The party decided to dispose of the foul Dagger of Remote Control. But first, Janda-Shan would risk touching it in order to scry into its past. Watched over by Whooat, Lucan, and Sage Batson, he was successful in extracting three images related to the dagger.
The first image showed how the dagger came to Madelf. Janda-Shan perceived an ill-defined sense of time and space in darkness, then an instantaneous transition to a bright sunny day in the sky over the forest. The dagger fell through the sky, point down, tweaking its momentum to plunge into Madelf’s back. The unsuspecting elf had been fishing alone along a small stream.
The next image showed the moment the dagger had been deposited into the Vault of Chlamidior. Janda-Shan saw it held cautiously (though heavy gloves) by a stately Eladrin wearing ancient styled mage robes. The Eladrin was in a stone-walled room piled with odd gear, some fantastic, some mundane. The Crown of Insect Sex Appeal was in the pile as well. Janda-Shan saw one door of the room, which was watched over by several other wizards.
The final images showed the moments leading up to the deposit of the dagger’s deposit. This was essentially the same scene, the Eladrin wizard carrying the dagger, the door guarded by other wizards. But this time Janda-Shan saw the door from the other side. It looked plain enough, but it was built incongruously into a natural looking cave wall. It look somewhat similar to the door in which the party had found the first Key, in the caves under Pelor’s temple.
That accomplished, the party set out into the wilderness. They found a clearing well away from bystander or spectators, and set about extracting the demonic presence in the dagger. After a false start due to misremembered instructions (artifact + Evil Putty + something reminiscient of artifact’s power + silly chant + jazz hands), they were successful.
Janda-Shan had planted the dagger point down in the dirt before beginning. So when the demon (a tall red-skinned fork-tongued winged woman) appeared, it appeared keeled over at the waist with its head buried in the ground, struggling to account for its situation. Lucan planted a good arrow in its butt, the demon extracted itself, and the fight commenced.
Whooat commenced her usual role of close-in fighter. She immediately accepted abuse from the demon, including major wounds and poisoning. Even standing near the demon was dangerous; it exuded toxic funk.
Janda-Shan had some funk of his own, creating a large moving stinking cloud that hurt and blinded the demon. The cloud was very effective at hiding Janda-Shan and Lucan from the demon, but also hid the demon from them and left it with only one easily accessible target: Whooat.
Shortly after the fight began, two more demons popped into existence. These were smaller, chubby, flying foes. Each was half belly, half mouth, nipping around them so much that they slowed down anybody nearby. One advanced on Lucan, the other on Whooat.
As the fight wore on, Whooat continued to accept attacks on behalf of her squishier co-heroes. The two demons tore into her. She began to bleed; driving the smaller demons into a frenzy. Her divine power let her heal herself enough to continue to hold the demons’ attention and let Janda-Shan’s and Lucan’s attacks whittle away. She was able to protect her friends, later ensure the destruction of the evil artifact, and further the cause of Pelor’s light in the world. She was not able to save herself.
The largest demon swiped her with its claws, causing deep and poisoned wounds. A smaller bloodlusty demon ripped into her flesh with its mouth, tearing out pounds of meat. Whooat passed out. Neither Lucan nor Janda-Shan was in position to help. Instead, the second small demon finally caught a whiff of her fresh hot blood. It blinked over to her in a pop, bent over to smell as a wine expert might approach a fine vintage, and tore her throat out.
Lucan and Janda-Shan dispatched the demons. First Lucan shot the demon who had killed Whooat, exploding his bulging belly with a wafer-thin arrowhead. The large demon fell next, finally succumbing to the toxic cloud. The remaining small mouth-demon put a scare into Janda-Shan, but ultimately was destroyed.
The dagger smouldered in the ground, its magic dispelled. The party had succeeded in ridding the world of the evil thing. Lucan and Janda-Shan did not discuss whether the price was worth it. Instead, they gathered the loot of the battle, and marched back to Kingdom’s End with a proper subset of Whooat’s remains.
The gate guards caught on to the situation, and word of Whooat’s death reached Pelor’s temple before the party did. Townsfolk lined the street, somber. Only a week ago the had attended a memorial service for the whole party, incorrectly believed dead under the city. Now they mourn only one, but they must watch that one be carried through town in pieces, on the bloody backs of her friends.
Mother Euphasia awaits them at the temple, first demanding to make sure Whooat is truly dead (never entirely clear when none of the pieces which might show a pulse are accounted for), second demanding an accounting of how one of her most gifted clerics could have fallen. Her anger is fleeting; it is not a sufficient substitute for her grief. Resurrection of clergy is not a given; the temple’s first duty is to Pelor, then to the community, and only third to Pelor’s servants. So somebody must compensate for the temple’s use of resources. Janda-Shan and Lucan pay without hesitation, partly from the party’s stash of ritual components, partly by selling the (now completely mundane) lump of platinum which used to be the evil dagger.
Lucan is also receives an errand. With so little of Whooat’s remains remaining, some bulk must be accounted for. He stalks and kills a stately elk in the wilderness (bear had also been seriously considered, or a pile of squirrels less so). With the meat, the temple clergy begin the ritual.
For some people, death is an ending. For others it is just a step in a journey. For Whooat, it is simply a mistake. In death, her ever-present sense of communion with Pelor is strengthened. She feels at peace in his protection and affection. She also feels that her duty is incomplete. Pelor had more in mind for her.
So, with Whooat’s consent and newly recharged sense of duty towards Pelor, she is raised from death. She spoke briefly with Euphasia, passing on a (fake) message from beyond: redecorate the ritual room. Euphasia’s, weeping openly, her usual stern demeanor crumbled, set about doing so. Somewhere in the ether, Pelor scratched his chin and wondered where he had gone wrong.
Many had come to the temple, first to grieve, then to hope. Most of Villageton had come, so distraught they had to leave because they were bringing down the other mourners. Guard Captain Malloran, Dukelette Priscilla, Sage Batson, and Hungover J’ayne were among the notable attendees. A huge cheer went up, cycling through town, when Whooat came out to the public area of the temple.
Janda-Shan, by ventriloquism: Party at the Merry Maiden!
Whooat would continue to suffer summoning sickness for a time, but overall, technically, the day had been a success, sort of.