Michellia Blakros to a powerful Hellknight on the nearby Pariol Island. Given that several of the agents were responsible for rescuing Michellia from the Onyx Alliance, they have secured an invitation to the high profile event. While Alexis makes it clear he has no doubt in his remaining agents abilities, he had made the decision to add two more to their number, to offset the loss of Julian Ormontagne and Lothaire. Firstly, Nazuk Kasiis, the slyph informant that assisted against the harpies in the Cairnlands, has agreed to join and add her unique skillset to their endevours. Secondly, Malias Dyce, an inquisitor of Iomedae and recent apprentice of fellow Varlokkur and witch hunter, Alissa Bronte. Despite some reservations, the current agents welcome their new allies and prepare to depart to the wedding with their instructions to earn the favor and support of as many of the influential guests as possible.

The agents arrive at the wedding without incident, attired in their finest clothing. It becomes clear that the Blakros family have spared no expense on the event and the agents observe some of the most powerful individuals in Absalom are present. Shortly after their arrival on the island the group our approached by an undercover Alissa Bronte, who advises them of what she knows of the various personas present. With Alissas information, the heroes attend the evening festivities prior to the wedding the next day. As most of the agents work the crowd, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Nigel Aldain, Hamaria Blakros, Imrizade Blakros and numerous other indviduals, Nazuk scouts across the island, learning the lay of the land. As the evening days to a close, the agents turn in comfortable that they have made good impressions so far.

The next morning, the heroes join the other guests at the wedding ceremony to witness Michellia web Damian Kastner. The wedding goes off surprisingly well, with the exception of a brief outburst from Alexander Bedard, a member of the Andoren People’s Council and former suitor of the bride. After the ceremony, all the guests and the agents move to the reception, where the agents are able to further mingle with and impress the various guests. Albert bumps into Artore Sadailis and Benoit Ormontagne amidst the crowd, and briefly speaks to the two. The agents also meet Tancred Desimire, cousin of the groom and representative of the Chelish governement, who seems alittle uncomfortable throughout the wedding. Following more socialising, the group take their seats and listen to a pleathora of speeches and congratualtions from the head table. Eventually Damian Kastner takes his turn to toast his new bride, offering his familys manor in Ostergarde causing something of a commotion.

Shortly after the meal has drawn to a close and the the guests are once again talking amongst themselves, the newly wed groom ushers the agents aside for a private conversation. Damian confesses he is worried about Michellia, as she seems to have disappeared. While he is sure it is nothing to panic about, the retired Hellknight confesses he knows of the groups reputation and would appreciate if they would look for her. Glad for a chance to escape the fawning of the wedding, the agents agreed and head off to investigate the Blakros old summer home on Kastners advice.

A’hymhu easily locates a pair of tracks at the summer house and follows them to the beach where they discover an unconcious Michellia being loaded into a longboat by her twin sister, Eleanir and a group fo Ulfen barbarians. Eleanir briefly attempts to convice the group that she is her sister, but Malias easily see’s through the ruse. Despite the heroes attempts at a diplomatic solution, the barbarians rush in to attack. A brief fight erupts, and the agents quickly defeat and dispatch the barbarians, even without their full complement of the arms and armour. With the Ulfens defeated, the group return both Eleanir and Michellia to the wedding, much to Damians gratitude.

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As the group rejoin the celebrations, the pavillion comes under the address of one of the guard mercenarys named Alistair Fourchek. Taking the stage the mercenary proclaims himself ‘Arastrax of the Onyx Alliance’ and informs the gathered attendees that they are surrounded and that he will soon feast on their souls. The surrounding area quickly fills with the sounds of yelling and screaming as combat erupts outside the pavilon. As the agents emerge, they find the island under siege by a host of demons. A vicious and chaotic fight erupts across the island and pavillon as guests, guards and demons fight and flee. The agents quickly set to work defending the guests from the attacking horrors. A’hymhu launches a flurry of arrows at Alistair, slaying the man and ejecting the possessing creature, a bat winged shadow demon, from the man. The group come together to fight the demon and its babau guards, while allies such as Artore and Alissa move through the crowd assisting in the defense with sword and sorcery. Eventually, the shadow demon is felled and the attacks relent as the heroes remain victorious.

Hamaria Blakros calls an end to the festivities and the surviving mercenaries round up the guests and usher them to the pier. The agents, along with the rest of the guests, are sailed back to Absalom. The boat ride proves to be a somber affair, the joy of the wedding exlipsed by the unexpected death and destruction the demons laid upon the island. Nevertheless, when the group report back to Alexis, he advises that their popularity at the event and sucessful defense of the guests will doubtless have earned them several allies.

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The Infernal Vault

A decade ago, the Decklands family, a house of Chelish nobles, were exiled from Absalom for treason. Their fate left several questions unanswered. When an unnamed agent in Cheliax investigating the family’s long history and exile from the City at the Center of the World ends up murdered, an ally of the Agents of the Varlokkur appeals for them to investigate the recently discovered Deckland Vaults in Absalom to see what connection the old family home might have to the murdered operative.

As the murders of religious figures continues throughout Absalom, the agents feel they have no choice but to pursue their own line of investigation. Tracking down the only witness to one of the murders, they learn that the suspected killer is a figure that appears in a tempest of storm and thunder. Using Alberts magic, the group infiltrate a meeting of several spokespeople from the various faiths. However, the agents are surprised to find Alexis in attendance. The diviner quickly she’s through his operatives disguises, but rather than chastising his agents he agrees that he has kept them in the dark too long. Alexis confesses to the group that he suspects whoever is behind this string of murders is also responsible for a stint of similar deaths a decade ago. The wizard further admits that his sister was one of the original victims and her death was instrumental in Alexis applying to join the Varlokkur and creating the role they now occupy. Despite their ability, Alexis admits that neither he nor the agents are up to the task of locating and defeating the killer. However, the diviner hopes that the favor the agents have been gathering across Absalom may grant them the resources and manpower to finally locate and defeat the criminal, unhindered by the bad blood resulting from Absaloms ‘Shadow War’. The heroes agree to see the plan through while the churches take defensive steps to protect their own.

With Alexis’ words still ringing in his head, Albert pays a visit to Artore, one of the tutors at his school. According to the sorcerer, several of the Chelish operatives in the city have ill intent, looking to unearth an old vault containing the secrets to the cities defenses. Assembling his fellow agents, the young wizard and his associates travel to the Decklands estate.

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It quickly becomes clear something is off about the estate and the team make the decision to head inside. The agents entrance is greeted with an ambush from a mercenary company known as the ‘Devils Claw’. Sadly for the mercenaries, neither they or the vaults traps pose any threat to the elite agents. Within a few minutes the heroes subdue the thugs and reach the vault proper.

Within the Decklands sealed vault the group discover Celeena Deckland and her hellhound pet. The vengeful daughter admits to seizing the plans to Absaloms defense to avenge her wrongfully disgraced father, before launching an attack on the agents.

A vicious fight ensues throughout the vault as Celeena brings are powerful sorceries to bare against the team. Nevertheless, victory looks certain for the agents until the vindictive spellcaster uses her magic to dominate A’hymhus mind, turning the deadly archer against his own allies. The heroes desperately try to subdue their dominated ally as he fights alongside the sorceress, with Lothaire acting as a bulwark. However, Set’nah’s arrows prove to many for the dwarf, and he collapses following a hail of bow fire. Eventually, the other agents manage to subdue both Set’nah and Celeena, but when Behnam reaches Lothaire side he finds that the dwarf sacrificed his life to protect them.

Stricken with grief and trying to surpress their anger a Set’nah, half the group escort Celeena to the watch, while the others report what has happened to Alexis. The diviner regroups with his agents at Bundins shrine, following a brief ritual they ask Bundins spirit if he wishes to return to life, but the dwarf feels it is his time. Saddened by their loss, and conflicted that the blood stains the hands of one of their own, the group carry out a brief service for their fallen ally and place him to rest alongside his brother. Alexis advises the heroes to take time to grieve, but that he will soon need their services.

Alberts reports of their pyretic victory to Artore, who thanks the wizard and the others for their help. Upon leaving, Albert destroys the retrieved defense plans to prevent them falling into the wrong hands.

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Song Of The Sea Witch

When an unlucky historian in Absalom uncovers an infernal book from distant Tian Xia, he unwittingly unleashes a terrible evil into the city—the legions of devils imprisoned within its dusty pages. Only the book’s holy counterpart can end the threat, and the Varlokkur have been called in to assist. Can the Agents locate and retrieve the key to ending the diabolical invasion of the City at the Center of the World, or will Absalom be drowned in the sea of destruction wrought by the Infernal Incantation?

Following their ventures into Delirium’s Tangle, the agents take several weeks of time to rest and recover. Thanks to Behnams curative magic, Albert recovers relatively quickly from the madness that consumed him within the Tangle, but it is clear that the experience has scarred the wizard. Upon his recovery, Albert spends a great deal of time investigating Maglor Narmolanya, the new head of the Freedom Phalanx. By following some of the elves new recruits, he is able to learn that Maglor has access to one of the planar portal within the Spire of Nex, and has been sending under qualified adventurers inside. Albert persuades the group he followed to abandon their mission, but provokes Maglor by doing so and receives a clear warning to back off.

Meanwhile, many of the agents investigate the growing number of murders in Absalom. Learning that only female members of the clergy are being targeted and that Cheliax has dispatched a number of inquisitors and Hellknights to locate the killer. When the group are able to share this information, they conclude that they may need to go behind Alexis’ back to delve deeper into what is happening.

After several weeks apart, the agents reunite to celebrate Behnams elevation within his church. They attend a small morning ceremony where the young cleric is ordained as a Light of the Dawnflower. After feeling the touch of the Everlight, Behnam rejoins the other heroes to meet with Alexis.

The diviner informs the operatives that news has reached him that Yargos Gill, the historian that assisted them with the Silent Tide, is in trouble. According to his aide, Yargos had been researching a tome called the Infernal Incantation at the behest of Andoran benefactors and in doing so has potentially unleashed the horde of devils contained within the book on Absalom. Alexis entrusts the agents to help Yargos and resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

The group quickly make their way to Yargos newly appointed townhouse to find a crowd gathered around the building as it appears to be on fire. Racing inside, it quickly becomes clear that the fire is an illusion. However, on discovering Yargos two aides dead and the Infernal Incantation, the agents are set upon by a vicious erinyes devil. The wicked devil proves a difficult encounter for the agents, but they eventually defeat it and find the unconscious historian. Investigation of the two dead aides shows that one was shot by the erinyes devil, but the other was stabbed by a nearby coral hilted dagger. Yargos is unclear on what happened to his assistants, but implores the agents to locate the Infernal Incantations sister book, the Celestial Song, which will allow the Incantation to be resealed before it releases further devils. Despite their frustration at Yargos, the group agree and head to Gilltown in the Eastgate Quarter to meet with Ollysta Zadrian, the head of the Silver Crusade. According to Yargos, one of his aides took the Celestial Song to Ollysta to get the information to complete the ritual.

On route to Gilltown, the agents are blocked into an alleyway by four thugs wielding coral hilted blades. The thugs demand the Infernal Incantation, but the agents quickly overpower the brutes and demand to know who sent them, learning they were in the employ of someone called the Sea Witch, operating out of the smugglers tunnels beneath Gilltown. The heroes rush on to meet Ollysta, quickly explaining the situation to them. The paladin explains that she never received the book for Yargos aide, and the group suddenly realise that the historians aide may have been in league with the Sea Witch since they found the coral hilted dagger at the townhouse. Concluding that the Sea Witch likely now has the Celestial Song, Ollysta shares the ritual to seal the Infernal Incantation and a nearby gillmen merchant sells the agents a map of the tunnels. The Silver Crusade take Yargos into their care, leaving the agents free to pursue the stolen book.

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As the agents progress into a quieter part of Gilltown, the air becomes unusually hot and a pentagram ignites itself into the floor before them. With only a dark warning on the wind, the agents find themselves ambushed by three bearded devils. Like the erinyes before, the bearded devils prove to be a challenging fight, but the agents emerge victorious. With the devils defeated, the agents are able to venture into the smugglers tunnels.

The tunnels seem completely abandoned, but echo with a chaotic chorus of celestial singing. As the heroes draw closer to the Sea Witches cavern, the singing becomes more chaotic and deafening. The four adventurers enter an antechamber that seems to be able to be filled with water, leading up to a suspended door and stairway thirty feet above them. Even in the painfully loud chamber, Albert is able to figure out the puzzle to flood the chamber to the correct level. As the chamber fills with water the agents are able to ascend the stairs to the now open doorway. In a grand chamber beyond they see the opened Celestial Song, guarded by Na-Kraka, the cecaelia sea witch.

Na-Kraka engages the group before they have chance to react, grabbing A’hymhu and dragging him down into the watery depths of the chamber the heroes just flooded. A brutal and chaotic combat ensues as A’hymhu and Lothaire try to battle the cecaelia underwater. A’hymhu is almost murdered by the witch, closely followed by Lothaire. Albert and Behnam manage to close the Celestial Song and seal the Infernal Incantation, before rejoining the fight. With the wizards and clerics help Na-Kraka is eventually defeated, A’hymhu only barely surviving the creatures merciless onslaught.

With the books recovered and the creature destroyed the agents return to the surface and report to Alexis. Congratulating them on their success, Alexis advises that the books will be dealt with accordingly, before dismissing them.

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Delirium's Tangle

The Varlokkur owe Grandmaster Torch a favor and he’s calling it in. It seems he’s misplaced Nuar Spiritskin, the famous minotaur prince of Absalom, and someone needs to find the prince before the city discovers that the minotaur is missing. The Agents of the Varlokkur must venture deep beneath Absalom, into a maddening maze of malign shapes, hideous creatures, and secrets that haven’t seen the light of day for more than a thousand years.

The agents are called before Alexis once again and advised that he has received word from Grandmaster Torch regarding the favor owed by Behnam. Torch has requested the the agents are sent to locate Nuar Spiritskin, the minotaur prince of Absalom and a personal friend of the Grandmaster. While Alexis is reluctant to submit to Torch’s request, there is no denying the importance of Nuars safety, especially considering he has disappeared into an ancient magical maze miles beneath Absalom. Alexis instructs the agents to locate Nuar, satisfying their debt to Torch and to learn what they can of the maze and an artifact apparently located within known as ’Izryen’s Hourglass’.

Despite being hesitant about doing anything for the benefit of Grandmaster Torch, the agents agree to the assignment and follow the directions given to them. Venturing beneath the Ivy District, through the sewers and eventually travelling deep beneath the familiar city above, the group travels through hours of natural caverns, confusing tunnels and crawlspaces. Drawing closer to the maze proper, the heroes locate various signs of local morlock tribes living in the area, having to fend off several of the creatures and their mining beetle pet.

Finally, the agents are able to enter the eerily lit maze proper, immediately realising the age and history of the complex. While unable to date the maze precisely, Albert posits that it may predate Absalom itself. As the group delve within the maze, following the minotaur princes tracks, their journey immediately begin to take a surreal and unsettling turn. The maze seems to defy logic, displaying uncomfortable architecture and a strange display of scribbled and etch script across many surfaces. Despite A’hymhu and Muk doing their best to follow the minotaurs perfumed scent, the group begin to lose faith in mundane tracking as they suspect the almost supernatural presence of the maze may be working against them. Instead the four decide to place their faith in Alberts arcane intellect, hoping that he can understand the patterns and design behind the maze. The agents continue travelling as the wizard attempts to fathom the thought process behind the maze, however it soon becomes clear that the arcanist mind is suffering as a result of him trying to understand the madness that designed such a twisted anomaly. Concerned for their friends health, the group rest up for the night, before trusting again to their ranger and his dog to finish tracking their quarry. Unfortunately this only leads them into a trapped passage, so they yield to the fanatic wizards requests to let him finish the maze. Albert lives up to his boast, and is able to locate the end of the maze, but in doing so his sanity is fractured as he grasps an understanding of that which mortals were not meant to know.

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As the heroes approach the end of the twisted tangle, they collapse into a sickening maelstrom and find themselves stood atop a handful of floating rocks in endless void. An indescribable aberration attacks the party upon the rocks, gibbering utter madness and warping their minds. Momentarily overcome by the creatures rants, A’hymhu launches a full attack against the crazed Albert, apparently killing the wizard and leaving him plummeting into the void. Despite their allies death, the group manage to overcome the creature, immediately reappearing at the mazes end alongside a wounded and almost catatonic, yet alive, Albert.

After Albert swiftly overcome a door that can only be mastered by those who have truly embraced their madness, the group enter the final chamber of the maze. The horrific sight of a dessicated elf attached to a vast mass of tangled chains and machinery hanging above a grand chamber greets their arrival, the elf cursing the intruders for their interruption. As the group enter the chamber they see Nuar beaten, but alive across the room. However, as they push into the nightmare made real, they feel time itself seem to slow against them. Albert succumbs to the curses of the elf, collapsing in a fit of hideous laughter. The remaining agents engage the elf as the chains and machines come alive and attack them, while Behnam moves to help Nuar. Luckily, A’hymhu and Lothaire are able to defeat the elf, his remains crumbling to dust. As Albert recovers he scrambles to the machine and frantically
pulls the magical hourglass powering it from its housing, stashing it with his belongings. Nuar seems to know nothing of entering the tangle, but is incredibly grateful for his rescue regardless and offers to lead the group to safety. Albert refuses to leaving, declaring the complex and maze as belonging to him. The wizards worried allies quickly overpower their friend and carry him out behind Nuar.

Returning to the surface late that day, Nuar again thanks the agents and promises to sing their praises throughout Absalom. More concerned with Alberts health, Behnam secures the wizard some magical aid at his temple, before they eventually allow the traumatized wizard the chance to return home and recover, unaware he has ‘Izryens Hourglass’.

Following a quick debrief by Alexis, the agents are dismissed and advised to take a few weeks to recover from their experiences before they are given another assignment.

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House Of Harpies

Rumors claim that songs have been heard in a copse of trees in the Cairnlands, apparently from an ancient magic harp, lost in the area hundreds of years ago. Wanting to discern if the harp poses any threat, the Varlokkur dispatch their agents to retrieve it. However, when it comes to light that a thieves guild has their hideout in the area, the agents find themselves accompanied by an unlikely ally to assist them in their investigations. All is not as it seems as the agents venture back into the ominous Cairnlands and it soon becomes apparent that thieves may be the least of their concerns.

With a break between assignments, the agents take the chance to finally invest some of their funding and support into the construction of a base of operations for themselves in the Coins district of Absalom. Satisfied with their plans for a new home, the agents then refocus on their own ventures until they find themselves called before Alexis once more.

The agents mentor is not alone when they meet him in the Scholars Quill, having been joined by an exotic sylph woman named Nazuk Kasiis. Alexis tells the group that like many of them, he has heard mutterings of an arcane harp that is apparently hidden in the Cairnlands, but he has been unable to divine any information on it. The diviner informs the agents that Nazuk knows the area and has offered her services to guide them to the harps alleged location. The heroes agree, happy to pick up a new assignment away from the politics of Absalom.

True to her word, the sylph acrobat leads the agents across the Cairnlands to a copse of over-sized trees, which Albert suspects are of magical origin due to their size and their location in the Cairnlands.

The agents delve into the forest, wandering along a dirt path while Nazuk leaps nimbly through the trees above. Eventually they draw close to what appears to be a tiered structure wrapped around the largest tree in the center of the copse. Their arrival is greeted with an attack by two winged women, that are quickly identified as harpies, vicious sirens and seducers that feast of those that fall under their sway. A tricky fight ensues as several of the agents fall prey to the song and the harpies fly circles around those not enchanted. However, eventually one of the harpies is felled and the other flees.

With their freewill restored, the agents venture up the tree, discovering a bandit hideout that has been overturned and become infested with giant rats. Thankfully, the rats do not engage the heroes, simply hiding from them as they move through the tree house. The groups search reveal that the bandits had some contact with Grandmaster Torch, but it is not clear what the nature of their arrangement was.

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Climbing further up the structure, the agents encounter the harpy that survived their encounter outside. She gives the group information in exchange for the chance to flee with her life. She divulges that she and the other harpies took over this place after driving out the bandits, and that her mistress, Irith, has used magical pipes to lull the rats in to discourage anyone returning. The agents uphold their side of the bargain and allow the harpy to flee, but shortly afterwards they are ambushed by a group of young, aggressive harpies. After defeating their attackers, the heroes ascend the last tier of the structure.

As the agent climb towards the last part of the tree house they are attacked on the side of the tree by Irith, who uses dirty tactics to try to knock the agents off the tower or tries to lull them off the edge with her song. When those tricks fail to work, the harpy leader attempts to summon the rats to her aid with her enchanted pipes. However she is knocked from the air by creatures summoned by Albert and plummets to a grisly demise off the side of the tree house.

Their mission successful and with the knowledge that that the harp was nothing but the songs of the harpies, the agents return to Absalom and issue their report to Alexis. Her job complete, Nazuk takes her leave of the group, but is told by Alexis that her skills may prove useful in the future. Once more the agents advise Alexis of their suspicions and distrust of Grandmaster Torch, but Alexis advises that the man is a necessary evil. However, he agrees that it is time they had more control over the information broker and that a chance may soon present itself.

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The Penumbral Accords

The daughters of Absalom’s mysterious Blakros family have long been among the most pursued maidens in the Inner Sea. Now the family’s matriarch approaches the Varlokkur to help her break a centuries-old pact with the denizens of the Plane of Shadow to save her twin daughters from a life of servitude at the hands of the Onyx Alliance. Returning once more to the Blakros Museum, the Agents of the Varlokkur have only a short amount of time to break the Penumbral Accords and solidify their ties to the powerful Blakroses.

Following their successful rescue of Lady Salhar, the agents reap the benefits of a few days rest. Most of the group, with the exception of Lothaire, invest a majority of their spare time into crafting items in preparation for their next assignment. Albert enchants several of the groups arms and armour, A’hymhu throws together a handful of different alchemical creations and Behnam brews up a handful of curative potions.

The agents are disturbed from their creative endeavours by a letter from the Blakros family requesting the agents immediate attention at the Scholar Quill. Awaiting the group at the Quill is Hamaria Blakros, matriarch of the Blakros family. Grief stricken, Hamaria advises the agents that she has come to them given their previous successful ventures into the Blakros Museum. The matriarch goes on to explain that the Blakros family have an ancient pact with denizens of the Shadow Plane, known as the Onyx Alliance. In return for passage through their realm in order to transport goods into and out of Absalom easily, the Blakros family supplies the Alliance with slaves each new moon, leaving them in their very own museum. The Blakros family must also hand over the eldest daughter of each generation as an additional charge. Hamaria entrusts the agents with the knowledge that tonight it is her own twin daughters, Eleanir and Michellia who have been left in the museum. Despite their suspicions, the heroes accept Hamarias assignment in the interest of preventing any harm coming to the innocent daughters and take their leave to the museum.

Following a short journey across the Wise Quarter, the agents arrive at the Blakros Museum, which appears all more shadowed and menacing than it ever has. Slipping inside, the four quickly realise that all is not as it should be. While they are still in the museum they are familiar with, it also seems to be sharing it’s space with a duplicate museum on the Shadow Plane. Albert realises that the two planes are converging in the same location, allowing both to exist together. The four agents begin to move through the museum, only to find themselves waylaid by a skeletal dragon residing on the Shadow Plane. After a long struggle, the agents destroy the undead and push further into the museum. As the move through the rooms they liberate imprisoned slaves and defeat the mercenary guards posted to hold them. Searching the supplies and tools held in the duplicate museum, the group soon figure out its dark purpose for torture, experimentation and ritual sacrifice. After cutting down another beast of the Shadow Plane is the form of a black mastiff, the group head through a freezing chamber, engaging an ice golem in the process. As the golem is destroyed, it explodes, almost killing Behnam in a hail of ice shards. Luckily Saranraes light does not abandon the priest and he is returned to health to continue the search for the Blakros twins. The ice chamber proves to be a giant freezer for dismembered bodies, likely further used for experimentation.

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Beyond the ‘cold storage’ room, the agents locate an alchemical lab. The group is greeted with the sight of a mutated fetchling alchemist over a still living dissected man. A brief fight breaks out, but the sole fetchling proves little competition for the hardened agents. They manage to rescue the man and heal the worst of his wounds, liberating him with the other slaves.

As the heroes enter the final and largest hall of the Blakros Museum, they are greeted with what appears to be a ritual chamber and the source of the planar convergence. Before them another fetchling, Uthil Mak, stands over the Blakros twins, halfway though a ritual. The group strike with all their remaining might, and despite his martial prowess, Uthil Mak falls almost as quickly as the alchemist before him. With all the foes within the museum destroyed, the four agents escort the slaves from the museum and destroy the pyramid they believe to be responsible for the convergence. As expected, the convergence ends and all sign of the shadow museum or the Onyx Alliance presence disappear.

Outside, the group are met by two Blakros footmen who take the two girls from their care. As the men depart they award the agents with a letter and sizable reward from the Blakros family. The letter advises that the group have earned unlimited access to the museum and the favor of the Blakros family.

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