Finding themselves in command of the courtyard, the Crisis officers climbed up to the gallery and entered what appeared to be a warehouse, occupied by numerous crates, boxes, barrels, chests, and a multi-legged, multi-eyed beast waving sharp claws. Ezikial promptly shot it and it staggered, wavering. Chopper shrugged and buried his axe at a point roughly equidistant from its numerous eyes, eliminating the threat before Reiko and Feruzi could even raise their weapons.
“Well, I mean, I get the appeal of finishing things off so quickly,” Chopper said, retrieving his axe, “but where is the pageantry?”
Feruzi smirked. “It’s about time you boys handled something on your own,” she said. Reiko nodded.
“I couldn’t agree more. It’s nice to avoid the explosion of internal organs all over me for once.”
“The thunder of my guns and the spraying blood are enough for me,” Ezikial said, reloading his pistols.
The door on the western side of the warehouse was locked—Chopper kicked it and six spikes shot out, impaling his leg.
“Oof!” he announced as Sandara rushed forward with a healing spell. “Door kicked me back. Ruse, can you witch it open?”
“If only we ‘ad someone good at blowin’ up locks . . .” Sandara said unsubtly. Ezikial pulled out a grenade.
“Fire in th’ hole!” Sandara added helpfully.
The explosion rattled the warehouse and the door was reduced to expedient splinters. They rifled through the rest of that floor without finding anything too terribly interesting, then mounted the stairs. Or tried to: the doors above opened and four pale-skinned, dark-winged women wearing not many clothes but wielding more than enough weapons to make up for it charged them. Two of them fired flaming arrows at Ezikial, the other attacked Reiko with a flaming rope that coiled as of its own volition. The fourth erinyes cast a spell and a miasma of cold, greasy darkness rolled over them.
Chopper shouted and charged, wielding his axes. “Put on some clothes, ye harlot,” he growled as he fenced with the spellcaster. Ezikial shot that one and, without a pause, continued on to the next. Reiko shook her head.
“Why am I even here today?” she asked.
“Because it takes me a while to reload,” Ezikial grunted. Feruzi fired up the stairs, downing a third devil while Reiko attempted to disentangle herself from the rope.
“HARRIGAN, COME OUT AND PLAY!” Ezikial roared. Sandara channeled divine energy, burning the remaining erinyes, and Ezikial finished her off. The east door, behind them, opened and the familiar, painful sound of a Chelish opera sung by a powerful, piercing soprano filled the room.
“Oh, not this again,” Feruzi said, wincing. The diva strode into the warehouse and cast a spell at Reiko, who didn’t seem particularly overcome.
“Yer flat,” Chopper announced as a bolt of lightning hit Feruzi in the chest and arced, singing everyone except Chopper. Ezikial cringed as phantasmal magic struck at him, but he shook it off. Harrigan suddenly appeared next to the Chelish diva, the skulls on his armor howling fearsomely. He struck at Feruzi, who didn’t quite dodge in time. Reiko drew her katana and cleaved the Diva while Chopper attacked Harrigan.
“Besmara calls for your blood,” Ezikial growled.
“Then come an’ take it, Mister Hands,” Harrigan growled back.
“I believe that I shall.” Ezikial’s bullets punched holes in Harrigan’s flesh. Doloruso, the spellcaster, appeared behind Harrigan and threw a spray of prismatic energy over Feruzi and Sandara, both of whom vanished in a blast of violet light.
“What the what?!” Chopper demanded. Reiko growled and shifted her grip, drawing her short sword with her off-hand. With a flurry of blows, she assailed the diva who fell dead at her feet. Chopper cheered happily but was cut off by Harrigan’s equally furious assault. Ezikial’s pistols thundered once more as Chopper forced Harrigan back, and with a hiss of rage that ended in a spray of blood, the former master of the Wormwood finally met his end.
“You can’t stop what’s coming!” he gasped as he expired.
Doloruso blinked. “I yield!” she announced. “No more, I beg of you!”
The translucent, ghostly face of Nightshade appeared. “Traitor,” she hissed, casting a spell at Doloruso, who recoiled.
“My allegiance was always a temporary convenience,” Doloruso said. Nightshade began to cast another spell, but Reiko leaped forward, severing both her arms at the wrist. With a shriek, Nightshade expired.
“I accept your surrender,” Chopper said. “So does Mister Hands.”
“Oh, thank the Black Queen.”
“And Feruzi isn’t here to gainsay me, either. So, where IS she, exactly?”
“Not to mention Sandara as well,” Reiko said, feeling her burns.
“They caught the violet ray of my prismatic spray, so they must have been sent to another plane of existence,” Doloruso said.
“That could be problematic,” Reiko mused.
“Your cleric can probably bring them back . . . assuming they ended up in the same place.”
“What did Harrigan mean by ’what’s coming’?” Chopper asked.
“Cheliax is planning an invasion. They told Harrigan they would make him the Governor once they’d taken over.”
Searching Harrigan’s effects revealed a great deal of information about this proposed invasion, as well as a secret entrance to Fort Hazard created by a previous Hurricane King. They also discovered Peppery Longfarthing and Habbly Quarne in the prison, victims of Harrigan’s wrath.
“Secure the prisoners and contact the crew,” Chopper announced. “We’re getting off this rock. Feruzi and Sandara will have to fend for themselves. They should be up for it.”