Eyre 5, 1001 YK
Kaleth completes the Path of Cleansing in Zenzatun, dying and being reborn as a herald of something called the God of Ten Thousand. The party opens the Eightfold Vault, freeing the atropal Zenza which wishes to bring back the other two Empty Kings and pave the way for the arrival of something he calls Atropus. He goes to the Lhazaar Principalities to begin a path of death and destruction. The party takes the treasure hoard in his prison, including a large Rage Shard. Nolash Tyreshnar is killed.
The party returns to the monastery with Zitholt who has stabilized the Chaos Gear using Zenza’s freeing as a catalyst. They are intercepted midway by Mordakhesh the Shadowsword who negotiates his aid in defeating Zenza in exchange for two of the party’s three Rage Shards: Derli’s ring and Marlamin’s sword. The monks of Sanzerathad free the keep and return it, as well as the party, to Eberron.
The party takes care of some housekeeping business in Grey Titan’s Hold before learning the truth of being Blooded from Baalondorus — it is the potential to become a living part of the Draconic Prophecy following an act of Ascension, which itself is written somewhere in the Prophecy for each individual. He interprets Derli’s, which he has been studying, and provides a clue to Zil’dejin’s, but insists they will need a Dragon Prophet to translate the king’s section. A Royal Council meeting is prepared to be held.
Eyre 5, 1001 YK
Although Derli has cleared the way to the Eightfold Vault of Zenzatun by defeating Parintar, Kaleth elects to complete the Path of Cleansing anyway. Proceeding through the hall he is beset by a variety of different assaults on all aspects of his body and mind, but manages to make it through to the end: a balcony in the maelstrom chamber, which he is meant to leap from. The entity in the maelstrom promises that he can build a new chronocracy as part of the God of Ten Thousand, which he will join in the completion of this act. He leaps, and is essentially destroyed. He has the perception of travelling through space to join some greater entity, which appears to wish to take advantage of his magical prowess and send him back as some sort of herald.
The rest of the party rejoins Derli, unaware of Kaleth’s fate. Kaleth returns about an hour later per his arrangement with the God of Ten Thousand, his skin rotting off at an accelerated pace. He has only vague recollections and a defined sense of purpose. Accustomed to things like this already, the party proceeds with the plan to open the Eightfold Vault, positioning themselves and opening all doors at once. Inside, eight hallways ramp down into a central chamber in which was chained the hovering form of the atropal Zenza, who is now freed.
He first thanks the Collective for providing him freedom, and informs them that he will spare their lives for now. Zenza announces that he will prepare the coming of something he calls “Atropus” by awakening the two other Empty Kings, and that he will start by ravaging a major settlement. He allows the party to choose, and they eventually settle on one of the Lhazaar Principalities, despite protests from Zil’dejin. Nolash Tyreshnar is killed by the atropal before it leaves the chamber, now unsealed. Drago Kraal expresses distaste with the situation and leaves without touching the hoard of treasure, which is moved into a Chronocracy time-plane for transport, including a large Rage Shard that provided magical power to the prison.
At the entrance of Zenzatun, the party is met again by Durzu Vatan, who wishes to “witness the end of the world from [the Collective’s] perspective”. He seals himself in a lamp voluntarily, which he gives to Gongrack to carry about, and offers to grant him one hideously twisted wish at some point of the hunter’s choosing. The Collective then leaves to find the Evening Star Company has already cleared out. Zitholt rejoins them, thanking them profusely for what they have done and noting that the events allowed him to complete his task: to stabilize (for now) the Chaos Gear. He takes it from Zil’dejin’s soul, who has been carrying it since Iadoes’ death, and places it in the appropriate box. They then prepare to return to the monastery, flying upwards above Illandyano, which still shakes with the destruction of the air monolith summoned by Yagmur.
On the way, however, they are intercepted: the power of the chaos gear draws what appears to be a sandstorm through the chaotic space. On closer inspection, the sand is actually composed of tiny black crystals that appear razor sharp. From the other side, they witness the approach of Mordakhesh the Shadowsword astride Tavarthax the Desecrated, who wishes to speak with some select members of the party. On Kaleth’s request, he, along with Derli and Conlon, are brought into a Chronocracy-style pleasure dome. Mordakhesh stops the advance of the crystal storm, suggested to be the roving prison of another Demon Overlord, allowing the rest of the party to continue back to Sanzerathad.
The negotiations concern Zenza and the Rage Shards. Mordakhesh’s plan in bringing the party to Kythri is revealed, at least in part: he needed somebody to open the palace of Zenzatun so that the central Rage Shard could become accessible. Since Zenza poses a threat to everyone, even the Lords of Dust, Mordakhesh offers his aid in defeating the atropal in exchange for the Rage Shards the party has acquired. Negotiations move around in circles, and Kaleth refuses to give away the newest shard. Ultimately, Derli trades his shards — the ring and the sword — for Mordakhesh’s assistance alone. The extant members are sent back to the party in the monastery.
At the monastery, the party waits while the Hands of Order free the Eclipse Keep from the chaotic prison and return it to Eberron. Afterwards, after ensuring their business is done, they are sent back to Eros by the monks.
Investigation of the Eclipse Keep reveals that all of its occupants were killed, probably prior to its “theft,” their bodies stored in the auditorium. While this is being cleared out, Gummy Joe is informed of Iadoes’ death and becomes head of the Cult of Lharvion. During this time, he reveals that many of his kind are squatting in the mostly-vacant palace of Grey Titan’s Hold, so Zil’dejin begins to organize a purge. Multiple things happen on this first day:
- Kaleth works on relocating the Rage Shard he has acquired to a safer time-plane after moving their acquired treasure into the Keep’s vault. He is assigned Iadoes’ old tower, and meets Nimozaran the Green for the first time, who wishes to discuss magic with a “proper mage” when Kaleth has time.
- Conlon returns to the death mages of his academy and begins rounding up members who defy the new restrictions set in place. He also psychically contacts Morgue Conlonnar after a considerable amount of time, and discovers that Morgue has been kidnapped and taken to Seren, where he has been made a slave to the Son of Caiphon — an enigmatic being that has been wreaking havoc in Conlon’s homeland for more than a year.
- Rilic receives a report from his spies regarding Metrol, and discovers that the city is inaccessible to some kind of magical dome of force placed around it. Due to the apparent instability in the kingdom at the moment, he orders them to keep an eye on Eros, especially on Grey Titan’s Hold.
- Derli begins the groundwork to rally a larger army in defense of the world against Zenza to supplement the Hammer of Dol Dorn. Also, he converses with Vedim ir’Omik, the Karrnathi minister of the dead, who has been ordered to take him back to Karrnath for execution. Derli instead strikes a deal where Vedim will have unrestricted access to Grey Titan’s Hold’s cemetery in exchange for the minister delaying the proceedings indefinitely.
- Zil’dejin carries out the purge, discovering some horrific things in the process, such as Brown Boots Martin’s attempt to construct an artificial copy of Zil’dejin from various bits of organic matter. He also learns from the visiting Brelish minister Ruken ir’Clarn that Breland is on the brink of civil war over the matter of succession, with a third monarchical candidate having entered the field: Kor ir’Wynarn, King Boranel ir’Wynarn’s militant brother.
Zil’dejin prepares to convene a meeting of the Eran Royal Council. Derli is intercepted en route by Baalondorus, who informs him that after years of study, he has basically finished his research on Derli. He asks that they speak in a quiet place, and the Collective convenes in the throne room (which is warded for silence). Baalondorus reveals at last the nature of being Blooded. In short, it is a state achieved by repeated great feats and influence on the Draconic Prophecy, elevating an individual to the point where they are posed to become a living part of the Prophecy itself. In doing so, the individual Ascends and can achieve feats that would be impossible for normal mortals.
The Ascension is completed differently for each individual, contingent on specific threads of the Prophecy. Baalondorus has translated Derli’s Ascension requirements, written mainly with his dragonmark and its interplay with his former demonmark and various other afflictions. He has also acquired two halves of a hollow pearl that was previously discarded by the party which he believes contains the relevant threads for Zil’dejin, and possibly one other. That one, however, will require locating a Dragon Prophet to translate correctly.
In any case, the piece of the Draconic Prophecy pertaining to Derli is stated as follows:
When the Broken Crusader wields the Holy Blade and sits upon the Red Throne, an Ascension will take place.
He interprets this as having to acquire the Sword of Dol Dorn, but Baalondorus has still not revealed the location: indeed, he asked for an activated Rage Shard for the information, which he has not yet received. Kaleth offers him use of the one he has hidden, as the party insists it is likely safer in Baalondorus’ hands than their own. In exchange, he prepares to reveal the exact location of the palace of the Second Among the Burning Host in Syrania.
With this, the Eclipse Collective prepares to convene the meeting of the Royal Council.