The Shadow Engine
The broad circular chamber before the party had its floor sunken 20 feet below the doorway in which they stood, with the ceilings rising 20 feet above. The Shadow Engine stood supported on a pillar of necrotic energy in the center of the chamber. The rest of the chamber was littered with small amounts of rubble and bones. The room appeared to be old with new elements added, although the exact age was difficult for them to determine, for as they watched parts of the room were decaying under the stress of the terrible energy being channeled in the room.
The party descended to the floor on Kezmit’s flying hook, mindful of any changes to the room as they did so. To their relief nothing reacted to their presence. Elleandra was certain that an Orb of Kalid-Ma was present in the engine and her Orb was eager to be reunited with it. Further inspection of the room confirmed what they had already suspected – much like the Fey Engine, this device appeared to be channeling the raw energy of the Gray to an unknown location. The similarity of design left little doubt that the architect of the engines was the same being.
Feeling there was little other choice, Elleandra leapt into the air and borne aloft on wings of magic, landed on the Shadow Engine’s platform. When touched down, the bones around the room quickly started to swirl and formed into a monstrous skeletal dragon, as it did so each of the party heard a sepulchral voice in their heads and most appeared taken aback by what they heard, but Jarvix fell the the ground unconscious.
Iorskan moved up to the Engine’s base and attempted to destabilize the device by tampering with the arcane stones. Kira conjured a brightly shining orb of swirling color and threw it at the creature, striking true and dazing it. Li-Am joined Iorskan in his attempts to disrupt the workings of the device, apparently making some gains as the column of energy became less stable. Kezmit conjured a spirit to assist his companions and, following the advice of the whispers, was able to partially disrupt the transfer of energy at a basic level, hastening the decay of the engine.
Atop of the Engine, Elleandra, took her Orb and thrust it into the machine, attempting to merge it with its twin inside. The joining was successful, but the combined Orb remained inside the machine. At the moment of the merging, she knew that the final Orb was in the possession of a being called Absalom who was currently in the ruins of Giustenal. She also knew that the Orb was now powerful enough to transport her and her allies, if they were close enough, to either Kalidnay on Athas or the shadow Kalidnay in the Gray.
The dragon, who they suspected was the sorcerer-king Dregoth, focused on Gwyn and, managing to break free of Kira’s magic, took flight and charged while breathing a blast of necrotic energy over the party. Although the breath injured several in the party, only Kira was immobilized by it. His great claws struck home on Gwyn and severely wounded her.
Gwyn retaliated by summoning an orb of shifting energy which hurtled toward the dragon exploding with a blinding yellow light, dazing it again. Iorskan spotted a possible weakness in the dragon and called it out to his allies, hoping to make their attacks more effective. He then called out a challenge to Dregoth, who moved towards him allowing Kezmit and Li-Am to make attacks of their own. With a mighty effort Iorskan was able to make a few probing strikes before landing a blow that caused the dragon to reel, making it more vulnerable for a few moments.
Kira caused barbed vines to whip out of her totem attempting to ensnare Dregoth, but they were unable to hold onto the massive creature. Li-Am attempted to follow Kezmit’s example and disrupt the energy column itself and, although initially unsuccessful was able to reach into the Gray and pull some of the energy into himself causing an instability to form. Kezmit attempted to continue his own efforts to destabilize the Engine while using his spirits to heal the wounds of Gwyn and Kira. Dregoth took advantage of his concentration and struck Kezmit with his tail, knocking him off balance for a moment.
Jarvix was able to regain consciousness and stood up and focused his will onto the dragon, ensnaring it with his mind and tossing it backwards into the pillar of energy. Although Dregoth appeared unharmed by the energy, it did cause damage to the supporting structures, further weakening the device. Able to keep her balance atop the Engine, Elleandra desperately struggled to free the Orb and although unsuccessful, she did manage to break some of the intricate devices on top.
Enraged by the assaults, Dregoth once again took flight and moved towards Gwyn with deadly intent, savagely cutting her with teeth and claws. Although hardened by life on Athas and her draconic nature, Gwyn collapsed under the furious blows. The party was stunned by Gwyn’s collapse and hoped that Iorskan or Kezmit would be able to tend to her wounds.
Finding himself out of position, Iorskan moved towards Gwyn’s body, attacking Dregoth with his dejada as he did so. At Kira’s command, dark clouds formed within the chamber causing lightning to rain down upon Dregoth, splintering some of his bones. Li-Am used his templar training to command Dregoth to submit, crushing its spirit and slowing its flight. Although the sorcerer-king would not submit so easily, Li-Am’s allies were filled with with brutal zeal. Kezmit’s efforts to disrupt the energy flow finally stopped having any effect and he changed tactics, summoning a great gust of winds allowing his friends to move freely about the room. Jarvix was able to force Dregoth back into the column of energy once again, causing more damage while at the same time, he focused his powers with the Way to further disrupt the Engine.
With a horrible, evil intent in his eyes, Dregoth continued to slash as Gwyn’s body, tearing her into pieces, leaving no doubt that she was beyond help. He then turned his attention to Elleandra, still atop the Engine and still causing damage to the device, ever closer to freeing the Orb in her hand. Iorskan breathed a gout of fire onto the underside of Dregoth causing some remaining bits of flesh to burn and fall away. He then hurled himself at the stones forming the base of the engine, hoping to cause enough physical damage to destroy it. Although it was weakened, the Engine was still intact.
Kira’s thorny vines finally grabbed ahold of Dregoth pulling him out of an optimal position to attack Elleandra. Li-Am rushed over to the remains of Gwyn and grabbed the Shadowstaff and the gruesome remains that held the tattoo given to her by the Veiled Alliance. Kezmit summoned forth spirits that started to consume Dregoth, passing that energy to his wounded allies. At the same time he fanned the flames created by Iorskan’s breath further charring him while the warmth given off comforted his injured allies. Jarvix unleashed a massive torrent of psychic energy at Dregoth and so intense was the assault on his mental pathways, that he became stunned and unable to for a few moments.
Things began to look even worse for the party as Iorksan was unable to cause further disruption to the Engine and Kira was unable to latch a hold of Dregoth again with her vines, although she finally broke free of the immobilizing cold from his breath weapon. Li-Am continued to recover some of Gwyn’s other belongings, this time taking the steel swords she was carrying and the tiara given to her by the dwarves of Kled. Kezmit attempted to continue to have his spirits attack Dregoth but the Dragon was able to resist their attacks.
Jarvix focused all his will into another massive attack, but this time struck the Engine and with a thunderous explosion the device blew itself apart showering gems throughout the room and plunging the room into near darkness. An energy feedback surged from the engine towards Dregoth, sending him spinning as shards of bones were blasted from his body. Elleandra, grasping the Orb in her hand came flying down summoning Illusory barriers around the dragon and collecting the gems from the room.
Furious at the destruction of his device, Dregoth cut her deeply with his claws. Iorskan made a powerful strike against Dregoth and called to his comrades, lifting their spirits and restoring their battle lust. Kira, finally able to move, shifted into the form of a tiger and pounced onto Dregoth’s back, sinking her teeth and claws into his foul body. Li-Am swung with his spectral scourge striking the dragons hind quarter. Kezmit’s spirit companion lunged in for a viscous attack while the fire spirit moved in and exploded causing the room to fall into total darkness.
Seeing more with his mind than his eyes, Jarvix found Dregoth and focused on the weakened Dregoth. The sorcerer-king was finally overpowered and his consciousness faded into nothing while the entire chamber became to crumble and collapse. In the darkness, the companions found each other and joining hands, Elleandra used the Orb to transport them to Shadow Kalidnay.
When their sense of nausea faded and their visions cleared, the group found themselves in the outskirts of the city of Klaidnay then had been in a week prior. The heat and dryness was in stark contrast to the cold frozen atmosphere of the Shadow Tomb. There was some confusion as well, for they had thought the lands were destroyed with the death of Thakok-An. Of them, only Kira was familiar with the strange nature of the Gray.
While they took a moment to compose themselves and remember Gwyn, they also reflected on, and shared with their friends, the words that Dregoth had spoken to each of them.
The voice in Kira’s head said…
You are an outsider here – I have no quarrel with you and you should have none with me. Stay out of matters that do not concern you and you will lead a longer life.
Dregoth told Iorksan…
Why do you align yourselves with these lesser creatures? I expect more from my progeny. Help me defeat these interlopers and I shall show you wonders of knowledge and treasure that you cannot possibly imagine. You can lead my armies if you so desire, but you must aid me now.
Kezmit head the following when the dragon spoke…
I know the longing in your heart, the hope for something more than the dreary existence you know so well. I can be what you are looking for, I will be what you are looking for. Join me and you shall be my prophet, my herald, my chosen one. Help me defeat those you call friends and I shall be a God, and you shall search no more.
The voice in Elleandra’s head told her…
Poor little forest daughter, you and your kind are relics of ancient days. My coming will burn away the last of your kind and a new world shall rise from the ashes. I will consume you and drain your precious tree of every last shred of life.
Jarvix heard the following before falling unconscious…
One of the Lord of Winters bloodline seeks to defeat me? Your sire was imprisoned long ago by us and I thought his line was wiped out long ago. I have been absent for far too long. No matter, you and your friends will no longer be a thorn in my side. Now my little gate-hopper, sleep…
Li-Am declined to share what he heard and none knew what Gwyn heard, but they remembered her calling the dragon a liar during the furious combat.