Travelling with the army, the group witnessed the coven leader, Pandora Zayven ride headlong past them towards the head of the army. Echo could see what the others could not, that the woman was in full communion and was for all intents and purposes Satan himself.
The group hurried to catch the devil incarnate as he commanded Fortune’s palanquin bearers to lower the Imperimundi to the ground. Their hesitation cost them their lives.
When the group arrived Satan told them that everything that they and the army planned to do hinged on a pivotal gap in their knowledge and that any hope of success required that he speak with the Imperimundi about her illness.
In the confines of privacy bought with a circle of flame conjured by Emalf, they learned that Satan had been troubled by recognition as the Essence described his assessment of Fortune’s illness. He said that he had seen such maladies during his tenure as General to the Old Ones.
The Old One, Erva, had secretly inserted god killing beings in the army known as “Malin Gar”. The Malin Gar were apparently regular demons or mortals with a secret power to infect a god with a fatal disease through their link to their highest earthly avatars. He said that Fortune’s condition was a symptom of something much more serious and that the longer the girl lived, the greater the threat that the god would die.
He told the girl that she would have to choose between her own life and that of her goddess…. or he might accept the payment already given for Rashyr’s resurrection in exchange for Fortune’s resurrection instead. The theory being that the infection of her soul would die when she did.
There was some controversy that Rashyr would be abandoned, but the group had no currency that Satan would accept in exchange for returning both the girl and the healer to life.
After some apprehension, they came to accept Pandora Zayven’s words and Fortune planned a “Consultation” as a means of satisfying her God Glass peers and to seek the goddess’ support for what Satan proposed. The ritual was carried out under star light with the girl at the centre of 11 cultists each representing a possible truth over the conundrum.
The stars should have swelled and flowed and shifted colour to favour the a quadrant of truths… instead the heavens were deathly silent and that silence was taken as answer enough.
The group planned for Emalf to accompany Fortune, and the rest of the group would go after Peril before rejoining the army.
Before they set about to separate, Emalf asked Orbray-Ell to use the spare Dawn ring they still carried to form a Dawn Bridge between the warlock and the summoner so they could find each other and remain aware of happenings in both locations.
As the Emalf and Fortune accompanied the Healers to the door of the Hedron where death awaited the girl, Illynis turned up to ask Emalf what the Hell he was doing trusting Satan… he responded to Illynis’ critique by getting cold feet. Then as Echo realised plans might change, she attempted intervene.
Echo sought to use the Dawn Bridge to exercise ‘The Tower of Wills’ to directly control Emalf and stop him from making impulsive changes of plan. She would have succeeded except for the added protection afforded by his link to Orbray-Ell which allowed her to bolster his defences.
Free-will intact, Emalf commanded Orbray-Ell to teleport himself, Fortune and Illynis away….
Furious, Echo promptly told Pandora Zayven where they had gone through knowledge granted by the Dawn Bridge.
Emalf had not specified a destination and they found themselves in the throne room of Ell-Maine before Mastema.
After a moment of stunned inaction, Illynis pulled the invisible Castle Rake from her back and blew the throne hosting Satan’s agent off the platform. Then she tried to use message sensitive travel to deliver them away… Failing that Orbray-Ell, on Emalf’s instructions, tried to take them to the dying goddess, Aco, to assess their over all status in the struggle against Tolmet and probably Satan.
Odds stacked very much against it, Orbray-Ell did as was asked and they found themselves in darkness with Fortune telling Emalf it had worked. That the goddess was in the darkness and they had only to find her. The warlock told the girl to reach out and see how well her god survived.
She embraced the moon as she had done so many times before, the black mist parted on the abyssal platform at the heart of Hell and the 11 old one created telescope lenses gazed upon them from the darkness.
Fortune collapsed. Apparently dead.
Spying movement at the edge of the platform. Emalf ran to the edge and thought he made out massive thrashing tentacles in the blackness.
He was brought back to himself after what seemed like a hopeless eternity when Fortune touched his arm. Her first words were ‘Satan is a liar’. She went on to say her death had freed the goddess and the nearness to her divine (if weakened) power had allowed her to save the girl in turn.
Meanwhile, Echo and the group pursued Peril ahead of the army into the Baalgor. They witnessed the girl removing the crown for a few minutes each day as she fled south and west, her ploy seemingly successful in luring the wyrms.
Still Echo was not satisfied to allow the the girl to bear such danger. She decided to resolve the girls future there and then and set out to summon both Satan and Andrakasis the to settle matters and give the world “The General” it would need.
She only succeeded in summoning the father and had to satisfy herself with that. Andrakasis was annoyed to have been once again prevented from getting the answers he wanted from Lucifer. He was distinctly insensitive to his daughter’s safety and gave the impression that the world would benefit more from his own needs being met than those of a girl, an army and the gods.