One of Eight Keys
One of Eight Keys
You can't hold it in your hand, but you can feel it none-the-less. You are the keeper of one of the Eight Keys that seals both Lamashtu and Sorceress Serene within the Eternal Prison of the Netherworld. What the key is, only you can know. Whenever you think on it you recall just how close Serene and Lamshtu came to doing what the gods and even the Fates thought impossible; Opening...
The Gate that Cannot Open
It all began while you were searching for allies to help stop the Black Queen from opening the Eternal Prison. You visited a mysterious man known only as The Magician. He told you of how he was once the Keeper of the Seven Keys that the Black Queen sought and that all of them had been claimed by her save one; the key of Dream. Already she moved with her Black Knights to take the key from the mind of The Mad Man, the wandering dreamscape manifestation of Mother Mayhem's favorite patient, Malaise. You joined with Sir Bedwyr and those Black Knights cast out by the Black Queen as traitors and fought your way into Bedlam. Unfortunately, The Black Queen took the key from Malaise before you could stop her, and in doing so released the full despair of Malaise's nightmares upon Night Ward. You destroyed Malaise's nightmare selves, but the Black Queen had already escaped with her prize, and was already on her way to the Eternal Prison.
With the help of Sir Bedwyr, a reluctant Katie Douglas agreed to translocate you inside the Eternal Prison. Fighting through its black halls you encountered the Black Queen and slew her, but in doing so unknowingly turned the key of Death, releasing Lamashtu from her two-thousand year old prison. It was only in the Black Queen's final moments that you discovered that she had been possessed by the spirit of Sorceress Serene. Now proclaiming herself a goddess, and sister of Lamashtu, the two fled the prison. Learning the truth of things, the Black Knights swore their loyalty to Sir Bedwyr, proclaiming that he was the new Lord of the Eternal Prison, and leader of the Black Knights.
Lamashtu was hunting Night Ward in search of The Magician, for he was the keeper of the seven keys which bound her. Fearing she would find him, he tasked you with a plan to keep Lamashtu otherwise occupied. Shadow Hunter, The Magician mused, would be unable to turn down the chance of hunting The Mother of Monsters. He sent you to recruit Shadow Hunter and turn him loose onto Lamashtu's trail, turning the hunter into the hunted.
The Magician told you that he could forge seven new keys to lock away Lamashtu's power, but that in order to do so he would need to know her Seven True Names. These, he admitted, were not known to him, and the only source they were written down in was destroyed by the Emperor's witch hunters years ago. You suggested that others might be more knowledgeable of such things and he had an epiphany. He told you that magic links all worlds together, and that Sorceress Serene must have an equal on Primal Earth. He sent you to speak to her in the inter-dimensional night club, Pocket D. There, you located the Primal Earth version of Sorceress Serene; the ghostly heroine, War Witch. You informed her of what was going on, and she told you that in addition to their being a double of her, there was likely a double of the magical texts that the Emperor destroyed here on Primal Earth. She told you to speak with Mercedes Sheldon, a collector of rare and powerful artifacts and a member of the Midnighter Club. If anyone knew where this Book of Names was, Mercedes would be the girl to talk to.
Mercedes was eager to help, informing you that yes, The Book of Names was known to her and was even in Paragon City at this moment. The downside was that Odysseus of the Warriors owned it, and was looking to sell it off at an illicit auction that very night. You crashed the auction and ran into a gathering of notorious villains all eager to purchase the artifact, but Odysseus had other plans. He had used the book to ward the warehouse and entrap those invitees who were foolish enough to show up, with the intention of taking out his competition. Your arrival, and the machinations of Lord Nemesis, mucked up Odysseus' carefully laid plans and ultimately resulted in you escaping from the warehouse with The Book of Names in hand.
During your jaunt over to Primal Earth, The Magician had completed creating the seven keys. The magic of Night Ward acted upon The Book of Names, giving it life, and it immediately identified The Magician by his name; Pazuzu. Memories flooded back into The Magician at the telling of his name and he realized just what Serene planned to do. All of the events leading up to this point were linked to Serene and her ultimate goal of opening The Gate that Cannot Open. If that were allowed to come to pass, then Lamashtu could be released upon the world of the living once more, and all their good works would be destroyed. Time was short. You assaulted The Tower, the shadow of the Westerman Building here in Night Ward, in a race to get to the top undetected and stop Serene from completing a ritual that would turn her and Lamashtu into a living god of flesh and blood, and prevent her from opening the gate.
Fighting through the Talons of Vengeance who had gathered to support their All-Mother and Sorceress Serene, you finally reached the rooftop, and not a moment too soon. Serene was already conducting the ritual, but Lamashtu lept down to stop you from interfering. Just as battle was about to join between you and the demon goddess, you were joined by the most unlikely of allies. Katie Douglas translocated onto the building to aid you, and with her came all those you had helped through your journey in this strange half-world; Whispering Coyote - the spirit animal companion who showed you the way, Master Winkley - the eccentric and adventureous wizard of the Midnighters, and Ward - the Overspell and Spellfather of the living spells of Night Ward. Together you stood against Lamashtu, while The Magician worked feverishly to learn her true names. But fighting her took more time than you couuld afford, and though Lamashtu was beaten and ready to flee, Serene proclaimed that the ritual was complete. As she uttered the final verses of the spell she was interrupted by an all too familiar voice; her own.
The spectral form of War Witch had manifested and finished the spell a split second before Serene could and the two stared at one another for a brief lifetime. War Witch's timing ensured that the spell of resurrection pulled her soul into Serene's body instead. As she returned to life she proclaimed that if the was going to be a Clarissa Moore walking around, then she was going to be called War Witch. Now, with her back against a wall, Serene did the only thing she could; she attacked, and after a hard fought battle, she lost. With both Lamashtu and Serene beaten, The Magician recited their true names, and locked them away into the Eternal Prison for all time.
Each of you were given one of the eight keys that would forever keep their malevolence contained. Though The Magician had made the keys, its form would only be known to its bearer.
Which key do you hold?