The party regroup and heal as best they can. The shadow dragons corpse smokes slightly in the dark. Terron Blackwell has a massive lead on them and they gather the few belongings the dragon had, including Terron's sword and armor.
They follow the passageway until they hear the echos of voices up ahead. Illiaph's demon goes to scout ahead and reports that he hears two voices, but get's the feeling there is someone else there. A female voice speaks with Terron, calling him Korekutā, meaning "the collector" in Vasharan.
They quickly concoct a plan to use grenades and cynnas sticks to disable Terron, and jump into action.
The party is caught off guard by the soft melodic voice of a high elf in a blue cloak. He is noticeably missing his left and and left eye and alerts Terron of the approaching party.
Grenades explode around Terron and the opiate gas knocks him to his kne
es. He screams in rage as his concentration is broken and his spell backfires.
The shadowpool before him writhes violently as hellish cast iron chains burst from the surface and implant themselves in the walls. Massive metal claws reach out of the pool and clamp down creating a disturbing platform. The combined wails of 100,000 imprisoned souls rips away what little light and hope was in the room.
From the unearthly portal, a dreadful creature emerges. Chains wrap this being like a mummy. The maimed elf draws a wicked looking long sword and slowly backs away into another passageway.
The creature reaches a hand out towards Blackwell.
"YOU DARE! You dare to open the door to Tartarus"
Chains fly from the frothing shadowpool and impale Blackwell.
"All those who set eyes are the prison of the gods will suffer with this man."
More chains burst from the pool, impaling several members of the party. Hooks and barbs on the chain snag into their flesh as they are dragged towards the pool.
"Prove your innocence or suffer your guilt!"
Dael attempts to use another grenade to break the chain, but the damage is minimal. The Devil barely flinches.
Illiaph steps in with a more diplomatic touch. Claiming that only Blackwell was guilty and they entered several moments later.
The Devil is not swayed and Terron uses his second wind to attempt to strike down the devil with the Shadow Key. The Chain Devil catches the Shadow Key in his bare hand and rips the umbrial power from it, leaving little more than a notched stick.
"All present are as guilty as this man. Declare his innocence or prove your own guilt."
The Chain Devil withdraws the chains back into the pool, pulling them out of the party and tearing even more flesh. Illiaph resigns to declare that Blackwell is innocent and that this was all a misunderstanding, attempting to push the blame on the maimed elf.
He is successful at convincing the Tartarun Guard. The devil marks Terron's forehead.
"He has been marked and Azogun's justice is done. This man is innocent. Any undue punishment will be shared by all. Our mortal agents will be notified of this elf. Farewell mortals. Forget what you have seen here. Few others are as merciful as I."
The devil sinks back through the pool and the chains and claws retract. The frothing stops and the pool becomes regular water.
Illiaph rushes to execute Terron while he's down, but is stopped by the rest of the party. The devils warning was cryptic and they don't know what will happen if Terron is killed. Terron stands up.
"Greetings Illiaph. I suppose this was all your doing. I'm assuming you killed my ward? His father is going to be livid"
He explains, in an extremely nonchalant way, that even in his wounded state, the party is no match for him and that he purposefully gave Illiaph false information to test his allegiance to the Flesh Shaper. It would appear that they are not allies after all. He seems to contradict himself assuming that Illiaph told his party the truth or understood all of what he was told. Terron explains that he was trying to get close to Tartarus, not get into it. Tartarus is the prison of the gods and is the most heavily guarded location in the cosmos. His orders were to collect the proper equipment to open the portal. As he has failed, his masters will likely disavow him in favour of going through other channels.
Terron lights up a torch to reveal a large mural on the wall. The mural depicts a massive entity surounded by humanoid figures. Most of the figures are solid, but some are slightly larger, with sparkling starburst in their torsos. The massive entity seems to be devouring the special humanoids and eventually moves to attack nine titanic humanoids.
He explains that the Founder of Flesh will feed on divine mortals until his power grows enough to consume the gods themselves.
"There will be no death when there is only one life in the universe. in any case, we still have one job to do, and now that I lost my way out, I hope those at the surface are still alive"
Dael realizes the gravity of what he just said and runs as fast as she can back to the sinkhole. The party climbs up the web rope to discover that cassualties were minimal. Gianni's troops are more formidable than they appeared.
Dael approaches Imzaerus. He turns around to reveal three newborn bird creatures.
"They imprinted on me. I guess were parents. Again."
The party gather up the gold fallen from the tower and head back to the camp. Terron seems distant and speaks with no one. Several days pass as the expedition gather gold and magic items ready to ship them back to Findle.
Terron Breaks his silence and approaches Illiaph who berates him for his previous lies.
"Trust goes both ways Illiaph. I hope there are no hard feelings, It was just a job. You seem familiar with my people, the Vashar, and I'm sure you understand our unique perspective on life. The Vashar are not born into this world fumbling for meaning Illiaph. We are created to perform a singular purpose. Your companions faith in giants and elves is sickening. The Vashar will bring all before Jilin and he will consume them. In the meantime, I have discovered a way to speed up our job here. Knocking over towers is burning through our dragonpowder too rapidly and we're not going to have enough to get the job done. I've heard a legend of a scroll hidden at the center of the city which can grant control over the specters which plague our soldiers. Bring it to me and we can have this job done in a day."
Illiaph understands and gathers his team to search for the scroll.
The party head into the city at dawn. Dominating the center of the city is a massive rock garden. Stone sculptures are scattered through a field several acres wide. These sculptures don't seem to depict anything in particular but are artistic representations of Tengu culture. Between the sculptures, a tiled path leads to a small pond approximately 30 feet in diameter.
The party carefully approach the pond, but notice nothing out of the ordinary. Dael dips a hand into the pond and is startled by a voice from behind her.
"What are you doing here girl? Looking for the scroll?"
Dael and the specter converse over the next few minutes. The specter of the young man seems more playful than malicious.
"The scroll is dangerous. It was said that it would let you speak with the specters. I thought that would give me control, but I must have made a mistake. Now I spend eternity with only them for company. I'll help you get the scroll if you do one thing for me... You read it. I would appreciate some company from such a lovely elf."
The specters words make Dael uncomfortable, but she agrees to read it once Shalazar has read it for himself.
The pond is the final resting place of hundreds of Tengu royalty. They do not appreciate interlopers. Approach the pond from the center and the scroll is yours. My body lies nearby, perhaps my boots of water walking are still in tact."
Dael and Rilken stalk the grounds, looking for the remains of a human. They find the lower half of a human on the eldge of the pond. His remains appear to have been half dragged into the water. Oh the skeletons feet are some ragged boots. They appear to be holding onto their enchantment, but the leather is brittle from exposure.
Illiaph sends his quasit to retrieve the scroll. It protests entering the water. It flies above the pond and relays what it sees. The bottom of the pond is littered with beaked skulls and skeletal pieces. Some of them appear to be humanoid or unknown races. A glimmer of gold from a long cylinder can be seen in the center of the pond.
The party rig a system of ropes across the pond and send a levitated Rilken over the pond. He uses his arcane training to reach out for the golden scroll. His mage hand lifts it up, but as it breaks the surface, spectral claws seem to be holding it down. A flurry of claws and spectral swords lash out at Rilken. Four spectral Tengu, a spectral human and a spectral frog type humanoid attack Rilken.
The battle goes poorly, the specters repeatedly drain the party nearly to the last drop of their life. They manage to overcome the specters with the help of Rilkens blessings and the weak daylight above them.
They rush back to the edge of the city knowing that Wynnstan is still following them. His laughter echoes through the city.
"We have a deal! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! The end of my loneliness is neigh! We have a deal Daelethan!"