Tales From Janus Valley

The Greater Good

Uneasy Alliances

Facing off with The Bone Butcher, Zed and Dashiel found themselves with two choices: stand and fight the unkillable monster, or bolt. They chose the latter. After several close scrapes, they led the beast to a section of town that had been hit hard by Canopius Vig‘s zombie plague. Finding a large abandoned tenement, they weakened a few crucial support beams as the Butcher closed in. At the last moment, the pair snapped the last beam and dove out the window, bringing the rotting structure down on the creature’s head. It wasn’t a permanent solution, but it bought them time.

When the dust cleared, Vikus emerged from one of his customary hiding places, commending the duo on their quick thinking. A hasty plan was concocted. Vikus would search known hideouts for the trio of missing shapeshifters, and with them, the amulet. Zed and Dashiel, meanwhile, would take take advantage of the head start to lure the creature into the marsh, where they could hopefully buy more time. The exhausted duo successfully dropped the monster into a brackish sinkhole, and as it disappeared from sight, they hoped it’d stay gone long enough to mount a defense.

Back in town, Vikus had unsuccessfully spent hours checking every safehouse he knew of. Just when he’d decided to forget about it and hope a boat out of town, he was yanked inside by a person whose face was new, but whose demeanor was familiar. It was Krisella Blackwood, Sil, and Lexa. When he filled them in on what he knew, Lexa demanded to see the amulet in question. Using some of her artificer trickery, the changeling managed to jumpstart the age-old enchantment on the relic. Thus armed, but still without direction, the group headed for The Curiosityworks to call on the knowledge of Azir.

The old deva came through. The amulet, with its strange enchantment, had once been a part of an ancient artifact called an Eigen Jar. Similar in principle to bags of holding, it could store items in virtual stasis, but had to be specially prepared. To reconstruct such a jar, the party had together many rare supplies; ink for runes, herbal oil to conduct the enchantment, diamonds to build the array inside, and several rituals with which to prepare the vessel. As the party prepared to ransack the city for supplies, they received an unexpected offer of help: Naymax, lately of The Keepers, had come, lending his skills as an animal spy to track the creature distract it as best he could. Strange bedfellows indeed.

Throughout the city, heroes pitched in to get the supplies. Zed purchased inks, Dashiel helped brew potions, Krisella Blackwood filched gems from a guard lockup, Sil recovered tools, Amare grabbed ritual scrolls from the Academy office, and Visok laid down runes.

For the final stage, all the adventurers gathered together in the basement of the Magistrate’s mansion to grab Lexa‘s other golems. Over the course of manual labor, confessions were made, accusations were levied, and eventually a grudging respect was developed on the nature of teamwork and privacy. But more relevantly, the golem’s power supply was retrieved to power the cobbled-together Eigen Jar. Jar in hand, the gaggle of adventurers strode towards the swamp, to face their destiny.

The first warning the group had came as a bloodied hawk crashed to the ground beside them. As its shredded flesh changed once more into the form of elder Naymax, he choked out “I held it as long as I could… did you finish the device?” * group nod * “End this… stopping the butcher is all that matters…” Then he collapsed.

There was no time to mourn, however, as the undergrowth exploded into a shower of wood splinters. The Bone Butcher had returned. Lexa wasted no time in activating their last weapon. As the enchantments flared to life, a mist of smoke-like miasma was drawn from the Butcher’s surface. It thrashed and slumped to the ground as its mass was drawn into the vessel. It looked like the battle would be over soon when Lexa uttered the fateful words. “Uh oh.”

“Uh oh?” “The power supply is at capacity! It can’t overcome the creature’s resistance on its own!” Sensing this development, bone-butcher lunged at the group, ready for blood, only to be met with Sil’s sword, a desperate swing at a foe that had proved indestructable. No one seemed as surprised as the butcher when the sword cut its bony exterior.

It wasn’t much. Barely a scratch. As the creature dazedly stared down at its hide, the Eigen Jar drew from the fresh wound, widening it as more of the beast disappeared into the Jar. It hadn’t swallowed the creature, but it had made it vulnerable. The course of action was clear. As one, seven heroes surrounded a monster that, hours before, had been unkillable. Blow after blow rained down upon it, breaking more and more of it down into vapor that disappeared into the magic vessel. Holding nothing back, the party broke the monster down. As its head disappeared into its new prison, it cursed the party one final time, “i aM eTERNAL! i wILL rETURN tO sLAY yOU aLL!” Before it disappeared into a roiling cloud in the jar’s interior. Lexa gazed inside for a moment before hastily clamping the lid on.

In the aftermath, an agreement was reached. The Arcane Academy would be entrusted with the safekeeping and study of the Jar. When the party attempted to negotiate the donation of the artifact via Amare‘s mirror, the call was interrupted by Headmaster Temeridan pal’Cosi Elihu. He had another errand for the party, and offered payment, as well as the use of Academy resources. It seems he’d managed to locate the Deorai Goliaths, and wanted to trade for one of their fabled scrying stones. Once more into the breach, right gang?

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