The party was sent away from Whisper’s home with one of her Cold Riders, a Fae named Cocytus. He quickly proved his useful by summoning a small herd of Phantom Horses for the party to ride to their destination, something that Rael expressed an interest in recreating. When asked about how strangely quickly and easily they cast the spell, Cocytus simply responded “I am Magic.”
The rest of the trip proceeded similarly, with the party making small talk with Cocytus as best they could. Sitka also spoke with the engineer they brought from the Astrid’s crew, a young Tephran man named Tanashe Atka. Eligor spoke with Veronica, learning that the coin she carries is a memento of her mother, who is deceased. Aurianya attempted to use dead parents as common ground for a conversation, but Veronica wasn’t impressed.
Arriving at the edge of Whisper’s Void, Cocytus halted, stating that they were ordered to not enter it. The party briefly attempted to convince them otherwise, but Cocytus staunchly refused. Realizing that this was a sign that Whisper could not protect them further, the party sent Veronica and Eligor to scout ahead.
It wasn’t long before they found trouble. Checking each nearby cavern individually, the pair inadvertantly set off an Alarm spell, alerting the people within to their presence. Eligor sent Veronica back to warn the rest of the party while he ventured further into the cavern. It wasn’t long before a tall Bezerali woman walked out, carrying a deadly-looking axe on her back. She didn’t notice Eligor as she walked to the entrance of the cave, looking out and becoming distracted by Veronica as she led the party back to the cave.
Eligor took the chance to deliver a surprise attack, beginning a brief but brutal instance of combat between the party and the Bezerali guards. The woman’s companions soon joined the fray, a Priestess of Selth and an Axe Dancer who proved to be powerful foes. Fortunately, the brawl resulted in a resounding victory for our heroes, though they realized after that one of their assailants had been invisible, though they only noticed such as she was escaping.
What followed after was a brutal interrogation session whereupon the party questioned the captured Priest and Monk. The Monk, whose name was never revealed, proved unresponsive to their methods, choosing instead to impale himself on Rael’s blade. The party was somewhat perturbed by this turn of events, and decided to attempt somewhat less cruel methods on the Priest, who Rael identified as a follower of Selth, the Bezerali Goddess of Darkness, Necessary Evil, and Pragmatism. Rael had hoped to use their similar faiths as common ground, but then her companion killed himself, so that option was off the table.
During this, there was a powerful pulse of magic from beyond an Illusory barrier, prompting Aurianya, Rael, and Eligor to investigate beyond it. What they saw was an immense crystalline device levitating in the air, rotating at impossible speeds. The brief glimpse that Rael got through his magic sight revealed that it was channeling magic somewhere else, which he and Aurianya collaboratively deduced was divine magic of the Madness Domain, broken down into millions of shards of magic.
The thing had to be stopped, that much was certain. Sitka, though a variety of terrifying yet practical acts of mutilation, managed to convince the Priestess, whose name was Relyr, to explain its purpose. She informed them that it was a Broadcasting Engine, something that assisted another device known as a Divinity Engine. When prompted for further details, her zealotry overwhelmed her fear, and before she could attempt to kill them and herself, Eligor shoved his sword through her, ending her life.
Which left them with the monstrosity before them. Eligor, upon examining it, determined three options for shutting it down: do so mundanely like any other machine, use Dispel Magic to shut off its arcane workings, or simply beat it down until it couldn’t function. Using force would cause its magic to leak out and contaminate the mountain. Using Dispel Magic would create a magical feedback channel to whoever was dispelling it, causing negative side effects. Using mundane methods would require someone to get very, very close to it, possibly causing side effects based on exposure. Despite this, Veronica actually volunteered to undertake this, taking her life into her own hands as she scaled up the machine.
The process took nearly an hour to complete, and its effects on Veronica were subtle at first. Her hands began to tremble, and she looked shaky up on the machine, but her movements weren’t significantly impeded. Once she managed to halt the movements of the rotating arms though, she found that she’d have to actually enter the machine through various ports, and that was the start of real problems. While she was inside it, a brilliant flash of light went off from inside it, and she let out the first real scream of pain that they’d ever heard from her. Aurianya and Rael wanted to pull her out, but Tanashe disagreed, stating that if they had any respect for her as a warrior, they’d let her finish her fight. And finish it, she did. Though as she began to call out for very specific directions from Tanashe, they realized that the flash of light had blinded her, possibly permanently.
After another nerve-wracking set of athletics from Veronica, there was a shudder and a grinding noise from deep within the machine, and the light from the orb above it began to dim as the glass simply…faded away. Now released, the magic within made itself known as millions of miniscule pink whorls, spinning in midair as they floated down to the party. Veronica herself let out a cheer of success as she tipped backwards, falling off of the device before being caught by Aurianya. As the shards of Divine magic fell among the party, they realized that they had begun to destroy Bezerel’s greatest weapon.
And the Brilliant Empire wouldn’t take this quietly.