As our unfortunate heroes followed the mysterious Andari named Lionel Mayspring through some hidden tunnels and outside Rust Water district into the barrens, leaving a living Sequitor who had made his way through a pack of Bluecoat Ferrens, dispatching them like a spider would eat the flies, they were quickly facing the enraged Lionel who grabbed Professor Ference and started to grunt about their mental capabilities and what they were thinking when shooting guards and bringing Sequitors on their tails.
With some witty and snappy remarks from John Doe that aimed at Lionel and questioned his authority to actually shout at the group, the heroes found themselves in a dire situation when Mr Mayspring, not in a mood to continue arguing, quickly succumbed to the notion of being over the line and suggesting leaving the group behind… to their eventual death.
As the group’s voice of reason, Professor jumped into the conversation and inquired how Mr Mayspring could help them. Only to find out that it was Lionel who was seeking the help of the heroes on a rather dangerous, illegal yet highly important for him mission to acquire a certain set of documents. And more so, as he implied that he would need their skills in another mission – but after the initial one.
In return he offered to make their problems with the law authorities to go away.
Not seeing any other choice in their situation, the group reluctantly agreed, especially when Lionel suggested that there would be others involved in the operation to make it certain that the mission would be a success.
When asked who that mansion belonged to, he quickly answered: "To Alistair Pennsworth, some of you might know him already". The group noticed an startled expression of puzzlement on Mr Mulsummer’s face, but decided not to poke him about it for now.
The newly formed band marched through the barrens, following Lionel’s footsteps, surrounded by the decay and ruins. For the city dwellers it was a rather depressing view of buildings and ancient things succumbed to time and destruction, radiating the abandonment, that left them in a destroyed way. Going through these ruins, it was hard to imagine that once the life had blossomed here, that some people were calling these dried out, empty, brownish lands their home, and it was emanating the life and happiness. Nothing was left from those ancient, long-forgotten times. The dry lands of the barrens were either littered with deformed ruins, or simply and plainly empty, with no life making its way through the ground.
They made their way to a local ‘safeplace’, as Mr Mayspring called it, and found themselves in yet another abandoned set of buildings and old arcs, and among this depressing picture of gone-life, they heard some sounds and voices, and saw a building that has not succumbed to time and decay, standing out as the pillar of life that was fighting its way in the land of death. It was the Shadow Temple, one of many through the barrens, perhaps, the only place which was gradually making its way outside the city districts in an attempt to reclaim the Abandoned Lands to the humanity.
It was in the temple that Lionel introduced the party to two new people that would join them on the mission: a tall, hooded figure of Brother Midnight, that was emanating power and strength of his faith, and a peculiar Andari lady by the name of Scary Poppets that looked nothing like her suggested profession of a retriever.
They got to know each other and spent some time resting, bickering about whether to share the plans with the group or not, and Brother Midnight performing a gruesome attempt to heal John Doe’s lost eye, that inflicted a colossal amount of pain to the poor lad. When he regained his senses and accepted the weird and not plane apologies from the shadowpriest, Mr Doe finally got to do what he knew to do best – acquiring bits and pieces and tweaking away through the night, making some small and funny looking machine that could remotely go on a distance and come back, forced by a simple code that Mr Doe could put into it. If asked how the machine worked, he wouldn’t even be able to answer it properly, but the fact remained – the machine did work!..
Come the morning the group set out on the mission, which involved infiltrating the mansion found in the barrens not that far away from the temple, and making their way into the vault where the documents were supposed to be. After inspecting the plans of the mansion acquired by Scary Poppets, Derrick Richardson pointed out that the existence of the lavatory inside implied there was some sort of catacombs underneath it, and that it would be possible to make their way through the sewers system that would definitely be connected with the catacombs. Brother Midnight thought for a second and suggested that he knew a place that would most certainly be the point of entry into those said catacombs. Richardson went as far as bursting into some cry and confessing that he worked for Pennsworth and he took his money, and that was the reason of him leaving Mr Doe behind in the capital district and running away to Rust Water. Brother Midnight calmed him down with his words of faith, which sought to make its effect on poor Richardson.
The group went towards the catacomb’s entry, making its way through the barrens once again – though this time there were no ruins around them, just dried, empty, abandoned lands, scarred with unnatural dunes and hills. At one point, the shadowpriest, who asserted himself into the group as its leader, stopped the band and waited out as a runestorm ravaged in a distance – a view of raw and furious power, reddish in nature and destroying the ground upon touching, disappearing in a matter of seconds as if there was nothing at all…
Once they made their way to the catacomb’s entry in the dusk, they saw a fire going next to it. Mr Mulsummer and Ms Poppets made their way closer to the fire, realising that someone must have been seen by the guards, and that the guards were hiding inside the entrance to the catacombs. After much thinking and discussing, the group realised that the guards calmed down and returned to their fire – even though, such thoughts as going away were expressed by the heroes, they finally agreed on using Mr Doe’s machine to bring some vaporised toxin closer to the guards. It was an easy task for Mr Doe who made the poison provided by Brother Midnight into a weaponised vapour, brought it closer by his machine, and the guards fell victim of that fatigue released by the poison. Mr Mulsummer, using the cover of the night, approached the last man standing from behind and with a quick blow to his head sent the man into oblivion…
The group was all ready to go inside the catacombs and test their luck to get inside the mansion, happy as they were that they didn’t have to kill anyone.