Izavell, perhaps spurred into action by his recent near death experience, appears to try some light flirting with Creel. This is a fairly big step for someone who was cursed by her goddess and has spent literally centuries alone, haunting a ruined temple, murderising all who approach.
Creel rebuffs her cruelly, “I don't give a shit about your dress I want to fucking kill things”, and wanders off. Her shoulders slump a little, and then… does her head tilt a little to the side and a look of hate enter her eyes as she stares at Creel? Who can say? It's not like Creel was paying attention, the heartless bastard. (I can say. Totally hate. I'm sure nothing bad will come of this though.)
The doors of the cathedral swing open to reveal a great open hall covered in frescoes depicting countless saints in Mitra’s service. The ceilings rise seventy feet tall ending in ornately vaulted panels adorned with art that only be called a masterpiece. It shows the Mitra always faceless but ever present. It shows Mitra as the light of the sun, the wrath of the fre and the warmth of a mother’s love. It expresses more eloquently than a library full of books on theology the true meaning of what it means to worship and revere the great god of light and life.
The last of the legion archons are here, ready to defend the cathedral to their last breath. Their now traditional shout of “EVIL!” echoes around the huge, columned hall, and battle is joined.
When we last saw some legion archons things didn't go particularly well for them. Since then, our villains have only grown more powerful, and also this time around Sam hasn't come up with a plan that involves her being the only visible target in an otherwise empty boat.
While the angels are busy losing badly and getting properly stabbed up by the busy knives of Fitch, a new challenger appears! An emissary of the Ghaele is here in the cathedral. She had been forbidden to take part in the defence of the Vale, but now that the cathedral itself is under attack she feels justified in aiding the archons, figuring she can claim self defence afterwards.
The first the party know of this is a soap bubble sphere springing into being over the door of her room, spotted by some sharp eyes. It's an orb of invulnerability, although this is not immediately clear as Sam's more of a sphere-based caster and doesn't really do orbs.
The second thing the party know of this is the door being thrown open and a prismatic spray spraying out, prismatically.
A blue ray nearly turns Izavell to stone but she successfully rolled to resist irony
A yellow ray strikes Creel, and he takes a truly massive electric shock. He is left shaking and gently smoking, with his hair standing on end and some blood coming out of his ears, but still alive. He sorts himself out with a heal, but it doesn't fix his Young Einstein hair which canonically will still be sticking straight out and defeating all attempts to control it for a couple of weeks (or until I get bored and forget).
Adelea takes some acid damage from an orange ray, which seems mainly to annoy her. She proceeds to brutally murder the Ghaele, stepping up as she tries to step away, and then cutting her down as she tries to cast a teleport spell to escape.
Sam casts greater invisibility on Fitch, muttering “remember our deal?”.
(Fitch shows he remembers by not answering.)
The emissary dealt with, her room proves to contains some fancy clothes and jewellry. There is also a sealed letter from an Azata lady named Brigit of the Brijidine expressing concern about Asmodeus’ agents in Talingarde. “That's us!” shouts Creel, cheerfully.
One of the small rooms in the cathedral proves to contain a small shrine where devotees can offer prayers to Mitra’s aspect as the comforter and healer.There is a great rack holding hundreds of candles and now many of them are lit in prayers to Mitra.There is also a spiral stairway leading down to the lower level.
Fitch – I'm going to blow all the candles out
Creel – Happy birthday to yooouuuu
Further searching turns up the Lord-Abbot’s room, behind the Lord-Abbot’s door which has an extremely high quality lock. A lock which the Lord-Abbot has neglected to lock while rushing off to continue his Great Big Secret Plan.
Inside the Lord-Abbot's room the villains turn up the Lord-Abbot's bible, and in the back of this bible they find the Lord-Abbot's journal, written in celestial. Sam has a magic hat, and can therefore read the most recent, and only really interesting, entry:
With the death of the Phoenix, the blessed Ara Mathra has retreated to the Holiest of Holies and has called forth a conﬂagration no mortal nor devil nor even angel can cross. I know some of the men believe that this reveals him a coward. But I know the truth. He must survive or all is lost.
If even one of the three sacred ﬂames survive, then all can be rekindled. The Order of St. Macarius will weather this storm and emerge all the stronger for it.
No one suﬀers more than he. I see this. He agonizes that he must remain here and guard the Undying Flame. Cowardice? Hah! Who amongst us is strong enough to do what he does now? It would be base anger that drives him to slay the evil doers that assault us. Instead he has taken the victory from them. They cannot win. The slaughter of Saintsbridge has earned them nothing but damnation. Only a saint could pierce the ﬂame! I’ve tarried here too long. I must return to my prayers. Soon the ghost-martyrs will rise I will take back Valtaerna. Beware sons and daughters of darkness, I come for you!
Fitch – I don't like the sound of “ghost martyrs”, I don't like ghosts
Sam – I suggest we don't fuck with the wall of fire til we know what we're doing.
While the party searches the various rooms on the ground floor of the Cathedral Adelea mutilates the Legion Archons, in an effort to annoy the angel into coming out and fighting. Sam points out that “we've already murdered literally thousands of people, but I suppose you never know”.
Adelea – is it just fire damage from the wall?
Sam – it says no mortal or devil or angel can get through it, but sure go for it.
Further further searching turns up a couple of storage rooms, and even further exhaustive searching of these packed rooms turns up absolutely fuck all of interest.
Even more further searching sees the party discover the reliquary of Saint Macarius. This chamber enshrines the life of the Saint. Before Saint Macarius’ mission the worship of Mitra was unknown in Talingarde. It was he who spread the light to every corner of the isle. It was Macarius who converted Darius to the worship of Mitra and thus changed the island’s destiny. But there is more here than just biography. This reliquary contains artifacts from the life of the saint. Saint Macarius’ robe, his walking stick, his sash, his phylactery and holy book are all here. These ancient items are at once priceless to the Church and equally worthless. Everyone who can appreciate their value also would know they must be stolen. The phylactery is the only true magic item here — it is a phylactery of faithfulness alas only useable by clerics of Mitra.
“Let's trash his shit”
“Wait til we see if we need it or not?”
“We don't need his fucking walking stick to use his corpse as a toboggan.”
It is decided that they will desecrate the saint's relics, some of the holiest in all Mitraism, but only later after they've made sure they don't need them for anything.
The party retire to the priest's dormitory to rest up, except Creel who claims the emissary's double bed for his own.
They proceed to the lower floor.
The first small chamber is adorned with murals showing the procession of priests carrying the blessed dead to be interned in the ossuaries below. From here, though their bodies lie, their spirits join with Mitra in the undying lands.
There is an inscription in celestial hidden amongst the engravings. It takes a DC 20 Perception check to notice it. It reads: “In our darkest hour, the martyrs shall answer the tears of the blessed.”
Fitch heads into another small room across the corridor. It proves to be an ossuary. Sam urges him to have a rummage, and he does so. The bone rummaging, or to put it another way the desecration of the holy bones of the sacred martyrs, attracts the attention and the ire of three ghost martyr paladins. These prove annoyingly hard to kill, what with being ghosts, and also capable of doing damage to Adelea despite her armour (because they're ghosts) but eventually succumb to damage and dissipate, although one of them does say that they'll be back…