Eyre 4, 1001 YK
The fight with Yagmur Reis continues. Zil’dejin and Paddy are displaced as Conlon and Gongrack join the fight. The Evening Star Company breaks off to fight Helania and her behir elsewhere. Derli is killed, possibly meeting Dol Dorn afterwards and ultimately striking a deal with the Oinodaemon, trading some members of his family including Morrikan d’Kundarak for continued life. Derli ultimately kills Yagmur with golden and radiant fire, and without a master, the Air Monolith turns to rampage through the city.
The two parties meet up. Pick Shadehill has died and Helania has called a truce, not willing to die for Yagmur. They rest the night in a Chronocracy pleasure dome created by Kaleth. Valanthe Siannodel challenges Derli to a duel to take place in the morning. Thair learns of Zil’dejin’s lover and unborn son, and immediately leaves the dome, much to Derli’s anger.
Eyre 5, 1001 YK
Derli and Valanthe duel on top of Yagmur’s tower. The fight is long and brutal for both sides, but Derli comes out the victor, cleaving through Valanthe’s shoulder to her heart and claiming the talisman of the Blade of Winter’s Mourning. A funeral is held by the Evening Star Company, and Conlon lends Kaleth the Rod of Order which he immediately attunes to, nearly dying in the process.
The parties go to the palace of Zenzatun and prepare to open it. They discover a spy, Derli’s former mercenary captain Barrok Droranath, who they end up hiring to go into the palace with them. Drago Kraal and Nolash Tyreshnar also join them, but the other members of the Evening Star remain outside. After some investigation of the statue in the entry hall of the palace the Collective comes to the conclusion that it is not a royal palace, but instead either a tomb or a prison of some sort. Drago identifies two doors to the treasure vault revealed to him by Helani, and investigates while the party looks elsewhere.
The Collective fights a number of pairaka divs, the spawn of corrupt genies. When the fight is over, Drago informs them that the treasure vault appears to have eight doors which must be opened simultaneously. He and Nolash wait by the two doors at the entrance while the Collective moves forward. They find two more doors and secure them, passing through some trapped statues on the way. They also discover a secondary room full of treasure which they “give” to Barrok, resulting in the triggering of another trap that locks him in place.
They find some interesting things during their initial search of the palace, including a sealed room containing a huge, shadowy humanoid figure trapped in an elemental storm, and a battery powered by souls that is used to hold Illandyano intact. The last room they visit has a different kind of div — a sepid div — surrounded by what appeared to be flying disembodied heads. He prepares to fight the party as they enter.
Eyre 4, 1001 YK
The fight on the top level of Yagmur Reis’ tower in Illandyano continues. Zil’dejin Firebane and Paddy Grimm are thrown off by fierce winds caused by the appearance of the Air Monolith. Back on the top level, Drago Kraal is pushed back by Helania’s spear assaults. He calls back to Kaleth, who is behind a wall of force with his clone and Rilic Balendal. Drago says that it is too dangerous to have so many of them trapped on the tower platform while their opponents can move freely through the air, and suggests splitting the fight in half. On behalf of the Eclipse Collective, Kaleth replies that they will fight Yagmur. Valanthe Siannodel opens a hole in the tower floor, and the Evening Star Company moves downwards to fight Helania and her behir.
Yagmur flies above the wall of force, aided by a smaller air elemental, to attack Kaleth and Rilic’s position. His assault is relentless, forcing the triggering of Kaleth’s contingency and transforming him into a “time-ranosaurus rex.” Not long after, his clone is cut down as well after Yagmur returns from a temporary jaunt through a very confusing Chronocracy palace. Rilic is pinned by Yagmur’s whirlwinds, and the party contends with the sweeping tornado “arms” of the Air Monolith that cause huge upsets in their positioning. Early in the battle, Gongrack drops from the sky, firing two arrows at the Air Monolith before being pushed off the tower by the winds, not to be seen again until near the fight’s conclusion.
By the end of the battle, most of the party is unconscious. Conlon’s terrible spell involving showing Yagmur the end of the universe draws the djinni’s rage, and the warlock is cut down. Girrrth is assaulted and rendered unconscious.Even Kaleth in Time Rex form is taken down, reverting the polymorph. In a last-ditch effort, Kaleth attempts to obliterate Yagmur by erasing him from time, but Yagmur moves out of the way, causing a large section of the tower to be destroyed. It begins falling down. Meanwhile, Derli is killed again, making the situation seem even more desperate. His perception as life fades is of a black void with two doors: one radiant metal, the other dark and sinister. He takes the radiant door and finds himself in what looks to be a well-appointed tavern, but most of the patrons seem vague and indistinct. Sitting across one table from him is a dwarf, extensively muscled and heavily scarred. He drinks from a huge tankard of ale, and beckons Derli to sit down and join him for a drink. Derli does so.
“So, you’re Derli d’Kundarak,” he begins. “And who d’you suppose I am?”
“I’m going to go out on a limb,” Derli replies. “I’m guessing that you’re Dol Dorn.”
The dwarf explains that he is a representation of Dol Dorn, but emphasizes that he might not be the actual god and instead just the hallucinations of a dying Derli: there is no way to be certain. This apparition of Dol Dorn tells Derli that because the gods in Eberron are remote and because he may not even exist, he cannot bring Derli back to life to help his companions survive the fight against Yagmur.
“There’s somebody out there who can do it,” he says. “But all I can do now is give you peace. So you can either walk back through that door and take the other one, and all the shit that comes with it, or you can sit here and drink with me and be free of all of that.”
Derli thinks on it, and decides that protecting his companions is the most important priority. He leaves the tavern, attempting to take his drink with him before Dol Dorn orders him to set it back down. He exits and enters through the other door, appearing in a familiar white void to be confronted again by the Oinodaemon. The daemon explains that what he wants in exchange for revival this time is not something he will take from Derli’s own body. Derli says he will take any price, but must know what it is. The Oinodaemon says that he wants the souls of several members of Derli’s family, including Derli’s great-uncle, Morrikan d’Kundarak. Derli laments his situation as he is thrown back into combat, and in a fit of rage and despair, blasts Yagmur with golden fire that washes over the djinni, ending his life and leaving no trace behind.
Without direct command, the towering Air Monolith reverts to its default state and rampages through Illandyano, destroying huge swaths of the city as it moves. Derli helps the unconscious Kaleth and Rilic, as well as a dangling Gongrack, get to a stable area of the tower before going through himself. The Evening Star Company has come to a sort of truce with Helania. Her Behir lies dead, and one of their number, Pick Shadehill, was killed in the melee. Helania appears to want to avoid dying for the alliance.
Both parties agree to spend the rest of the day in repose, and Kaleth opens a gate to a Chronocracy pleasure dome for all to enjoy. As Valanthe tends to Margana ir’Tanast, she suggests to Derli that they commence their duel as soon as possible. They agree to fight in the morning. Meanwhile, Thair attempts to glean information on Zil’dejin’s weaknesses from the Eclipse Collective, and eventually learns about Mishva Garodya Stormhorn and their unborn son. He immediately leaves the pleasure dome on “very important [dwarf] business.” Derli is outraged that Kaleth let him go, but the matter soon fizzles.
The parties spend the rest of the day casually carousing and conversing, though there is some notable tension. Eventually, all go to sleep.
Eyre 5, 1001 YK
The next day, Kaleth reforms a section of the dome into a vast arena for the duel between the Hexblades to take place, but Valanthe requests that they fight back in Yagmur’s tower, because she is worried about bias from the location. Derli agrees to this concession, and they return to the tower, much to Kaleth’s disappointment. Before the fight begins,appears, and Kaleth forms seats out of magical force for them to watch the fight.
The duel is unusually protracted for a Tournament of Blades combat, involving a number of trapping methods by Valanthe and several attempts to charm or otherwise alter Derli’s mind, deflected by his shield, which she eventually disarms. Derli recovers the shield, pushes past her giant fey crocodile that is summoned, and fights her in a close-combat duel. As it nears its completion, both are extensively wounded. Derli deflects a series of three stabs directed at him and heaves his axe above his head.
“Know that I take no pleasure in this,” he says somberly as he drives the Blade of Greed through her shoulder.
Margana, Valanthe’s lover, screams from the sidelines as Derli claims Valanthe’s Blade of Winter’s Mourning talisman. They allow a short rest, during which time the Evening Star Company holds a short funeral for their fallen member, and Conlon reluctantly lends Kaleth the Rod of Order, which he attunes to (a process that nearly kills him outright). Once this is done, they all proceed toward the palace, following the cleared path of destruction left in the wake of the Air Monolith. Zitholt is nowhere to be seen, strangely, but Kaleth uses magic to discover the monk hiding invisibly nearby. He is grabbed by the arm and brought along.
All four keystones are gathered before the palace, which is now cleared of warring elementals and genasi which have been presumably killed by the Air Monolith. Kaleth uses the flight property of the Rod of Order to elevate himself high enough to place the upper keystones, which also significantly injures him as his body floods with radiant power. Before entering, Kaleth enchants Rilic’s eyes to look for any threats that might be lurking nearby. Rilic discovers someone watching from a distance and goes to investigate. He is discovered to be Barrok Droranath, a dwarven mercenary leading the Earthsmiters company. Barrok claims to be in a difficult situation that a client has offered to bail him out of, and all he has to do is report on the Eclipse Collective’s activities. Rilic offers him a high price to counter whatever offer this person made, which Barrok accepts. The dwarf is brought to the rest of the party.
Here, he spews obvious vitriol towards Derli who was a former member of his company. Barrok claims Derli is a coward and a traitor for abandoning the Earthsmiters on principle after their massacre of a village. They decide to bring him into Zenzatun with them, as they need the support. Much of the Evening Star Company has been shaken by their adventures here, and two members must remain outside to re-close and reopen the seal for the parties to move through. Only Drago Kraal and Nolash Tyreshnar go through the opened door with the Eclipse Collective.
The palace has an old stale smell, though the air is breathable despite apparent lack of ventilation. The entry hall is dominated by a massive statue, the base of which is inscribed in Old Giant. Derli reads it:
First of Three Empty Kings
Father of the God of Ten Thousand
Derli is also able to translate the term Zenza to mean “sinner,” and the party comes to the conclusion that this place is either a prison or a tomb, not a royal palace. Drago says that Helania theorized much the same thing. According to her, Drago says, the treasure vault lies just ahead behind two doors, which they investigate while the Collective goes down a nearby hallway. Here they find a circular room walled with a single continuous mirror. Kaleth believes it to be intended for ritual use.
Four blue-skinned women lie here in repose, attractive but each looking somehow wrong. They invite the party to lounge with them and get increasingly hostile as they attempt to leave. They are quickly identified as divs, fiends spawned from extensively corrupted genies (though most were never genies themselves). These particular divs are of the pairaka variety, embodying unrestrained lust. They change shape to try and tempt the party, claiming they can take their souls the easy way or the hard way. Kaleth is nearly tempted by the form of a Chronocracy woman, appearing very attractive to him and confusing to all others. A fight breaks out anyway as Derli is completely unswayed by temptation. The pairakas’ claws inflict a deadly poison carrying a disease that is most damaging to Barrok, and though Derli and Kaleth are attacked their respective artifacts prevent the disease from setting in. They contend with swarms of biting and stinging insects as they fight, but eventually come out the victors. Rilic discovers a secret door after some investigation, while the rest of the party speaks again with Drago and Nolash.
Apparently, the proposed treasure vault has eight doors which must be opened more or less simultaneously to provide access. Drago and Nolash will wait at the two doors by the entrance for the other doors to be activated. The party then proceeds through the secret door Rilic discovers, entering into a long hallway flanked by statues. This hallway also joins two more doors to the supposed treasure vault. Kaleth identifies the statues as being traps, but Derli walks through them anyway, becoming extensively burned as he reaches the other end. Gongrack tries to navigate through as well, only to also be singed. Kaleth teleports himself and Rilic safely to the other side, and they proceed further into the complex.
They find a room covered in glyphs that appear magical, though their nature can’t be discerned. Kaleth teleports himself past them, and Derli walks through without problem, but notices large amounts of gold in an adjoining room. He investigates, and finds a significant amount of wealth there. Barrok follows him into the room, still coughing from his pairaka-inflicted disease. Barrok is offered whatever he can carry out of the room as payment, which frustrates him, but he eventually agrees. His first armful of gold, however, causes problems for him in the glyph room as he is surrounded by a force cage. He refuses to drop the gold and will not accept the Collective’s help if it costs him any amount of money, so they leave him there.
The room with the treasure also contains a large door which does not appear to have any traps or wards, but it is locked. Kaleth unlocks it with magic, but some vast pressure on the door holds it shut. Using scrying magic, he sees beyond to a tremendous chamber in which a storm of elements rages more fiercely than outside. A dark silhouette, humanoid in appearance, is vaguely visible in the maelstrom’s centre. They decide this is probably not a good place to be, and go elsewhere in the palace.
In the next chamber they visit, they find a massive square pillar on which thousands of faces writhe and scream. Investigation on the part of Rilic, Kaleth, and some Derli reach the conclusion that it is some kind of soul battery. Kaleth debates destroying it to free the souls until they discover that the battery is likely what is responsible for keeping Illandyano intact in the highly chaotic plane of Kythri. They also discover an altar used to make sacrifices to the battery to provide fresh power to it.
Finally, they open another chamber, where they are greeted by another entity. Twice the height of a human, this horned monstrous warrior wields a massive blade, and is surrounded by disembodied bestial heads whirling through the air. He holds up his blade as they enter, greeting them as new offerings for the soul battery.