Arrival in Tesra was not the joyous homecoming the party had hoped for. Instead, they discovered the city was embroiled in an infernal siege. Most of the citizens had escaped or were dead, but some surviving refugees were crammed into the naval fort on the southwest side of the port city. The bay filled with sunken ships and watergoing devils, the skies patrolled by Host devils and the fortress under attack, the party was able to leap to the defense of the fortress and save Admiral Farinost from being kidnapped, killed or worse.
Once the battle was over, they discovered the survivors had been held together by a newcomer named Iktar and her Eidolon, Farinost and his remaining soldiers and the Tesran High Priest Stephanos. The party learned that while Grand Duke Nilson VonCrosia had escaped with a portion of the city’s populace, there has been little those left behind could do, except fight a series of losing battles and retreating farther across the city. Now, after about three months of near daily battles, the defenders of Tesra were out of supplies, out of ideas and out of time.
Stephanos’ acolytes and under-priests were suffering from an Affliction that separated them from their deities, eventually leaving them catatonic. Stephanos asked the party to find a book in the Holy Tesran Library called the Tears of Marsa, so that they could summon the Host of Marsa, what the priest believed to be the last hope of the city. He also revealed he predicted he would slip into catatonia in just three days from the Affliction.
Farinost asked the party to help him retake the Bastion Wall, a defensive wall that lined the river and bisected the city. Taking the wall would let him relight the blacksmith’s shop and allow the other facilities in the fortress return to work, instead of providing care for the refugees.
As the party considered their options overnight, Prokhaz the Leper manifested, looking to Midori, begging the Oracle for help. The party was able to destroy the ghost again. The party guessed what she could have brought with her that would bring the ghost as well, and after determining it to be a silver candelabra, used a ballista to launch it well into the devil’s side of the river.
The next morning on Farewelling Day a Contract Devil who called himself Nilar, Herald of Xiwrath the Caustic arrived at the gates to offer the “Master of the city” a contract – the lives of the people for the soul of the Master of the city. Griangi convinced Farinost to decline, wait a day while they sorted this out. Farinost seemed to accept it, and Mason generously offered his legal advice and explained to Griangi and Kia that they could become the Master of the City rather easily:
1. Declare that they are exercising their noble rank to take command of the post from Farinost (in the name of the Grand Duke).
2. Demand Farinost’s troops to now be subject to their commands.
3. Provide a legal writ that they are now the Duke of the City, pending the return of Grand Duke Nilson VonCrosia.
The party later discovered what seemed to be evidence that Admiral Farinost was reconsidering the deal offered by Nilar.
After sleeping on the situation and considering the visit of Nilar, the party chose to send Midori on the mission to get the book for High Priest Stephanos, while the rest of the party marched on the Bastion Wall to take it, partially as a distraction for Midori.
As the party, the column of soldiers and the raw recruits that Gorrok was training arrived at the Bastion Wall, the battle began with two Bone Devils and the party. As the column behind them formed up and the battle escalated, Xiwrath himself appeared, a huge, dark, shadowy devil whose voice shook the heavens and promised the doom of everyone…