The story opened with Sindar facing off alone with the reviled Sadeesh, both men slightly panicked at how long it might take their reinforcements to arrive. In the opening moments of the battle, Sindar struck quickly by shattering a vial of whatever filth was at hand across Sadeesh’s rather expensive robes. Sadeesh responded by encasing Sindar in a block of ice and retreating to invisibility somewhere in the room full of barrels. As seconds ticked by, the rest of the party arrived outside the room and were greeted by a mass of black tentacles wriggling out of the stone floor near the doorway. Braving and/or finding a way around the tentacles, the party eventually stole into the room.
Freeing Sindar as they went, the group posted up near the front of the room and waited for Sadeesh to make a move. Zayn began looking around the room for an invisible opponent, but could not locate the man. Had he seen what she had done, and simply hid, even though he was invisible? The answer to that question came in the form of a flame strike on the party, coinciding with Sadeesh’s backup arriving in the form of two cultists. The attack came in response to the party discovering that not all the barrels in this room had divination triggers- the massive bomb in this room could be relatively easily disarmed, now that it had been discovered. One of the cultists threw Chains of Perdition at Tarsus, trying to bind his defenses to allow the other to get stabbity with him. The rest of the party did their level best to make nuisances of themselves to disrupt this attack, and the pair eventually shifted their focus to Zayn in order to shut down her mental meddling. Nanda arrived in the room, having started off by covering the exits from the outside in case Sadeesh made a break for it. Briefed quickly by the party, she went to work trying to open and disarm barrels.
As the melee moved around the room, Zayn, Sindar, and Finn all found themselves in a tight spot with the two cultists, fighting a fast-moving battle of blood loss until someone went down. Sadeesh capitalized on the opportunity, demonstrating a willingness to attack his own men if it meant disposing of the party. A lighting bolt ripped through the room, severely wounding several of the combatants, including one of the cultists. With the blade-wielding cultist at their backs, things were looking bleak as Zayn died outright from her wounds. Moving quickly, Finn yanked her departing spirit back into the fight with a breath of life, then flooded the area with healing power to get his comrades back on their feet. Sindar managed a lucky grab at the unholy symbol one of the cultists used as a power focus right after he had released a burst of negative energy, and eventually downed the cleric with a well-placed vial of acid after being knocked to the floor himself. Moments after one cultist died, the other went down as well.
Focusing on Sadeesh, the party began trying to strip away his many layers of magical defenses. Sindar ran himself dry of dispelling bombs whittling away spells one by one. At one point, Sadeesh stopped fighting when Sindar hit him with a dispelling bomb. He seemed disoriented for a moment, with no recognition in his eyes. A second later, a shadowy, demonic figure appeared in the room. It did not attack the party directly, nor respond to anything directed at it. It simply focused on Sadeesh, whispering to him. Moments later, Sadeesh was back to fighting, and the creature was simply gone.
Two of the guardian G units arrived presently at the room. The party pleaded with them not to sound the alarm, believing the remaining triggers to be linked to the sound of the bells far overhead in the towers. After all, why would the GM plop you down right beside them during your extradimensional escape if they weren’t going to be important later in the story? Bit of a Chekov’s Gun violation, I should think. The party asked the G units to use their control of dimensional pockets of Mechanus to help get rid of the trigger barrels, instead of going to sound the alarm. Unsure of which course of action to take, the G units elected to do both. One stayed with the PCs to follow their directions, while the other beat feet for the alarm rope.
As Nanda tore through barrels, flinging the lids outside the room where they could not trigger the explosive toxins inside, Sadeesh changed tactics and moved to protect the last barrel. Throwing up a wall of force between the barrel and the party, he sat down calmly, safe behind the wall as he awaited the eventual trigger. Moments later, ome unknown thing caught his attention as the group battered harmlessly on the outside of the force wall. Rising to his feet, he offered a dismissive salutation as he opened a portal to some other place and stepped through. The wall of force collapsed, and the party descended on the last barrel with a trigger. At the last moment, Nanda pulled the lid free, whipping it in a wide arc and tossing it through the door into the hallway beyond. Intent on securing the room, Sindar moved to the open door to close it, only to see Sadeesh standing in the hallway, trappen barrel lid in hand. He flung it at the door as the massive tower alarm bells started their rumbling gongs high overhead. Sindar had only enough time to slam the heavy doors shut as the lid sailed toward him, but not enough time to get away from the doors. Tarsus pulled shut the doors at the other end of the room to block the explosion of the one lid thrown out that exit. The doors rattled hard on their hinges, but held fast. At Sindar’s end of the room, the many lids thrown into the hallway there multiplied the force considerably. The doors buckled, then exploded into the room under the force of the blast. Standing right in the front of the doors to hold them closed, Sindar was caught fully in the explosion and flung backwards into the room, his unconscious and splinter-riddled body sliding to a stop a full twenty feet from the doorway.
Finn quickly brought Sindar back to consciousness, though maybe a bit more deaf than before. It was another full minute before guardians began to arrive en masse, securing the room and its contents. G121 arrived shortly, updating the party on what had happened elsewhere in the compound as he directed his fellows in safe disposal efforts. He informed the party of another massive explosion upstairs in a dining hall, and they asked him to take them to the scene. Shamblers could be rising already in the very center of the Asad! Upon arrival, they group saw many people injured or apparently killed in the initial blast. It seemed a trapped cask had been carted into the dining hall itself. Many more people were being held in the hall by guardians, and some of them already showed symptoms of infection. As the party was informing the guardians of the full measure of the danger here, Arturo Ducet arrived with a small retinue. He told the party they were needed elsewhere, and he would handle things here. Knowing what they did about Ducet, the party was more than a little reticent to leave vulnerable people in his “care”. After a bit of arguing, Finn secured agreement from the guardians present that they would safely store people not showing any symptoms in their pocket dimensional space as a quarantine method, vice allowing them to be butchered “just in case”. With that, they went to seek out Speaker Raha Delina.
They found the Speaker in his office, issuing emergency orders and sending runners every direction available from his crowded office. He took some relief in their arrival, informing the party that a few scattered devices went off throughout the complex, but the situation was controllable thanks in no small part to their efforts. One place that a device had been triggered was particularly sensitive- a caucus meeting of the Khasif Asadins and a few of their colleagues had been underway upstairs in a meeting room. Everyone in the room had come into contact with gas from a device that went off nearby them, including several serving staff. All of the Khasif delegation dying at the same time to something like this would be politically thorny at best, and a complete catastrophe at worst. The party asked to be allowed to see if they could formulate a way to save some of those exposed, and the Speaker agreed. A short time later, they were surveying a gruesome scene at the meeting rooms. A few people were killed immediately by the blast, but most were in varying states of exposure sickness, and all were contained in the room by guardians.
Getting to work quickly, the group tried several method, both magical and mundane, on a few test subjects with no changes to the progress of their illness. Triaging a few folks that were yet to show symptoms, Sindar and Finn asked several people to volunteer to have their blood drawn. They hoped that their blood could be compared to a sample of the toxin Sindar had, to determine if anyone was exposed from those who were asymptomatic. One of the Khasif delegation, Daso Enna, asked a lot of questions about what they were specifically looking for, but eventually allowed his blood to be taken. Curious about his curiosity, Sindar looked carefully at his blood and noted it was quite different-tasting from normal human blood, though it bore no signs of the toxin. The man bore some outward signs of half-elven heritage, but his blood was exotic even for a half-elf. Working on a hunch, Sindar asked Finn for a sample of his blood, now fully transformed by the change brought on by the Deck of Errant Destinies. The oddities matched in both samples. Daso Enna was a full-blooded elf, hiding in plain sight. His complete absence of any symptoms prompted another idea, which took a little convincing to get everyone to agree. Soon, Sindar was hard at work drawing blood from Finn, and injecting small amounts at a time into worsening victims. Over the next tense hours, most people began to recover, but a few died. Notably, those that died from the treatment stayed dead humans, not rising as shamblers. While it wasn’t perfect, it was better than the 100% death rate of the untreated toxin, and it was a good enough chance that everyone present wanted the treatment. The story closed as the party organized the sick by severity, Sindar counted how many jars he could fill with blood at once, and Finn did some mental math of how much of his own blood volume he could replace in the next few hours with what healing power he had left for the day. A dead elven cleric would do nobody any good at all.
The vote has been tabled in the Asad while missing delegates are searched for and rescued. An automatic procedural clock of 60 days started when they went missing, with 20 days now remaining before the delegates are declared dead and replaced. The Black Fleet has been spotted in Riyaqan waters, moving south along the west coast.