Whilst I slept the others talked with the guards and other residents of the Bastion. They’re going to stay there whilst we ‘deal’ with the Layer Lord, and I will be honest, the magnitude of that intimidates me. But it’s also the right thing to do.
We travelled for a fair bit over rocky ground before we came upon the Layer Lord’s castle. A huge plain surrounds it, and there is a massive army of Demodans there, more a crowd than a regimented army.
On the one hand I take Jaros’s point about a covert insertion being easier, on the other hand I honestly wish we had an army of our own to clear us a path. Ah well.
Over and above the castle are a collection of stormclouds hitting the four towers that surround the central keep with bolt after bolt of lighting in a near continuous stream.
Skit takes to her bat form and goes for a fly around. There’s a heartstopping moment as she gets in close the clouds and is seared by a large bolt, however it’s an unjustified reaction; she flies on mostly unphased.
On her report she tells us the keep is almost entirely deserted, but the towers are crammed, stuffed to bursting full of people on the receiving end of these lightning strikes.
This time we all go in, the objective insertion. A daring flight below the clouds, followed by a steep dive sees us at the front door. There are a few Demodan guards here but the frollicking hordes have quite the run to get to us. Jaros engages the demons whilst I work on opening a hole in the walls. In and licking our wounds from the fight (or in the case of Jaros, cleaning all the slime off his armour. Did I mention how fat some of those Demodans were?)
We track down a single large room with a single appropriately large being inside it, doing nothing. We gather and enter the room weapons drawn. The Layer Lord is a giant sized man, like Dugobrah but blue skinned instead. He wields two maces and charges an enlarged Jaros head on. To my surprise the two exchange banter whilst the fight goes on, a degree of professional respect between the two as spear and maces make dizzying patterns through the sky.
Skit stays out of the fight for some reason, scampering around the back of the room. The reason becomes abundantly clear after about half a minute of fighting when a clarion call echoes around the room, and a feeling of empowered rejuvination falls over all of us. Everyone stops and looks at skit, who is holding a horn to her lips emblazened with the symbol of Tritherion. Sevastian’s face of open shock, arcane magics dissipating, was quite something to behold.
We settle down and talk things out. This guy’s name is Raiden. He killed the last layer lord and had since held the Demodans in check, using fear and intimidation to keep them from rampaging across the layer.
With a bit of twisted logic he’s been trying to use the lightning and the suffering to retune a tuning fork, which he hands over to us. It seems we have a key out of here! Now to find the lock…
He mentions some other things, Adimarcus is here. On Carcerei, imprisoned and insane in a tower of skulls…
Raiden has already sought the assistance of Adimarcus in getting out, but the mad Fallen Paragon refused his requests. He said that Adimarcus was so insane that it caused him physical pain to listen to him, and if we were to try anything, to ensure we had a strong bargaining chip. I keep it to myself but I have the strongest urge to go talk to him.
Alas, that is not to be. Raiden agrees to hold down the fort and keep the Demodans in check whilst we investigate finding a way out.
Our next step is to return to Calderra and have the tuning fork(s) identified.
On the way back we encounter Drugobah at the Bastion, and commit to getting him an the guards out of here.
The journey back is considerably faster. We bypass the creepy mountain by flying over it. I can’t stress how much I enjoy the freedom to move in 3 dimensions, but I could write pages on the subject. So I wont.
When we arrive back, Caldera is on lockdown. No Heironians allowed. I wonder what set that off? Regardless Sevastian and I are cleared to enter (Skit decided to self identify as a Heironian), so we go to the temple of wee-jas and have our tuning forks identified. We use the Celestia and Abyssal forks as a baseline to verify, and discover the third one we’ve had all along leads to the Outlands, and the one we just acquired goes to the Paraelemental plane of Ice.
Well, at least now I have an excuse to investigate why the sewers are always so unnaturally cold right?