Highburgh's Heroes

Forever Eclipse

With the report of a ship sinking in the Highburgh harbor, the Highburgh Heroes spring into action to save lives. While rescuing the crew trapped on the ship, the heroes note that the crippling of the ship appeared to be no accident. Information gleaned on the scene and with investigation afterwards points to an “inside job” by some of the crew that were on the ship but are now unaccounted for. However, efforts to dig up further details are hampered by Detective Debrowski of the Highburgh PD, an outspoken critic of super hero interference in police affairs. Following up through other channels, such as reporter Rachel Dunmore the heroes learn that some ancient Egyptian relics were stolen from the ship, including an incredibly ancient mummy that was recently discovered and was bound for Champion City (via Highburgh) for further study.

During this time, Sentinel did some checking into the troubling phenomenon of Paladin’s unexplained, temporary loss of powers, observed last adventure. During the course of this investigation, Sentinel met the son of a military researcher who has some yet unknown connection to Energy X the substance that gave Paladin his powers.

This line of inquiry is cut short by the report of a break-in at the Highburgh Museum of Natural History. While the Highburgh PD secure the perimeter and call in reinforcements, the heroes (as they do) charge boldly into the building. They find two museum security guards unusually and brutally killed by unknown means. Finally, in the Egyptology section of the museum, they encounter some unknown individuals in one of the offices. While one of the assailants is captured, one manages to escape, and a third commits suicide to prevent capture. When the HPD move in, they seize the one captive and refuse to let the heroes question him, but Sid does discover the body of a third museum guard, apparently scared to death, who has written an unknown Egyptian symbol in blood on the wall.

The natural person to follow up on the symbol is Professor Harvey Walters, head of Egyptology at the museum and a professor at the local Highburgh College. Sid and Slider [Nierou]’s attempt at disguise and subtlety fails miserably, and causes the Professor to flee. While in the college parking lot, a group of unidentified individuals attempt to kidnap him, and the heroes spring into action. They manage to rescue the professor, and make two important discoveries in the process. First, the attackers appear to be of the same group that broke into the museum, and second, that one of the attackers had supernatural powers. Foolishly leaving the assailants in the hands of College Campus Security, the group takes Professor Walters (blindfolded) back to the safety of their base (later learning that the attackers easily escaped the under-powered Campus Security).

Professor Walters identifies the symbol as the name of the god Apep – an ancient Egyptian god of darkness, and chaos, the mortal enemy of Ra the sun god. Apep was a highly feared and powerful enemy of all good creatures, as he constantly fought to destroy the sun and plunge the world into eternal darkness. Professor Walters surmises that the mummy previously stolen has been resurrected as some sort of avatar of Apep. The knowledge of how to defeat this being was written in the ancient Book of Overthrowing Apep which Professor Walters has a copy of in his office at the college. Springing into action, the group heads back to the college to retrieve the book.

Rushing in heedlessly, the group blunders into an ambush by the cult of Apep who has arrived ahead of them. Professor Walters is critically wounded, but is saved by the efforts of Sid. Meanwhile, Paladin, and Sentinel battle the cultists and magicians of Apep, along with the shadow serpents summoned to aid them. Just as Paladin rushes in to grab the book, the avatar of Apep appears out of the darkness. One look at his frightening visage sends Sentinel and Paladin fleeing in mortal terror, but fortunately with the book.

In a vision, Slider sees the plan of Apep and his cult to enact a ritual to cause an eternal eclipse, as well as the location of the ritual. Professor Walters assures the group that the spells contained in the book can be used to defeat the ritual, if they can get him to the site and protect him. Heading for a final showdown on the rooftop of a skyscraper, the group does battle with Apep and his cult. While protecting the professor to enact the ritual, the cultists, magicians, and giant animated statues are smashed. Apep’s ritual is defeated, and he retreats into the shadows.

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