With Serpentfolk preparing to descend on them, the Pathfinders struck first. Jonah Hex drew his pistol and shot Torn Claw several times in the leg and shoulder. Enraged, the Sekh rushed Hex as the others scattered. Fate retreated to the far wall while Spectre targeted one reptilian after another. Batman threw down an inky-black smoke bomb and rushed back and forth, trying to quell the ensuing melee. Hex took blow after blow as the Sekh stabbed and bit at him.
The Serpentfolk priest tried to cast magic on Spectre repeatedly but failed. Soon Torn Claw himself joined the fray. The tribal leader roared in rage as he swung his greatsword, gashing Hex several times. Batman tumbled over to him nimbly and unleashed a flurry of blows, but they seemed to do little against the massive and muscular Torn Claw. Eventually Hex was forced to fall back. Eventually Batman sounded a retreat through the chaos, and with his cape flew up onto the roof. A moment later, however, Hex was run through by a Sekh guard. Spectre remained invisible as Fate tried to heal his fallen ally. He was too late, as the guards stabbed Hex to deliver the killing blow.
With few options and greatly outnumbered, Fate grabbed Hex’ body and ascended to the rooftops with him. Spectre soon followed. As the defeated Pathfinders regrouped, Torn Claw and his soldiers shouted and applauded in triumph. Batman signaled to Aa’rya in the Watchtower, and the heroes withdrew to recover. There they revived Hex as well, and decided to take time to recuperate.
Once rested, the Pathfinders prepared for a second attempt to locate the Shard of the Beyond. Hex decided intimidation would be the best recourse, and beamed himself back to Sventh-Yi. He held his pistol to a passing guard and demanded to know the location of the Omega Shard, which the terrified Sekh all too willingly divulged. With the location in hand, beneath the largest building in the city, the Pathfinders returned at night to scout. Magically invisible, they crept into the storage crypts beneath the Seven Spires. They encountered an anti-magic field, but Batman located a switch that covered it and allowed passage. The invisible heroes quickly ran into the adjoining room, leaving an entryway full of confused guards.
Rounding the corner, Batman ran into an aged relic-keeper who seemed to be able to see him. Quick to silence him, Batman unleashed another flurry with quickly rendered the old Sekh unconscious. As the guards approached, Hex decided to finally use his hat of disguise, changing his appearance to that of the relic-keeper. In a flash of creative thinking, he convinced the guards that there was no danger. Furthermore he somehow managed to sell the guards a future shipment of snake oil and sent them on their way.
The Pathfinders regrouped and tied up the unconscious relic-keeper, as Hex began to explore the long hallway full of ancient armor and magic items. Spectre scouted ahead, phasing through the doors at the far end of the hall.
There, to his surprise, he ran into Loki. Loki had been talking into a mirror against the wall, until he was interrupted by Spectre. He casually asked if Spectre had come to once again swear fealty to him. When Spectre refused, Loki snapped his fingers and in a display of awesome power banished the spirit. Fate overheard the ill-fated conversation and, with Batman’s aid, opened the doors but found no one there. Fate explored the room, but when he looked at the magical mirror on the wall he instantly felt himself drawn in. He was trapped with the dimension of the mirror, where surprising he too encountered Loki.
Loki implored Fate to “see reason” as he explained his motives behind his actions. He said that the Order of Elysium planned not only to invade the other realms of Golarion, but of other worlds as well – including Asgard and Earth. He claimed Thor was responsible for provoking the gods into eliminating such “threats,” and that returning Thor and quelling the war amounted to the same thing. By Fate’s request, however, he assured him that the world would not be denied access to Elysium or its divine power. His plan would allow that freedom. As such, he asked Fate to leave the shard to him and his Acolytes, who were on the way to retrieve it. Failure to do so, he warned, would cause him to interfere and stop them if need be.
As Loki transported Fate back into the room, Jonah Hex looked into the mirror. Instantly transported back into the mystic dimension, Hex too encountered Loki. The Asgardian had little desire to explain himself again, and instead offered Hex his choice of destinations. He could send him back home to Earth, return him to the mirror room, or even send him to Elysium to help look for Thor. Having grown tired of the adventuring tedium, Hex opted to go to Elysium.
In a flash, Hex arrived at the base of an incredible mountain – topped by a halo-like floating city. The air was clean and fresh, and fields of golden wheat stretched to the horizon. Herds of Pegasi grazed and took to the air, and angels gathered on the roads. One such Archon asked Hex his business, though he knew nothing of this Thor he sought. Instead he offered to safely escort the mortal up the mountain to Sigil, where perhaps he would know more information.
Back on Golarion, the remaining Pathfinders – Batman and Doctor Fate – continued on their way. After fighting their way through numerous Sekh guards as well as Yuan-Ti watchmen – half-Serpentfolk guards – they entered a small holding cell filled with a half-dozen human prisoners. Among them was a young man named Joshua Foley, who waiting patiently for the hope of escape. The golden-skinned outsider watched as Batman and Fate worked together to take out the guards.
Soon reinforcements arrived in the form of a large stone golem. Fate lashed out at it with devastating spells, drawing the construct’s attention. Fate soon activated one of the relics he had found – a cube of force – to keep the golem at bay. Helpless against the magical onslaught, the golem retreated. Fate pursued and, over time, blasted the golem to fiery rubble. Meanwhile Batman unlocked the cages to free the prisoners. Joshua Elixir, who also introduced himself as Elixir, proved quite grateful. He explained that he was from Earth, and that he too was searching for Thor. As the Pathfinders rested and barricaded in the hallway, he continued to tell his story.
Suddenly, yet another Earthling arrived in a tuft of smoke. Kurt Wagner, known in the Munich circles as the great Nightcrawler, nearly ignored the Pathfinders in his scramble to the prison cells. There he found three children, good friends of his, whom he had worried were lost forever.
With the prisoners safe and newly nourished, the Pathfinders rested in preparation for their continued quest to find the Omega Shard.