With renewed resolve, the companions press the attack to the Master of the Tower. They ride the lift back to the private quarters, lingering only slightly in the private study before moving on. They find no signs of Sora.
Anxious for a confrontation they press on to the chambers beyond. They find the halls in a state of disrepair. Large paintings of inexplicable value defaced with both gore and less obvious fluids. Many were in broken shambles among the refuse lining pathways. A voice echoed towards them from the chambers still deeper.
The companions come to a circular hallway, bending away from them in either direction. Statues line the outer edges. Many were destroyed outright, a crumbling mess of limbs and contoured faces staring blankly from mounds of dusty stucco. Periodically they found one seemingly intact, each with a canvas tarp draped over the piece.
Curiosity piqued, the Hand slides underneath the tarp for closer inspection. They find a pulsing, growing mass of squishy flesh covering the upper parts of the statue; over the face and much of the head of the stone worked parody of man. Revealing this to her companions, they are much distressed. On’ogg strikes at the lecherous creature and it seems to die in with a shrill screech.
As the noise settles, Sayer swears that the shriek had been echoed from somewhere further on. The Hand suggests stealth and gives him the ability to communicate with her from beyond. Sayer continues, the rambling of the voice becoming even more obtrusive.
He finds a break in the circular hall, opening to the center of the chambers. Within he takes notice of about a dozen humanoids, not unlike the prisoners from the Dormatories, but somehow in a more loathsome state. Chained together at the neck in groups of three, they kneel around the circular room in a dazed state, eyes staring ahead from tear stained faces.
Centered in the room is a raised dais underneath a large cone-like construct hanging from the ceiling like a mechanical stalactite. Shoots of steam spew from the object through a tangle of tubes and hoses. Vents hum with electrical energy only slightly masking the sounds of turning cogs and spinning cranks within.
Underneath the mysterious, technological marvel is the figure of a gaunt looking human, his skin the color of the moon reflected on bog water. From under a heavy cloak and hood they he sees that a heavy scowl is sewn shut by leather cord. Indeed, Sayer realizes that the voice itself, though his, seems to boom from mesh covered coffers placed around the structure above. A jagged crystal the color of blood protrudes outward from a bare chest.
Sayer relays this to his colleagues and they rush up to assist. The figure who can only be assumed is Hush calls forth to his chained congregation, speaking of ascendancy and their forthcoming sacrifice. The rest of the companions soon rush up and join Sayer.
There is a small dialogue before the group engage in combat. Though Hush displays an array of dangerous spellcasting, the companions find themselves up to the task against it. They lash out at the necromancer in resolute strikes, beating the Master of the Tower back some ways.
The Hand attempts to throw layers of magical restrains on Hush, but he seems to resist the restrains. She then pulls one of the prisoners aside out of the fray and attempts to reason with it. Though his mind seems on the wrong end of broken, he insists that he will not harm her. The Hand begins trying to unlock his bindings.
Soon after Hush falls back and presses an open palm to the forehead of one of the supplicants. The poor soul cringes in pain at the touch and Hush begins to channel his dark energies. Hoping to stifle the necromancer’s plans, Elbanor charges to the center of the room and blasts forth a massive charge of electrical energy. Several of the supplicants are killed outright, those that survive are severely maimed.
With a snarl Hush walks back to the center of the chamber dais, the whole chamber seeming to react to his movement. Indeed the mechanized structure hanging from the ceiling closes a crystalline barrier around the Master of the Tower. Blasts of powerful steam billows down into the small chamber, blasting the robes and sinew from the dread necromancer. Gouts of flame issue forth as well, charring the remnants from the floor of the chamber, leaving only the abysmal skeleton of Hush.
A misty cloud of sickly yellow then poured into the chamber and with the horrifying will of the undead lich, the crystal vial around him shuddered and lifted itself from the floor with mechanical legs revealing themselves on the bottom of the platform. Long mechanical arms folded out from the clockwork vestibule, each fitted with some dangerously sharp instrument; spinning blades, elongated claws grasping the empty around around it.
With renewed hatred, Hush continued his attacks. The heroes met his challenge and after a while were able to defeat the dread necromancer. the crystal barrier around him shattered and his ashen bones fell to a heap, the mechanical pieces around him slowing sluggishly to a halt.
The heroes revel in their victory, taking into possession the crimson shard from the chest cavity of Hush. Soon the sound of heavy boots and metal clinking can be heard from the outer chambers. A squad of soldiers gain the room and make a quick appraisal of the scene. The guards are comprised a few Minutemen, but most carry the colors of a winter sky streaked with sunlight; blue trimmed with bronze. The Order of the Alabaster Aegis has arrived.
The companions allow the newcomers to secure the chambers, caring only to rid themselves of the Tower. They retreat back down and outside, finding the sun just barely cresting over Lake Edelweiss. They take note of the Aegis setting camp on the grounds around Solastarum.
They also see that though the undead scourge still resists in pockets of Khalsbrad, the day is nearly won. The Callehad floats above Shacklefield, reigning down canonfire and arcane blasts onto enemy forces.
Finding the familiar face of Akasha moving among the wounded, the companions press into the encampment. They find her walking in a hurry beside a litter carried by a pair of Aegis medics, indicated such by the red and white circled cloth around their right arm. Akasha pressed her hand around the palm of an unconscious Castien, being borne to a triage tent.
For a moment the Captain of the Callehad opened his eye, the stoney features of the elf betraying a slight smile as he recognizes his colleagues. With a wince of pain, Castien lifts an arm into a curl, flexing it lightly at On’ogg. Then his eye whirls a bit and he nods off into a fitful slumber.
The companions linger for a few moments while Akasha sees to Castien’s immediate treatment. Once satisfied with the care given, she joins her friends and as a group they move through the streets of Khalsbrad, busy with the movement of foot soldiers and recovery workers.
They make it unhindered back to the Black Star, where they get a progress report on the re-taking of Khalsbrad; the day was nearly won. With the good news, they collapse from exhaustion.