Marcellus and Jahari await Galenraug’s return before traveling back to Vega. Arachmenelos returns from the North with tidings; a murder in the Foreign Quarter of Vega has been tied to Galenraug. The victim is one of the members of the newly instated regency counsel now ruling over the city-state. What’s more, this regency member was revealed to be a wealthy merchant baron from Darokin. His guild ring (and finger) had been cut from his hand and shoved down his throat, along with a note giving evidence of the Darokinian’s involvement in instigating mistrust, political instability, and eventual outright conflict between the tribe lands and West City’s constabulary.
His location somehow known (or revealed) to the authorities, they quickly moved into the Foreign Quarter where Galenraug had gone to shake down his contacts. Gunfire preceded his departure, and tipped off to his fallback point, the constabulary cornered him along the Strip. Surrounded, he sends word to Arach to carry news about the murder and the Hulean agents in the city to the others. faced with incriminating evidence, he then turns himself over to the constabulary.
Arach also reveals the presence of mages among the constabulary, and Tonerus quickly identifies them as Glantrian battlemages, obviously hired out to the city. Appalled by this, the agents in Vega, and irritated by Galenraug’s capture, Marcellus pushes the party to quickly set out to rescue him. Serra reveals that she has accompanied Arach as well, and has set a recall point within the city. But it us unknown how the Radiant Dusk has affected planar magic. Accepting the risk, the party of Tonerus, Marcellus, Arach and Jahari are recalled to the city.
…but just a little off. Appearing in the inner halls of Castle Vega, they soon hear footfalls and impersonate dignitaries in an attempt to escape undetected. The chief constable, followed by the captain of the 1st gate guard and one of the Glantrian mages, soon passed them. But drawn by suspisicion or another force, the Mage seemingly recognizes Marcellus, pulling his right arm under his cloak. a gleam of red from a large red ring tips off Marcellus that all is not right.
Charging down the corridor once they are out of sight, the party comes face-to-face with another Mage and a pair of guards obviously under his control. Jahari disables one with a hurlbat, in time for the Mage to draw a wand in his right hand, also bearing a large ruby ring. Marcellus begins to lose control when she finally realizes what the ring is, and the Mage chides her weakness as he fires a bolt of lightning at her from the stave. She deflects it with her bracers, but the compelled guard jumps in front of the rebounding bolt, killing him instantly. The Mage derides her further, how poorly a state she left her city in, and that these men, all of them, serve a nobler purpose in death. he compels the wounded soldier’s neck to break, then summons two flesh golems from out of the floor. It is now clear that the spirit of the Cardinal of numbers is far from gone.
With memories pouring back to her of the atrocities she and the other girls endured, an enraged Marcellus draws upon her staff for power to cast an upper circle spell, and splitting it from top to bottom as she casts a gate spell to intercede between the party and the constructs. Fueled by a a subconscious willing to send the Cardinal’s soul “straight back to Hell”, the gate opens in on the pits of Baator. Nothing less than a Pit Fiend steps forward from the sulfurous maw. Summoning a blade of living flame, it cuts the flesh golems down in a flurry, and turns its attention to the terror-stricken Mage. Snapping all of his wands and staves simultaneously , he attempts a massive arcane blast using their combined charges. The Pit Fiend’s innate resistance to magic and hellfire barrier succeed in simultaneously negating the blast and amputating both of the mage’s hands. The Fiend places one flaming hand over the traumatized mage’s head and face, and the fight is over. It turns it’s attention to Marcellus, as if commanded by another invisible will. It turns it’s eyes upon, and she cannot resist its domination. As she is marched through the closing portal into the Nine Hells, Jahari and Tonerus give chase, flaming Falchion and staff drawn. She beseeches them to not get in her way; the Pit Fiend’s telepathic link has made it clear whose summons it has answered. With a volcanic roar, the gate shuts. The session ends with Tonerus and Jahari (hopefully remembering Arach is still in Tonerus’ bag of holding) running to escape the castle and find Galenraug.
Epilogue: Marcellus finds herself before a throne of living, writhing, conjoined bodies and limbs. A familiar “man in red” sits atop the heap, under a great red canopy, his ruby-red cane placed over his lap. The fiend standing at his left can only be Baal, The Lord of the First and general of Hell’s armies. The severed heads upon the batwinged fiend’s belt open their mouths in voiceless screams. The living plynth of humanity upon which they sit moans and writhes languidly.
Asmodeus’ Mystaran aspect purrs “Finally made it, did you?”