Moonday, 24 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)
After much discussion of how to proceed, Athena flies off to purchase to lesser restoration scrolls and Scar-Eater studies the killer paintings some more. When Jane returns, both she and Archie notice that three more worms have disappeared from Archerus’ picture…perhaps one per hour since the last time they looked at it. If so, it will only be eight hours before the painting’s magic fails.
Godsday, 25 Ready’reat CY 595
At midnight, Jane meditates to regain her spells while the others visit Katarina Gertwright. She is suffering from a degenerative disease but is willing to answer their questions about Gauthfellow. “He’s not open to critique or other ideas.” She claims he has grown increasingly unstable over time, even throwing a tantrum at a recent opening, but also notes that she does not deal with him on a meaningful personal level. Of his work, she says his content is always fantastical; great landscapes, extraplanar, dark, vivid, oppressive – everything that is currently in vogue, like horrible monsters. His work is provocative and well-executed but without soul. He did not take kindly to her criticism. She claims he can afford to be his own patron as he is very wealthy. She doesn’t know anything about how an invisible stalker came to kill the messenger who delivered her painting.
The party uses some divination spells to determine whether or not they should attempt to enter the painting from Archerus’ studio. Meanwhile, Tyrrell strolls around the neighborhood and spots a sparkling silver coin marked with the Moonmeadow symbol and pockets it.
At 1:00 am, the party decides to uncover and enter the painting, where two more worms have gone missing. Upon grasping each other’s hands and stepping inside, they find themselves in a battle with a painted hag and two chain devils. The remaining worms are all screaming and banging their heads against the walls of the cavern. Finding the enemies resistant to his attacks, Archie tries to save one of the head-beating worms. He chooses wisely, and when the battle ends and the party is schlorked back to the vault, Archie finds himself clutching Endrik Archerus himself. It is 11 in the morning.