The Last Prisoner
Daren’s manipulation of the T-lever causes the sealed double doors marked “Warning” to break their seal and swing open with a loud crack. The sound of glass breaking echos out from the chamber. Pau, closest to the room, perceives eight mummified Ancient heads with his blindsight. Each is clad in metal and jewels and mounted under glass upon a shelf. One of the glass vessels has shattered, and an incorporeal form is moving away from it. He shouts a warning and prepares to strike the being as it draws near.
A short and brutal fight erupts as the creature attempts to drain the life from its enemies, but it quickly perishes. During the battle, a small arcane construct emerges from the safety of a containment vessel and surveys the mummified remains of the slain spirit.
“Dust!” it screams, “Why have you made so much dust?”
After a confusing exchange, Glysh learns that the construct is a servant being, addressed as Dusting 05-36, that has remained in the shelter of this room for thousands of years. The years of isolation have made it a bit…peculiar.
As the tormented soul fades from existence Talos and Mika collapse into a strange catatonic state. Dra’Thorn and Malharath inspect their comrades and determine that they are succumbing to the effects of the gas and have become incapacitated.
Inside the room, Glysh and Pau inspect the vessels and their contents. Each vessel contains a single Ancient head, neatly mummified and wrapped in gold bands. The eyes are gone and replaced with clear crystals. Daren reads the plaques beneath each one. The individual plaques list the name of the head and a capital offense, with the head of the recently slain ghost listed as “Howl” and an offense of “Necromancy”.
As Dra’Thorn gathers up the precious metals and arcane crystals from the remains, Daren returns to the door an inspects the T-lever again. He attempts another combination of lever movements as his companions stand watch near the mummified heads. Another vessel shatters, releasing the second spirit and triggering another brief fight.
It takes another three attempts, with each failure triggering the release of a spirit, to decipher the T-lever combination and open the way forward. The door opens upon a long hall leading to another door. Pau cautiously leads the way and examines the door for anything unusual, as the arcane servant follows close behind.
A blast of arcane power erupts from the door as Pau opens it, wounding most of the chamber’s occupants. Beyond is a small empty room with three doors on the far side. Although faded with age, each door is a different color; red, blue, and green. Each door also has an adjacent T-lever.
Again, Pau inspects the levers to decipher the working of the internal mechanisms, and finds some success. The doors spring open when the last T-lever is moved causing water and gas to rush into the room beyond. Dra’Thorn senses a strong arcane presence from the chamber, and informs his companions about a possible threat. Glysh also notices that there should have been water in the chamber, and the water that rushed in has quickly drained through large cracks separating the floor tiles.
Pau cautiously leads the way forward, triggering the room’s guardians. Three turrets spring up from the floor and begin spraying flames into the party. Retaliation is swift, with one turret immediately destroyed. Dusting screams in protest at the assault, flies to one, and deactivates it in a fit. Another turret appears and spews flames before the two remaining weapons are either disarmed or destroyed. An inspection of the room, reveals nothing. It is a dead end.
The party falls back to the antechamber, so Pau can inspect he T-levers once more. Upon moving the first, all three doors slam closed. When the final lever is set, the doors open once more, revealing a new dead end room similar to the previous one. Pau tries another combination, causing the doors to close and a new room to appear when they open.
This new room has a tall and narrow stairway leading up to a door on the far wall. Again, a cautious approach is made, this time without incident. Beyond the doors, is a gas-free room with two massive stone sentinels facing the door.
They utter words in the Ancient tongue, which Dusting translates as “Speak the words of passage.”
Glysh asks Dusting for the words they wish to hear, and she replies, “Swordfish”, in the Ancient language.
Upon hearing this the statues say in unison, “You may pass, jailers.”, before falling still once again.
The room is exited by a narrow side passage that holds the final defense against escape. A huge stone wheel falls from the ceiling and rolls past. Most everyone is struck and knocked over by the wheel before is comes to a rest blocking the passage back to the room of the sentinels. After recovering, the passage is followed to an open room, ringed with five doors, and cluttered with a myriad of corroded and rotted debris. It is very clear that this area has not been disturbed or visited in many hundreds or thousands of years. Four of the five doors lead to vacant side chambers that were once sparse living quarters, while the final opens on a long hall that has not seen passage in ages. Dusting is deeply disturbed at the area’s disarray.
With the way back blocked and the way forward apparently deserted, a camp is made and a watch is set. Glysh stands as the lone camp sentinel as Dusting frantically bustles about in the dark, working among the mess. When camp is broken, Dusting has arranged the room’s contents into neat piles consisting of dust, bones, rotted wood, and crumbled stone.
Pau and Daren lead the way into the hall and around a corner. A single stone door marked with graffiti is ahead on the left, while the hall continues ahead for some distance. The air in this passage has become perceptibly cooler. The party stops at the vandalized door, as Daren tries to decipher the writing.
He mumbles the word “Traitor”, then seems to loose focus, as he internally searches through the distant memories of his many lifetimes.
Daren explains, “I believe the eleventh counsel member, known as The Architect, lies beyond this door. He was the one that was branded ‘The Traitor’ before the council completed the dark rights sacrificing their race in an attempt to defeat Ro-Rex. This must be where he was imprisoned in order to silence his dissent.”
Dra’Thorn sense an incredible arcane source beyond the door.
“We should enter,” Daren says, preparing to enter the room.
A strange site is beheld as the door is opened. In the corner of the room, an still breathing Ancient, clad in a simple tunic is help aloft in a column of eldritch power. The walls of the room are scorched with numerous black humanoid forms, and a thin film of soot coats the floor.
Daren murmurs, “It is him. He must have used some powerful magic to destroy his captors when they attempted to seal him in this place.”
Before anyone can say or think another word an image of Gar-Loa-Vox’s disembodied head appears, snarling with contempt.
“Do not let Daren have the Architect!”, he warns, “I have worked long to make my way to the remains of Saint Tom and open the way to the Green Hell. Daren will use the Architect to keep me from reaching Lir.”
The dragon’s voice continues, as the image begins to fade, “Daren must die for Lir to be resurrected. Kill him now! But know this, if you do not kill him, I will find a way to resurrect Lir without your aid.”
Those assembled seem un-phased by the dragon’s dire words, and gather around the being that is held aloft by an unknown force.
Daren speaks resolutely, “We will awaken him.”
Malharath nods in agreement and ads, “There are some in our company who are best not seen when he first awakens.”, glancing at Glysh, Talos, Dra’Thorn, and Mika.
Those named, agree, and move back to the hall to stand watch. Pau draws the fragment of the Scepter of Lir from beneath his tunic and touches it to the field surrounding the Architect, causing it dissipate and drop the ancient to the floor.
The architect takes glances about in confusion, levels a stern gaze on those assembled, and utter in the Ancient tongue, “So, invaders, you come for me at last?”.
Malharath hold his hands up and replies, with the aid of Dusting’s translation, “Fear not, Architect, we are friends of Drugal, and the last servants of Lir.”
The Architect stands tall, and whispers as if to himself, “Drugal, last among the faithful…”
To which Daren adds soberly, “…Now dead, but we carry his legacy.”, stepping forward, continuing, and offering his hand to the Architect, “I am Daren, born nearly one thousand years after your kind passed from Lir, and the last surviving witness to Lir’s demise many thousands of years ago. Those gathered here are friends of you, and I, and Lir.”
The Architect responds by taking the offered hand, which Daren places over his heart. His four eyes go wide, sparkling with specks of gold within the deep black, as the presence of the Heart of Lir is felt.
“Now, please tell us how you came to be trapped here for so many millenia,” Daren beckons.
The Architect recounts the story of his discovery of the councils intent to sacrifice their race in the war against Ro-Rex, his betrayal when he opposed them, and how he was labeled as a traitor and sentenced to eternal internment within this prison. Knowing the council’s agents intended to kill him before the ritual was carried out, he secreted away an item of great power to protect him against his assassins, and time itself, for he was the eleventh; and such was his knowledge. Those that are chosen for the eleventh council seat carry the mantle of The Architect, the knowledge of the Ley Lines, Lir’s deepest secrets, and responsibility for making the word of the council absolute.
At the mention of the Ley Lines, Daren reveals the sacred portal stone that was unlocked by Drugal, saying, “Many have died to keep this from Garlic, the dragon known as Gar-Loa-Vox.”, and then recounts the events that allowed Boroff and Bugard to restore Drugal soul, Garlic’s most recent treacheries, including his journey here to learn the portal runes, before recounting the fates of those that have fallen since The Secret was liberated from the Temple of Mur in Marlone. The stories of those not present are also told, in hopes that The Architect will be less shocked at the sight of draconians, a free-willed being in cold iron armor, and one that Sa-Nah-Gig has returned to life.
The Architect sighs, “Gar-Loa-Vox has grown in power since his dealings with the council. If that is the case, we must journey to the Stargazer’s Temple at the equator and seek to awaken Lir. If Gar-Loa-Vox seeks the runes for the portals, then the engines must still be intact.”
It is recounted that the Northern Ley Engines, situated beneath the Throne of Lir, are now a massive rubble strewn fissure. However, if the Ley Line Portals are still working, then the Southern Engines are still intact, but the act of using the portal within the Stargazer’s Temple will drain them of the last of their power.
Sensing the true urgency of the situation, the Architect bids those gathered to follow him to the exit from the prison.