The party arrived at New Ak Anon, but found that it was deserted. Ruined metal structures arose from the ground, many of them had been destroyed seemingly 1,000 years ago. Some of the structures are covered in glowing arcane runes.
Celthalion detected the scent of insects and heard a gnashing, burrowing sound coming from deep within the earth. There is no sign of life, however.
Gias examined some of the ruined buildings, hoping to find clues. He did not find anything useful, but did notice that some objects in the ruins seem to have been disturbed or removed recently.
Maldora and Xander looked for holes that the bugs might have dug through to the surface. They found a deep hole that seemed to go for a great distance southeast toward the lake. The hole was 4’ diameter, so they decided not to descend. Instead, Xander sent one of his soldiers down to investigate stealthily… The party waited… After a few minutes, a shriek emerged from the hole, followed by the sound of crunching bones.
The party moved southeast, deciding not to linger near the hole.
After investigating a few more buildings and finding nothing, giant bugs wielding tridents ran toward the party while they were riding around in the wagon they bought from Sal.
The bugs clicked and clacked at the party in Abyssal. No one spoke Abyssal, but Maldora decided to give it a try anyway. She began flapping her arms around and clicking back at the bugs. She seemed to insult one of the bugs’ mothers or something because they immediately began clicking angrily and waving their tridents at Maldora. One bug restrained the other while he calmed down and they motioned for the party to follow them southeast. The party obliged and traveled toward the lake, led by the bugs.
In the confusion, Xander escaped, hid, and followed the group from a safe distance.
The party arrived at Elvira’s research camp in the southeastern part of the city and she told them many things about herself and Aganazzer. Mainly, that she was, more or less, an independent contractor with a genocidal hatred of humans.
She developed the Fatebearer, a weapon that was used to destroy Thor’s Point. She originally pitched the idea to Xyron, but they were too disorganized and had no real direction. She pitched the idea to Silsarcia, but they wanted to use it to prevent any sort of war. When she pitched it to Aganazzer, he immediately gave her funding and wanted to use the Fatebearer against the Zanthians as often as possible. She said that this seemed like a good fit for her and started working with the Scorchers.
She’s now working on some other, better weapons that she is trying to finish, but Aganazzer hasn’t sent the promised reinforcements so progress has halted. Maldora was fascinated and wanted to learn more about the weapons, Elvira’s research, and how more humans could be killed.
Elvira explained that with the next weapon she was developing, she would have pinpoint accuracy. She revealed that the Fatebearer was somewhat imprecise and required a lot of resources to use. She offered the party a 2,000 gp stipend to help her access and secure the Temple of Change.
The party, most of whom want to prevent the Fatebearer from being used again and prevent “needless” death, agreed to help. They did, however, demand that Elvira would engage in “good faith” negotiations with Silsarcia and switch her allegiance if Silsarcia would provide the funding and manpower she required. She agreed and led the party to the Temple of Change.
The door to the temple was protected by numerous ward and enchantments that greatly harmed anyone who came in contact with it. It also seemed to be impervious to damage. Elvira mentioned that her demons would not go near the temple, claiming that an ancient evil was inside.
Maldora, with Gias, Xander, Celthalion, and one of her soldiers as support used Words of Corruption to begin disintegrating the door. The dark words were enough to open a small section of the doorway, but channeling these words caused her soldier to incinerate and Gias was knocked unconscious.
Maldora stopped channeling the spell and allowed the other party members to recover. She began chanting again almost immediately, however, with four of her soldiers assisting the effort. By the time the door was opened, all of her soldiers except one existed only as ashes.
The party went into the temple.
Downstairs, they saw eight skeletons walking around and performing various tasks. The skeletons took no notice of the party.
A large table, covered in runes, blood, and scales sat in the center of a room with 8 side chambers. Each side chamber’s walls were covered in runes that Maldora revealed to be instructions to operate a machine. The side chambers each had an empty orb atop a pedestal and thousands of gold worth of residuum.
The party examined the orbs, the residuum, the runes, the table, and the skeletons. Not seeing an “ancient evil,” they decided to leave and tell Elvira that they had completed the terms of their agreement.
Suddenly, portcullises slammed down, locking the party within the room. Nothing else happened. Xander, not really knowing what else to do, jumped on the table in the center of the room.
Immediately, all of the orbs shot magical energy into him, knocking him unconscious.
A black dragon with the ability to steal life energies emerged and explained that he was a priest of Psil who had used this machine to transform himself into a dragon. After the transformation, he killed all eight of the priests involved in the ritual and was locked within the temple forever.
Now that the party has opened the door out, he claimed that he was going to eat them and escape. Unfortunately for the dragon, the party killed him by using the table against him…