The party returned with a chest of taxes and their friend’s stiffening body. After turning in the taxes, prices returned to normal. Afterwards, they went to the local temple and inside saw a young man, intensely devout and deep in prayer when they met. They asked him if they could have funeral rites performed for their friend. He had no family they knew of, and they suspected non other than themselves would weep for him, but they wanted to honor his sacrifice however they could. Marmaroth, as the young priest had introduced himself, offered to perform the funeral rites himself. The next day, the funeral was held and some passers-by wandered over the graveyard to see who had died, though none recognized him, of course. As is customary, Marmaroth spoke the following prayer:
“May the great Name of The Fates be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which the Primals created according to their will. May their destinies be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of Cerenon, swiftly and in the near future; and say, Amen.
May the Three’s great name be blessed, forever and ever.
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy ones, Blessed are they- above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen. May there be abundant peace from Celestia, and life, upon us and upon all Cerenon; and say, Amen.”
At the end of the prayer, and old woman began sobbing uncontrollably. When Marmaroth went to console her, Khashana dropped the guise, took Gar’s body and yelled at Marmaroth “I’m not going to let you throw any more friends away!” They tried to chase after her, but were stopped by the skeletons of people from a garrison town in the northern woods that had been ravaged over a decade ago. This attack slowed them enough to let Khashana escape into the woods. It was in this battle that Marmaroth proved to be a powerful invoker, capable or hurling divine energy as bolts of lightning or blades of astral fire. In all his cloistered life he had never seen anything like this and was at a loss on what to do. He consulted the gods and they said his destiny lie in the northern woods, so he joined the party and the trekked through the forest, surviving ambush after ambush, even an encounter with a deadly owlbear, until they finally reached the entrance to ravaged city’s underground garrison.
Inside the ancient garrison Khashana’s voice entered their heads and guided them along as they witnessed the struggle and the massacre that occurred here. Through the use of vengeful spirits, puppeteered corpses, and some illusion magic, the party became actors in a grand play that showed them how the the people who had taken refuge here had spent their final day. Marmaroth had taken to this mysterious woman and sought to learn more about her, and resolved to befriend her rather than simply defeat her. He spent significant time conversing with her through the psychic link she had formed between their minds.
The most intense of these scenes was the one where a man in black executed her father as he was hiding and shielding her with his body. As her father’s blood covered her entire body and stained her clothes, the man in black took his leave, the attacking monsters following not far behind. It was after this that they found a secret door to the vault where Khashana had stored the artifact. After using it to restore their souls to their rightful bodies, the artifact crumbled to dust in Dumby’s hand.
After that, during an encounter with a pair of wraiths and other angry spirits seeking retribution, Marmaroth was burned alive by their vengeful fires, and half-dead the party retreated to to the dining room to catch their breath. After recovering, the party tried to piece together what to do next, and after a while, the doors to the dining room swung open, and a single humanoid creature walked in, thin and pale, with eyes like golden orbs hidden beneath slits of skin, though his face was somehow familiar- Marmaroth, they realized. “I am Marmaroth, and yet I am not Marmaroth” it said. The gods had seen fit to make the naive and mild-mannered young man into something more. Something with a purpose – a revenant, beings only spoken of dark children’s fables who are reborn, but with little to no memory of their former selves. Perhaps this was what the Three had in mind when they pointed him towards the forest, he could hardly say, but the massive blade at his back made him sure of one thing, he was now a warrior of the gods.
The party finally found a secret passage leading to an underground cavernous room with a large glyph in the middle of the room and Khashana standing on it. For whatever reason, Marmaroth knew the child must be protected, and the party was able to calm her down, but that only antagonized the true threat, a Vectis Devil who had been using her the whole time. The party fought and defeated the devil, and despite his ability to possess the party and force them to fight their allies, managed to overcome him and protect Khashana. They could tell she had been scarred deeply by the trauma of the massacre, but with the devil gone they could now get through to her. She didn’t have much in the way of useful information, but they made note of one name she did recall, Leucis…