With an intimidating crew of Mr. H’s Five, Lazarus, a Gatling gun manned by two Friekorpsmenn, and a horde of constructs (including Komodo Ryu), the strike team set off toward Horniege’s controlled Blood-stained Arena. At first approach, it was obvious something was wrong with the surrounding area. With little warning, the team was attacked by a swooping swarm of clockwork pigeons that were roosting in the Crooked Clock Tower, and the team chose to run and take cover into the Arena over standing and fighting off the deadly flock.
Inside the Arena, as the crew feared, more of Horniege’s army seemed to be complete, while the demon-horn-crowned mastermind himself casually draped himself on a massive silvery scrap pile thrown, with Chloe hovering close by. Surprised that the humans came back so willing to their death, Lazarus broke Horniege’s monologue and challenged him to face his crimes against humanity. Taking glee in “decommissioning the failed prototype,” Horniege attached himself to his thrown, which unfolded into the massive Strangealloy scorpion Osiris.
Bullets, magic, and constructs began to fly. While intimidating to behold and quick to close distance, the new Neverdead shells proved to be cumbersome in combat, and it was obvious only Osiris provided any meaningful ranged threat. While the new Gatling gun repeatedly jammed, Ave threw out two Contender’s Flasks, spawning the Pale Rider and Ashes and Dust. Cho’ko’s constructs surged forward, preventing the Neverdead from pressing a melee-advantaged into the ranged crew.
While things seemed to be going well at the off, Osiris revealed he had been preparing for a fight. Two crystalline pillars that Cho’ko accurately identified as massive Death’s Chandeliers pulsed with blood-red light, weakening the heroes’ resolve while not touching the Neverdead. Determined to prevent a second pulse, Cho’ko piloted her Ryu towards the closest Chandelier, but it was the fallen Ashen Core that was able to switch the pillar into a venomous lime-green to the Five’s benefit.
With concentrated fire, Osiris finally fell under the hail of lead, most damaging of which was Ave’s saved Blackfire-coated rounds, which etched and rapidly corroded the Strangealloy body. Mantic now, Osiris seemed not to give up so easily, enacting his Apophis Edict to eject his tail section and become a massive platinum viper.
Seeing their alpha dropped so quickly, denying the last chance of resummoning or the eternal life Horniege must have promised the Soulstone wraiths, the Neverdead began to compromise their Soulstone cores in a desperate attempt to take out any enemy close to them. Frustrated with their lack of faith, Horniege began to retreat from the fireteam, but not quickly enough, as the Apophis frame too crumped as quickly as the scorpion frame under concentrated fire.
Shrieking in horror, Chloe quickly made a move to scoop-up the Osiris head and beat feet while the Neverdead made their last stand. Undaunted by the chaos, Lazarus fired a fatal shot at the Nephilim succubus, drenching the head in caustic black blood, damaging the Soulstone core beyond sanity. As Osiris screamed unintelligibly and each Neverdead detonated their aetheric conflagration, Lazarus strode forward and smashed the last remnant of the Osiris nightmare.
With the Neverdead threat finally neutralized, our heroes got to enjoy the end-credit montage that comes with a happily-ever-after. Using the 4-lade Soulstone that was found in one of the Chandeliers and the Last Will and Testament of Arthur Beswick, James returned to Earth briefly to get his family affairs and business in order, but rounded back into Malifaux to follow his father’s parting words of following his heart for adventure. Cho’ko claimed Horniege’s Arena as her own, and while she can still be seen with James in the day, she frequents the QZ at night to continue her dealings with her Whisperer. Ave finally got in contact with her estranged family, and with the tales she told, Lucius’ vouching, and her ability to fire El Corazon, she was welcomed with open arms into Latigo.
However, questions remain. What are the intentions of the White Rabbit? Will Harvey pursue revenge on the Five? Will Lucius ever call on the crew again? Fates and Destiny are fickle, even for the Fated, but there will always be one certainty in Malifaux:
Bad Things Happen.