The party continued exploring The Ziggurat of Tyr, freeing a bound devil, finding an ancient Tree of Life being used to supply power to the Ziggurat, and battling through countless horrors. As they descended into the lowest levels of the Ziggurat, they came across a half-crazed skeleton, perpetually on fire, working on the Device, and about ready to turn it on. Through some difficult negotiation, the party negotiated a truce with the skeleton, who introduced himself as Harzen Scorchedskull, an ex-templar and designer of The Device. Harzen asked them to test out the device, and in exchange, he would help them. After assuring them that the device was perfectly safe, they used it, seeing strange visions of times long past, listed in Dreams and Visions Compendium. Harzen claimed the Device was to tap into the source of Arcane magic, and it would take a suitably powerful magic-user to do more than touch the surface safely. Additionally, sealed into a nearby vault, the party found fragments of The Heartwood Spear, exposing the one that Titarion wields as a convincing fake.
It was here that their gladiator ally, Cha’ka ran into the Ziggurat, to warn the party that the forces of The Preservers were raiding The Ziggurat, and had already apprehended the other gladiators who had stood guard. Harzen showed them an alternate way out of the bottom of the Ziggurat, dropping hundreds of feet into Under-Tyr. After a few mishaps, including rescuing Cha’ka after he fell into a building on the way down, the party escaped and ran to The Severed Arm, which had been turned into a Preserver hospital for those wounded in the riots. The party put Cha’ka into the care of the mages, carefully making sure not to reveal that they had been in the Ziggurat. Cha’ka was put into the care of the female elf preserver manning the hospital, Moiraine, the second in command of the Preservers.
As the party and Harzen rested in their room, Moiraine came up to the room, with a proposition. Moiraine had grown disillusioned with the leadership of Titarion, noting that he had turned to defiling and domination tactics, and she felt that another change of leadership was in order. She offered her aid, along with her lieutenant Elthea, in rescuing the apprehended gladiators and unseating Titarion.
Moiraine directed the party to Fort Ianto, where Slice and Bite had been taken. The party snuck into the fort, rescuing the two Mul, but not before they had been subjected to a macabre ritual, carving runes of domination into their flesh. They were brought to Moiraine in the hospital, for healing, and the plan to unseat Titarion and rescue the Dragonborn Arena Master from captivity. Titarion was working to break the Arena Master’s will in his manor, and the party put into motion a plan to get in and dispose of as many guards as possible.
Using a few hired goons, Harzen’s knack for the pyrotechnic, a wagon, some alcohol, and hay, the party were able to lure out then explode a wagon, eliminating 15 guards in one swoop while they snuck into the back entrance, which had been cleared by Moiraine’s lieutenant, Elthea. The party fought through the manor, ultimately freeing the Arena Master, battling an Earthquake drake, and defeating Titarion. Rather than slaying him however, Titarion promised to leave the city in their hands, if they let him go free. They agreed, and let him flee with a tome from his study.
Moiraine, the Arena Master, and Harzen teamed up with the party to run the city, running it from Titarion’s old home, now known as “The Manor”. There, they tackled a number of problems of the city, including throwing a celebratory Tournament of Tyr, investigating the supposed kidnapping of Lyssandra, despite her being remarkably free, and taking an impromptu trip to the Grey when a portal to that realm suddenly opened in the market district. In this time, Lyssandra and the Dragonborn Arena Master, who revealed his name to be Bahamut, though he preferred not to use the name, began a relationship, and grew quite close.
While investigating the kidnapping of Lyssandra, the party met some unusual characters. Qarin, a kenku mage and tailor who had been hired to break Lyssandra’s will, to turn her to an unknown purpose, but took pity and freed the one mistaken for Lyssandra. Azad, a shapeshifting assassin, who had been hired to loot the Ziggurat, and to kidnap Lyssandra, but ended up working for them, for a princely sum. Aleyn, a sun elemental from the Ziggurat that had taken mortal form, and looked very much like Lyssandra. And finally, Stelle, a shadow elemental freed from the Ziggurat who took the form of Leta. Ultimately, Azad started working as a spymaster for the party, Stelle took up cooking in The Manor’s kitchens, Qarin is staying at the Severed Arm for a short time, and Aleyn started contemplating opening up a store, fascinated as she was by how mortals placed so much value on small discs of metal.
In the midst of all this madness, the party’s ally, Cha’ka, went missing. On a hunt to find him, they were drawn down into Under-Tyr once more, only to find that the small packs of Ustilagor that roamed down there had since multiplied to swarm the entirety of the lower city. Cha’ka, along with the gladiators Rowan and Crusher, and the leaders of The Voice; Davion and , had been struggling for days to survive against this psionically gifted threat. The party sprang to their aid, leading them out through an ancient Titan burial chamber, accidentally awakening one of the Titans buried down there. They escaped at the last moment through an ancient stairwell, leading to the top of a nearby mountain,, that they trekked down to return to Tyr.
When the party went into the Ziggurat on a mission to find Stelle and Aleyn, they discovered something troubling. Concealed in the outer areas of the Ziggurat was an army of 200 stone golems, poised to awaken, that were made to serve Kalak once he ascended to Dragonhood. They also found evidence that something important had been removed, books on golem construction and the like, by Azad, on orders of his mysterious employer. The party determined that the golem army was a major threat to the city, and opted to break into the Golden Tower, to find the golem control rod that Harzen mentioned must have been made by Kalak to command such a large army of constructs.
The party fought their way up the Golden Tower, finding all manner of crazed templars, foul abominations, and intriguing treasures. On the first floor, they found the crown of Kalak, and fought off a giant undead chef, animated by some fell sorcery. On the second, the Great Library, they fought off an abomination that kept the library in order, and discovered a rare book collection, filled with ancient rituals they may use. On the next, they found a small lab that Harzen claimed as his, with countless diagrams and pieces of tech, and a vat made to cause a test subject to experience sun warping, a failed experiment to create powerful sunwarped soldiers at will. The fourth floor held a number of mad templars, turned to cannibalism to survive in the locked tower. On the fifth was a large statue of Kalak, holding aloft a crystal sphere that a series of checks revealed to be a prison for a caged phoenix. Over the course of a fight, the statue was dropped on the Arena Master, but thankfully only broke his leg, which was healed shortly through magic and rest.
The sixth floor of the tower had dozens of bizarre traps, put into place to keep the mad templars from reaching the seventh floor bridge to the Observation tower. On the seventh, the party joined in battle against the mad templars alongside an 8-foot tall man with a deep and jolly voice who was revealed to be Kalak’s necromantic High Vizier. On the eighth floor, the party slipped into a pocket dimension that Kalak used as his Menagerie, with Kirre, Rampagers, and all manner of other creatures kept in this eternally shifting plane. Finally, they made it to the Eyrie, the last floor before Kalak’s chambers, their target. There, they found a woman who called herself D’huk, Kalak’s daughter, who turned out to be a vicious Thrax with a pet Shadow Ray. After she was slain, Leta took to the Shadow Ray, attempting to befriend it. In the eyrie, a portal was found that the party was able to open to Kalak’s chambers. They prepare to venture inside…