We left our adventurers mid-battle, which is something I absolutely hate to do, but we’re on a very strict 4-hour time limit when it comes to the Sunday game. Anyway, we return to a heroic fight already in progress.
The group continues to whittle away at the Maven’s minions. Suddenly, the Maven takes more of an interest in the battle and steps into the shadows of the stage. He emerges behind the lines of his toys, unleashing a wave of psychic energy at the group. Once again, Shayla scrambles to bring her healing power to bear, while Dorn, Lazan, Caelissa, and Kevara tear into the toys desperately. Hell Dolls fall left and right, and two other Carrionettes merge like before.
The Maven reaches out with his hands, fingers stretched forward, and lines of energy rip into the party, holding them in place while his toys make wild attacks. Luckily, the toys are damaged enough that their attacks are ineffective, and the party escapes the attack unscathed. Kevara attacks one of the remaining Carrionettes, and it explodes in a shower of body parts. Finally, all of the toys are destroyed, and the group turns to face the Dark Maven.
The Maven crosses his arms, then thrusts his hands toward the floor. The group suddenly finds themselves completely immobilized as the Maven steps through the shadows once more and reappears at the stage. He recognizes that they are a true threat; he may need to escape rather than fight.
“ENOUGH!” Silas howls. “What are you doing here?”
“We came here to investigate, Maven,” Kevara replies. “Your toys attacked us first – we fought to defend ourselves.”
“Investigate? This town is MINE! All who lived here will forever pay for Terina’s death! I know the blacksmith’s boy killed her, and the village did NOTHING!”
“Really, Silas?” Kevara retorts. “The blacksmith’s boy was a part of the Balar Ha’ja? And somehow the entire village was in on this?”
Silas stops dead. His mouth moves wordlessly, his eyes seeking answers in thin air, where none are to be found. “Oh… oh dear. I believe I have made a terrible mistake.”
Silas releases the party, walks to the steps of the stage and sits down. The party remains on their guard, but for now, the battle has ended. “Once when I was young,” he says, “I became a member of the Balar Ha’ja. I was a different man, then. Full of hate; full of rage at the world. But one day, I rebelled against those beliefs, tired of the atrocities we committed, the blood we spilled during our rituals… I could not live that life anymore, so I left. I left it all behind.” Silas sighs heavily, looking away. “Apparently it couldn’t leave me behind.”
Silas shakes his head and stands. “I must atone. I will release the spirits of the villagers, and cleanse the village. Then I will move on to whatever hell I deserve. I implore you; do good works, and avoid the Balar Ha’ja as much as you can.”
The group asks him about the music box, and the key. Silas explains that the glass keys are the way into the Balar Ha’ja strongholds; if they have one, they must take care to never break it, for the keys cannot be repaired without great risk. Kevara and Lazan cast a meaningful glance at Dorn, who shrugs helplessly.
The group decides to take Silas at his word, and leaves him to his task. They return to Whitehall, giving Terina’s scarf to Aria, and informing Kelryn that the danger in Darkhaven has been taken care of. They stay long enough to relate the full story to Kelryn, and then make their way back to Three Hills.
The group arrives in Three Hills late at night. Sagemaster Volrane asked them to report as soon as they arrived in Three Hills, but the group debates about the necessity of waking him against whether or not it would be alright if they wait until the morning. Caelissa suggests that Volrane would prefer to know immediately that the group has returned alive and well, and of the success of their mission. The group considers this for a moment then agrees, turning immediately for Volrane’s home.
They wake the Sagemaster and apologize profusely for waking him. He waves off their apologies, explaining that they have no reason to worry, and he is pleased that they have returned. The group explains that they have put the threat to rest, and tell him about Silas and the Balar Ha’ja. Volrane is clearly troubled about the information regarding the cult, but there is little that they can do at this point.
Volrane stands and states that they should be well-rewarded for their efforts, and exits the room with his seneschal. Returning shortly thereafter, he returns with several gifts: potions of healing; magic armor for Dorn and Lazan; magic weapons for Shayla, Caelissa, and Kevara. They continue to relate more information to Volrane over tea and cookies (the mere mention of which makes Shayla’s eyes light up like a little kid), and the discussion works its way around to the glass key. Kevara hands over the pouch to Volrane, who examines them briefly, then tries to use magic to put it back together. The spell backfires, throwing the Sagemaster against the far wall and knocking the rest of the group to the floor. Everyone is a little shaken, but no one is badly hurt.
Volrane bids them all a good night, and asks that they return on the following day. He has other tasks for them, though they will have to make a choice as to which they will handle.