After resting for the night the adventures once again set out into the Shadowfel. Frenix opened a portal in the same location Iseri did just the day prior. The trail lead south of Aliers to the main road between Stone’s Crossing and Serubel. The terrain was rough, but manageable. While standing at the treeline overlooking the road, the group spotted a small encampment to the side of it. Fiona and Pericles ventured ahead of the group to investigate. Nearby at a black pond two large hound creatures lay resting. The hounds had large mains filled with quills, Slate was quick to identify them as Anaxim Hounds. They overheard two people conversing in the tent about how High Brother Iseri left them behind when they should have been assisting with the ritual. At this point the hounds perk up as they hear the ranger moving across the road.
In the ensuing battle, the group managed to subdue the leader of the small group and was able to question him. They learned that he was part of the Brotherhood of the Covenant and was left behind to guard Iseri’s path. They also learned that Princess Servia Sydra was still in her custody and wearing a slave crown. Iseri’s final destination was unknown, but the brother was able to provide a device that would lead them to her. Following the trail of magic stones attuned to the device, they arrived at a stone archway in a clearing. The stone archway was a dimensional gateway. Activating it the party went back to the material plane where their journey continued.
Judging by the distance traveled, the adventurers figured out they were somewhere near the city of Bey, near the border with Eito. The path lead to the barrier mountains. A shear edifice blocked further progress. After a quick investigation, it was clear that someone had already ascended this cliff face and left handholds making ascent much easier. Upon reaching the top of the climb the adventurers were presented with an impressive vista: a large sloping valley with a city situated in its center.
The city was far larger than any city the young nobles had seen before. It was easily four times the size of the capital of Sydra. As the group approached the walls of the city they more clearly understood the strangeness and scale of the place. The city walls were two-hundred feet high and made of a monolithic stone material. The gateways into the city were large open archways with no signs of doors or watch towers. The outer ring of the city was composed of ten story tall buildings constructed in the same monolithic manner as the city walls. The sharp ear of the ranger picked up the sounds of battle taking place deeper in the city.
The inner section of the city was surrounded by another wall, this time only 120 feet tall. The buildings the party could see through the gate house were of a much different design than those of the outer circle. They were more public facing and temple like. Bodies of men dressed in black armor lay dead all along the street interspersed with the wreckage of spider like constructs. Making their way toward the largest temple in the center of the city, they saw an ongoing battle between the black armored men and the constructs. The constructs used mostly energy attacks which managed to pierce through the armor of the soldiers. The soldiers were able to hold their own by working together against the constant onslaught of constructs. Seeing that the attention of both parties was on each other, the adventurers cut through the temples that flanked the main temple and went in.
A Genasi leading three armored black men stood blocking progress into the inner part of the temple. The Genasi shouted out orders to the men in an odd dialect but they clearly had no intention of letting the adventurers pass. Two constructs climbed over the walls and began opening fire on both groups as the battle raged on. Gaining the upper hand the party withdrew into the inner sanctum. Passing through a hall of reflective crystal they reached the inner courtyard. A massive ziggurat with a stone altar laid on top. Iseri coursed with energy drawing from all that was available. The party rushed to interrupt the ritual. Iseri was forced to interrupt the ritual to try to deal with these interlopers.
Iseri split into two forms: one wreathed in fire and the other in ice. Summoning force motes of energy they littered the entire stairway up the ziggurat. They also summoned two elemental birds to help deal with the adventurers. Frenix’s solution was unanticipated by Iseri, he opened a portal linking the top and bottom of the structure. The rangers, Fiona, and Pericles rushed through the dimensional door to rescue the princess from the stone altar. Iseri was able to adapt and laid into the party with her full might. Sensing that a reatreat might be the best course of action, the group picked up the Princess and used the dimensional door again. The slave crown was removed, Princess Serviacame came to and unleashed an invigorating wave of energy upon the party. The sensation was odd, but it gave the group enough stregth to continue the battle. A few more intense minutes of combat and Iseri with her summoned creatures lay dead at the apex of the temple. Her final words left an ominous feeling “You have destroyed me, but the Brotherhood cannot be stopped. The Dark Power is too close at hand. You have not won here today.”
The Princess is saved… but the temple is still charged with the energy from the ritual. Not to mention the sound of battle seems to have quieted down but the scuttling of constructs can still be heard.