The companions journey back from whence they came; up and out of the rancorous Asylum, through the eerily silent halls of the Garrison eventually coming back to the courtyard outside the medical billets. They climb the blockade at the vast doors and scale down the outer wall, soon slipping into the sewers and making their way to the Black Star Tavern.
After a short respite the companions come together to formulate their next move. They decide to seek out the Arcanum Severatum and its apparent abundance of powerful trinkets and magical artifacts. With the goal set they settle into a well earned rest, drifting apart to enjoy their down time in different ways.
Sayer the Swashbuckler and Thranka Suun fall in with a group of Boswell men. All seem eager to drink and gamble their circumstance away for a time. Sayer wakes after a time in the presence of Thranka. He notices that her vast tattoos seem to have intricate details and hidden details. When attempting to investigate further, he wakes her and she vacates the area quickly.
Akasha finds a comfortable place in the main room of the Black Star and crafts a musical hymn that bolsters the psyche of those who hear it. Many survivors who had been content alone in their chambers meander into the main room and lounge about in the warm light of her song.
The Hand of Acheron trades in a bawdy calendar illustration for additional helpings of soup. They warm themselves by the fire while affixed to Akasha’s music.
Elbanor spends much time crafting small batch concoctions in an effort to better ready his friends for the hardships to come.
On’ogg meditates on what he has learned during the recent trials… and perhaps tries to consider that which failed to completely grasp. He also cleans his sword quite a bit.
The companions come together again after their long rest. Before leaving the Black Star they go to Boswell. Apprising him of their circumstances, they restate their intent to assault the Tower at some point. He still seems non-committal, but has assisted in small ways that he was capable up to this point. Satisfied for the moment, the companions take their leave.
A small group of Boswell’s men stop the companions as the leave; it seems that Bartholomew and Constance had not checked in. They had been rather regular in their movements, so while their absence is not an absolute cause for concern, it is noteworthy.
After venturing through the underbelly of the city, meeting minimal resistance, the companions excavate themselves into a large open air park in the city. Looming just ahead of them some twenty yards is the Arcanum Severatum. A large building, well over fifty feet in height, the Severatum sits atop a set of wide, angled stairs. Huge pillars line the front of the building, which is as wide as a city block. An eerie green light emanates from deep within the cavernous maw of the entryway.
With a dreadful apprehension, the companions advance up the many steps leading to the Severatum. Coming to the open entrance, they see into a great hall lined with a dozen columns along each side reaching forward to the far end. At the far end seems to be some arcane structure; three craggy spires surround and pour a fel green power into a central, swirling vortex of the energy. Each spire stands at about ten feet high, like crooked skeletal fingers rising from the ground.
Within the whirlwind was suspended a humanoid figure, unrecognizable at this distance. Hand creeps along forward and notices a limp body on the far side of the area. Slipping forward, they recognize their associate in Constance, seeming to be completely unconscious. They also see that Bartholomew is the figure within this terrible energy.
Upon closer inspection, he seems to transition slightly between that which they recognize and a large creature of fang, claw and feather. The rest of the companions slip up to the area as well. In spite of their efforts, they seem unable to elicit a response from the mage.
Finding the spires to be deeply disturbing, they attempt to destroy them. As the first of the three breaks away, the bulk of is takes form into vaguely humanoid things and attacks the heroes. Hand is able to stave off death from Constance who slowly becomes aware of her surroundings after a time.
After a small melee, the companions destroy the rest of the first spire. Caught in the explosion, Bartholomew is thrown aside violently. With one of the spires destroyed, the balance of energy seemed to break apart in a blast of energy. The force of which seems to lessen some grip that contained his form. With a burst of bright light, the young mage is revealed to be an creature of celestial energy.
With some understanding, Ogg approaches the creature and attempts to pour his divine healing into him; but Bartholamew had suffered far too great a wound to recover. Constance stumbles over to him in confusion.
Apologizing for his deceit, he explains that the deceit was necessary to continue his interaction with this community unimpeded. He had found human civilization fascinating and hoped to learn more from such a charming young race. He also stated that his affection for her had not been a ruse, but an unexpected delight.
He had an understanding with the Madrygos, keeping his form secret to all but the Master of the Tower. It would be easier this way, they had decided. Madrygos had been a friend to him over the many years of his visiting Khalsbrad. That friendship had compelled him to the Arcanum Severatum, though Bartholamew could not divulge more information than that.
There was a moment shared between Constance and Bartholamew before he passed. The tiefling was overwhelmed by anguish and decided to sit vigil over her friend as his essence dispersed into the wind.