- With Staunton Vhane defeated, the Triumvirate of Vengeance move forward and discover his private chambers. Apart from a large collection of treasure, the anti-paladin’s private journal is discovered. Flicking through, they find some important intelligence.
- A list of dozens of sacred and holy weapons and armour that he and his brother have tainted through the use of a “corruption forge”.
- His frustration with Aponavicius’s desire to keep the Sword of Valor as a trophy instead of corrupting it.
- Several pages of how he hoped to someday torture and slay Irabeth Tirabade for “ruining nearly everything” when she confronted him almost a year ago in Kenabres.
- The presence of a powerful Shadow Demon that appeared not long after Staunton returned to Drezen. He brought with him 5 special concoctions that were made from a rare abyssal crystal. Himself, Aponavicius and the chimera, Soltengrabbe, survived the taking of the elixir but two other creatures did not, including a dragon. The Shadow Demon, Eustoyiax, still lives down below, guarding the Sword of Valor.
- The presence of a place called the Ivory Labyrinth in the Worldwound, the stronghold of the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth. It is supposedly led by a man called Xanthir Vang, the leader of the Blackflame Adepts and a creature that the evil dwarf wishes to never meet again.
- A succubus called Aureshalae has been captured and placed in Drezen’s dungeons. She has been charged with being an Abyssal Heretic and Aponavicious wanted her kept alive until a special oubliette could be crafted for her in the Rasping Rifts, Deskari’s realm. She has however, escaped and the dwarf is afraid the his marilith master will be most unkind. He has sent numerous bounty hunters in the Worldwound looking for her, the last of which was a powerful Annis Hag.
- Jestak offers to return to their armies to inform them that Staunton is dead while the heroes head down into the dungeons. The steep stairs down become uncomfortable as the very stone in the dungeons seem to be infused with Abyssal energy. A powerful unhallow effect is also in place.
- Empty gaol cells are discovered, the bodies of dead crusaders found still shackled and seeming starved to death. As they move down the hall, a seemingly still living body draws their attention but are ambushed by the spectral, anguished spectres of slaughtered crusaders. Moving on, they discover a larger cell area that is blocked by bars with no door. Using magic to enter, the heroes discover 2 cells that once had powerful anti-magic runes that prevented magical prisoners from escaping. One is no longer powered and the door hangs open. Inside, the walls are covered in etchings of butterflies and symbols of Desna. It also seems to be save from the Abyssal Energy and Whisperings. A prayer is also found scratched onto a wall:
- HEAR MY PRAYER, LADY LUCK. FOR IT IS LUCK I NEED IN ESCAPING THIS CELL. NOT JUST THE LIFE BEHIND THESE BARS, BUT AN ETERNITY SPENT SHACKLED TO THE ABYSS ITSELF. IF YOU TRULY ARE THE TENDER OF DREAMS, THEN TENDER UNTO ME A NEW EXISTENCE. LET ME SING THE SONG OF THE SPHERES, SEE THE STARS WITH NEW EYES, AND ESCAPE THE PIT INTO WHICH MY SOUL WAS CAST. BRING ME GOOD FORTUNE, MY LADY. BRING ME A NEW SPIRIT MADE CLEAN. AND I WILL FOREVER BE YOURS, IN LIFE, AND IN FAITH. I AM READY. FINALLY READY.
- After resting in the cell, the Triumvirate of Vengeance continue and discover the torture chambers. 3 Babaus greet them with glee, bored from not being able to join in the battle outside. As one finds itself stunned from Nyissa Veil‘s spells, the other two are engaged by Alaenora Thalanis and Ralthanar. Part way into the the fight, smoke pours out from under a door and forms into a half-orc vampire, a follower of the Demon Lord Shax, Lord of Death and Murder. He turns his red eyes on the barbarian and commands him to fulfill Shax’s command. Dominated, Ralthonar turns on the arcanist who is saved by her magic. While the elven paladin is distracted by the demons, he makes his up behind her but fails to strike her. His enchantment is finally dispelled by Nyissa and the Babaus are finally slain. Seeing the battle turn, the vampire disappears and begins to wait. With no target visable, the three circle and watch carefully and after about half a minute, he reappears with a vicious dagger throw towards the paladin’s neck. It fails to find purchase and distracted by the vicious swing of the barbarian, it cannot defend himself from the death strike from the smiting paladin. Turned to mist, he retreats to his coffin but is followed and destroyed by the heroes.
- Leaving, they find the end of the passageway and a half-dozen “survivors”. Radiating evil, they promise it only from the latent evil energy in the dungeon. Taking the risk, they enter and as one, they exit their cells, fangs out and speaking of their hunger. They are vampire spawn and attack in a frenzy. Several attempted dominates fail and as they recoil and burn from Alaenora’s faith, the barbarian chops them up one by one. The vampires are further hindered by a slow spell and last only a few rounds. Once dead, a tiny voice calls out and despite being suspicious, they enter a cell and find a small Azata trapped in a cage. Freeing the tiny angel, she thanks them and restores their life that was drained by the various dead inhabitants.
- Tracking back, they discover a secret door and enter a balcony that overlooks the great forge area, the heat rising up almost blistering. Using a pulley cage to cross to the opposite side, they walk in on a foul ritual. A beautiful tiefling woman draped in a green dress stands with 3 schir demons and are attempting to bring the citadel down on itself. The prone form of Anevia Tirabade is between them and Nurah Dendiwhar sitting against the wall with her hands behind her back. Without hesitation, Nyissa steps forth and draws upon powerful magic and instills the tiefling’s greatest fear in her. With a strangled scream, the woman looks up for a moment before dropping dead. The schir are then quickly dispatched. Seeing the heroes arrive, Nurah stands, her hands free from her binds, fear being the only thing keeping her from running. Healed, Anevia is awoken, none the worse from her ordeal. However, it becomes apparent that she has lost all memories since preparing for the scouting trip. Nurah fills them in and says they were jumped by demons that teleported to their location. They backtrack to safety upstairs.
- Pushing deeper, a long hall with what appears to be the Sword of Valor hanging at the end stretches out. Murals of Deskari defeating and butchering various good aligned deities decorate the walls. Suspicious, the two warriors head towards the wall hanging and when touched, a powerful trap goes off and Deskari himself seems to step out of the paintings. The Phantasmal Killer trap finds no victims and the banner becomes a blood red symbol of Deskari. Investigating a shrine to Deskari, they find a secret door that leads to a large circular chamber with an immense statue of Aponavicius. Several telekinetic traps go off trying to force the heroes into the pit but they safely make their way into the Chasm of Shadows, the vault and dark chapel of Drezen.
- Inside, 7 glowing crystals light the great hall and a great Shadow Demon awaits at the far end, standing beside the draped Sword of Valor. His rasping voice calls out to the heroes and immediately locks his malevolent gaze on Ralthonar. Under the mythical strength of the abyss, Ralthonar is possessed and once again, turns on his allies. Eustoyriax is quickly driven out and in rage, summons shadows to fight the characters. He attempts another possession while the shadows start draining the strength of the warriors. Alaenora is overwhelmed by the undead horrors and succumbs to their drain, falling to the floor. As Nyissa goes to her fellow elf’s side, she is surprised by a shadow that rises from the paladin’s body. Ducking away, she manages to apply the Oil of Life and the shadow disappears and the elven paladin is restored to full strength by the legendary power of the oil. Meanwhile, the shadow demon swoops in on the barbarian and starts to attack with claw and fang. Weakened by Nyissa’s magic, the demon suddenly finds himself surrounded and with righteous fury burning in her eyes, Alaenora rips the shadowy creature apart, it’s destroyed body releasing the legendary power fueling it and flowing into the three heroes.
- With all the guardians dead, the Sword of Valor is recovered and upon being touched by the paladin, flares back to life. Tired but empowered, the three return to the surface to find that the upper levels have been secured and that their armies have been successful but at a heavy cost. The rescued mercenary army had been all but slain.
- Irabeth greets them and the Triumvirate of Vengeance are given a heroes welcome and a standing honour guard. The army quickly take control of the citadel and the heroes are allowed to go and rest. Raising that evening, they bare witness to the funeral rites for the fallen. Speaking with Irabeth afterwards, she reveals that Joran Vhane has been cooperative and willing to talk. Brought forward for judgement, he is revealed to be a follower of dwarven deity of smithing, slavery and cheating. However, he pledges that he wishes to only craft the finest weapons and armour in Golarion and would work the forge for clemency. It is given. He also reveals that the Forge can be magically changed into an artifact that will purify weapons and armour. Aron Kir is spared harsh punishment beyond the horrific drawbacks, and is put under super-visioned care.
- Several days later, a small army of crusaders and labourers arrive, headed by the paladin, Danilo. They all bend knee and show grace to the Heroes of Kenabres and Drezen. Once done, they hand over a note from Queen Galfrey.
To the Heroes of Drezen—
Words cannot convey my gratitude for what you have done. I wish that I could say the worst is over, but as you must surely know, the liberation of Drezen is but the first of many steps. You are poised to serve in a way that no others among the crusaders can match. Use Drezen as a base of operations. Set out to explore the Wounded Lands to the south and west for anything else we can use against the demons. You, being on the front lines, doubtless have already isolated several possible leads to investigate, but do not hesitate to consult those I have sent north with you. Sosiel, Aron, Irabeth, and the rest know much of the region’s history and legends.
Word of your success and Drezen’s liberation has already started to spread, and already I see the results in the faces of my soldiers. They fight with renewed morale. Our increased tenacity along the southern borders should keep the eye of Deskari turned away from you, affording you time to explore and investigate behind enemy lines. With your aid, I now feel that victory is finally something we can hope for.
- She places Irabeth Tirabade in command of Drezen and makes other recommendations. The Heroes of Drezen can now take their time to develope their city and personal projects.