Luag drew a deep breath. The tattered cloak of Razach, the Orcish Blood Shaman in his hand seems to pulse with a heartbeat. Deciding it would be better for it to perish with its master, he uncorked a vial of holy water and soaked the garment before reluctantly letting it fall over the edge of the platform and into the building inferno below.
“What a waste of knowledge… but perhaps some things are better left unknown.” He mutters to himself.
The staff with its polished, engraved Elf skull leers at him knowingly as he wraps it in cloth and tucks it into the band of his pack. Activating his belt, he fires the grapnel to climb after his companions, trying to escape the heat and smoke that rise from the blaze in the roots of the Forever Tree. The others were deep in discussion, trying to plan their next move.
“We cannot simply allow this Scalran to escape after what she has done.” Kaladin said, his arms crossed.
“I don’t know how we will find her, but I agree that she should be found and stopped.” Korikk said, all the while wondering if possibly Scalran might have an insight into the mysteries of the map he was searching for.
“Just follow her trail.” Chiva said with a shrug. “She was using these tube things for something. If she hasn’t flown the coop entirely then she’s probably at the end of these.” He pointed at the iron piping over their heads.
“No, I think we should go outside. I hate this place.” Alorah says, managing to make her tiny piping voice grumble. When the rest of the party headed off, she followed, landing on Kaladin’s shoulder.
Following the twisting tangle of superheated steam pipes, the party finally discovers the lair of The Machinist. They squeeze through a small hatchway and into a cramped room. Chiva glances out of the only other door, replacing the bar after seeing a hallway that looks long abandoned.
Stacks of parchment with notes jotted on them are stacked in disorganized piles written in a mixture of common, gnomish and dwarvish. Sketches of various pieces of machinery in various stages of assembly litter the multiple tables and spill onto the floor.
Many of them are now a mess of sodden, smeared ink but some are written in pencil and are still clear enough to be deciphered. The extreme temperatures of the burning Forever tree appear to vaporize everything other than whatever alloy she was using to line the iron pipes that lead into this room.
After discovering nuggets of Adamantium in the caverns below the strange anti-magic field, she began forging an army of mechanical monsters. She got around the anti-magic runes by stealing human children and cramming them inside and controlling them with her mind. Her psychic powers transforming them into the perfect controllers for her machines. Scalran powered her machines with insanely powerful Adamantium springs instead of magic, using the steam engines running on the fires of the burning Forever Tree to wind them.
A mess of lined iron, copper, brass and steel tubes extend from a large mainline that covers three of the walls and connect to a wide variety of different vessels, machines and gauges. The intense pressure and heat from the explosion below has ruined much of the writing and destroyed most of the machines, but a few still flail about in a parody of functionality.
Also disturbing is a table with an outline about the size and shape of a six foot tall humanoid with a few flakes of impossibly hard, very dense metal around it that seem to have dripped from some kind of casting. It doesn’t take much deduction to identify it as Adamantium after what Scalran’s papers revealed.
After a few minutes of searching, it becomes obvious that Scalran had fled without taking anything other than the suit of armor or whatever it was that had been on the table and perhaps some notes regarding it as there is nothing here that reveals what it might have been. It appears she escaped through a shaft that leads straight up through the center of the room.
The sound of hammers smashing into the door and muffled shouts stops the party short. Luag looks up from sketching notes although his spectral magic third hand continues writing in his tome. Chiva pauses as he is attempting to shove a large, complicated machine into his pack. Kaladin closes the pouch of gems he found sitting in a drawer. Korikk carefully stows the book he had been reading, wrapping it in a heavy leather case. Alorah spreads her dragonfly wings and zips halfway up Scalran’s escape shaft.
“Come on! We don’t wanna get caught here!” She squeaked, frantically beckoning to the others.
“I need more time. Just a little more time.” Luag said, “I think I’m close to understanding this.”
“We can’t take on the entire city. What I don’t understand is how they found us.” Kaladin said, moving to look up at Alorah. “Where does that lead little one? Can we escape through there?”
The fairy flew up in a cloud of glittering dust and returned mere moments later. “Yesyesyes it goes out! Out! Sunshine and rooftops!” She said, laughing gleefully. “Fresh air and clouds!”
The sound of hammering grows louder and the party begins scaling the narrow shaft out of the room. Luag takes an agonized look around the room and stuffs a handful of papers into his bag, hoping he was able to get enough information to complete the research he had begun before following.
Chiva scrambles up last, turning to cast an illusion over the opening before following his companions to the roof. The sun is just setting as they perch on the tiles, their backs leaning against the huge gilded dome of the library. Below on the street, they can see smoke roiling from sewer grates thick and black.
Soldiers and citizens crowd the streets, scanning every alley, nook and cranny of the city. Several stand over the corpses of dead Dwarves and Orcs. As they survey the chaos, they can also see small knots of fighting here and there as well as a few groups running and leaping from roof to roof.
“This isn’t good. This isn’t good at all.” Kaladin mutters.
“It’s OK.” Says Alorah, “We can just fly away!”
“We can’t all fly you little fool.” Korikk says, giving her a dark look.
Luag begins taking furious notes as he surveys the city, muttering about the good vantage for making a decent map. Chiva just watches Alorah flitting around and chuckles as she sticks her tongue out at Korikk.
“Well guys, what now?” Chiva asks. “I, for one, say we get the hell out!”