Boanna woke up just like any other day in her apartment in Sapphire City, stretched her solid, young limbs and got dressed. "I wonder what Carrion's doing today?" she mused, thinking about about giving her friend Carrie a call as she made breakfast. Meanwhile, in a dumpster in some alleyway, Frederic Flowers- or the name that Carrion carried in - was waking up for what seemed like the first time in ten years, having remembered exactly how he died and how painful it was. One glimpse at his body told him he was alive again, and the scars on his face and body were sealed up; there was no way that this made any sort of sense. His befuddlement was interrupted as his phone began to ring- Boanna was on the line, inviting him over to her place. As he heaved himself over the side of the dumpster to get on his way, something at the back of his now intact head seemed to find it odd she had a place...... or hands with which to use a phone, for that matter.
He arrived at the given address to see a bright and cheery Boanna dressed for a day on the town. She doesn't seem to see anything out of the ordinary about him. Refusing to buy into whatever lie she was living, he shattered her illusions - reminding her that she had been dead for 700+ years and he for 10- and that their day was not normal... before promptly raiding her fridge. Boanna slowly began to realize that reality had been altered, when suddenly Angus burst through the door. He was drunker than they'd ever seen him(barring moondrops of course) and the Scotsman demanded to know what they were doing in his apartment, which he hadn't been aware he even owned before this point in time. Their attempts to talk with him ended as quickly as they began, as Boanna became blasted with projectile vomit.. He passed out and Carrion hefted him onto a couch, finding himself as strong as he'd always been. Boanna went into her room to wash off and change and found a note on the mirror: "Come find me. -B." She immediately recognized the initial to mean Barrow Si, the name of the fey creature who killed her in the first place.
They called Arnos to the apartment and together they headed to the library, where they could have Blank Page help them research the demon and his possible haunts. They found Page at her job and arguing with Selene, who was looking for an outdated copy of a law textbook and would not stop terrorizing the poor librarian until she had it. Failing to glimpse at Page's own nametag, Carrion and Boanna introduced themselves anew and were met with a puzzled stare- prompted by the fact that the zombie and ghost she had been acquainted with were, well, alive and all. She led them to her secret section of the library, where she kept the books on magic that she'd stolen over the years. On the way there Boanna had to use the bathroom- a practice she had not needed to participate in for nearly seven centuries- so she had Selene instruct her on the intricacies of modern plumbing. They continued to the secret library while Boanna began to describe Barrow Si- he was tall with furry legs, cloven feet and a tail, covered in green skin, black hair and was equipped with four black horns that protruded from his head. Page searched and searched through her library and at long last found a relevant book, which listed a creature by that description- an envy demon.
The same book contained a description of a ritual that the demon and other sorcerers had performed millennia ago to seal the dragon goddess Tiamat away in Hell.Back before the fall of Rome, when the primordial magics still held a grip on the mortal plan, the Dragon Goddess Tiamat ravaged the world. Everyone was pushed to the brink of extinction- Man, Fey, and Undead were all but fuel in the path of her fiery maw. A counsel of Eight of the worlds greatest magicians came together to banish Tiamat to the pits of Hell. A family of demons- the Husband, Wife, and Son- mixed their blood with the tears of Visera, the King of the Vampires. To this effluvia was added the strongest Moondew ever created, provided by the Valamantra, the Queen of the Pixies. Grave, a Golem of flesh, drew the circle with his hands whilst the Über-Jack used his axe to cleave a portal into the bowels of Hell itself. The most powerful human sorcerer in existence and the only mortal present, Sevlok the Wise used his power to summon Tiamat to their location and with their power combined, the Eight forced the draconian queen into the portal and slammed it shut. However, during the struggle a piece of Tiamat’s soul lodged itself in Sevlok’s. As time passed, this corrupted him and the High-Priestess of Magic was forced to rip his consciousness from his corporeal body and imprison it within his own staff, but that tale is found elsewhere.
The chant they used was as follows:
Blood of the Family that spill from their hands Tears of the dead have watered the land Outcast’s Flesh, Dew of the Fey We Call on you now to show us the Way! Wood of the Earth, Bone of World’s End We beg of you please, this Doorway to rend Magic of Man, pure and of Fate Seal up the boundaries and slam shut the Gate Goddess of Endings, now hear our command Lie now in Shackles! Be gone from our Land! Your sentence starts now! We fear not your glower! Mother of demons, of evil and pain Tiamat the Deceiver, we banish your power!
This listed the material components needed for sealing away and consequently releasing the beast. The team could only assume that Barrow Si's intention was to gather these components and release Tiamat into the world again. They read down the list, translating as many of the arcane materials into their approximate equivalents as related to their group. Calls to Alexi went unanswered, while attempts to communicate with Maxwell were answered by an answering message that complained of little time and many final research projects.
The most mysterious component in the ritual were 'tears of the dead,' which in the past had been bestowed by the King of the Vampires, who had disappeared into the shadows of time. Our heroes didn't know any vampires, nor did they know any undead (besides the elusive Mungo), and Boanna and Carrion no longer qualified since they had mysteriously stopped being dead that morning. Arnos decided to give his mother a call, since she was acquainted with many of the magical beings that lived in the area. After doting on him and asking when he'd be coming home for dinner, she merely replied that 'the undead are unclean' and refused to speak more on the matter. Selene, having worked with magical investigators before, gave the specialist in her lawfirm a call. He told her that there was a coven of vampires living in the sewers of Sapphire City, and she promised to owe him a favor for the information. The gang headed underground in search of these vampires, hoping to warn them before Barrow Si began to move.
When they'd waded through the sewers and found the secret underground vampire settlement, they were disappointed and confused by what they found The vampires, all dressed like modern hipsters, didn't even listen to the threats of danger, claiming "they were too underground for anyone to bother with them" anyway. They scoffed at Boanna and Carrion, not recognizing in the slightest they were in the presence of former fellow undead. The heroes lingered just a bit too long and offended the vampires, so they sicked their toughest guards on the group. Page began to blast them with fire while Arnos and Carrion attacked them up close. With a feat of acrobatics, Arnos managed to knock one into the water and Carrion held the others off while everyone made their escape. The trip to the sewers was diverting and unhelpful, but at least they had learned something.
Deciding that there was nothing more they could do to prevent the gathering of the ritual components, the group decided to conduct a ritual of their own to track the magic aura of Barrow Si within the city. They followed his 'scent' to the Red Dragon, a Chinese restaurant on 42nd Street. When they arrived the place was completely empty but for one waiter, Mark, who seated them and took their order. He recognized Boanna and Frederic and informed them that 'Mr. Barrows' was waiting to see them in the back about the job they'd both applied for. Selene had gone to the restroom to investigate and Page cloaked herself to follow the two confused heroes to the back office. As soon as they entered Mark pulled a knife on Boanna, and Carrion responded by punching that knife, only to draw back unaccustomed to the living sensation of pain. Arnos, who was chowing happily on some beef he'd ordered, was attacked by a number of red-robed figures who flooded the dining room. Together with Selene, he took them down rather easily while the other three grappled with Mark. They knocked him down and began to interrogate him while Boanna patched up Carrion's fist with her magic. To add insult to Mark's much worse injuries, Carrion stole Mark's nametag too.
Mark was loyal to this 'Mr. Barrows,' and refused to spill any of the information he had. They asked about the cultists and Tiamat, but he was firm in his silence, instead choosing to slice his own throat to the chanting of a prayer to 'Our Mistress who Art in Hellfire.' Before the blood had even stopped flowing, the dead body then began to speak in a voice very unlike Mark's and Boanna recognized the seductive tone of Barrow Si himself. He thanked them all for coming and welcomed them to join him in the ritual chamber, which was just downstairs in the strange basement cavern of the restaurant. Our heroes deliberated, worried that whatever they did would only further his plans. While they were all trying to 'hang up the phone' on Barrow Si, Carrion began to hear a voice in his head, one that taunted him with the memory of his death and the woman who killed him. Scenes from his life flashed through his head faster than he could make sense of them and he crumpled to the ground in tears. The others attempted to comfort him, but his tears had already been absorbed through the floor. After thanking him personally, Barrow Si dispelled his powerful illusion magic and revealed to Carrion that he had been dead all along.
Filled with rage at being used so thoroughly, Carrion charged down into the basement with the others close behind. There they saw a seven-pointed star surrounded by cultists, a ritual component secured at each point. Mungo was there with Alexi and Lily, along with Angus's axe, a vial of moondrops, Maxwell's staff, and in the center, Barrow Si. A vial of Carrion's tears appeared in his hand and he placed it on the circle, then teleported over to Boanna to swipe a drop of her blood with his claws. He sealed the components away in a magical barrier and began to chant the poem they'd found in Page's library, leaving the heroes little choice but to fight him.
He was safe behind his barrier and she was paralyzed while the others fought off his cult. Arnos tried to pull a few of his signature acrobatic combos, but they went as well as they usually did. Carrion tussled with a few and ended up with a dagger through his brain, rendering him unconscious on the floor. Selene fired her gun left and right while Boanna took care of her injured companions and tried to formulate a plan. Barrow Si continued to chant:
Blood of the Family: Spill from my hand The tears of the Dead now water this land Flesh of the Outcast, dew of Fey We call on you now to show us the way! Wood of the Earth, bone of End We give you new purpose, this Doorway to rend. Magician, once powerful, now trapped in your Hate Break down the boundaries and open the Gate Goddess of Endings we hear your command Break free of your Shackles! ‘Tis for you we Stand! Your sentence is up! Now is the hour! Mother of Dragons, of Destruction, of Endings Tiamat,our Mistress, lend us your power!
Eventually, the group discovered that the magic of the barrier was being maintained by the life-force of the cultists and got weaker with each one they felled. There was only one left, hardly conscious. Boanna stared him down, the dagger she'd pulled from Carrion's head in her hand. Barrow Si had reached the conclusion of the ritual, and if she did not act, her world would be doomed. She broke her vow of non-violence and ended the cultists's life, bringing down the barrier just a second too late. At the edge of the basement the ground began to crackle as Hell opened up, and out from its fiery tomb came a massive, five-headed dragon.
Boanna immediately rushed at Barrow Si, fueled by the pact for vengeance that had kept her sane all seven centuries she was in his captivity. He remarked that this was no way to treat her own father and she, stopped in her tracks. He couldn't be her father. Not him, the demon who spent the latter half of her life trying to make her his queen. She couldn't be even half of what he is; she'd always used her powers for good, even while she feared that they were evil.
He revealed that he was Lily's father as well, and the two half-demons battled him with all their magical might. Boanna felt herself invigorated with a new arcane energy, and she and the demon matched each other blow for blow. Meanwhile, the others contended with Tiamat. Carrion climbed her neck and began to drain her essence, feeling a surge of demonic life rush through him. Mungo was unafraid as he charged at the beast, tripping over himself in the process. The dragon breathed fire and lighting from two of her five heads and soaked the battlefield in a miasma of magic. Though a few were injured, the battle showed little sign of tipping in either direction.
Lily and Boanna had managed to wear their father down while the battle raged around them. Time seemed to stand still as he spoke to them, saying that as long as he and his 'Family' were present, Tiamat could not be banished again. Just as Boanna was prepared to break her vows a second time he disappeared. Lily followed suit, refusing to let her 'daddy issues' get the better of her. Boanna knew what she had to do. She was his family, his blood, and her life was essential to this ritual. She raised the knife and turned it on herself- as she fell dead again, Tiamat dispersed to the four winds with an echoing roar.
Her friends stood over her, grieving the loss of a life that had only just begun again. The portal to Hell remained open- seconds later Boanna's ghost returned, the same as it was before that day, only free of Barrow Si's control. She had come back on her own terms, and her undeath was hers to live as she chose. Alexi mentioned that she could probably even possess her own corpse and gain a corporeal form but she declined, refusing to dwell in a body tainted with demonic blood.
It had been a traumatic day for many of our heroes. The rest lost sight of Boanna after that, and she never told them what she did while she wandered Sapphire City, searching for purpose. All she knew was that her worst fears had been confirmed. Now that she knew what power she possessed, and it was up to her to use or abuse it.