Mol, Eyre 23, 993 YK
The party trekked down into The Depths beneath Khyber’s gate. They spent hours in the excess heat, working their way through tunnels and save systems. Along the way, they encountered a group of cultists that believed they were on a holy quest. Ixen convinced them that the party was only there to help and the cultists let them pass. After some time and more work, they arrived at Duur’sharaat. Ekhaas told them what history she knew of the city as they entered as close to the fortress as they could.
The city was in ruins and, in places, on fire. They discovered that the streets radiated some magic that cooled the air to acceptable temperatures. Additionally, the roads seemed far more intact than the buildings. As they explored the city, the party found remnants of the old Daelkyr Wars: corpses, rusted armor, and some magical equipment. They also found a series of smaller tunnels beneath the city that appeared to have been dug out magically.
Cautiously, they continued on toward the fortress, soon finding themselves at an old Dhakaani temple. Siegfried recognized the holy symbol as similar to the ancient symbol of the Sovereign Host and Dark Six… but with an addition to the symbol representing sixteen gods instead of fifteen. Ekhaas explained that the old Dhakaani worshipped the Nine and Six and One, but she knew little else. Inside, they found sixteen statues. Fifteen clearly represented the nine gods of the Sovereign Host and six represented the Dark Six. The last statue was vague in its design and purposefully carved in such a way to obscure its features with deep gauges. Before it sat a small, metal reliquary with the symbol of the Church of the Silver Flame emblazoned on it and burnt offerings within. Graffiti, written in common, was found on all of the statues except this last one and Rohagar found recent tracks entering and departing the temple.
Upon their departure, the party noticed a group of human cultists speaking with a group of dolgaunts a distance down the road. Since they hadn’t been noticed yet, Ixen snuck up to eavesdrop on the conversation. The cultists informed the dolgaunts that they had encountered the party in the tunnels previously. They thought it was important to find the party and bring them before “Her Holiness”. The dolgaunts gave an order in Daelkyr and both groups dispersed. With the knowledge that both cultists and aberrations were on the lookout for them, the party began to sneak through the city, avoiding patrols and bystanders. At one point, they found a note on the ground addressed to them that indicated which way they should go to avoid the patrols and they began to follow chalk-drawn arrows on walls.
After a few minutes, they found themselves in the middle of a street with cultists hailing them from behind and aberrations approaching from the front. A voice whispered to them from down an alley and they quickly ducked off the road. In front of them was a dead-end that they quickly tested and found to be an illusory wall. On the other side of the wall was a small, makeshift hut cobbled together from scraps and ruinous debris. There they met Irik, a svirfneblin artificer who had been leading them away from the search parties. He gave them potions to shrink them so they could enter his hut, which was filled with trinkets and inventions, as well as a full alchemist’s lab. They entered the tunnels beneath the city from there and he led them to a safer spot where they could talk: a building that had been converted into a storage chamber for the dead bodies that littered the streets since the Daelkyr Wars.
There, Irik explained a bit about his history… and the party quickly determined that he had, perhaps, gone a little mad over the years. They did know that he does not get along well with the cultists and that he thinks the party is pretty interesting and nice. They decided to take some rest in this shelter before heading back out into the city in an attempt to reach the fortress without being spotted.
Mol, Eyre 23, 993 YK
The period of rest didn’t last long. They were soon disturbed by something that Irik called “The Pulse”, a low hum accompanied by a low rumbling. Upon its completion, the thousands of well-maintained corpses in the city began to rise. The party, along with Irik, scrambled from the building in which they were hiding and decided they had to flee toward the fortress. During the flight, they found the animated Dhakaani bodies combatting the aberrations and cultists in the streets. After saving some cultists and discovering that the Dhakaani soldiers were not undead, they made their way to the cultists’ camp where their paladin leader welcomed them.
This paladin claimed she was the reincarnation of Tira Miron, holy warrior and founder of the Church of the Silver Flame. Siegfried was able to tell that she had a bright, divine aura surrounding her amidst the hazy, dark aura that seemed to pervade the area. Despite this, something was clearly off about the paladin. Her armor looked like it was made of muscle and sinew; her sword crafted from bone and flesh, an eye carved into the pommel… that seemed to follow any observer. Tira appeared to be fully devoted to the Silver Flame, but was unable to notice the strangeness of the condition of her possessions, regardless of how hard the party tried to show her. It soon became clear that Tira and her followers were being manipulated by the wizard Xisor, who masqueraded as her arcane councilor. In truth, he worked for Ilthane and had studied summoning under one of The Gentlemen.
With Irik’s help. The party quietly collected evidence against Xisor and discovered that he had a means of opening the fortress. It involved the blood of a powerful celestial creature transformed into an aberration, but also required a specific key: the sword of Mhashak Raal, which the party happened to acquire from Raal’s corpse in the Glitterhame mine a few months back. Unfortunately, they were moments too late to stop Xisor from summoning the creature. An angel bound in supernaturally cold chains appeared in the summoning circle at the same time that Tira appeared to become charmed. Xisor struggled to contain the creature, who convinced Siegfried (having recognized his Aasimar blood) to read the inscriptions on his chains to release him.
Upon its release, the angel developed wings of fire and shattered the protection spells Xisor had put in place to contain it. The angel identified itself as Numiel, Prince of Fire, who the party quickly realized was a fallen archangel. After a prolonged battle in which Ekhaas was able to command the reanimated Dhakaani soldiers, Numiel was slain, Xisor fled, and the fortress was opened. Before entering, the party found Tira’s sword near the edge of the crevice. When Josephine picked it up, it tried to seize control of her mind, but a powerful energy within her threw off the magic and she dropped it. While everyone discussed what to do about the sword, Ixen kicked it off the ledge.
Zol, Eyre 24, 993 YK
Siegfried, Rohagar, Josephine, Ixen, and Ekhaas awoke within the fortress with no memory of entering. As they moved through the fortress, they began to experience memories of other individuals: people that had lived in the Dhakaani Empire. Siegfried had memories of Dagii, a female hobgoblin priest. Rohagar had memories of Goresh, a male bugbear gladiator and blacksmith. Josephine has memories of Belaluur, a male hobgoblin honor guard. Ixen had memories of Chetiin, a male goblin daashor. Lastly, Ekhaas had memories of Kashta, a female hobgoblin duur’kala. The memories gave them insight into the fall of the city of Sharaat and the tragedy that unfolded within the fortress walls in its final days of glory.
In exploring the lower level of the fortress, they were attacked by a still-living occupant of the fortress. This was a magically-enhanced bugbear berserker that had been guarding the Emperor, Dabrak Riis, 9000 years ago. One of the memories explained that the piece of the Ashen Crown they were searching for was Murkoorak’s Orb, an artifact that had been designed to preserve Dhakaani history. They rightly reasoned that prolong exposure to the artifact could result in unnaturally long life, especially when combined with the magic that had been placed on the berserker. The party found their enemy to be nearly unstoppable and was forced to hide in the fortress, making as little noise as possible while they searched for the Orb.
Throughout the fortress, they acquired a number of items to aid them, including a pair of gauntlets that granted Rohagar equal strength as the berserker. Finally, they discovered the Orb in the lower level… as well as Dabrak Riis. They confronted the Emperor, contending with both he and the berserker simultaneously. Ixen removed the Orb from its amplifying pedestal while the other defeated the two combatants. While the Emperor was killed, the berserker found itself freed from the magic that bound it to the Emperor’s command. The party decided to let him live, a man out of time, and he chose to continue the only existence he had known: life within the fortress walls.
When they exited the fortress, they found that Xisor had returned in their absence and captured Gin, Tira, and the other followers, but Shan had departed to find help. They destroyed the device that Xisor was using to coordinate his aberration allies, allowing the others to fight back effectively. Though the wizard nearly escaped by using the sword Ixen had kicked down the crevice to open a portal elsewhere, Shan’s timely return with Lyssa, resulted in Xisor turned to stone. The party settled their debts with Daask and even made an agreement to work together with both Daask and the Kech Volaar to rebuild Sharaat.
Wir, Eyre 25, 993 YK
Returning to the surface, the party met with Dr. Jones. Here, Hohenheim informed them that his transformation was progressing more rapidly and he wouldn’t be able to adventure with them until it was taken care of. The party was informally inducted into the Societas Liber and made aware of its suspicions regarding the Dragonmarked Houses. Jones indicated that he suspects Merrix d’Cannith of planning something big, but he’s not sure what exactly. The darker dealings of the other houses were presented in a dossier. Though the party was suspicious, they agreed to look into these concerns should the opportunity present itself. Hohenheim stayed behind as they departed, but provided them with a means of communication.
Meanwhile, they received an invitation from the Daughters of Sora Kell to attend a summit of influential individuals at the Great Crag. They made arrangements with Hakou’s crew to pick them up in Vralkek in a few weeks. Ixen acquired a translation of the draconic journal from the Glitterhame before departure. After that, they traveled to Greywall, Droaam by way of Lightning Rail and Orien Caravan.