Pal Mal and Trent were carefully examining a curious spot along the wall where the entrance to the Library should be. There seemed to be a slight distortion to the eye indicating an illusion or portal of some sort. Putting his faith to the test, the Deacon uttered “The Lord be with you, for he is always with me” and stepped into … a scene of carnage! Bodies, books, and a fire burned as far as the eye could see.
It appeared to Deacon that there was a bonfire burning in the middle of the room. Figuring the Lord would provide his companions the courage to follow; he made his way to towering inferno. Trent and Pal Mal were not far behind and after what seemed like a mile, they located the source of flame. While they could see books piled and burning, there was some sort of forcefield preventing them from getting any closer. Trent discovered a keypad seemingly floating in mid air. Remembering the numbers on the piece of flesh they found in the iron maiden, the Deacon punched in the code and another portal opened.
Once inside, they noticed an immediate change in temperature. The room was borderline unbearable to remain in. They located what looked to be the burnt remains of a child and adult at the base of the bonfire and pulled them away. While Trent and Pal Mal looked over the bodies, the Deacon noticed something peculiar…. the books did not seem to be corrupted by the flames. As a test, he threw his handkerchief into the fire…and it also did not burn – confirming his suspicion that this was Hellfire.
Climbing to the top, there was a lone book that not only was not burning, but no flame even tried to touch it. Deacon picked it up….and it was cool to the touch. A welcome relief to his inflamed skin. He opened the book and upon looking at the words, was instantly struck with a bout of amnesia! He retained only the most basic skills to his person. Not knowing what was happening or who he was, he decided to get out of this improbable fire and join the curious looking pair at the base.
Trent and Pal Mal both recognized something was odd with Deacon as soon as he retuned. It seemed as if a great burden had been lifted from his shoulders. His step was lighter, his shoulders relaxed, and he was carrying a book instead of a gun. “That book, where did you find it?!” Pal Mal exclaimed. Deacon looked around to make sure he was the one being talked to and then realized he was carrying a white leather-bound book with very intricate inlays all over the cover. “Uh, up there I guess…who are you again? I can’t seem to recall…”
Pal Mal and Trent were at a loss. What had happened to the gruff agent of God that was with them only moments ago? Attributing this weird behavior to the book, they decided to recover the bodies of what the suspected were the girl and mother they were sent to find. Figuring they would require proof of recovery, they elected to transport them via a levitation spell out of the furnace room, back into the library proper and head back to the refugee camp.
Unbeknownst to them, their spell failed upon exit of the room and the girl’s body began to fall. Deacon with quick reflexes dropped the book and caught the body. Safely in his arms they noticed that the bodies seemed to be coming back to life! Skin was being restored and finally a breath! Something was not right though. Before they were recovered, the trio brought them back into the room of fire to gather their thoughts. If the girls were alive, that would change a few things about how to get out of the library and back to the camp.
It was at this point they also noticed the mother and daughter both had matching necklaces. While Trent and Pal Mal made arguments on taking the necklaces before they woke up, the Deacon began to pray over their bodies in the hopes they would continue to get better. When the skin started to bubble and puss on the unconscious bodies, events and clues fell into place. These were no ordinary mother and child…they were demons, this room was a prison, and this mission was a lot more than it seemed.
Noticing the bodies did not improve further while in this room, they left. Trent noticed that time was not quite right when they exited and after a few calculations realized 4 months had passed while they were inside the room! And the book Deacon dropped was missing! With no way to go back in time, they decided to push forward. Using the room to their advantage, they left Deacon outside for the equivalent of 24 hours in the hopes that some time would allow for the spell affliction to clear.
They left the library together to return to the encampment and report their findings.
In the room, the bodies breathed, a fire raged, time stood still, and a handkerchief did not burn.