Getting to the Embered Peaks was quite a hike! I was nearly exhausted when we arrived at the town. Unfortunately a hot meal and a warm bed were not in the cards. Immediately upon arrival we knew something was terribly wrong. The people looked like they had been fighting in a war. There were random fires and everyone was staring at everyone with suspicion and hate.
We started asking around to try to get some idea what was going on. Everyone we spoke to had clearly gone mad! They were paranoid, violent and terrified. We had all but given up when a man in the shadows of a nearby alley whispered at us.
“Psst!” He whispered then more loudly, “Hey! I hear you’re looking for the man in charge. I…I can tell you where he is. But you have to keep me safe. Safe from THEM!”
We could tell that whatever paranoia was affecting the town was also affecting him but we offered him a cypher in exchange for information. He told us about the building at the center of town that was once the home of a local religious order,the Devoirs. He told us we could find Magistrate Yieran there.
So we moved through town making sure to stay clear of any groups that looked dangerous until we found the building in question. Inside the place was in a total state of disarray. Books and papers littered the floors and sections of wall crumbled around them. As we entered the building there was a young man tearing through a nearby desk and muttering to himself, “Where is it? It’s not here!”
The young man was named Chahil and he was an acolyte for Magistrate Yieran. Apparently the magistrate had sent him to look for certain documents that had been written by others in the order but Chahil was having a hard time locating them. Max was his usual charming self and threatened to butcher Chahil if he didn’t take us to Yieran right away. With such a threat looming over him the boy reluctantly took us to a secret door hidden in the floor of an ante-chamber. We went down the stairs and through a cold hallway until we reached another door. Chahil whispered something into it that I couldn’t quite hear but when he did the door opened silently.
Inside the room was a large machine and several dozen beds spread out in a circle around the room. Each bed had a dead body lain upon it, a single black scorch mark on each forehead. Magistrate Yieran, an older man with long grey hair, was bent over one of the bodies listening to something. That was when I noticed that the mouth of the dead man was moving and he was whispering something into Yieran’s ear!
“Are you here to hinder me or help me?” was all Yieran said to us. Our more charismatic party members decided to go with the diplomatic route and told Yieran that we were there to help. That was when we learned everything.
Several months ago the Devoirs discovered this machine deep within the mountains. The machine allowed the living to ask a single question of the recently deceased and the dead would answer the question. Many thought this would be a great boon to the town. A chance to speak to your loved ones one last time. It took a few weeks before the Devoirs realized that the dead answered every question with a lie. Several Devoirs including Yieran believed that the machine could be fixed and that not only would people be able to talk to loved ones, but maybe the machine could bring the dead back to life. Others disagreed and said that the machine should be turned off. This lead to a splintering of the order as Yieran and his followers tried to find ways to make the dead tell the truth while they studied the machine.
Unknown to them at the time, a psychic creature called Boregal was waking within the machine and he was terrified. He had forgotten how he got where he was. Boregal began sending out low level psychic signals which started affecting the local animal population. Driving them insane and making them aggressive. As Boregal’s power grew his range of influence grew as well. Eventually he began to affect the minds of the people within the Embered Peaks. Yieran was among the first affected.
With his mind already strained due to the splintering and his desire to be proven right, Boregal’s influence snapped what semblance of sanity remained. The argument between the Devoirs turned to violence and Yieran took his fresh supply of bodies and used them to further his research. The violence spread until the entire town had gone mad.
When we learned what had happened we wondered if we were safe around Yieran. But instead of attacking us he handed us this strange device on a stick and said, “I have killed as many as I dare and I have learned nothing. I would rather not have the machine at all than let it destroy the town I love. Cut him loose, or kill him. I cannot.” He then showed us to another room filled with debris and broken pieces of machinery. This is where we found Boregal.
Boregal may have once been human we honestly don’t know. When we found him he was a mass of black globes that glowed with a faint red light. Boregal called out psychically to be released from his prison. So we released him. At least we thought we did. Using the device Yieran gave us we disconnected the mass from the conduits on the wall. The globes began to pop and leak out this viscous fluid. But something else started to happen as well. We saw a small brain still contained within a black globe; Boregal. He was still trapped. His panic rose and his psychic powers began to erupt outward. It seems the mass of globes kept most of his abilities at bay.
Boregal began to collect bits and pieces of the room about him in a whirlwind of psychic energy. We stared transfixed as he created a body for himself made from wood, drit and machinery. Once he had collected together he lashed out in a rage attacking everything and everyone in the room. Forced to defend ourselves we managed to hold Boregal off while PRIS got in close and electrocuted the brain. The body fell apart and Boregal’s brain desiccated very quickly.
We took a moment to look around the room and make sure he was really down. Marla told us that the whispers she used to hear in her mind were gone. Boregal was dead. But we weren’t out of danger yet. We returned to the room where Yieran awaited us and were greeted with a gruesome surprise. The room was on fire and the doorway out had been sealed. Yieran and Chahil both lay dead on the ground. On the wall nearby, written in blood was the phrase, “Be seeing you. -D”. Smoke was quickly filling our lungs and the room was becoming impossibly hot as the fire spread.
We fled back into Boregal’s chamber and began looking for another way out. As smoke began to fill this room as well Rover found a secret hatch. He pried it open and found an access tunnel out of the room but deeper into the mountain. Taking point, Rover entered the tunnel and carefully began crawling through it. He was stopped suddenly when he caught a reflection of metal in his outstretched glowglobe. Thin wires of metal were laced throughout the tunnel, crisscrossing their way down. It was when Rover felt something land on his back that he realized a steel spider lived here.
Rover threw off his jacket with the steel spider trapped inside and began to beat the living hell out of his with the heaviest item he had on him. Eventually he managed to kill the creature and then focused his attention on the web before him. Steel Spider webs were tough and even most normal weapons couldn’t cut through them. He relayed the information back to us and Max produced a spray can which could melt any material it came in contact with. Using it sparingly Rover was able to clear away the spider webs and get us all out of Boregal’s room and into the access tunnel.
The tunnel extended about 100 feet and then we found ourselves staring into a huge and entirely dark room. Rover lit a torch and dropped it down outside the tunnel. We learned that the drop to the floor from our vantage point was about 40 feet. He took out some rope and we all climbed down into the room. Behind us the fire burned but for now we were safe. And lost within the great machine below the Embered Peaks.
- Group gained 3xp for finding the truth about Boregal and ending his threat to the region
- Marla found an artifact – a staff that has an electric tip and is good for stunning
- Rover was re-designed by his player from a Jack into a Glaive to be more useful to the party
- Heroes ended up deeper in the mountain, what secrets await in the dark places below?