After steeling themselves for what could be ahead the party began making their way below, deeper into the ruins of Old Herrion. Early into their descent, the party discovered the remains of a weeks-old camp in the empty shell of a building. The party searched for any personal effects or any goods, but all that remained was dust and the rotted remains of a meal.
Moving on from the old camp the party followed the tracks leading away from the camp that continued down the spiraling street, passing more buildings defaced with the red and white graffiti. The silence of Old Herrion was suddenly shattered as the party approached a larger, more well-preserved building from which a strong blue light was being emitted. The entire party found themselves all able to hear loud, if distant, screaming and crying inside of their heads that increased in volume as they approached the building. While the party crept forward to investigate Saey stayed behind, appearing to be much more affected than the party. As the party reached the cavernous entrance to the building they spotted dozens, if not hundreds, of the blue star-shaped energy sources, filling the central chamber, connected to each other via tubes and other miscellaneous machinery, with several of them—those with more connections than others—glowing a sickly purple and pulsating slowly. Spotting nothing else inside, save for more of the strange graffiti, the party gathered Saey and continued ahead, putting the strange scene they had encountered out of their minds as the disturbing sounds began to fade.
Along the road, the party discovered a remarkably well-preserved statue of a robed man holding a strange orb. At least, they thought it was a statue until they actually reached it, at which point they discovered that it was a man who had been almost entirely turned to stone by the strange artifact in his hand, leaving behind a macabre corpse frozen in the moment of painful death. The party gave the statue a wide berth and left the artifact behind, not wanting to take unnecessary risks.
The party diverted from the tracks left by Raleina's team to explore a remarkably well-preserved building with a weak magical seal barring entry. After exploring the building they discovered a small, comfortable home richly furnished with silver and other finery, though untouched for centuries. In the single bedroom, the party discovered a pair of skeletons, one in the bed and the other sitting at a writing desk, apparently having died in the process of writing a letter. Saey read out what he could of the letter, revealing that the two corpses were those of a married couple who had sealed their home when the city had fallen, but did not possess the skill to remove the seal, meaning they died while waiting for a rescue that never arrived. This put a bit of a damper on the party, but not enough to keep Harold from stealing one of their wedding rings.
The party continued following the tracks until they discovered a second set of tracks, that according to Violet resembled goat tracks, which confused the party. Eventually, they discovered that the team they followed had split up, with one splitting off from the group, leading to whatever had left the goat tracks to follow them into a cavernous crack in the walls. Inside this cavern, the party discovered a man, half-starved, strung up in thick spider silk. The party freed the man quickly but before they could get far they were ambushed by the creatures, which revealed themselves to be twisted chimeras. The chimeras were no match for the party, however, resulting in them both being tossed into the depths of Old Herrion. With the threat dealt with the man revealed that he was a member of Raleina's team who volunteered to draw the creatures away several weeks ago, being kept alive by the creatures to presumably be eaten in the future. After telling his story, the man promptly fainted, leaving the party to carry him along.
It wasn't long before the tracks diverted from the main road that continued downward into another natural cavern in the stone. Inside this cavern, the party discovered a hole leading into a chamber below as well as residue from black powder that had been used to create the hole. After some careful maneuvering, the party was able to climb down and get their unconscious passenger down as well, finding themselves in a massive chamber built from glassy black stone with glowing green lines running along the walls and floor, with enclosures along the wall holding glowing blue power sources. Interspersed throughout this chamber were several large tubes filled with fluid that Saey revealed were birthing chambers for Cloudborn, and that he very well could have been born in this chamber.
At the far end of the chamber, the party discovered a wide variety of machinery and a large door leading out into another chamber. The party discovered that the door to this chamber was locked in some way that they could not bypass without using the machinery in some way. After accidentally triggering the room's decontamination system and quickly disabling it the party was able to activate a display that showed the party that Raleina and her team were frozen in place in the neighboring chamber. After a little more fiddling the party was able to bring up the option to view some ancient security logs, and by watching one they were able to determine which control would open the door.
After opening the door the party discovered Raleina and her team were frozen beside a spinning blue object in the center of the chamber. A portion of the wall in a far corner had been ripped away and an alcove that would fit one of the blue power sources. While the party deliberated on what steps to take Violet went back out into the larger chamber and ripped one of the power sources from the wall and placed it into the empty alcove, which activated another device in the corner of the room while deactivated the blue spinning object.
After several long moments, Raleina's team were abruptly freed from their frozen state, leaving them dazed and confused. After bringing Raleina up to speed on what was needed Saey convinced the party that both Raleina and the party should use the mechanism in the corner to travel directly to the Sky Prison while they could, believing it to be a sort of "maintenance hatch" into the Prison itself. While the party took some convincing, they eventually decided that following along would be preferable to death, and so they made their way into the strange teleportation device, leaving Raleina's team behind to make their way up to Herrion to tell the Prince what had transpired.
Once through the device the party found themselves partially submerged in a warm liquid in a dark chamber filled with the sounds of mechanical grinding and groaning, ready to investigate further.
—END OF SESSION ELEVEN—
—TO BE CONTINUED—