The momentum of the investigation is in the 12th's favor. The leads are solid and the prey is faltering.
With the information gathered from the Fixing the Warrens campaign, the Raging Rhino-Buffalo and the Wiz-Kid set off with purpose to find their missing friend. Luck is on their side...or is it? Whoever nabbed Missouri failed to dispose of his communicator, and even left it on. Alex's homing beacon gets a firm lock, and he sprints away like a bloodhound on a trail. Everett does his best to keep up, but the titan juicer's size bogs him down. Still, a man that size is easy to see coming, and those in the way move quickly to clear them a path. Their chase leads them back to the Mystic Quarter and down Temple Street. On the way, they pass the Wizard's Wayside Inn, where they're beckoned inside by Proditione, Gaspard, and Dom, who have news of their own.
Pahi Oki and Marten do their best to commune with the parting spirit. While beyond the capability of most medicine, and even magic cures, the hands of the Gardener of the White Rose manage to stave off the final departure long enough to wring an answer from the tortured soul. "She lied...the demons are clawing at my feet... Cynara... Harmony isn't real...look beneath the floor..."
His spirit passes even beyond what the Knight and the Warlock are able to find. But Harmony
rings in their heads. With that ominous thought rattling around their inquisitive minds, they return to the Wizard's Wayside to reconvene with their cohorts.
Heather is nothing if not persistent. Her inquisitions grow more urgent and less delicate. Lost in her fervency, she unfortunately shuts her mind to the outside world, focused only on the Harmonious congregant in front of her. Adriana is fast, but isn't fast enough to reach every silver-skull who set themselves upon the ladies of the 12th. One, still standing in the shadows, reaches out with psionic force, catching Heather off guard and telekinetically shoving her back against a pillar. She hits with enough force to inflict real harm. Adriana watches her friend slump to the floor, barely clinging to consciousness. With a feline snarl, she launches herself into the shadows, scratching at the ghost. Her prey howls in pain. In an instant, the silver skull ghost turns intangible and sprints through the wall of the Church of Harmony. Once the threats are clear, Adriana scoops up the severely wounded Heather and carries her swiftly back to the Wizard's Wayside to apprise her teammates of the new developments.
Heather, for her part, managed to connect with the mind of the psionic who attacked her. Curatrix is seen frequently with several hooded and cloaked escorts. What she discovers, though, is that Gill is always with him as one of the cloaked individuals. They have not been separated from each other since entering the city. Indeed, they were together, too, at the Collegiate Arcane during the attack...which they led themselves.
The reverse scrying ritual is a continuing, titanic struggle of arcane masters of a variety of persuasions. Even the formidable foe at the other end, though, is no match for the eldritch craft of the Legion's best. The three Legionnaires push even harder, pumping more and more energy into the stone. Almost like the opening of a rift, the stone projects a crystal clear image of their adversary. Under a glowing, neon sign advertising religious trinkets on Temple Street, a nearby church houses a sanctum in a basement, concealed under an altar and a false floor. There, a beautiful woman stands, her hands outstretched towards the stone's viewer, a grimace of anger on her face as she realizes her plans are undone. Something in her visage belies her true form. She is most assuredly not human.
She is joined at the viewer by two more women, each pouring their own arcane energy into the counter-attack.
Sweat drips from their brows as they struggle in vain against the superior might of the 12th. In the background, a fearsome, hideous warrior stands in front of a slumping form which is chained to the wall.
Blood drips from the individual's wounds, fueling the disgusting scrying ritual, though to little avail. A black grimoire lays, closed, upon a pedestal. Along another wall lie what appear to be rows of lifeless bodies, cleaned and dressed, but assuredly dead. Then, the image goes blank. The arcanists of the 12th have won their victory. Gaspard requests Lanasa to finish, and she agrees. "I will permanently seal the lids of this eye; they'll never use this gem for their terrible purposes again."
With that, the Dom, Gaspard, and Proditione hurry back to the Wizard's Wayside, summoning the remainder of their forces to reconvene and compare notes.
Swiftly, the members of the 12th Arcane Anomaly Team convene and compare notes. The attacks in the Warrens appear to be for fuel only. The downtrodden, outcast, and homeless are victims for this death cult, and they're led by a dark woman. The Church of Harmony, as Marten and Pahi have discovered, appears to be a false religion, or at least a front for the death cult. Why Gill and Curatrix seem to have fallen in with the death cult, no one knows. But the mind of the psionic who attacked Heather didn't lie. Heather most definitely saw both Gill and Curatrix, as clear as day, leading the attack on the College. Their shapes and sizes fit the images shown on the security feed, and the smaller form (Gill) made great usage of summoning otherworldly allies.
Alex's homing beacon still has a lock on Missouri's communicator, and it centers directly on the Church of Harmony. Whether Missouri is there, alive or otherwise, cannot be determined. The individual chained to the wall was blocked by the form of what appeared to be a mystic knight. There is no way to tell whether any of the bodies on the floor belong to him.
As Gaspard pieces the final parts of the puzzle together, Lanasa stumbles in, exhausted but apparently uninjured, and carried by Ghurab. Breathlessly, she exclaims. "They...at the last...they saw me. They know that...that we know. You...must...hurry."
Ghurab, somewhat surprised by the condition of the 12th, laments the situation. "We have nothing we can offer in the way of assistance. We've been ordered to guard the grounds, as we suspect another attack is imminent. The Council has convened to determine how to stop the threat. Joseph is with us. His ties to the Black Devils are important to the defense."
He looks at the new additions, then continues. "Though I see that you have at least replaced your numbers. That is good."