- Following their deaths at the hands of Grimme, Abigale and Ray find themselves in a pit of tarlike substance and Anafiel with them.
- Abigale and Ray swiftly back away from the person who triggers bad memories. After a few tense moments and explanation they relax and attempt to understand where they are.
- The heroes climb out of the pit and find themselves in a closed, dark cavern, the floor covered with pools of blood. They catch a glimpse of a creature, hunched over, with yellow eyes, that dashes away through a portal, covered with a thin film of glowing mist, rising from the floor.
- Approaching the portal is painful for Abigale, Anafiel, and Ray and they notice that each of them is slightly translucent to the other. Also, physical things in the room are very hard to touch and move.
- Ray fixes the Motorola found in the pit and the heroes hear what sounds like a battle through the receiver. Just then a man with a prosthetic eye runs out of the portal and does not seem to notice them before he exits the same way.
- The heroes notice that the ground around the portal is marked with rock salt. With some difficulty they brush some of the salt away and the portal turns into a passageway.
Somewhere in Time
- Down the hallway they start opening doors and looking through rooms, and discover books on the subjects of The Reckoners, Grimme, Raven, and Stone. With some difficulty they open the reference on Grimme and see that an alliance from Europe wrote the book in the year 2098.
- Once the shock of their displacement passes the heroes read, starting from the narration of their own search for the glyphs. The book chronicles how after their deaths Grimme’s pact with the earth spirits shattered the North American continent in 1881, transforming the entire area into a Deadlands. Since then, Grimme, the Servitor of the Reckoner Famine, has brought ruin to Europe and other nations. Almost the entire world is now a Hell on Earth. The four Reckoners, Death, Pestilence, War, and Famine have descended on the physical plane, Famine holding the most prominence.
- Reeling from the knowledge of the state of things resulting from their deaths the heroes hear soldiers coming down the hallway. Abigale throws the book on Grimme to grab their attention and turns to the pages discussing themselves, underlining their names. The soldiers become excited and send for two people, Wemutai and Hollister.
- Hollister is the man with the prosthetic eye and several other gizmos connected to the eye and head. Wemutai is an older and Harrowed version of the sweet, young Indian woman who Abigale and Anafiel met while rescuing Born in a Bowl. She wears the Aztec medallion and wields the staff of Ezekiah Grimme, the man.
- Hollister uses one of his devices to make the heroes visible to the living and he and Wemutai explain how they arrived here. The year is now 2111 and the human alliances are losing badly against the Reckoners and their spawn, with the false Grimme leading the charge. Eli, Max, and Will continued to search for the glyphs, but they had no knowledge of Grimme’s deceit through the body of Anafiel and were consumed by Grimme’s staff. Lacy O’Malley was the human sacrifice used to trigger the breakup of America and The Elders were sealed away in The Hunting Grounds to ensure Grimme’s immortality.
- In order to avert the apocalyptic state of the world, the present resistance groups have wanted to alter the past, but it proved impossible to send a living human back using their current understanding of time travel. They could, however, send a ghost back to the time of its death. To get intact, sane ghosts from before armageddon, they sent back “ghost traps” thought time. They were disguised as walkie talkies, advanced technology which would hopefully be useful enough to be picked up by heroes, but not potent enough to change history in an uncontrolled way. The walkie talkies were sent back to where they’d be found by the Twilight Legion. These “Motorolas” are what the heroes found, captured their souls when they died, and delivered them through the centuries to the current time.
- Now Hollister wants to send the heroes back to their own time to avert the disaster. There is a portal to The Hunting Grounds located in The Forest, just outside the fort in The Great Maze where they are at now. Running calibrations from inside the fort, Hollister believes he can send the heroes back in the window of time between when Grimme triggered the glyph on the Isle of Ghost Tears and Abigale and Ray died. The heroes will need to navigate their way through The Hunting Grounds to their own time, which will be treacherous since the Reckoners now dominate this realm of the afterlife. A path of some sort should appear to guid them to their own time though.
- A few moments later news arrives reporting that Grimme’s forces have advanced and The Forest has been taken. The only way for the heroes to reach the portal is for the army to launch an attack from the fort against Grimme and his hordes of faminites. The attack is a suicide run, but Hollister and Wemutai say that everyone is dead either way.
- As they prepare for battle the heroes meet one of the most powerful allies of the defenders, Malachi, the eerie creature they saw when they first emerged from the pit. It specifically addresses Abigale and she recognizes that it is The Child. His power and assistance comes at a cost however; Malachi must consume a human soul once a month. Abigale shares a few moments with the strange being and asks him what she should do if they ever meet again in the past. Malachi asks her to kill him.
The Last Battle
The gates of the fort open and scores of Templars, led by Wemutai and Malachi, march ahead of you. The dust in the air feels thick and you don’t know if it is because you are incorporeal or a sign of the times, but the darkness seems to seep into the very center of your being. A crescent moon hangs low above the cliffs revealing swarms of faminites in the faint white glow. As far as the eye can see the parched earth churns with these emancipated abominations.
Approaching the front of the fort is the image straight out of Anafiel’s vision; Grimme leads the charge in Anafiel’s distorted body, yellow eyes glowing malevolently, and swinging Lu Dongbin’s sword and the cursed hickory staff.
You break into an all out run. The Templars raise their guns and mow down the advancing faminites, but as soon as one goes down another appears to emerge right out of the earth. Weematai and Malachi cut down swathes of the hell spawn left and right as they and Grimme draw closer together.
You and the others run through the carnage of the battle. There is a very disconcerting feeling every time you pass through a faminite, but you push on, attempting to keep as much space between you and Grimme as possible and still advance towards the canyon leading to the forest.
Weematai, Malachi, and Grimme collide on the battlefield. You keep running, but Anafiel pauses, turns, and raises up his hands. A bright, crystal-like sheen appears around Weematai and Grimme’s next strike misses. Not even a moment later Anafiel turns again and folds his hands in prayer. You begin to call out to him, but then Weematai’s arms and the staff glow a dazzling gold and her next two strikes both make brutal contact with Grimme’s face. Malachi pounces and Grimme falls to the ground.
He cries out. “Help me master!”
You hear a chilling neigh in the far off distance on the other side of the dark cliffs. After a moment of silence the crescent moon turn a sickly shade of green and a howling noise echoes through the canyon. Green, ghastly spirits swirl about and rush past and you begin to hear cries of agony coming from the soldiers behind you. You don’t turn to look back anymore; you won’t gaze upon the ravages of Famine if you can help it. This all must change.
You keep running. The dark copse of trees is ahead, drawing closer, but not nearly fast enough (Why do ghosts get tired?).
In the forest each tree casts long shadows, but after just a few moments you see the portal to The Hunting Grounds, a large glowing distortion against the background of the undergrowth. There is only a brief moment of understanding shared between all of you and without another second of hesitation or regard you leap into the rift.