Oh, Wretched Man
- Minor Story Arc
- Visit Ouroborus to Flashback to this story
- Issue 6
- Seer Marino (Mercy Island)
- A letter sealed with a black kiss
- 15 - 19
Find the surveillance tapes in the old building
My brother was killed many years ago, whilst on a mission for Lord Recluse himself. Paolo was a member of the Wolf Spiders back then, and he was leading the back-up squad for an inflitration mission run by a Night Widow, who was herself my best friend. Paolo was my older brother, but treated her as a second sister, and had volunteered to act as her back-up for a routine assassination. But the operation went wrong, all were killed, and the building was gutted by fire. But I have recently learned that something may have happened that night. The buildign still stands, and though it has been abandoned for years, I believe tht in the confusion, the building's security systems may have recorded the events of that night. It would be deemed unprofessional of me to investigate this myself, and I must send someone strong because the place has become a hideout for mutant vagrants called 'The Lost'. So I seek a free contractor like yourself, to do this deed and find this information. this will likely be the start of something large. One old secret usually covers others.
I must know what became of my brother. I must know how he died. Or, if he died...
Find the surveilance information, and look for any other clues.
Abandoned Office @ Mercy Island (Arachnos)
This place hasn't been used in years by anyone but squatters.
Objective: You found something
The collection of surveillance photos and a betamax video tape are all marked with the night in question, and stamped by an Arbiter Daos as Arachnos evidence. They must have been left behind during the investigation. The tale they tell is stark. it looks like a normal, if late-night, business meeting until people start dying to the unseen Night Widow assassin. Then one of the business men pulls a grenade out of his briefcase, and others pull guns. An explosion rocks the room, and gunfire crackles through the smoke. The first time the hooded figure of the Night Widow assassin appears, she's bleeding from several gunshots, and the corridor behind her is on fire. Desperately, she calls to her support team, who can be seen in further photos licking through doors only to run right into a squad of heavily-armed thugs. The last moments of the video of the firefight show the Wolf Spider leader shouting silently into the flames to rescue the Night Widow, already dead floors above.
Mission Complete: You got the surveilance information!
After you helped Mu'Rakir fight off the Lost who had cornered him, he told you why he was here:
'I return to this place from time to time to refresh my memory. To recollect my mistakes. To remember the dead.'
'It was years ago, I was barely an adept raised out from the ranks of the Wolf Spiders by the power of my Mu bloodline. This building had been the scene of a disasterous operation the year before that ended in a fire and the death of a Night Widow and her support squad. The investigating Arbiter found the place was haunted, and we were sent in to exorcize the ghost. We summoned forth the tormented spirit of the slain Night Widow. We began the exorcism, but her power was such that we feared it could not be done.'
'Then she cried out:
'Paolo!' she cried. 'Paolo! They are hurting me!' And we were soon beset by a misshapen monstrosity in the tattered remnants of an Arachnos uniform. Terror griped me, and my wards slipped. The ghost was free and bound us with spectral terrors. We had no tiem to rebuild our wards before the wretched mutate was upon us. It slew half a dozen of us, sloughing off our magics as it snapped my cadre's bodies in half. And the ghost of the Night Widow exhorted it on the whole time.'
'When we survivors told our tale, Lord Recluse himself took interest. When next we returned, we were ordered to communicate with this spirit, and then to free it from this place. And this we did, despite the bile in our throats and the burning desire for revenge in our hearts.'
'Thus did Ghost Widow and the Wretch join the ranks of Arachnos.'
'I suppose that information should be classified, but I care not. The melancholia I feel here overwhelms such petty concerns, and I am awash in what might have been had I not failed my cadre at that moment.'
On the video! That face! that's paolo! I ahd thought for so long I had been able to forget him, but I knew I never could. And there he is on the screen, still breathing, still alive. it pains me to watch his last moments, but here, look! He wasn't gunned down with the others! He ran back into the fire to find the Night Widow he was there to protect. He couldn't see that she was dead.
My poor Paolo. He was never harsh enough to have been in Arachnos. This and the story of Magus Mu'Rakir confirm what I feared. My brother Paolo is alive, and living in misery as the mutated monster called The Wretch. Give me a moment, Dread Tomax, and I will tell you all that I know.
I am a Seer of the Fortunata, blessed or cursed with visions. Mine are under no great control, often the strongest ones come in sudden flashes. I was confering with Ghost Widow herself one day, when I met Wretch. It was the first time I was ever in his direct presence, and the sudden viasion that overcame me almost sent me into unconciousness, such was it's power. I saw my brother Paolo, my brother who I had thought dead for years, trapped beneath tons of rubble, eating rats and drinking mutagenic water to survive the horrible burns. I saw the ghost of the woman I had called friend throughout our training years soothign his deranged mind, urging him to live. And when the vision cleared, I saw Ghost Widow and Wretch before me. Then I knew I must learn the truth.
Steal Wretch's medical records - without witnesses
Now that I know the truth of it, I know that my brother Paolo lives still, and lives in misery as the twisted Wretch, servant to the ghost of the woman I had thought my friend. Why she has not headled him, why she has not told me, I do not know. But I know this: I want my brother back.
To have any chance to heal Paolo, I must know what changed him. That's where you come in. Ghost Widow may be an apparition, but Wretch is still alive. I have found the place where Wretch's medical records are kept after he was brought in. They may have some clue in them that could reverse the process. I need those records. I need no one to know that I have them. And I don't care who must be silenced in order for that to happen.
The facility on Mercy Isle. I will give you it's location. Once there, you must locate Paolo's medical records and take them. then, make sure that you've destroyed the surveilance system, and...
Eliminate all of the potential witnesses.
Seer Marino doesn't want any witnesses left. That should be doable.
Objective: You destroyed the surveilance system's records.
Mission Complete: You recovered Wretch's medical data and left no witnesses.
After you and huntsman Ohank decided to splt the purloined data on Wretch, he told you a little about why he wanted it:
'Mu'Rakir told me about you. He's one of us. And we think that you're one of us, too. Oh, we know a lot about you. We know that you're working with Seer Marino. And we know that she has a grudge against Ghost Widow over the death of her brother. We also know that you're ambitious enough to realize that if one of Lord Recluse's inner circle was taken out, it would open a spot for someone like yourself. So, we're willing to cut deals for those who might be our allies. I'll have my people contact Seer Marino.'
Seeing those medical records is enough to break my heart. The pain pooor Paolo must have gone through! But what I cannot understand is that the records show he refused any treatment! Why would my brother have done that? Unless he was influenced in this. Ghost Widow, my former friend, she is always with him. Is this her doing? But why?
I have little time to think of such things. I have been contacted by the man you met, this Huntsman Ohanko. It seems that he and Mu'Rakir are embroiled together in some way. I know that they have something against Ghost Widow, and while my loyalty to Arachnos is strong, that bridge has been crossed already by the silenced halls of the record repository. I must learn why Ghost WIdow denies Paolo the care he needs to be normal again. And may the darkness claim her soul if I do not like the answer!
I will meet with Ohanko and Mu'Rakir, and discover their aims.
Steal Info on Ghost Widow from Legacy Chain
Mu'Rakir and Ohanko are willing to allow us into their plans, but there are those among their conspiracy who do not trust either of us. Though I do not know their aims, the information they have could tell me what hold Ghost Widow has over Paolo, so I must gain their trust. They told me to deliver them some information they are seeking about Ghost Widow, but some of the information they want I cannot get without notice. I can get them the details about Ghost Widow's daily affairs, but they also wish to know more about what kind of spirit Ghost Widow is, and as far as I know, the ones most likely to know outside of Arachnos are the Legacy Chain. You must steal the Legacy Chain's information on Ghost Widow. Then they should be willing to trust us.
The Legacy Chain are gathering their information on Ghost Widow, no doubt for some sort of conference as to how best to defeat her. They gather together under her very nose, hiding their conclaves as business meetings. though theur efforts are futile, ther research is excellent. Get all of it, so that we can buy the trust of Mu'Rakir, Ohanko, and their allies.
The Legacy Chain is know for their mystic research. Of course, it's only their research if they can keep you from stealing it.
Objective: You found some information.
The combined work of the Legacy Chain's specialists on ghosts, spirits, and specters paints an interesting picture of just what Ghost Widow is. They theorize that due to the method of her original death, Ghost Wiow is bound by the emotions and feelings she felt in her last moments of life. Normally, ghosts of this type canot leave the lace where they died, but Ghost Widow was released from th place of her death by the magic of Arachnos' Mu Mystics. Even when she's been dispersed in past, she has always reformed. The Legacy Chain's experts believe that something is holding Ghost Widow in this world, but are lost in debate as to what it may be. The leading conjecture is that Wretch, her constant guardian, may serve as an anchor that Ghost Widow uses to hold herself to this world, and pull herself back together when dispersed. The last part is purely supposition and theory, and there are several scholarly refutations of the whole idea.
Mission Complete: You got all of the research.
A-HA! There! There, you see! The Legacy Chain's research says it all! Ghost Widow, she is bound to Paolo! She needs him as an anchor in this world, and canot let him go!
Do not try to tell me that they are in disagreement about it in the papers. Do not point out the dissension among their researchers. I can feel that this must be true. No, I know it to be true from the depths of my heart. She whom I once called friend, whom both I and Paolo called sister, she torments his life to extend her own unlife!
I will get this to our allies. Then, she will pay for all that she has done to Paolo and me.
I swear, she will pay!
Free Ohanko and remove evidence
Our allies need assistance, Ohanko is about to be questioned on charges of conspiracy, and a body must be disposed of before it's evidence betrays us all. Enter the base, and amid the havoc free Ohanko and remove the body. Once you're back, they will begin planning against Ghost Widow, and I will see my revenge begin.
Ohanko is about to be taken in for questioning. you must give him a reasonable amount of chaos to escape in. At the least, defeat the base commander, free Ohanko, and remove the evidence.
Our allies have brought us into their cabal, and when Ghost Widow falls and Paolo is free from his misery, I will make certain that you are rewarded for all that you have done. Now go, and get Hunstman Ohanko out of jeopardy.
You have to wonder what Huntsman Ohanko could have done to get himself in this much trouble.
Objective: You discovered something as you were handling the body!
According to her ID, her name was Deborah Cross, a 4 year veteran of the Blood Widows who was promoted to the rank of Arbiter for displaying extreme loyalty to Arachnos while under Council interrogation. And now, she is dead. Much more worrisome is that the wounds on her seem to mimic the effects of your powers. Killign an Arbiter is one of the worst offenses possible under the draconian laws of Arachnos. It's considered the same as a direct attack on Lord Recluse himself. If someone thought that you slew Arbiter Cross, it could bring the whole weight of Arachnos down on your head.
Mission Complete: You allowed Huntsman Ohanko to escape justice.
After you took care of his guards, Huntsman Ohanko told you:
'Our trusted ally! I'm glad you came. Things got bad, and Arbiter caught on to the plan. I took care of the Arbiter, but don't worry. We have a plan that will handle finding someone to pin the Arbiter's death on. But now, we'll have to move everything up and strike quickly. First we get the Widow. Then, before she can reform, we'll have to move fast to take out Wretch. We'll get you a time table for both operations. Oh, and keep an eye on Seer Marino. We've tried to keep her in the dark about things, but if she realizes that Wretch is her brother, she might get emotional when we kill him. I want her to have the chance to enjoy thinking that killign Ghost WIdow avenged her dead brother for as long as she can. So I want to make sure that you're rigth there with her when it goes down.'
'It ain't easy, you know? I mean, I knew Paolo. This is a release for him.'
After you left, I had a vision, a powerful, terrible vision.
You stood amongst an Arbiter Tribunal, accused of an Arbiter's murder.
I was brought before Lord Recluse in chains, accused of orchestrating Ghost Widow's destruction.
And Paolo, burning, screaming, ripped apart by Mu magic as Mu'Rakir laughed in vengeful triumph.
This vision will not leave me. And from the look on your face, you know that this vision is true, don't you?
We are betrayed...
Ohanko and Mu'Rakir will us eus as scapegoats for their acts, and kill my poor brother. And his fate will be kind compared to what will come of us. We have only one option before us. We must stop the conspiracy we helped to start, and betray those who plan to betray us!
Warn Ghost Widow of the plot against her
huntsman Ohanko and Guardian Mu'Rakir must still believe that we do not know their plans to betray us. We have only one option: We must betray them first. I will gather the evidence we will need. Wou must deliver warning before the assassinations can take place. Ghost Widow will be their first target. She must be warned. If you sruvive, seek out Arbiter Diaz and tell everything you've learned. And if you dont' survive, I will join you soon after.
Both our lives rest on this. Deliver your warning to Ghost Widow, and let nothing stop you.
I still hate her for what she's done to Paolo, but the conspiritors will kill him too. The irony of it is bitter. To save my brother, I must save his tormenter.
I must gather the evidence we'll need to prove our innocence in this. You must save Ghost Widow and speak with Arbiter Diaz to show our innocence through action.
The conspirators have trapped Ghost Widow within her tower.
Objective: You delivered the warning to Ghost Widow.
After you released Ghost Widow from the spells of the Mu, she spoke to you:
'I know your warning, and i know what Seer Marino hopes to gain. It's ironic that you and Pia have doen so much to save my life, really. I'm already dead, and she'll never get what she wants.'
'Death is like being a living memory. All I am, all i can be, was frozen at the moment I died. We, the dead, cannot change on our own. The dead cannot move on. And the dead cannot let go. But for those like me, those still able to think and to feel, it's a curse beyond imagining. I can understand what has become of me. I can understand that I cam dead, and that I am in a way, a living memory.'
'I died worrying for Paolo, and I will care for him as best I can as long as I exist; it's part of what makes me exist. but by the same token, I also cannto give him up. ANd though I've tried to make him go, he will not leave my side until he thinks I am safe. We are bound together, protecting each other in our strange half-lives.'
'Tell Pia I'm sory, but I caannot give Paolo back to her. All I can do is try to protect him as he protects me. I know what they move to kill him. Mu'Rakir's hatred for my poor Wretch has left that mystic twisted and blind. Well, more so than is normal for his kind. He thinks I need Wretch to re-form my spirit shoudl I be dispersed. i do not. My spirit was re-bound to Arachnos itself, not to any one man. No, I need Wretch because concern for him is a part of me. And the dead cannot change.'
''Save Wretch, and all your trespasses will be forgiven.[
Mission Complete: You delivered the warning to Ghost Widow.
Had I seen you just minutes ago, I would have ordered your death. But there is new evidence. Ghost Widow now claims that you and Seer Marino were working with her to root out a nest of traitors. I will not question her word at this time, and will even remove the termination warrant on your life until the facts are clear.
According to Diaz, we're no longer suspects. I was able to find evidence showing we were to be framed, and host Widow herself now claims that we were agents in her employ. Now we must stop them from killing Paolo.
I dont' know what to feel anymore. When I realized that Wretch was my brother, I thought that what had happened to him had to be her fault. I wanted to hate her, I wanted to blame her, I wanted to destroy her for what I thought she had done to my brother. But she's a victim, too. Caught in her own moment of death, unable to move past it. I can see it now.
I dont' knwo if I can forgive her for the hold she has on my brother, but all I can feel is.... We are trained not to feel pity for anyone, but that's all I can find to feel for her now. Pity for the woman I once knew, and pity for the thing she has become.
Save Wretch from Mu'Rakir and his men
We must move quickly. Ghsot Widow heeded our warning, and is even protecting us by saying we were part of her investigation into Mu'Rakir's conspiracy. But we still have to stop them from killing Paolo.
Mu'Rakir won't be satisfied until he gets his revenge and Paolo is dead. You must save Paolo, and get him to safety. You must also defeat Mu'Rakir, but leave him alive. We will ned the testimony they will torture from him to clear our names completely.
The conspirators planned to use this old section of the sewers so that they coudl take their time and finish Wretch off at their leisure.
|Wretch Arachnos [Pet]|
A twisted wreck of a human being, Wretch was horribly mutated in the same incident that slew Ghost Widow. He remains her loyal guardian and protector, using his immense strength and savage fury to protect her from all harm.
Mission Complete: You protected Wretch and ended the conspiracy.
Paolo is alive thanks to you. I visited him briefly. He remembered me, but asked me not to come again. He said it hurt too much. It all hurts too much.
Your rewards are already on their way to you. I hope you are satisfied with them. We are both cleared of all charges. The conspirators have been rounded up. Ohanko is dead, but Mu'Rakir will live to stand trial. His actions and those of the other traitorous Mu mystics haev shamed Scirrocco, and he will make certain their fates are neither pleasant nor swift.
But none of it means anything to me. my second sight fails me when I try to see an answer that will soothe my aching heart, and I fear I will never get my brother back. I know it is not your concern. I'm sorry. I will trouble you with my problems no longer. Go. Find your fate, find your future. You may be the one we have all been waiting for. You have certainly proved your worth to me.
Now go, and leave me in my sorrow.
Souvenir: A letter sealed with a black kiss
This letter was given to you by an Arachnos Arbiter who refused to tell you who had sent it, but you still have a pretty good idea who it's from. The signature on it is a black-lipstick kiss. Even now, it reminds you of the perilous exploit you remember as:
'Oh, Wretched Man!'
The letter reads:
'I've been watching you lately. Trying to put together all of the events that led up to the attack on me and my poor Wretch. Seer Marino has told me much, and it's revealed in great detail how much you've done. She tells me she hired you to investigate what had happened to her brother, Paolo Marino. She'd gotten a vision linking Paolo to poor Wretch, and me to an old friend of hers, despite the fact that we were both supposed to be long dead. As you discovered, she was quite right. That was also when you met Mu'Rakir. Oh, that venegful man. And to think it was my words tht stopped Wretch's rage from killign him when he and his cadre came to exorcise me.'
'Now, here things get interesting. She next sent you to get Wretch's medical records, hoping to find out what happened to her poor brother Paolo. Oh, I have records of teh havoc you caused then, but I've swept it all under the carpetand tidied up the loose ends. After all, your cover story is that you were working for me, so I have to keep up appearances. That's also when you met Huntsman Ohanko, and he hinted to you about the little conspiracy he and Mu'Rakir had brought together.'
'The conspirators asked you and Seer Marino to get data on me, and while the Legacy Chains' theories about my connection to Wretch were incorrect, they did stir up Pia's emotions. Really, I dont' blame Pia for joining the conspiracy. She was angry, she blamed me for holding her brother and keeping him from the medical care that could change him back. Poor thing. She didn't know then that Paolo won't let anyone help him. As Wretch, he's quite single-minded about protecting me. And as one of the dead, I cant' let him go.'
'The next part is where it all fell apart. Before he died, u'Rakir talked. I think Scirrocco was rather upset that some of the Mu mystics he's in charfe of would keep secrets from him. I think he took it personally, somehow. Anyway, while Ohanko hadn't planned to kill Arbiter Cross, they had been planning to betray you and Seer Marino from the start. When Cross asked too many questions, well, there you were. but it looks like they had not counted on Pai's foresight or your paranoia.'
'You did the right thing to warn me. Oh, the little ritual Mu'Rakir had worked up was clever, yes, and probably could have dispersed me spirit for some time, btu I would have reformed. However, your timely aid prevented that annoying necessity. I suppose I should thank you, but gratitude is a living emotion, and not a strong tie among the dead.'
'All that was left was to make sure my poor Wretch didn't fall prey to Mu'Rakir's hate. Which you did. Wretch speaks well of you, but the way. I think he puts some trust in someone who helped his sister, whatever their reason. He's simple that way.'
'The conspirators are dead, or wishing theu were. The charges agaisnt you and Seer Marino are no more. You can consider that your repayment from me for protectign Wretch. Pai Marino may never get her brother back, but perhaps she'll be able to move on one day. And then there is you.'
'You've shown power, and skill, and survivability. But you still have far to go if you wish to realize your true potential. perhaps one day we will meet again, and you will serve under my command. Or perhaps you are the one who will have the power to change destiny, and one day I will serve under you. I can't wait to see what the future holds.'