The Hands that Move the World

Things Left Behind VI: Grand Tour

Therendor 2, 1001 YK

The party leaves the library level for the mortuary, where a passive Iadoes receives the Mark of Entropy from Tharavash the Dissolver in exchange for healing his apathy. With that taken care of, the party descends Tharkul Kan to kill Tsaokeckos as Tharavash asked in exchange for free passage among the Thoon mind flayers. They stop at the medical level, where Kymohl asks for Tsaokeckos’ scales and brains, which they agree to. He gives them a super-stimulant. They go further down, past the administrative district of the first level which has been ravaged by angels, and down to the Furnace.

In this huge, inverted-pyramidal chamber, Tsaokeckos the lunar dragon is wrapped around a giant hovering sphere. The party decides to slowfall towards him, and he comes up to meet them. They land on a walkway and he speaks to them, revealing he comes from Lharvion, where Timesus, the Black Star is imprisoned in its characteristic chasm. Tsaokeckos is trying to activate the ancient magitech of the Furnace to purify the moon, and has spent centuries in the pursuit. He asks for some favours from the party to help, including activating a maintenance function of the pyramid on the 12th floor, retrieving the living member of the forgotten race from the mortuary, and to use the Rod of Order to kick-start the Furnace once most of the repairs are done.

The party leaves without killing the dragon and stops by Kymohl’s operating room again. They ask him to remove Iadoes’ mark, which he believes might be impossible, but tries anyway. Three consecutive surgeries and a gruesome graft of an Iadoes clone’s arm later, Iadoes finds himself with two marks: the Mark of Entropy and the Mark of Ice, as he once had. They are gradually moving towards each other. Kymohl considers this a success and sends the party away. They go back to the library where they find Lythanis’ clone trying to open a vault with his Mark of Entropy. Iadoes and he use their marks to the fullest, which kills Lythanis-clone and wounds Iadoes, but opens the first door. The second “door” is a shield of magical force, which Iadoes dispels, though it causes a chaos surge that warps time and ages them by several years. During this time, they all see a silhouette with glowing green eyes, but it is gone when time resumes normal flow.

Tharavash is already in the vault and has seized its contents: a unique item that Iadoes believes is the much-sought-after Silver Hexameric Folio. He desires it, and Zil’dejin wishes to keep it away from Tharavash, so a fight breaks out. Tharavash is killed, revived in four parts, and killed again by a super-stimulated Zil’dejin. Zil’dejin passes out from the effects of the stimulant and Iadoes was knocked unconscious, so Rilic waits with them in the vault. Atrava the Frozen shows up during this time to try and convince the twice-marked Iadoes to submit to Levistus, the Bringer of Ice (again). He says he will consider, but actually just teleports the party back to Grey Titan’s Hold, where they spend the night in Iadoes’ tower under guard.

During the night, the evil fragment of Iadoes leads a ritual dance of the now significantly-sized Cult of Lharvion. Zil’dejin questions him and Evil Iadoes ends up being mind-controlled by vanilla Iadoes, who sends him back to Vult to retrieve the forgotten Gummy Joe. Evil Iadoes instead brings back the Iadoes clone that is also a Herald of Levistus, who hopes to freeze all of Eros. Zil’dejin fights him and kills him while Evil Iadoes runs away.

Therendor 3, 1001 YK

The next morning, Gummy Joe shows up in Iadoes’ tower. He is sober and shockingly coherent, revealing his past as a warlord of Karrnath, but is soon made drunk again by Iadoes. Coref also mentions an ambassador who has arrived, but insists the party finish their business on the moon first. They return, and try to sneak through the library level, which Zil’dejin manages to do thanks to another distortion in time, where he (for a third time) sees the green-eyed shadow. The party gathers up and ascends to the Thoon-controlled laboratory level, where a mind flayer briefly interrogates them and decides to lead them to their “leader.”

They go through the hangar level and a level of unknown purpose before arriving at a maintenance level, where Rilic starts a fight between mind flayers and paralyzes their leader, allowing the party to split up and search for the machine Tsaokeckos wanted activated. Zil’dejin finds it, the others join him, and it is activated, apparently enabling a construct of some sort on the first level. With this done they flee, but they are cut off on the hangar level, and approached by the Thoon unofficial leader Ythrilnaw. He thanks them for their efforts in hindering the Verioth illithids, and suggests the party join them on their next “journey beyond the veil.” The party declines and asks for free passage among the mind flayers. Ythrilnaw accepts under the condition that he is given the Touch of Corruption from Marlamin’s (and technically Quasator’s) body. Apparently, he wants to keep it away from the other mind flayers. The party give him the gauntlet and are allowed to move freely.

On the laboratory level, they find the hoops (called “portal loops”) that Tamztur sought, as well as the cloning machine. They return to Ythrilnaw on the thirteenth floor to ask for permission to bring Kymohl to that room, but Ythrilnaw refuses. They also ask for permission to explore the fourteenth floor, for which the grav-tube is disabled, but he again declines. They return to the cloning laboratory and place a portal loop before heading down. On the way, they stop at the library level to find the Sequencer, which they locate. Iadoes brings it back to Eros by teleportation, and flees from the Cathedral of Dol Dorn after being chased out by Ser Tabin Hamson.

He consults telepathically with some of the minds in the Sequencer, and one voice, belonging to a necromancer, convinces him to dig up corpses from the graveyard to put the brains in. Iadoes enlists his cult to dig up bodies, but is stopped by Ser Hamson, who orders the cult to put the bodies back and await the judgment of the king. Iadoes lets the cultists return the bodies while he teleports back to Tharkul Kan.

The rest of the party retrieves Kymohl and use the portal loop to bring him into the laboratory inconspicuously. Zil’dejin is placed in the tank of green fluid and the reverse cloning process begins with suitable mad science effects (sparks, shaking, fire, etc) and a blackening of the green fluid. In the darkness, Zil’dejin sees glowing green eyes that lead him to a strange hallway filled with doors. He follows it to the distant end, which opens to a circular room with runes inscribed on the floor, containing the strange green-eyed shadow creature the party saw during the time distortions. He considers freeing it, but first consults with arriving Zil’dejins of various sorts. He is convinced by a slave version of Zil’dejin, who believes the shadow creature to be a captive, with its power being harnessed to generate “time clones” of a sort.

With the creature freed, the temporary reality falls apart, and Zil’dejin returns to the lab, causing time to resume its normal flow. He is released from the tank, but the cloning machine no longer works in the absence of the creature so Kymohl offers them already-cloned bodies for the sages. They agree, and he sets to work upon it while they wrap up their business with Tamztur. They end up trading the portal loops for a treasure map to the Vault of Karrn the Conqueror and a mystery box, which contains a rainbow scarf obviously laden with magic power.

Main Characters: Zil’dejin Firebane, Conlon Ostrennar, Iadoes Lunaformer, Rilic Balendal

Therendor 2, 1001 YK

After severely damaging the library level of Tharkul Kan, the party follows Tharavash the Dissolver down to the mortuary level. Tharavash approaches the apathetic Iadoes, who is drawing in the dust, and confirms that he is certain he wishes to forge a pact to be healed. Iadoes shrugs and decides to accept it.

“All things die. All things end. Entropy comes for all, living and not,” Tharavash says as he lays a backwards paw on Iadoes’ chest. “This is the lesson I will teach you with this mark.”

When he is finished, Iadoes’ apathy subsides as promised, but he now carries on his chest the Mark of Entropy, taking the form of an almost black star. The mark provides him the ability to weaken the structure of objects and potentially destroy them, at the cost of weakening his own body. Iadoes is frustrated that the party allowed the mark to be placed upon him, but gets over it quickly. Tharavash restates his wishes: in exchange for getting the party free passage through the territory of the mind flayers of Thoon, he wants the Eclipse Collective to either find a way to open the vault on the library level, or to defeat Tsaokeckos in the Furnace on his behalf. The party chooses to investigate the latter option, and so begin descending the pyramid.

They make a short stop on the medical level, where they interact with the mind flayer “scientist” Kymohl. They mention what they are trying to do, and he requests that they bring him the scales and the brain of the lunar dragon. To aid them in bringing down their target, he provides them with a highly refined version of the stimulant Zil’dejin used during the fight with Verioth the Voiceless. The Collective then continues their descent.

The party passes through the administrative district of the first level, which has been extensively damaged. Buildings are scarred, toppled, and in some cases destroyed. Supernatural white fire still burns in some places, and the corpses of mind flayers and slaves litter the ground. This is the aftermath of releasing the ten angels bound by Marlamin Tarmikos. One mind flayer still breathes but is on the edge of death, propped up against a wall. Zil’dejin leans down next to him and demands to know where he can find the Furnace. The mind flayer responds with a lewd gesture, to which Zil’dejin replies “Wrong answer,” and Iadoes freezes its head to the wall. After some wandering, they find the grav-tubes leading down, and they descend.

It takes a moment for their eyes to adjust to the gloom of the Furnace. It is a singular chamber, massive and cavernous, nearly the size of the entire pyramid above. A metal walkway spirals around the outside edge, following walls lined with dragonshards and highly intricate arcane script and eldritch machinery. In the center of the inverted pyramid hovers a massive metallic sphere, similarly covered in arcane writing. When they have stood on the upper walkway by the grav-tube for a while, they begin to hear the beating of huge wings down below. They choose to leap into the center; Zil’dejin slows his descent with his wings, while the others rely on Iadoes altering the speed of their fall by magically adjusting their experienced gravity.

A creature wraps itself around the sphere in the chamber’s center as they begin their fall, then eventually unfolds to reveal its nature as a dragon. It flies towards them, and they steer their descent away from it to land on a nearby walkway. It hovers in the air as it speaks to them. The dragon is much unlike any dragon the party has seen so far, with highly reflective scales and iridescent membranous wings. He identifies himself as Tsaokeckos, and reveals that he has lived in the Furnace for hundreds of years, working gradually to study it, restore it, and hopefully eventually activate it. While he confesses he does not know the precise function of the gigantic construction, he has some ideas, and believes it could help him to purify Lharvion.

When questioned on this idea, Tsaokeckos eventually reveals that the black chasm on Lharvion is the sealing place of the Rakshasa Rajah called Timesus, the Black Star, and that by creating the Cult of Lharvion Iadoes has inadvertently set up an organized religion devoted to worshiping it. Further, he wonders if Timesus’ prison has been duplicated since Lharvion was duplicated. Tsaokeckos also mentions that he can observe almost anything happening in the upper levels of the pyramid, and that he knows the party is there to kill him for Tharavash.

The party tentatively decides not to fight Tsaokeckos, which the dragon claims would be a “virtually unwinnable battle” for the Collective. He asks some favours of his own: first and most important, the 12th level — a sort of maintenance level — contains an eldritch machine he needs activated for the reconstruction of the Furnace. He gives them a strange-looking key to activate the device. He also asks for a “living specimen” of the forgotten race, such as the party believed they found on the mortuary level, and for the use of the Rod of Order to help start the Furnace.

In exchange for the first service, he offers a favour for the party. For the Rod of Order’s use he will teach Iadoes the most powerful spell he knows, a secret of his kind. For the living specimen, he promises nothing but a nonspecific reward. They say they will consider this and take the key he provides. Conlon falls comatose again after once again trying to contact Eltimar, so the remaining members pick him up and proceed back upward.

Back on the medical level, they speak with Kymohl again and reveal that they have not killed Tsaokeckos, but ask for his help in removing Iadoes’ Mark of Entropy. He says that he will try to do so, provided Iadoes lends his body to an experiment of his. Iadoes agrees, and Kymohl has Rilic act as his assistant for the procedure, sending him to the “recovery rooms” where a number of clones are restrained on uncomfortable looking slabs. These detach from the room with a control panel, so he takes the one he was sent for (an Iadoes clone designated IAD-029) and brings him back to Kymohl. Kymohl severs the arm of the clone and an arm of Iadoes and tries to attach it, but it turns out to be a failure, so he repeats the process with IAD-030 and performs some experiment related to fire on IAD-030 at the same time. After another failure, Iadoes demands that Kymohl do “whatever is necessary to have the greatest odds of success.” Kymohl is delighted by the proposition and paralyzes Iadoes, then sends Rilic with Zil’dejin to retrieve IAD-001 from the containment rooms.

The rooms in question are more like cells with heavy doors containing small windows. Three Iadoes clones are kept here: IAD-001, IAD-002, and IAD-005. After multiple failures in opening IAD-001’s cell (the interior of which cannot be seen through a layer of frost) that culminate in the control panel’s destruction, they approach IAD-002 and accidentally flood the room with some sort of gas, which causes that clone to ignite. Rilic moves on to IAD-005 while Zil’dejin tries to work on prying open IAD-001’s cell door. IAD-005 is freed, but begins spontaneously mutating under scrutiny, so Rilic immediately shuts the door again and goes to help Zil’dejin.

They finally manage to open the door after causing it some damage, which causes the temperature of the room to drop. Piles of snow pour out of the room as an ice-encrusted Iadoes hovers out, an advanced Herald of Levistus, the Bringer of Ice. He seems intent on freezing everything around him before Zil’dejin paralyzes him, and carries him out of the room, ignoring the incredibly cold body. He is brought back to Kymohl, who removes his arm and attaches it to vanilla Iadoes. The arm in question has the Mark of Ice demonmark, which seems to settle in Iadoes after the attachment is a success, a process aided by the corrupt ice on the limb. Iadoes now carries two demonmarks, which Kymohl believes is unprecedented. The mind flayer claims that one should overcome the over or they will possibly cancel each other out, given enough time.

Iadoes is allowed to recover from his multiple surgeries for about a half hour before the party moves up to the library level again, which is now devoid of oxygen, except in a fixed bubble around the dome-vault. They find Lythanis’ clone here, still bearing the Mark of Entropy and trying to gain access to the vault. He explains to Iadoes that he wanted to use the power of the Mark to open the vault, but that he believes he isn’t strong enough. Feeling a bond with Iadoes through the mark, he asks for the sorcerer’s help, and two of them simultaneously unleash its full power, blowing the door open but killing the Lythanis clone and damaging Iadoes’ body considerably.

Behind the vault door is a wall of magical force acting as a second line of defense, which Iadoes dispels, but at cost: his magic causes a wild magic surge which ages all present party members by a variable amount. Rilic and Iadoes suffer the most, aging seven and six years respectively, while Zil’dejin ages two. During this distortion of time, they all witness a strange shadow with glowing green eyes. When they return to the normal timestream, the vault has already been opened, and Tharavash stands inside, holding a silver dodecahedron covered in writing. He greets them, thanking them for opening the vault. He offers to take them up to the upper levels, as promised.

However, Iadoes recognizes the object he holds: it is called the Silver Hexameric Folio, sought after by certain arcane scholars who believe it to be a very ancient spellbook. Iadoes wants it badly, and Zil’dejin wants to prevent that potential power from falling into the hands of demons, so the party attacks. They strike down Tharavash at some expense, culminating in Zil’dejin cutting him to literal pieces… which reassemble, forming four shadow versions of the rakshasa. These shadow versions strike, bringing down Iadoes and threatening Zil’dejin. Rilic quickly administers the draognborn the super-stimulant before retreating, allowing Zil’dejin to go berserk. He cuts all shadows down with one great cleave of sufficient force and speed to launch a shockwave that scars the back wall of the vault. Moments later, immediately after the effects of the stimulant wear off, he falls unconscious, leaving Rilic alone with the unconscious bodies of his allies.

It is during this recovery period that Atrava the Frozen arrives. She was apparently drawn to the re-emergence of Iadoes’ Mark of Ice, and has somehow found IAD-001 to bring along with her. She wants to speak to Iadoes, and Rilic, not seeing a good alternative, allows her to. She awakens him and notes that he has two demonmarks, and asks him to re-pledge his allegiance to Levistus. Iadoes asks for a few minutes to consider while he leans against the wall of the vault, but this is deceit; he is, in reality, mentally concentrating on the wards on the vault. When he has figured them out, he teleports himself out with Rilic and Zil’dejin, arriving back in Eros.

Here, they choose to rest in Iadoes’ tower, keeping the Silver Hexameric folio under constant guard. During the night, Zil’dejin observes (through his floating consciousness caused by his amulet) chanting and worship outside around the shrine of Lharvion, evidently led by Iadoes. He goes to investigate and questions this Iadoes, concluding that he is probably not a rakshasa or anything of the sort, but rather one of Iadoes’ fragmented selves. He is leading some kind of ritual dance. While he talks with Zil’dejin, Iadoes overwhelms his mind out through the window of his tower, and sends Evil Iadoes back to Vult in his stead to retrieve Gummy Joe who was left behind there. Evil Iadoes is attacked by Atrava posing as Gummy Joe, who is outraged to find he is not the real Iadoes. Gummy Joe is imprisoned in ice nearby. The mind-controlled Evil Iadoes prepares to free him but is distracted, and ultimately ends up bringing IAD-001 back to Grey Titan’s Hold with him. IAD-001, obsessed with freezing the world, tries to cast fimbulwinter, but is attacked by Zil’dejin while Evil Iadoes runs away. A short fight ensues where powerful magic is employed, and IAD-001 is killed. The cult meeting is broken up, Zil’dejin returns to the tower, and the party rests the night.

Therendor 3, 1001 YK

The next morning, there is a knock on the tower door. It is Gummy Joe, who has apparently returned from the moon. He explains that he leveraged the last bit of chaos power invested in him by Iadoes to teleport himself back after launching a cunning escape to get away from Atrava the Frozen. By this point, Gummy Joe is dangerously sober; he is fully coherent and surprisingly intelligent. Zil’dejin talks with him for a while despite Iadoes’ frantic attempts to get the man drunk again, and learns that his real name is Josef Kraal, a former lowborn of Karrnath raised to warlord status during the Last War. Before he can say much more of himself, Iadoes gets him drunk, and Gummy Joe returns to the shrine to resume his duties.

Not long after this, the Collective encounters Coref Irvallo, who informs them that he received a foreign ambassador as Rickard Mancuso was not present to do so. It seems she would not speak about the nature of her business to Coref, as she considered him a lowborn. Zil’dejin asks for the identity of the ambassador, but Coref does not want to distract the party from their business on Vult, and insists he will try and keep her there until their task is complete. With this, the party teleports (completely successfully!) back to the farthest moon.

They arrive at the medical level, but Kymohl is busy and does not speak with them. They ascend until they reach the library level, and attempt to sneak through it to avoid attracting the attention of Atrava, who they believe might still be here. Though Zil’dejin is normally terrible at such stealthy pursuits, time seems to distort around him as he jogs through the airless level, slowing to permit stealthy passage. During this time distortion, he again sees the green-eyed silhouette that he saw in the vault, and previously when using his magic ring. He shakes it off, and meets up with the rest of the party members to go up to the next floor: the laboratory level.

Here, they encounter a single mind flayer of Thoon, who stops them and questions them with a bizarre line of inquiries, most of which are not possible to answer. He eventually asks them to follow him, and he proceeds up to the hangar level, which has a high concentration of mind flayers of his kind, as well as a great deal of the glowing ovoid structures seen previously by Iadoes. The mind flayer’s leadership causes these other mind flayers to ignore the party as they proceed up again to a floor of unknown purpose with several large eldritch machines, more ovoid structures (which their leader calls “matrices”), and many more mind flayers. From here they move up again to a labyrinthine level packed with more machines serving utility functions for Tharkul Kan: the maintenance level.

Iadoes attempts to break away from their guide on this level, but he catches on and calls for assistance from other mind flayers of Thoon. Four more arrive. Apparently satisfied the party won’t try anything, they lead on for a short while longer before Rilic tells one of the mind flayers that his companion claimed to “love Thoon more than [he does]”. This starts a fight which all but the original leading mind flayer becoming involved with. The last one is paralyzed by Rilic’s paralysis “spell,” and the party runs, breaking into three different paths. Zil’dejin finds the machine with the desired keyhole, and calls for Iadoes and Rilic. Iadoes teleports to his companion (after being countered by a mind flayer on his first attempt), and Rilic sneaks over to him. Together they figure out how to activate the device, which on inspection and some slight disassembling appears to power a construct of some sort on the first level.

They immediately turn and leave, proceeding back down to the mysterious floor, where they quickly shut down the grav-tubes. Iadoes teleports himself and Rilic past the mind flayers gathering against them, and Zil’dejin flies overhead, being assaulted (but not stopped) by Stormclouds of Thoon. They reach the grav-tubes and proceed down again, where a sizable force of mind flayers of Thoon await them in the hangar. As they prepare to fight they are approached from behind by Ythrilnaw, the unofficial leader of the mind flayers of Thoon. Rilic switches the grav-tubes to direct upwards with full force and Zil’dejin attempts to tackle Ythrilnaw into one of them, but Ythrilnaw dodges, causing Zil’dejin to fall in himself. Rilic slows it down in time, allowing Zil’dejin to touch down semi-gently. It seems at first as though Ythrilnaw is angry, though he soon reveals himself to be grateful to the party for the damage they have done to the mind flayers of Verioth. He asks how he can repay them, and suggests that they join him on their next “journey beyond the veil.” They instead ask for free passage among the mind flayers of Thoon, which Ythrilnaw agrees to on one condition: that he is given the Touch of Corruption formerly worn by Marlamin Tarmikos. He says that he wishes to keep it away from their rival mind flayer factions, who still follow the Daelkyr that created them — something Ythrilnaw believes is short-sighted, as those illithids do not realize that “all is Thoon.” After some consideration, the party hands over the gauntlet, and the mind flayers part (only slightly) to allow the party to proceed back downwards. Before they go, Ythrilnaw gives them a small crystal pyramid to deliver to the Custodians, which he claims will “aid them against the Verioth mind flayers.”

The party descends to the laboratory level where, after some searching, they discover a room with a complex arcane portal created by the forgotten race. Some illithids of Thoon are studying it, apparently ignoring the party. They find the hoops sought by Tamztur on a sort of lab bench, and discover they are portal loops that connect the space between them when they are set on a surface and activated. Taking these with them, they continue along the laboratory level and locate the cloning machine. It is virtually abandoned by the mind flayers. After this discovery, the party goes up to the thirteenth level which they have not previously visited. This is a control room of some kind, full of panels of differing sorts. A single tube leads upwards, but it has been destroyed. Ythrilnaw makes his residence here.

They ask the mind flayer for permission to bring Kymohl to examine the cloning machine, but Ythrilnaw adamantly refuses. They also ask for permission to explore the level above this one, but he refuses this as well. They finally decide to leave, and back at the cloning machine they hatch a plan to smuggle Kymohl in beneath the notice of the Thoon mind flayers. They set a portal loop in the vicinity of the cloning machine and proceed back down, stopping at the library level to locate the sequencer. They find it: a large device topped with an organic eyestock, containing a number of brains in jars. Iadoes teleports it back to Grey Titan’s Hold while the rest of the party goes down to the medical level, where they activate the other one and usher Kymohl through.

After ensuring it is clear, Kymohl opens the large tank of the room-filling device. It is filled with green fluid similar to that found on the fifth floor. A ladder extends, and Zil’dejin is told to climb down into the vat. He does, and, finding it breathable inside the liquid, allows Kymohl to close the lid, effectively trapping Zil’dejin inside. With Rilic’s assistance, Kymohl activates his reverse-cloning process, which seems to be damaging to the machine: bits fall apart, fires start, sparks fly all over the place. The green liquid blackens as the process is activated and soon Zil’dejin cannot be seen through the fluid. From his perspective, he sees only darkness… until he sees two glowing green lights in the blackness.

Back in Eros, Iadoes appears in the Cathedral of Dol Dorn, where Ser Tabin Hamson chases him from the cathedral, calling the Sequencer an “abomination.” Iadoes flees with the telekinetically-lifted Sequencer, and outside, he finds that he can communicate telepathically with some of the sages within. One of the voices, belonging to a necromancer of some sort, suggests that he dig up some bodies in the Hold’s graveyard to put the brains in using necromancy. Iadoes agrees with this plan and summons his cultists, and with their help, begins digging. Ser Hamson catches him and demands he desist defiling the graves, and though Iadoes is against it, his cultists subside. They decide to await the judgment of the king and leave the Sequencer as-is.

In the cloning machine tank, Zil’dejin follows the hovering green lights until they fade into a wooden doorway that appears out of nowhere. Zil’dejin opens the door and follows into a plain-looking wooden hallway with doors lining either side, and an end so distant he cannot see it. He follows, and watches as the hallway begins to defy laws of physics and common sense, twisting and distorting and in places inverting. He finally reaches the end after an unknown period of travel, where there is a set of double doors. He opens them and passes through into a circular stone room. At the center is the silhouette he saw in his time distortions in Tharkul Kan, now clearly visible: its upper body is vaguely humanoid, while its lower body is more feline. Its head is a strange, tendril-covered mass with glowing emerald eyes. On the floor of the room, all around the creature, runes are inscribed in concentric circles. Most have been worn away, scratched away, or burned away, but one circle remains. The creature projects onto Zil’dejin emotions of desperation and fear.

Zil’dejin stands in contemplation for a while before he hears doors opening in the hallway behind him. Other Zil’dejins begin entering the room, slowly filling the space. A debate emerges on the topic of whether to free the creature by erasing the last of the runes. One Zil’dejin, who bears the Mark of War and is covered in a skein of orange-red patterns such as Derli was during his possession, claims that the creature must be “bound here for a reason” and advocates against freeing it. Another Zil’dejin, wearing robes and carrying a book, claims he has never seen such a thing and advises caution. He is soon after shouted down by virtually every other Zil’dejin there for his scholarly appearance.

Yet another Zil’dejin, this one covered in scars with his wrists bound in chains, claims that the creature is a slave, as he is. He believes that its power is being drawn upon to power the machine. It becomes clear that this Zil’dejin never escaped from Cabor’s Chains, and that his friend Nadarr Thunderclaw died in captivity. The original Zil’dejin contemplates freeing the creature after this, but he is yelled at by the marked Zil’dejin, who claims that mercy is not the path to forging an empire. It is revealed that this version of Zil’dejin never challenged Mordakhesh the Shadowsword to remove the Mark of War and instead used its power, turned on his allies, and conquered most of Khorvaire.

Zil’dejin thinks on it for a while longer and, after a long period of deliberation, carves a line through the remaining circle of runes. The creature escapes in a cloud of shadow that briefly obscures the ubiquitous dim light in the room. Once it is free, the other Zil’dejins begin returning through their respective doors. In the end, only three Zil’dejins remain: Original Zil’dejin, Tyrant Zil’dejin, and a third, wearing elaborate-looking armour with the symbol of Eros. There is a brief debate between the three on the nature of power and what it means to be an emperor; the third Zil’dejin claims that he did not need the power of the Rage of War because he discovered what it means to be Blooded. Original Zil’dejin says that he will not exploit the power of demons to become emperor, as he believes that is a flawed path. Tyrant Zil’dejin leaves, and Original Zil’dejin asks Blooded Zil’dejin to explain the meaning of “Blooded”, citing other “really powerful people” that mentioned the term before, but Blooded Zil’dejin claims that nobody can fully explain the meaning — it must be discovered by each individual. He too then leaves, and Original Zil’dejin is left in the empty circular room alone as the walls crumble around him.

When the room falls away, he is back in the tank, which his allies (including the recently-returned Iadoes) have been trying to damage with magic. Time has been frozen outside the tank for all but the Eclipse Collective. With this time, they have cracked one of the windows, allowing Zil’dejin to kick his way through. Kymohl quickly mends the window with magic and tries to reactivate the cloning device, only to find it no longer functional. Once Zil’dejin relates what he saw in the tank, Kymohl explains he cannot uphold his end of the bargain because he cannot produce new clones. He instead offers existing clones from the medical level.

The party considers taking some of the clones belonging to important figures on Eberron (such as King Boranel ir’Wynarn and Prince Oargev ir’Wynarn) but ultimately decide against it and choose to take whatever Kymohl has. He offers to prepare the bodies while they go down to the recreational level, where they find Tamztur’s brain wired to some sort of eldritch machine. Conlon rips the cord from his skull, and after a moment of recovery Tamztur learns they have brought the portal loops. He offers a variety of merchandise to choose from, but the party eventually settles on a pair of items: a map purportedly leading to the lost Vault of Karrn the Conqueror, and a box with a giant question mark on it, referred to as the Mystery Box. Tamztur claims to not know what is in the box himself, and when Iadoes opens it, he discovers a square rainbow scarf brimming with magical power.

After the deal is done, Tamztur leaves their presence, and they decide to rest for a while on this level.



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