We arrive at Akiton. It’s a dusty, red, dry looking planet – except for the ice caps at each pole. We know the contemplatives live in underground caverns and decide to look for them in the titanic basin – a long gorge running across the planet like a giant scar. Before we head that way, we decide to circle the mesa. It takes the better part of a day. Kenari keeps lookout and Fynn and Ef Utan assist. A few hours in, they see a caravan – about 75-100 with huge pack lizards heading SW towards the crevasse. After that, we hear Kenari yelp in surprise. She’s spotted a 1000’ tall pyramid with a metal cap at it’s topmost point.
Lenata decides to fly in to get a closer look. She hovers about 75’ away from the pyramid – going slow and pausing on each side. On the east side we see the sun symbol of Ra. On the west side we see the glyph for Anubis. Lenata lowers the ship and we get off about 50’ away from the pyramid. This side has a huge doorway that’s been bricked off and sealed. Kenari starts studying the language on the front, as I’m read it. Honestly, sometimes I forget about this ring and so I’m looking at something and then realizing I’m reading whatever I’m looking at – even when it’s languages (like this) that I have never heard of before. This writing is a spell – some kind of invocation and a summoning of dark forces from the space between. I decide to NOT read it out loud. Ef Utan casts detect magic and tells us that it’s some kind of seal. Fynn reaches out to touch and is blown across the sand. Once he recovers, he tells us he had two visions: in one the pyramid door is open and there are ranks of Mulhorandi guards standing in front of it as black tentacles emerge from a giant portal. In the second vision, he is looking out from a balcony at an ancient city crowded with demi-humans of all kinds – a panoramic view of a thriving city with red desert all around.
We decide to not open the door. I’m surprised, because usually Kenari is all for opening the doors. We get back on the ship and head into the crevasse. About 5-10 miles down we start seeing what can only be balconies. There are holes going into the walls on the north side on a human scale and extremely delicate stonework all around. We come upon three large balconies and decide that this is probably where we should disembark. Way back in the cave, we can just barely see three large stone obelisks way in the back of the cavern. The Captain reaches out psionically and says she can detect something way at the edge of her reach. Lenata gets off the helm and we jump from the ship to the balcony. Fynn and Ef Utan fall and quick as a blink, Kenari swaps places with Fynn. Ef Utan levitates himself back up using a scroll – muttering about how he really needs teleporting boots. He does. That’s true. Now that we are all there, we follow the cat down the hall. Fynn complains about a non-specific “weird” feeling as Kenari senses….something. A giant brain with a tiny vestigal body floats down the hall towards us. All at once – the Captain goes sparkly, some kind of light blooms in Fynn’s hand and sparks shoot back and forth between Melchior and the brain. Melchior is apologizing profusely…apparently he has trained to resist psionic forces and the reaction is automatic. The brain casts a spell so it can speak to us rather than using psionics. The Captain tells the brain that we are there to find Rempha. As she does so – I find myself locked into a mind link with this entity – against my will – my mind goes back to the moment in Sigil – after we defeated Vecna – when the Lady of Pain spoke. The brain asks: “You really heard the Lady’s voice?” Absolutely, I say. The brain says out loud for all to hear – How may we assist? I tell the brain “As my Captain mentioned, we are looking for Rempha.” The brain shows us a map to the ruins that we are looking for. He tells us the Osiriani built “a great gate to the Golaron” 7,000 years ago.
We thank the brain for it’s help and leave. We head straight to Rempha following the directions we were given. We are about 50’ above the sand over the ruins. We can see the bones of a dragon and the outlines of an old wall. Kenari sees some of riding lizards tethered to a building and one of the 4-armed Shobhad ducking into the ruins of a building. Lenata swaps places with the other pilot and wait for her to regroup. When she’s ready, we jump down in force and line up on the wall. We see one of the shobhad and Leanta calls out greetings. A third shobhad walks out – he has a rifle and a pair of swords on his back – he and the Captain begin speaking and as they do – we can see that more shobhad are taking positions. The Captain though – and I am impressed – negotiates with their leader and ends up offering 5 barrels of water for the right to search the ruins. The leader wants any treasures we find, but we’re not really here for treasure so who cares. Once the leader tastes our water, he agrees and we seal the deal with a tea ceremony. Kenari introduces these guys to hobbit weed. That cat is a bad influence in any part of the galaxy. After the ceremony, we start exploring the ruins. Concerningly, Fynn’s hand is erupting into blue and silver circuits. He says this is from something that was imprinted on him that they used to run another ship – but he doesn’t know why it’s reappearing now.
The ruins are….dirty. And filled with ancient graffiti – which I can read – and it’s all trash. We go room by room, heading northwards. We find a room with a large drain in the floor – it’s enchanted with some kind of destructive magic. We decide to head down (really, we go to the nicest places) and after about an hour of walking down we come to a room with a stone door that has been sealed, but not trapped. Kenari gets it open and we head into a 50′×50′ room with a musty tomb smell. The floor is laid in tile work – six interweaving bands of colors with Osirion writing: Archmage, Champion, Guardian, Hierophant, Marshall, Trickster. Ef Utan notices the faint hum of magic all around us. Kenari finds a secret compartment and discovers a reddish-brown, opaque flask sitting on a small purple pillow. Lenata says that it’s magic. As we are arguing about the paths and which of us is which archetype – I set off on the path. My boots spark as my heels hit the ground and I tingle all over. The pattern shifts before and after me as I walk. Ef Utan tries to get on, but a harsh spark knocks him off. As I get to the second wall, I get a vision of an underground city in a tubular subterranean cavern – and a huge cylindrical tunnel that ripples through the universe and comes out Merion, the 4th heaven – there’s a rippling distortion field and I see the plane of time. The city is populated with celestials and a modron in a purple toga. This looks like some kind of portal – Rempha, Celestia and and one in time. I’m not really clear on what I’m seeing, but as I see it I try to describe in detail so everyone knows. I ask the line, where is Rempha and clearly get – that it’s 100 miles down beneath the great plateau. There is no entrance. Ef Utan postulates that if the use the ship’s planar sails and go thru the plane of shadows we could get there.
Lenata starts walking the line and asks “Where are the chronomancers?” We are all hit with this vision- a githyanki female trapped in an Illithid ship – and an Illithid putting a worm thing in her eye. The scene jumps all over the place – Githyanki on red dragons attacking the Illithid ship – the battle rages from one planet to another – humans – a large city (that’s Oerth in Greyspace), then to an icy barren planet and then finally into a hellscape where hordes of red-skinned demons are attacking illithids… It’s a jumble and I resolve to meditate on it when we get back to the ship so I can see the details more clearly in my mind.
We know that Vecna has been banished to Ravenloft since his fall from Sigil – his followers have their own power, but not his. Fynn gets Lenata to ask – are the Illithid using Vecna to bring back the Overmind? YES.