Having halted the Bugbear advance, buying the Villains a few more days, Vaelus swims back into Aldencross via Lake Tarik and manages to infiltrate the angry crowds by disguising himself as an overweight 14 year old girl. He discovers that Father Donnagan has led an investigation and discovers Barnabus Isenbok’s body (the leader of the dwarven troop). Using the Speak with Dead spell, Donnagan interviews the dead dwarf who states that it was the late Frans Mott who murdered him. Needless to say, Donnagan is deeply disturbed by this revelation.
After preparing some fresh extracts for the day, Xun returns from the forest also disguised as a child and is welcomed into the crowd. Much of the remaining populace of the small town are then moved into the protective arms of the Tower
Some hours later, Rythern decides on a course of action in order to gain access back into the tower. After disguising himself as a Mitran soldier, a battle sorcerer, he inflicts some convincing “battle damage” on himself using his knife and hobbles into Aldencross demanding to speak to those in command, carrying with him a frightening story of a necromancer who wanders the forest trails. Rythern rants and raves in his telling of the story, yet Donnagan’s perceptive nature smells something fishy with the story. However, even though Donnagan posts three guards to watch Rythern, he seems convinced of the presence of undead in the area and leaves to consult his texts and consult with the officers.
Thomas Havalyn addresses the populace in a reassuring speech in the main keep which has now been set up as the main headquarters for preparations (a war room if you will) and there he assures everyone that the rumours of undead are unsubstantiated and probably entirely fictitious. Furthermore, everything is being done to ensure their safety.
Meanwhile, Sinnoman returns from her excursions to a very different Aldencross than the one she left. After finding out roughly what happened, she disguises herself as a refugee and manages to bluff her way into the Tower again.
With the entire party now under the same roof for the first time since entering Aldencross weeks ago, they have little difficulty in recognising each other and Vaelus (still disguised as a small child) manages to exchange some words with Rythern and together, they come up with a plan.
In the middle of the night, once he has enjoyed a refreshing eight hours of rest to regain his spells, Rythern watches for Vaelus’ cue. The little girl slips out of the barracks to use the rest room and is completely overlooked. A few minutes later, Rythern too requests of his escort if he can use the facilities. Once in the privy, Vaelus disguises himself as Rythern (specifically Rythern’s disguise) and Rythern casts invisibility on himself. As Vaelus is then escorted back to the barracks, Rythern is able to steal away and quickly disappears into the Tower. He walks back upstairs, into the courtyard and into the chapel. He then descends the trapdoor therein and finds himself in the small ante-chamber. He silently creeps into Donnagan’s quarters, his dark-vision seeing the sleeping form, completely unaware of the great amount of danger he is in. Rythern offers up a silent prayer of thanks to Asmodeus for this opportunity, charges his hands with a fatal charge of electical energy and delivers a coup de grace against Donnagan, the Dhampir firmly pressing his hand into the priests face. As he does this, Rythern recites a passage from one of the Mitran holy texts, but twists it slightly to form a grisly epitaph. As Donnagan’s body convulses like a condemned criminal in the electric chair, Rythern quietly says the following:
The Lord Asmodeus has declared in my hearing:
“Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions left without occupants.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a litre of wine;
one tonne of seed will yield only a kilo of grain.”
“Those of high rank will die of hunger
and the common people will be parched with thirst.
Therefore, Death expands its jaws,
opening wide its mouth;
into it will descend their nobles and masses
with all their brawlers and revellers.
So people will be brought low
and everyone humbled,
the eyes of the arrogant destroyed.
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.
Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay
and their flowers blow away like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord, the Underfather,
and spurned the word of the Unholy One.
Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against the people;
his hand is raised and he strikes them down.
The mountains shake,
and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.
He lifts up a banner for his distant nations to destroy you,
he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.
Here they come,
swiftly and speedily!
Not one of them grows tired or stumbles,
not one slumbers or sleeps;
not a belt is loosened at the waist,
not a boot strap is broken.
Their arrows are sharp,
all their bows are strung;
their horses’ hooves seem like flint,
their swords glowing like the fires of Hell.
Their roar is like that of the lion,
they roar like young lions;
they growl as they seize their prey
and carry it off with no one to rescue.
In that day they will roar over it
like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks at the land,
there is only darkness and distress;
even the sun will be darkened by clouds.”
This is the word of Asmodeus, quake all you who reject his glory.
Once the deed is done, Rythern then casts another Invisibility spell on himself and proceeds to murder each of the five acolytes, each by an electric shock so powerful, the victim’s hearts practically explode in their chests yet leaving not a mark on the bodies.
He then circles round the tower again until he is in a side corridor that leads off from the main corridor on the ground floor. These four doors have always been locked and until now inaccessible. Rythern uses the Knock spell to unlock a door and discovers the quarters of the late captain e
Edderly. He realises from this that these four doors are the officer quarters, a valuable place to note. After a quick search of the room, he finds a set of expensive aristocratic clothes and considers gaining some rest in a dead man’s bed.
Meanwhile, the one remaining acolyte goes to his friends quarters and discovers his dead compatriots. Guards come in to investigate and the others pounce. With astounding speed, Vaelus sinks his blade into a guards belly, Xun back-stabs another and Sinnoman summons a swarm of scuttling, predatory spiders in the cramped confines of the corridor, behind the remaining acolyte.
Xun leaps forward, building on his fast initiative and a horrific and instantly fatal wound on a guard standing next to the door. Similarly, Vaelus sticks the second guard by the door, practically disembowelling him while Sinnoman’s swarm proceed to crawl over and poison the acolyte and a guard.
Vaelus deflects a blow using Crane Wing style of the Crane martial art and kills his aggressor.
As Sinnoman’s swarm goes for the fleeing guard and acolyte again, biting and poisoning both of them, they try to flee up through the chapel, the guard closing the trapdoor behind him. This is bad, the Villains can leave no survivors at this point!
Xun starts mutilating the bodies, Sin dons a guard uniform, Vaelus disguises himself as Father Donnagan and circles round the tower as Rythern had done and enters the chapel to find the two men trying to catch their breath and tend to their wounded courage and bodies. Sinnoman shockingly moves through her own swarm, clambering up the spider infested ladder, immune to the poison and opens the trapdoor, admitting the swarm into the chapel!
Xun meanwhile, having eviscerated the bodies, slits the throats of three townspeople sleeping in the barracks, as to why, no one but he can know for certain.
Seeing his Father Confessor, the guard runs towards Vaelus/Donnagan who promptly sticks his blade through the man’s back as the spider swarm gruesomely overcomes and devours the acolyte.
They decide to use the Donnagan disguise while it is useful and Vaelus goes to investigate “the prisoner” that they had previously heard was being kept in the upstairs rooms of the main keep.
Sin advises Xun to dispose of Donnagan’s corpse and aids him in doing so.
On the second floor of the keep, Vaelus discovers a small series of holding cells. With “Father Donnagan” unchallenged, Vaelus meets Vanalyn Hawklight, an old soldier with a penchant for betrayal, having unsuccessfully attempted to murder a man and woman. Vaelus then calls in a guard, kills him and advises Van to get dressed. Van grabs the corpse, using it as a meat shield to protect himself as Vaelus calls in and dispatches the remaining two guards from the next room and fishes out the prison keys.
Now wearing the bloody uniform of his captors, Van grabs a longsword and he and Vaelus go back to the courtyard where they meet Sinnoman, Xun and Rythern. After quick introductions, the group quickly debate their next move, a sense of unity and camaraderie now replacing individual agendas. The Villains were reunited and all quarrels seemed to have been forgotten as they move to end the Tower Balyntine once and for all!