For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
Concluding their visit to Nex’s mausoleum, the adventurers embarked upon the galley once more with their next destination clear: the Pleasure Palace of Nex at the very heart of Kakishon, built into a mountainside overlooking a vast overgrown jungle below. Upon nearing the site, Brother Vang facilitated the party’s ability to traverse the air and soon they landed together upon a crumbling plaza balcony–greeted there by a cadre of large djinni eunuchs; escorted inside, the group was greeted by a peculiar woman who introduced herself as Dilix invited them to something of a small banquet–expressing her keen interest in the affairs of Kakishon and what the adventurers intended to be their course of action.
Dilix pried for information in a coy exchange, in time revealing that she had once served as majordomo to Jharvul but now remained in Kakishon with the efreeti’s recent departure; she cautioned discretion for both potential paths for the adventurers, that the proteans and Obherak the shaitan alike were unreliable allies. Recalcitrant to reveal much of their plans, the party ultimately suggested their pursuit of instruments against Geb and Orcus as their primary goal–and to this end, their host revealed the existence of an elaborate vault beneath the pleasure palace, locked away with potent mechanisms and magic; in exchange for a quarter share of whatever may lay within along with accompaniment to make her way to Golarion and beyond from Kakishon, she agreed to provide the adventures a crucial key to gain entry into the vault.
Reluctantly, the party agreed–though briefly considered contesting the key in more direct means; upon making their way to the entrance of the vault, the group faces another obstacle: it appeared necessary to have the assistance of Venema Shodair–the brass dragoness companion of Nex encountered upon the Isle of the Dead in the wizard’s mausoleum. Begrudgingly, the group made haste to return to the island whereupon their petitioned Venema for access to the vault and whatever prospective tools might be found within.
Venema proved adamantly opposed to the notion, suggesting that such compliance would betray her station and Nex’s last conveyed wishes; after much debate, a terse agreement was reached: Venema would provide her assistance in opening the vault only if the adventurers agreed to remove nothing of value beyond the implement to combat Geb. Anselme was most disappointed of all, the youth’s love for amassing treasure and wealth substantial–but with chagrin the group consented to the arrangement and made haste back to the pleasure palace.
With both ‘keys’ at hand the adventurers were able to open the way into the vault, soon confronted with strangely distorted scenery; finding themselves within a desert at the cusp of an oasis and old tomb, the party was greeted by a grotesque but dapperly-dressed man with the head of a fly, whom insisted that they were not among a list of those authorized to be present. Emma made a compelling argument for their erroneous exclusion from the list and through an eloquent display of her diplomatic muscle convinced the attendee at the tomb’s entrance to go elsewhere to seek a properly updated list, to which he quietly assented.
Making their way into the strange spatial tomb beyond, the party entered a crystalline chamber wherein they were faced with considerable opposition; a combination of unusual but powerful outsiders were arrayed against them, many capable of deflecting, reflecting and re-targeting magic and ranged attacks which affected them, while each possessed variations of abilities to bring about earthquakes, rock slides and other hazards; sepid divs capable of raining debris and loosing potent spells were joined by shadow giants as well as a gargantuan humbaba–all guardians who stood opposed to the adventurers, boasting frightful strength and power in addition to significant durability.
A grueling battle commenced in which the adventurer’s abilities were tested immensely–necessitating a shit of many familiar strategies in order to overcome the subversions their foes brought to bear; significant damage was levied against the party as they attempted to maneuver and engage the ancient guardians–gradually winnowing their numbers while weathering powerful retaliation with jagged crystal cascades, disintegrating rays and warped, deflected magics. Emma stood stalwart, flanked by Anselme and Leone as the pair had taken the forms of huge dragons–and together they held vanguard to the party as their companions worked to bring their most potent abilities to bear.
Between conditions of the field and the synergy of their foes, the adventurers were extremely hard pressed–exhausting much of what they were capable while clinging fiercely to stave off death as vigilantly as they could; though several of the guardians had been felled, those who remained were a veritable menace–and options were rapidly dwindling as the party fought. Cassandra had been turned to stone, and many were on the verge of death. In a stroke of decisive desperation, Meryk enacted his greatest holdout–utilizing the powerful wish stored within his luck blade to evacuate the adventurers from the fray and to a destination of his choosing–the innermost sanctum of the vault; a perilous gambit, not knowing what protectors may lurk therein–but deemed necessary given the circumstances.
With this sudden shift, the party found themselves in a vast domed chamber of marble, intricately carved with rigorous layers of protections and barriers to ward off evil interlopers; hastening to regroup and gather themselves, the party was at first alarmed when they found themselves faced with a white-scaled draconic figure at the center of the chamber. However, Brother Vang came to recognize her as a dragonal agathion–a powerful being of good. Though puzzled initially, the agathion provided aid to the adventurers before soliciting explanations–to which there was an outpour of information about the events of Tsar, Golarion and the multiverse beyond.
In time, the agathion was convinced of predominantly noble intentions, helping then to mend the wounds of the adventurers before offering up to Brother Vang that which they had so sought: stowed within the deepest sanctum of the vault was a small portion of Arazni, hidden away from where Geb might find it–and potentially instrumental in the conflict ahead. Taking such with reverence, Brother Vang and the others received further boons from the ancient custodian and protector; Cassandra embraced the furthest roots of her heritage, becoming wholly an outsider herself–while others experienced a myriad of new awarenesses and understanding.
Through examination and divination, the party was somewhat alarmed to find they had descended more than twenty miles down from their original broach of the vaults; electing to rest and recuperate, they would seek to exchange further information with the agathion guardian in order to further steel themselves for their return to Golarion and the Citadel in Tsar–but for now, a much-needed break was had for the adventurers, if only a short reprieve. Soon, they would need to bring a decisive close to the affairs on Kakishon–hoping to emerge ready and able to pierce the deepest sanctums of the Citadel beyond…