After having their tome whisked away by some of the Prince's scholars the party made ready to settle in for a long wait, given that Saey was currently unconscious and the Prince had no other information for them. During this awkward waiting period the man who had earlier arrived on the ship bound from Valehallow arrived at the manor and was escorted into the Prince's sanctum. The man handed a letter from Mayor Miria to Prince Therric and greeted the party, who swiftly recognized him as being their former companion Roy, sent by Miria to assist in the crisis of the Sky Prison.
The party took some time to share their stories of what had transpired since their separation after the incident in Bellwater. Roy's journey had been somewhat less eventful, but he did have a strange run-in with the strange Novoi, after which the man gave Roy an odd bronze coin. As well, while idle on the ship journey to Herrion Roy had finally gotten a chance to put his golemancy skills to work and returned with a pint-sized golem named Ali Jr., after their biggest fan back in Valehallow. Roy, for his part, took the party's extraordinary story in stride, and eventually, everything was known. As the party settled together again, spending some time testing the abilities of their new golem companion, and decking it out in new accessories, they experienced another intrusion.
One of the Prince's guards dragged in a small girl with flowers in her hair, proclaiming her to be some sort of spy, which was met with derision by both the party and the Prince himself. The girl declared that her name was Violet and that she had climbed over the gate in search of some sort of villains he had been informed was inside. When questioned she revealed that the one who had led her to this conclusion was the adventurer known as Argus, who had acquainted himself rather humorously back in the early stages of their adventures in Valehallow. The Prince had more important matters to deal with, however, and seemed content to let her stay, since she appeared to get along with the party, especially after her attempt at summoning her avian companion failed.
Growing tired of sitting around and waiting, the party set out to explore the manor, eventually arriving in the large library wherein several scholars were poring over the tome they had earlier brought and cross-referencing it with other, equally large, volumes. The party checked a few volumes to see if there was anything of interest that could help them with any upcoming challenges but were unable to find anything of that nature. Just as they were making ready to look elsewhere, one of the scholars leapt up in excitement and rushed through the manor, back towards the Prince's sanctum.
The party followed the man and when they arrived they walked in on him and the Prince deep in discussion, the Prince looking somewhat somber. Apparently, the only remaining person with a blood relation to the ancient Cloudsire was a woman by the name of Raleina Tovos, who was sent into the depths of Old Herrion several weeks ago in search of some way of preventing the Sky Prison's fall, back at the first sign of trouble. Raleina was sent because she is the most skilled navigator of Old Herrion, and would know how to get into some of the more heavily defended or hidden areas. Despite this, there had been no contact with her or any member of her team since they had entered Old Herrion from the entrance in the manor's basement. The Prince requested that the party follow Raleina below and find her, to which the party agreed, if only because none of them were particularly fond of the idea of a fiery death in the event of the Sky Prison's fall.
Prince Therric offered the party—and Violet, who had stumbled her way into being a member of the party at this point—rooms in which to spend the night and rest before beginning this quest. The party took the man up on his offer and slept more soundly and more comfortably than they had in some time, and they joined the Prince the next morning in a much-refreshed state. The Prince gave the party free rein to pick out several weapons from his personal armory and had his physician provide Kalise with a medicine that could be used as a poison for her arrows in a pinch.
With all of their supplies gathered the party, and Saey, were escorted to the entrance to Old Herrion that Raleina's team had used several weeks prior, located in the manor's basement. The entrance led to a staircase that descended at a sharp incline for quite some time before it opened up to Old Herrion proper, a twisted and melted series of tunnels and pits that had once floated above like the Sky Prison 1200 years prior, before crashing to the ground in some sort of calamity like the Sky Prison now threatened to. Saey mentioned being somewhat familiar with some of the city before its fall, but claimed that he would not be able to act as a guide given its current state.
While exploring the party encountered very little of interest, other than the scenery itself, with most of the shells of buildings being completely empty, save for dust and rubble. Eventually, however, they encountered a slightly more preserved building which had obviously been ransacked at some point in the past. The walls displayed the telltale markings of tools used to pry some sort of machinery away and the walls were coated with symbols and words scrawled on in red and white paint. The legible words consisted primarily of the words "UNBOWED, UNBENT, UNBROKEN," repeated again and again.
After rounding a corner the party encountered their first sign of any sort of life in Old Herrion, as they found themselves narrowly avoiding barreling into two Cloud Wraiths. The party dispatched them handily, scattering them into black dust, though once again one of them attempted to communicate with the party as it reformed, forming a crude copy of Saey's face through which to speak. Saey appeared uncomfortable with this and eventually, the party gave up on it and finished it off before it could begin attacking once again. With the wraiths defeated the party realized that there was a source of fresh air somewhere above, meaning these cloud wraiths had been some of those assaulting the city the day before, and had not been down here before.
The party tried to continue forward further, but found their way blocked by a large sheet of warped metal crudely wedged fairly recently to form a wall of sorts. With a combined effort of sheer strength, magical ability, and Ael'srill's unique telekinetic abilities the party was able to force their way past this obstacle. Beyond this wall the party discovered that a large section of the city had twisted itself in such a way that it formed almost a spiral staircase descending further down an indeterminable distance. They were not alone at the summit, however, as they discovered the long-undisturbed corpse of a man in red and white robes, with a shimmering crystal blade in his back. Once the blade was removed from the man the crystal blade flashed once before disappearing abruptly, leaving them with only a strange hilt, emblazoned with the Coldfire symbol that they had been encountering more and more frequently. The party could discover no other personal effects providing any clue as to who this man was, which had also become a running theme for them.
The party took a moment to rest before beginning their descent into the heart of the city…
—END OF SESSION TEN—
—TO BE CONTINUED—