Loot in hand, the party heads back out to the center tower of the Shaari complex and place the bricks around the door frame. The door opens with a clicking sound to reveal a relatively small room with two golems in it, their eyes glowing silver. To the left, the party sees a set of doors, however Sar’n points out a set of magical doors only he can see thanks to his True Sight. Shiele makes a brief attempt convince everyone to go home, to no avail. Davros and Sar’n attempt to interact with the magic doors, but can only seem to touch the wall. Lillith convinces Vilma, with the aid of some magic to see the door, to try opening the hidden. Shiele and Clarinette wait outside, weary of the golems within. Even Vilma doesn’t seem to have any luck opening the invisible doors, so Lilith casts knock. The spell promptly reflects back harmlessly, knowledgeably telling the others it seems to be a vastly powerful Hold Portal spell shielding the door from entry. They do locate a small hole that might be for a key.
With no luck opening the magical doors, Vilma and Riley head over to the doors on the left. A hall lies beyond, most of the group proceeds while Sar’n spends a moment pondering the door until he gets the stink eye from a golem. Lilith convinces Shiele and Clarinette to join them inside. Down the hall, they pass through a small foyer and find a room with more book shelves and a stone bench which leads to a room with three stone boxes. The lids of which are considerably heavy, which leads Riley to hurt his back attempting to open one. Lilith attempts to help, but they just end up getting Vilma to open them and find nothing but dust. Disappointed, the party moves on, heading further into the tower, entering a large room with benches lined up in two rows down the room. Lilith starts running down the benches and gets a sudden sensation of cold on each bench. Leading her to quickly stop and try to get others to check it out by sitting on the benches. Shiele sits down, feeling an immediate chill, as does Davros who only touches a bench. As Lillith reaches the far end of the room, she looks back and sees ghostly images of people on the benches. Riley explores the room from above as usual. Soon they notice the room is a bit hazy and begin to notice the images as well.
Shiele panics and attempts to run from the room, plowing straight into Clarinette. The room appears to be full of Shaari spirits or perhaps after images, sitting on the benches waiting. Some believe it to be some sort of projection, but can find no source. Finally, they move on, through the doors to another hallway leading them to a small room and into another room beyond that. The party begins to notice how barren the rooms are, almost devoid of furniture. There is some debate over whether when the previous inhabitants fled, they had time to take anything with them. Davros’s knowledge of stone masonry helps him notice the faint outline of where things once were, such as tapestries or shelves. Feeling a bit impatient, Vilma moves ahead and finds the furniture piled up in the corner of the next room. Lilith climbs the pile of furniture, knocking over a few things. On the ceiling, she finds some sort of design on the ceiling and notices it actually covers the whole ceiling. She calls everyone’s attention to it and removes some of the dust for a better look. The patterns on the ceiling may be some kind of star chart, but not one anyone recognizes. Some of the more educated party members discuss new theories about the origins of the Shaari, including extra-terrestrial beginnings. Riley posits some more grounded theories, finding the stellar notions a bit extravagent. Perhaps it’s simply artistic or some sort of stylized chart belonging to the lost Shaari civilization.
Vilma moves on, disinterested in the star chart and the party begins to follow. Lilith gets a vision from her god, vindicating some of her suspicions and proceeds to fall off the pile of furniture. Soon they rejoin the others and find a large, ornate door with an unusual representation of the sun and other circles decoratively engraved or embossed on the doors. Before Vilma can try to open the door, Riley suggests checking for traps, at which point they find some sort of gas trap. After some discussion, Vilma volunteers to trigger it anyway once the others move safely away. As she begins to open the door, her arm begins to glow silver and silvery fire engulfs her as her eyes glow also. The gas quickly dissipates, but the flames remain and don’t seem to bother Vilma. Inside, she comes face to face with a statue that bears her an uncanny resemblance. Shiele, Lilith and Clarinette all attempt to spring into action, Riley manages to keep Clarinette back, but the danger had apparently already passed. Lilith reaches Vilma first and bounces off as though hitting a wall, who doesn’t even seem to be aware of her surroundings. The statue holds a sword in one hand, point down and in the other a strange piece of gold and silver metal. Attempting to touch it sends Riley flying across the room after a jolt from the statue.
Vilma finally snaps out of her stupor and explains, more clearly and concisely than ever, that she is the direct descendant of the last Shaari King and carries his sword. She takes the small piece of metal from the statues hand, perhaps a key, and explains it will allow them access to the magic door by the entrance. Lilith also asks her to check over the star chart again as Vilma seems to have also gained some form of ancestral knowledge. Shiele noticed that there seemed to be a section of the building missing, perhaps a hidden door, based on her knowledge of duneoneering. The wall there vibrates, but no one can find any means of access. Ultimately they have to move on and check on the star chart again. Vilma now believes that the chart represents the stars over the Shaari’s home. On their way back to the spirit chapel, they find the final side of the ten foot void in the final room. Lilith attempts to use magic to bypass the wall and enter the space, fortunately no one is harmed in the magical backlash.
Turning back to the spirit projection, Vilma grows sad, recalling the loss of her people and growing angry over an enemy she can’t remember. Soon they’re back at the main entrance, ready to check out the magical door. Once the key is inserted, the door becomes visible to everyone. Instead of checking for traps, Vilma just opens it and heads right in at the lead of the group. Inside they find a few rows of desk and a decorative frieze on one wall. This leads to another room with two desks in it and some chairs, all made of stone. Past this is an antechamber with a golem on either side of the next door. This room is square with a 10×10 recessed platform in the center surrounded by posts at each corner which reminds them of the elevator inside the goblin/hobgoblin fortress. Vilma takes up everyone that will fit on the platform, which only excludes Sar’n and Leeroy (his pet Dire Phynxian). They note from below that the platform is actually a solid pillar made of gears and magical silver light. The room above seems to be an exact duplicate of the room below. Vilma makes a second trip to bring the rest of the party up.
The room outside the elevator on the second floor seems to be a series of alcoves containing offices. Vilma can read some of the words over each alcove, this seems to be some kind of office hall for records or official activities. Shiele shows a lot of interest in the alcove labeled “Births” and convinces Vilma to attempt to activate the magic window at the desk. Riley follows along to see what happens while a few other split off to check out the other alcoves. The device takes some time to begin functioning after being shut down for so long. Lilith gets Vilma to activate the device in the last office, the words over which have not been adequately deciphered. Best guesses include Departures or Leaving. Sar’n then gets Vilma to open the door to the next room which contains a large table. No chairs surround it, but there are sheaves of metal(pages) scattered across the table, they find nothing of consequence on a quick search.
Some of the documents indicate awareness of impending doom and advice on courses of action, including fleeing to the mountains, the plains or returning to the Shaari home. Vilma helps the others check a few of the devices to look for information. The birth records include names that Vilma recognizes, but little information of consequence. Finally in the departures section, they find an interactive map-like feature. Shiele is less than pleased as the image moves quickly and makes her nauseous. One of the locations seems to be labeled as Cat People, similar to the name of the world, Artath. The Artathi are believed to have been the original people of this world. After exploring the limited information they can glean from the devices, they continue into the tower. After the conference room, there is a room of benches before a short corridor to an office with a desk and some shelves littered with metallic tomes. The next room contains two large tables with magical screens that they convince Vilma to activate, until they learn that the room contains tax records. The following room contains a decrepit Shaari skeleton in a chair, flanked by golems.
The screen before the skeleton is still active with a message about his last moments of life and perhaps the end of the local Shaari people. The next room contains benches and a podium, some of the seats are overturned and damaged as if from a battle. Perhaps with the Neogi mentioned in the log of the skeleton, but that’s simply speculation. On the wall behind the lectern, they see symbols that Vilma recognizes as her family insignia. The party moves into the next room, finding the remnants of a battle, the bones of the fallen seemingly still locked in battle. Upon the dais is a throne bearing the bones of a Shaari. The bones rise, identifying itself as the last great king of the Shaari, Eijnhorn. He tells the tale of the last days of his empire, his remaining people fleeing into the planes or the mountains to breed with the ogres or the humans. Those that mixed with the ogres returned to strike down the king. He explains that the Neogi are their ancient enemy, a dangerous spider-like people with whom they’ve been fighting for some time. He also provides them with information about the layout of the solar system and some external barrier that protects them from the Phlogistan, energy and magic, a dangerous things outside the worlds within. They traveled from system to system within spheres meant to protect the lives within and even noted that Humans, dwarves and elves also emigrated to the world of the Artathi. They learn that Dragons have been spread across the worlds by the Dragon gods. He then points them toward the lifts that will send them down to the caverns where portals can take them to the Hells. Finally, with a touch, he gives them knowledge of the Shaari so they can understand his words.
While Vilma must remain behind to rebuild the Shaari people, the others will move on to continue the quest of Davros in the Nine Hells. The elevator ride down lasts considerably longer than the ride up to the second floor. At the bottom, they encounter various paths leading off into the darkness underground with labels in Shaari. The group gathers and heads down several tunnels until they find a room with portals leading to each of the 9 Hells. The room is guarded by a barrier of silver flames, which most pass through without trouble. Lilith feels uncomfortable but manages to cross it. Here the party says its goodbyes to Vilma who must remain behind. Clarinette elects to remain behind with Vilma, eager to chronicle the rise of the Shaari people. Lilith runs through the portal ahead of the party during their emotional goodbye followed quickly by other party members, eager to begin the next stage of the journey. Last through the portal is Shiele after a quick, personal farewell with Clarinette.
On the far side, the party finds themselves upon the banks of the River Styx, Tiamhat’s Citadel visible in the distance. The portal is almost invisible behind them, disguised as a cleft in the cliff face. Before they can move on, they calm Davros and use magic to then hide his aura. Followed quickly by Shiele, the emotional wreck, and they also need to calm her. Lilith, who’d arrived first, drops her illusion and reveals that she is in fact a Tiefling. Of course this only really bothers Davros, who is convinced to just roll with it. Once they’ve got their shit together, the party scouts their surroundings, noting their destination is not far. Sar’n begins summoning the demons he made a deal with so they can strike out toward their objective with a distraction. Leroy strikes a Lemure that wanders to close to the party and kills it instantly. The demons arrive and after a gentle prod from Sar’n, pay up the remaining amount agreed upon to the party. As the demons begin summoning in reinforcements, the party teleports away to continue their mission.
They land near the Maggot Pit as the demon horde grows and the locals finally notice. A horrific roar sounds from the caves by the pit and they jump again, appearing just beneath the caves as Tiamhat soars out to lead his Hellish armies against the demons. Trying to resist the evil gods power and mostly succeeding, the party hides briefly, before jumping again hoping to get to the specific cave they need to reach. Relatively safe for a brief moment, Sar’n uses magic to find the portal they need to reach. The battle erupting at the point of their arrival is rapidly turning into a fight beyond their immediate comprehension. Riley and Leroy can feel the armies of hell approach and warn the others. With another short jump, they disappear through the portal just as the armies come into the area, darkening the skies.