Vile & Villainous Episode 12, The 13th Hierarch

Matthias, Xilpiir, & the winged succubi enter through the secret passageway that had opened before them. Shayreen stays behind and speaks to Portenta privately. She scolds her about allowing herself to enter such an inflexible contract with Matthias. She melds the stone statue into place so that no one can follow behind them. Matthias & Xilphiir see a metal trap door ahead of them and attempt to listen to what may lie beyond the door. Shayreen has a flashback to hearing cries coming from her bedchamber. ****She takes a torch and proceeds to the room. She sees Cardelia (her sister), standing naked in the window and crying as she looks across the city of Molag. Shayreen rushes towards her and the drapes behind Cardelia burst into flames. The figure turns into a twisted, pruned, acid-eroded figure. **** The party sees Shayreen clawing at the air, speaking to herself. She snaps back. She asks if this is what happened to everyone before. The party discusses what could be happening to their memories and senses. Shayreen confesses this seems to be like the stories she’s heard of what the Hierarchs can do to people’s minds. They continue on through the trap door. A voice speaks out, “I’ve been waiting. Come now.” They enter and see 13 golden circles on the floor. Standing in the center of the room, on the 13’th circle, is a black-robed figure. Matthias keeps up his Hierarch act in an attempt to test his disguise. Everyone spills into the room and the voice continues, clearly unimpressed with the disguise. Matthias waves it off and the voice continues. The Hierarch attempts to persuade the group to assist his escape. Everyone is reluctant to assist and Matthias’ temper is tested with each word. He impulsively misty-steps into the circle the Hierarch is in and attacks him. In turn, figures that look like the people in their strange memories appear before each of them. They are unable to attack the Hierarch as they are so distracted by the figures of these people from their past. Meanwhile, Matthias & Shayreen continue to focus on the Hierarch though he seems to be very resilient. Orbs of freezing cold and burning heat appear in the circles that line the perimeter of the room and smaller orbs appear throughout the room. The party begins to feel trapped in their movement and actions. Eventually, the false figures before them are fought off and they are able to focus on the hierarch despite taking damage from the orbs that continue to appear. A final blow takes the Hierarch down and the helm atop it’s head falls to the ground. Matthias and Shayreen fight over the helm while Xilphiir begs them to stop so that they can escape. Mavari simply watches in amusement as the others behave like children. Matthias gets hold of the helm and in a wave of unexpected power is compelled to place it atop his head. He sees whirls of visions of memories from each of them. He removes the horned-helm from his head and Xilphiir announces that she will take the helm now, which Matthias disputes. She reminds them that they are all there under her employ currently and therefore she will be taking the helm. Matthias is irritated but hands it over. Xil gives it to Mavari to safely hold on to. As this is happening, Shayreen communicates telepathically to her bone demon and asks for it to give her it’s true name so that she can summon it later. It refuses, but is tempted by her promise to bring it to thrilling places. It breaks off a piece of it’s bone and hands it to her as a token that can be used to summon it while not enabling it to be bound to her forever. Shayreen takes it and moves towards an illusion in the wall. She calls out for Xilphiir to look inside as well. They see an empty room with women bathing and lounging. They enter. Matthias convinces them to assist us in our escape from this place. They tell us that the only escape is through the portal ring that lies on the floor ahead. Shayreen is the only one who knows how to activate the portal and uses this to her advantage. She says that she will only help if we devote ourselves to Glasia. Thinking fast, Matthias promises the women to Glasia. They agree after some convincing that Glasia is more forgiving than the hierarchs. Shayreen is satisfied and opens the portal. Before entering, Matthias pulls Xilphiir aside and chides her for being so willing to blindly obey anyone who promises her power. She admits that she is not used to thinking on her own and knows she is too eager. She asks if Matthias would teach her and he agrees, stating that he never betrays those under his employ. She agrees and takes out one of her daggers which she uses to cut a long line across her entire palm. She holds it out towards Matthias. He takes it and cuts his own hand. A blood pact is made.

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