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SESSION 20: Quarantine
Egg-spiker pursued Segerstrom through the library and up to a large iron door, leaving Tatia, his beloved, behind. He immediately petitioned the party for some thieves' tools with which he attempted to pick the lock. The door's mechanisms proved too complicated however, and he was unable to unlock it. To prevent the escape of the Librarian, Eggsy rushed to the surface to bar any routes that he suspected Segerstrom might be taking. Finding an empty house a short distance away from the prison and in the direction of the locked iron door, Egg-spiker decided to set fire to the cabin, immolating whatever might have been inside to Bismuth.
Meanwhile, on the lowest level of the prison, Igan was taking to the locked doors. Attempting to use the tension wrench as a chisel on the door hinges, Igan smashed the instrument to pieces using his war-hammer. After putting a few dents in the door with brute force, Igan and Sklooh took Lena's advice and decided to use Tatia as a bartering chip or as bait. Upon reentering her room, however, they found her corpse absent with evidence of a secret entrance and exit to the room hidden into the a stone wall. Lena discovered the switch, and she, Igan, and Sklooh (and Kasj, begrudgingly) proceeded into the passageway before coming to another dead end--or another secret door. Finding the switch to this door, as well, Lena opened this one, as well, exposing a small, dimly-lit room with a mysterious figure standing in the center.
At that moment, Egg-spiker returned to the library and, finding the group missing, called out for them. Lena, heeding the call, decided to retrieve him and show him the passageway. While both Lena and Eggsy were in the other room, the trap-door forced Igan and the struggling Sklooh with Kasj into the dark, towards the mysterious figure who let out a rumble of a laugh and a deep, "They found you..."
With that, Sklooh suddenly felt a cold pain in his arm, like a numbing bite, and felt some of his life forth being drained from him. He looked over and saw that Segerstrom had been lying in a panic at the door with Tatia at his feet. He sees that Segerstrom's twisted and diseased hand is making direct contact with Sklooh's skin. The creature in the center uttered amused expressions, and Igan saw that it was not obscured in shadow, but was actually black in color apart from its glowing red eyes. It also seemed to be engulfed in spines and spikes and barbs. Anyway, the party retaliated against the Librarian. Sklooh swung at him with an ax, injuring him even more severely. In an attempt to escape, Segerstrom recited an incantation and blew a wisp of smokey powder from his hand before assuming the form of a large vaporous cloud. Igan refused to let him escape again, though, and brought his hammer through the mist. This seemed to be enough to break his concentration and cause him to revert back into his decrepit and sickly form.
Sklooh, having had enough of this ridiculousness, brought his ax down upon Tatia, decapitating her in a single swipe. Segerstrom, in a fit of distress, screamed and threw himself towards her head, and Sklooh seized the opportunity by killing the feeble man. The creature in the center of the room erupted into an unsettling cacophony of laughter. Sklooh, still fueled by his rage, ran headlong towards the being without realizing that he was stepping over a circular magic sigil on the floor of the room. The figure quickly silenced himself and restrained Sklooh by grabbing him by his throat and hoisting him off the ground single-handedly. In a deep, sonorous voice the figure demanded to be set free and it became obvious that the runes on the ground were keeping him imprisoned.
Just then, Lena and Egg-spiker arrived in the room. Both shocked, they identified Sklooh's captor as a devil known as a Hamatula, or Barbed Devil. The fiend promises that he will release Sklooh if the magic circle is broken and kill Sklooh if it is not. Sklooh struggles and the party attacked from a distance, but everything seems highly ineffective--the beast does not flinch. The devil tightens his grip and wrings Sklooh's neck, causing blood to trickle down his torso. The devil suggests strongly that he be released. At that moment, Igan took hold of Sklooh and wrenched him back with all of his might, barely freeing Sklooh from the fiend's grasp. At that, the Barbed Devil vows eternal enmity if they leave him without breaking the circle. After discharging a few blasts of unholy fire at Sklooh, Egg-spiker suggests that they kill him and be done with it. Lena warns that devils cannot be killed--they can only be exorcised to Hell where, if they find a way back to this plane, they can enact revenge on their enemies. Lena suggests instead to leave him in this room and permanently sealing off this wing. The devil retorts that bad fortune always leads to a devil's release--it's only a matter of time, and he has an eternity to wait. He vows that death will not save them from his vendetta.
Igan mentions their mission of needing a unicorn, and the tone of the devil changes. The devil offers a deal in return for freedom and offers to bring the party a unicorn. The party (especially Sklooh and Kasj) do not trust him, but Lena, Egg-spiker, and Igan's religious knowledge leads them to believe that devils may be evil, but they are incredibly ordered and beholden to their promises. Lena sweetens the deal by asking for a single task to be performed for the group as well as three questions be answered. The Hamatula agrees and Lena stooped over to rub away a bit of the circle, and all realize for the first time how difficult it would be to ensure the magic circle was never disrupted.
Lena asks for the devil to find all of the information he can on Silas Angel, especially his location. When the devil reports that he believes the man to be dead, Lena contradicts him and insists on the devil completing this task--no matter how long it takes. Lena steps aside and allows the party to ask their questions. Igan passes the opportunity of inquiry to Eggsy, who asks, "Are there any other followers of Bismuth alive?" The devil asks for one day to find and deliver the answer. Eggsy continued, "Are there any other free settlements outside of Varda?" Yes. Realizing the need for a short addendum, Eggsy continued, "On this continent?" Yes. The devil announces that he has fulfilled his obligation and disappears. The group then chastises Eggsy for being an idiot and wasting all of their questions.
Lena, unable to restrain her passion for magical knowledge and forgetting of Segerstrom's infirmity, searched the corpse for his spell-book before the rest of the Pillarmen call her to her senses. They no longer wish to come in contact with her in case she has contracted the illness. Which reminds Eggsy of the wound the Librarian dealt to Sklooh. In desperation, Eggsy convinced Sklooh to allow a large portion of flesh to be taken out of his arm where Segerstrom had touched him. Igan walked over to the small door in the corner of the room and opened it. Inside, a record room was revealed. Igan, Eggsy, Sklooh, and Kasj enter the room, but Lena leaves for the library to search for the spell-book... and to curse her idiocy and mourn that her own adopted father won't touch her.
Inside the record room, the party poured through volumes of documents and found a lot of information: protocol for bringing in new prisoners, torture procedures, a register of prisoners, a map of the facility, memos calling for the closure of the prison due to kingdom overreach, memos calling for the removal of magical prisoners, the locations of two other maximum security prisons in Varda. Lena finds Segerstrom's spell-book, which doubled as a sort of journal and has his research on magic woven throughout it. Lena pockets the book with the intention of reading it in depth.
With the heavy-lifting seemingly taken care of, and the area relatively free of threats, Igan, Eggsy, and Sklooh use the rest of their energy to clean out the remaining rooms of the prison using the map they secured from the record room.