|The Eye of Eternity|
|The Best Laid Plans|
Here it was, their defining moment. They had come so far in such a little time; vagabonds to the universe, cast out on the frothing shores of creation and forced to sink or swim. Swim they did, in those days, swim as far and as fast as they could carry themselves… out of obscurity, and straight into legend. — The Professor
With their plan laid, Birch, Seriphos, Nuvo and their team prepared the ambush of the true Demon of Almas. Using Seriphos as bait and masking the other marked individuals with a nondetection spell, they laid in wait under the pretenses of a dress rehearsal. Sure enough, the lure of one of the marks proved too great to be ignored, and soon the true mastermind behind the demon emerged.
The owl-masked figure that had haunted Seriphos and Birch at the beginning of their journey appeared to lay claim to the mark. In a pitched battle the man in the owl mask showed stunning agility and control of electricity-based spells, sending bolts of lightning at Seriphos and avoiding all of the swordsman's blows. It was not until the combined strength of all the heroes began to push him into a corner that he pulled out an elaborately engraved iron flask and removed the stopper, conjuring the demon of Almas in a swirling cloud of white smoke. The bone devil descended on the party in a vicious flurry of attacks, killing several of the Eagle Knights and severely injuring others.
Knight-Commander Reinn was thrown aside by the demon's powerful attacks, and not until Wiirn crashed through the ceiling on his arrival did things seem to be swaying in the heroes' favor. Wiirn clashed with the demon, tooth and claw, while the kobolds rigged an elaborate snare trap that dragged the demon into a conjured mist created by the owl-masked man, weakening the demon's mind. Battled on all sides, the heroes managed to steal the iron flask from the owl masked man and trap the demon back inside of his very own prison.
Seeing he was defeated, the man in the owl mask slipped away through a dimension door and disappeared from sight. The battle war over, and while the heroes were victorious, the threat of that figure remained.
In the aftermath of the battle, the heroes exited the theater to find a crowd had gathered, having heard the conflict. The Eagle Knights quickly took control of the situation and alerted the populace that the demon had been defeated, and Almas was once again safe. Lionized as saviors of Almas, Oniia, Birch and Seriphos would find themselves once again on the cover of the Andoran Gazette with the headline, The Demon's Defeat above them.
In the days that followed, the Hellknights of the Pyre would be reached out to. These staunch defenders of the law and pursuers of corruption, cults and evil would interrogate the once imprisoned demon before dispatching it back to the depths of Hell.
And that's how the story of the Demon of Almas came to a close. Those three went from ordinary to extraordinary in a matter of a scant few weeks. But this wasn't the end of their story, it wasn't even really the beginning. This was just one of many pages being written, out of order, in the grand story of their amazing lives.
…and they hadn't even met me yet. — The Professor
The Winterbrook Orphans
While many children at the Winterbrook orphanage died at the hands of a deranged man, their deaths became a fire in the public's eye. Advocated by Birch, the orphans of Almas found their lots in life improved. Removed from their inhospitable surroundings, the children wound find something new in the confines of Almas' walls: Hope.
The Guardian House
With the groundwork laid out by Birch, the Guardian House would eventually become an establishment for learning and a home for the children displaced by the war. The investors in the home would struggle over its purpose for years to come, until they are quietly bought out by a private investor from Absalom. Under the watchful eye of the Order of the Pyre, the Guardian House would become a place of origin for several young men and woman who would aid in reshaping the world in the future to come…
Confessing to the deplorable acts he comitted at the Winterbrook Orphanage, Gedrick Shalan's trial was a brisk one. Convicted of his heinous crimes, Gedrick met his end at he gallows. His final words: "We have already been saved," were lost in the roar of the crowd that gathered to watch his execution.
Already heroes and patriots in the eyes of Andoran's people, the Eagle Knights' fame did not waver in their participation in the defeat of the Demon. Emboldened by their success in the face of impossible odds, the Eagle Knights continued to fight bravely for the lives and freedoms of others across Golarion. In the eyes of other nations, the prowess of the Eagle Knights became a thing of legend.
Those brave Eagle Knights who gave their lives battling the Demon of Almas were immortalized in statues erected in the Field of Concord, their valor and sacrifice never to be forgotten.
Responsible for organizing the defeat of the Demon of Almas, Knight-Marshall Reinn would receive a commendation for valor and exceptional performance from Knight-General Cadrith. The award, however, was tempered by a larger burden placed on her shoulders. Three weeks following the ceremony where Reinn received her awards, the Knight-General would die in battle defending his men from a Chelaxian ambush in Westcrown. Reinn would be promoted to the rank of Knight-General and assume full command of all branches of the Eagle Knights.
Rumors of her former association with the White Hand guild would shadow her career, but would always be overlooked when compared to her successes as a leader.
Having successfully solved the murders and defeated the Demon of Almas, Constable Delacroix was presented with the commission of Knight from the Andoran government. However, Delacroix's title of Knight-Constable was short-lived. When Calisaria Reinn was promoted to the rank of Knight-General, Delacroix was appointed as the new Knight-Marshall. Jokingly, Reinn comissioned his badge to function as a ring of sustenance. Delacroix, while appreciative, found no humor in the gesture of so many sleepless nights to come.
Rescued from the clutches of the Demon, Miala Vileen was able to return to work with the Pathfinder Society in preparation for her journey to Tian-Xia across the Path of Aganhei, a journey made by her mother decades prior. Her journey, however, would be interrupted by an adventure of a whole other kind in a much more southerly direction… But that is a story for another day.
Saved — twice — from the Demon of Almas, Nadira Basi-Sani became famous for her involvement in the Demon's defeat. Deciding to stay in Almas, Nadira's performances in the Hale Theater packed the house and became the most successful performer in Andoran for years to come. As her fame waned, Nadira moved from singing to writing, and her adaptation of the story, "The Winter Fiend" would reignite her career.
With the fame surrounding those who defeated the Demon of Almas, Lydia was quick to retreat from the public eye. Within days the mysterious woman and her mentor had vanished from Almas without a trace. Little did the Heroes of Almas know, their saving of Lydia's life had gained them great fame within an unknown group.
Wielding the Inheritor's Blade into battle, a mere boy found himself accomplishing an astounding task. Surviving the battle, Iorith became known as a child-hero of Iomedae and champion of the Inheritor. His time to experience that fame was short-lived, as Iorith was called to Mendev three years after the Demon's defeat. There, he would find himself confronted with a destiny too large for his small shoulders alone… But that is a story for another day.
While his disappearance from Almas remained unexplained, the brow boy Aelsith would be remembered by the cryptic warning he offered Oniia. Aelsith would re-emerge years later in Mendev, meeting up with Iorith of the Inheritor's Knights with an unusual group of heroes at his side… But that is a story for another day.
The White Hand Guild
Quietly operating on the sidelines, the White Hand eluded detection and successfully remained unconnected to the liberated slaves formerly owned by the Aspis Consortium. The infamous thieves guild intended to keep it that way, or see the wrath of their client. Their client, however, had other plans… But that is a story for another day.
The Demon of Almas
Revealed as the true Demon, this creature's death resonated through the citizens of Almas in a wave of relief. The men and women who bravely fought the Demon became heroes and celebrities overnight, and the city of Almas would never forget their names.
Though defeated by the Heroes of Almas, the creature responsible for the many brutal murders in the city made a grim promise before the Knights of the Pyre executed him. A promise to return in one century to exact revenge on all those who were responsible for his defeat, starting with a man he called the Master. These words were never revealed to the public when word of the Demon's defeat got out. The Eagle Knights will remember, though, and they will be ready.
The master pulling the Demon's strings was revealed, though the Heroes of Almas were unable to capture him or discover his identity. It would not be the last time their paths would cross, however…
When it was discovered that Seriphos served as an apprentice to the dwarven smith Voras Olode, the smith's business boomed. Nearly every soldier in Almas wanted a blade forged by the famed Eagle Knight hero. Voras would become wealthier than he had ever imagined, and his weapons and armor — stamped with his maker's mark of two swords crossed over an anvil — would be found all across Avistan.
With one-hundred years of misplaced blame lifted from his name, the gargoyle Wiirn found himself no longer feared and reviled, but respected. The "Guardian Angel" of Almas became a local sensation, a nocturnal hero who had silently kept vigil over Almas for centuries. As work of Wiirn's fame spread, the city began to attribute instanced of unexplained vigilantism on the gargoyle. Renowned as "the people's hero," Wiirn was given the honorary title of Corporal in the Golden Legion of the Eagle Knights and was later afforded the honor of Knighthood.
Wiirn became as much a hero of Almas as he became a symbol to the people. In the years to come, buildings would be constructed with his stone likeness in the architecture, popularizing the proud and stoic visage of the gargoyle as a symbol of protection.
Wiirn would continue to watch the night, an ever-present beacon of hope in a sometimes dark world.
Though the Demon of Almas had been defeated, the prophet of Sarenrae, Golren, found himself unable to feel relief. Troubled by visions of an increasingly grim future, Golren became obsessed with attempting to decypher the meanings behind these visions and their cryptic imagery. A month after the Demon's defeat, Golren would pass away in his sleep at the age of 77, never knowing the secrets of his dire predictions… only knowing that something dwelled in the darkness between the stars… and it was coming, whether the world was ready or not.
The Aspis Consortium
While forced to exile Izah from their ranks in order to distance themselves from Andoran's wrath, the Consortium managed to dodge connection to the White Hand's operations in Almas and remain uncontested in their place within Andoran's mercantile elite. With focus on the slave-trade eclipsed by the Demon of Almas, the Aspis Consortium was freed up to continue their other endeavors…
The Puzzle Box
The strange wooden puzzle-box owned by Gedrick was confiscated by the Almas Southwatch following Gedrick's arrest. For a time it sat in storage, a silent curiosity. But on the day of Gedrick's execution, it began to click and tick again… Gedrick would never know that it was not a sacrifice the box had been waiting for, but a moment in history that had finally arrived. Soon after it came alive, the box was stolen from the vault…
|Previously||The Best Laid Plans|
|Continued In||Enter, Professor|