Eyre 1, 1002 YK
The party meets with Mordakhesh the Shadowsword, who, with another prakhutu, has discovered a way to weaken the atropal Zenza to the point where it could be killed. For this, he requires two powerful individuals: one strongly aligned with death, and one strongly aligned with undeath. He suggests the Horseman of Death Charon, and Mellifleur the Lich Lord, respectively. Both are located in Mabar, the Endless Night.
The Collective goes to the Cinder Furnace to investigate, where they meet a venedaemon who once tried to join Mellifleur’s ranks and knows the secret location of Mellifleur’s obsidian necropolis of Hopelorn. To reveal the location, it wants the party to track down a rival venedaemon named Nelfach and steal a soul that it believes should belong to it. They agree and find Nelfach’s tower on the slope of Krangath. The Collective breaks into the tower and contends with traps and powerful daemons, resulting in the deaths of Tandi and Kaleth, the latter of whom reincarnates into his time-locked spare body. After a fierce battle with Nelfach’s servants, the party takes a short rest on the tower’s third floor, roughly halfway to the top.
Eyre 1, 1002 YK
Just short of a year after the atropal Zenza entered its dormant state, the Eclipse Collective is gathered in the Eclipse Keep by their steward, Nimozaran the Green. Mordakhesh the Shadowsword has arrived at the Keep in a thinly-veiled disguise, claiming to have produced a solution to the problem of the atropals, following up on the deal he made with Derli before. Tandi Warmmantle is present as well, having returned from his Ascension Tour with the Candlesticks. They go to the war room to meet with Mordakhesh.
Mordakhesh announces that, by partnering with another prakhutu, he has uncovered a ritual capable of severing Zenza’s power sources and making him vulnerable to attack. Evidently, the atropals draw power from death and undeath, and to complete the ritual, Mordakhesh needs two individuals: one each who is strongly aligned with these sources of power. He suggests seeking out Mellifleur “the Lich Lord,” a possible demigod or even lesser god said to be the most powerful lich and perhaps the most powerful necromancer in the universe, and Charon, the daemonic Horseman of Death. Both are located in Mabar, the Endless Night. He states that anybody who can match their power in undeath and death respectively would be suitable, but the party would have to be sure of their decision if they wanted to make a substitution.
After Mordakhesh has left to gather the remaining components necessary for the upcoming ritual, the party makes preparations to leave for Mabar. They receive scrolls of blessing from Ser Tabin Hamson at the Cathedral of Dol Dorn, and perform some research on Mellifleur. When all is in readiness, Derli escorts the party into his realm, the Cinder Furnace. Following a brief meeting with his herald, where he discovers that Tethris likely has the Blade of Dol Dorn and also learns he is able to summon War’s Legion by inciting sufficient violence, Derli leads the party back to the caldera where they leave to retrieve the airship. They believe this will be necessary to navigate Gehenna. On their way out, they are met by a venedaemon from War’s Legion disguising itself as Kaleth (calling itself “Kaleth Prime” at first and later “Alpha Kaleth”) who claims to know the secret location of Hopelorn, Mellifleur’s hidden obsidian necropolis.
The venedaemon will not part with his information freely, and instead offers it in exchange for the party locating a soul in possession of his rival, another venedaemon named Nelfach who has a small hold on the slopes of the Gehennan volcano Krangath. The party agrees to these terms, and goes back to Grey Titan’s Hold to retrieve the airship which is short one crew member. Kaleth believes the crew member to have been killed by the Ragdoll Killer, but chooses not to investigate at this time due to a lack of leads. Kaleth makes a successful plane shift through the on-deck circle, and the party re-enters Mabar.
With the venedaemon’s guidance, they locate Nelfach’s tower and land near its base. The front door is trapped and causes rapid decay of flesh when they open it, but the effect subsides, and they enter the tower. The first floor has the appearance of a library filled with unmarked books, featuring a central hollow pillar of glass surrounding an ever-flowing fountain of blood. Around this pillar is a staircase leading upwards. On the next floor up, Derli’s eyes can see a cache of gold. They decide to investigate.
The cache of gold is invisible, hidden by illusion magic. When the illusion is dispelled, they begin gathering it into one of Kaleth’s demiplanes, and Tandi goes to investigate the next floor up. When he does so, an astradaemon — having the face of a hideous fish and a body composed of lanky limbs and writhing tendrils — attacks him, rendering him unconscious with the strike of its claws and grabbing him in its jaws.
Zil’dejin moves up to help Tandi, but before the others can join, two more daemons, having the appearance of female humans but with iron bodies, emerge from the walls, swinging chained daggers. While Zil’dejin fights what turns out to be two astradaemons, the rest of the party contends with these crucidaemons.
The crucidaemons establish magical traps with surprising speed, blocking the party’s upward progress and keeping them separate from Zil’dejin. Zil’dejin, meanwhile, is forced to deal with three spider-like derghodaemons summoned by one of the astradaemons just as Tandi’s soul is sucked from his body. He soon finds himself overwhelmed, until the crucidaemons are finished on the floor below and their traps dispelled. Most of the party, save Rilic, move up to join him. At this point, one of the astradaemons grabs Kaleth as he moves up the stairs and pulls him away to the far side of the room. He is killed before the party can get to him, and his soul is drawn out.
After a drawn-out battle with the summoned derghodaemons and the remaining astradaemon, the party emerges victorious, but with extensive casualties. As requested by Kaleth before his death, Zil’dejin rips out and breaks open the astradaemon’s organ containing the chronomancer’s soul, and within minutes Kaleth awakens in the urn containing his backup body.
While awaiting Kaleth’s return, the surviving members of the party stop to take a breath on the third floor of Nelfach’s tower.