“Can I go?” The pristine silence is broken by the question. Maydrane raises her halberd to strike down Invigilator Cheltey, before being stayed by Lando. “Despite your association with Palomina, we are willing to let you go. Before you leave, would you be able to assist us with these relics?” Cheltey moves quickly to decommission the corrupted relics. “Thank you Cheltey. There will be much violence in the city over the next few days. I would recommend that you seek out Wall Lieutenant Briggs, he will provide you with safe passage from Everstand.” The Invigilator nods as he heads for the door.
The silence restored, the companions investigate the room. There are two plinths within the room, the corrupted nodes feeding power throughout the tower. The companions remove the hope stones from both. More broadly, the walls are adorned with guard schedules, information on prisoners, and crypt schematics. But the main item of interest, the journal of Palomina, sits open upon the desk.
Flipping through her recent entries reveals the results of ongoing experiments – she appears to be closing in on a discovery. Of note, the purple circlets store energy generated from the shards to “power” her guards; however, the circlets lose power over time. Hence, the guards must be rotated to maintain maximum efficiency. Further, several entries discuss the Pathfinder couple. Palomina believes she tricked the couple into inadvertently travelling to Hell, a death sentence for someone not expecting such a trip. The entry does not align well with information received from the changeling, nor does it mention their dwarf ally. Lando takes the journal for further review.
Unsure of how best to proceed, the companions ask Freight to summon Besmara. The sound of the ocean nears and the smell of brine permeates the room as the Pirate Goddess coalesces in the room. She is not happy at being called to Everstand, “I admit your progress impresses me; however, your lack of judgement belays any pleasure I take in your pursuits. The city of Everstand is sanctified to another, my being here brings unwanted attention. Recompense will be required for this inconvenience. I hope my boon proves worthy of its cost.”
The companions advise that they wish guidance regarding next steps. Besmara smiles guilefully and agrees to answer questions; in turn, the companions must play a game of chance – each question will result in a flip of a coin; heads means that fate has decreed the question necessary, tails means the question will be paid for in blood.
Freight agrees to terms of the exchange. Four questions are asked, two of which are paid with in blood.
- Can Palomina be saved? She does not wish to be saved. Do not forget, it was she who sought the shard, and not the other way around.
- How can Palomina be defeated? She has no discernible weakness, however, her strength is tied to the power of the shard. If she is unable to harness its power, she can be defeated in combat. Destroy her ability to interact with the shard – through the relics, nodes, and hubs – and her strength is nullified.
- Can Gauntwood be saved? There is nothing left to save.
- We believe the dragon that resides in the Fangwood will accompany the attacking orc horde. How can we save the citizens of Everstand? The Iron Tower originated from a card pulled from the Deck of Many Things. The ritual may be reversed with the appropriate knowledge, allowing those with in the tower to survive. If you are willing, I will share with you the process. However, you must agree to give me the card when all is said and done. The companions agree and the essence of the card, the ritual of retrieval, is shared.
Armed with this knowledge, the companions ascend to the main floor. The four guards attack as the group enters the throne room; however, with insufficient time to harness the power of the shard, they prove no match for the companions. When the last is disposed of, the group notes several glowing levers that illuminated upon the death of the guards. The levers correspond to the raising and lowering of stairs that lead to the mezzanine and beyond, and through trial and error the group is able to align appropriately.
With alarm bells ringing in the distance, and the evacuation of the city underway, the companions bar the door to the Iron Tower in hopes of buying sufficient time to defeat Palomina with further interruption. The group ascends the stairs to the upper levels of the tower.