At a village north of Alexandria, you caught up with the Ruah. After watching them put on a tragedy, you found Owen chained inside a wagon, with his father Isaac lukewarm to the idea of his son being taken to the big city. You definitely persuaded Leena though (damn city shopping). After Daelwyn got some D from a botched pickpocketing attempt, you settled in to sleep the night before taking a more human Owen in the morning.
However, the imminent arrival of the Galbadian army interrupted your sleep. Tebas rallied the Ruah to make a hasty exit, promising to go north east to lead any pursuers away from the south and the village. You rigged Owen’s wagon, collected Leena and Isaac, and rolled out for the Albatross to make your exit.
Back in Alexandria, you left Owen, Leena, and Isaac with Vannay, who sent you off to find Greta Flintback as quickly as possible, with a magical rose in Daelwyn’s pants that can be used as a communication device.
You departed Alexandria and traveled north to the mountain village of Murat, Maelgyn’s former home. The burnt village was covered in snow, but you discovered a more recent campsite buried in the snow. A trail of dwarf/human scents led up the mountainside to a cave.
Inside, Maelgyn scouted down a waterfall to find a clan of orcs mercilessly driving slaves to excavate something in the depths. Above, you encountered 3 orcs on guard around a cooking fire. After dispatching them, Guyver stayed behind to hold the choke point and allow the group a modicum of stealth. Maelgyn, Daelwyn, and Finn proceeded down the winding forking tunnels, arriving at a landing guarded by orc acolytes. They tangled with the dark magicians, which brought the orc spiritseeker, Festril, from his lair.
Festril had no interest in further squabbles and beckoned Daelwyn into his chamber to parley. Daelwyn quickly surmised that the shaman was in no mood to brook a reasonable deal and was obsessed with conquering a “demon” in the form of a holographic construct projected from a metallic strut protruding from the cave’s. The construct informed Daelwyn that the party had to hurry, that the orcs were about to breach the final seal of a facility beneath the mountain. Daelwyn rushed out, ignoring the sputtering orc, to find his companions.
At the same time, a patrol had encountered Guyver, who destroyed them handily with his mechanical defenses. Gunshots echoed down the tunnels, bringing the party back to the choke point and a platoon of orcs charging up to them. Maelgyn transformed into a ferret and slipped past the platoon to investigate the lower chambers undetected. Guyver’s mechanical constructs slew orcs as they attempted to enter the chamber, and the orcs fell back to rework their strategy. Daelwyn used his flute and natural charisma to enrage the orcs past reason, and they mindlessly charged the chamber. Right into Finn’s fireball, roasting most of the orcs alive. Alas, the blast caught Guyver as well, who spent a few life-changing moments at the Gates of Awe before coughing his way back to life.
Ferret-Maelgyn found the excavation chamber, with all the slaves and masters gathered at the far end around a large metal plate set into the stone floor. Before he could catch anything, a magical surveillance spell homed in on him, forcing him to flee back up the tunnel. Festril awaited him at the landing, sniffing for whoever set off his spell. Maelgyn was diverted into the spiritseeker’s chamber to avoid detection, where the AI projected itself again, urging Maelgyn to hurry, that it was vital they stop the orcs but without specifying clear reasons. Maelgyn rushed back up the tunnel as a dog past a confused Festril, rallying his compatriots and making haste for the lower chamber. The orc shaman was no match for the whole group, and retreated, intimidated, to his chamber (only to find that Guyver was already there, arguing with the construct and trying to dismantle it).
Just before entering the excavation site the whole mountain shook. The party entered to see smoke rising in the midst of the crowd at the end of the cavern. Daelwyn used a rousing tale of the lay of…someone…to incite a slave riot. The orc slavemasters were overwhelmed quickly, but up from a hole in the metal plate climbed their warchief, Rasgoth. Rasgoth and his personal guards renewed the fight against you, but you brought him low. In rage and desperation, he reached into his cloak to touch the voidstone he found in the vault below. A blast of purple light bloomed outward, and Rasgoth and the cavern were transformed.
A bubbling pit of tar-like shadows covered the metallic plate, and from it rose a dais on pillars of living stone crafted in the image of writhing slaves. A half orc, half vulture demon stood atop it; Hashmalum of the Lucari. He immediately transformed several slaves into shadowknights and began trying to exterminate you all.
Daelwyn turned a shadowknight’s attack on its brethren, discovering that, aside from overwhelming force, a strike to the hollow face of a knight would kill it. Sigrun hopped into a crane, delivering blasting powder barrels to the fight. The party hurled the barrels at the pillars of the dais, and Finn blew them up with his fireballs, destroying the pillars. Hashmalum responded in kind, blasting the party with fireballs of his own before using projecting chains from his cloak to ensnare Daelwyn and injure others.
After much struggle, the party forced Hashmalum from the dais, dowsed him in blasting powder, and set him alight. With a fiery shriek, the vulture demon was gone, leaving an inert voidstone, a cloak, and the knowledge that the AI construct had engaged “omega protocol”. The slaves, hobbled by their chains, would never reach the surface. Daelwyn drew his flute, and with a burst of melody inspired the very locks to decay and rust away. The slaves cheered, and everyone ran for the surface. Outside on the snowy mountainside, you could hear the rocks fall, the cavern sealed behind you.