After hastily packing up what could be recovered of the treasury, we headed to the immense runed doors through which the tentacle had pulled the hapless devil. Though of immense weight, Thaiel Two-Swords opened them without much strain. Beyond them we beheld a large cavern, perhaps a bit over 100’ in diameter, rough hewn from the rock of the mountain. A metal ramp led down to a bizarrely twisty spire that rose up 20’ above us.
The plinth ( building? / tower? its purpose was unclear) appeared to be the tip of a much larger structure which had been excavated, probably in the time of Lumeria I. The plinth itself was of much more ancient contruction, bearing some sigils reminiscent of the tentacled brain eating flayer noted in Emperor Marcus’ ascent through the underdark. Kong Meng had a disturbing insight into it and asserted that the construct itself preceded the Dawn War and was associated with aberrant entities that are not from our universe. Regardless, the structure itself had an uncertain geometry and was eye watering to behold due its corners and curves refusing to conform to proper rules.
Orien fearlessly moved up to the top, following the trail of blood, to investigate an indescribable anomaly there where the tracks simply ended. His movements attracted the attentions of the bizarre entity which touches upon our world in this place. The main manifestation of it took the form of a flying 15’ diameter blackish grey spheriod creature primarily composed of an immense eye above a mouth surrounded by additional smaller eyes on stalks. It attacked us by casting various baneful magical rays at us from its many eyes, and beset us with more of the free floating tentacles we had encountered above. It gave us a hard fight, but was eventually smashed by our combined might. It then bellowed and the remains retreated from us in some impossible direction. We had the sense that we had driven away whatever motivated it, but that it was part of some much greater whole beyond our comprehension.
We debated various ways to deal with it. Raiden favored massive excavation to drop the entire thing through the bottom of the continent into the maelstrom. I am skeptical that we even possess the means to do that. Pondering the list of experts remaining in the empire we could not think of any better suited to the task than we are. Nonetheless we doubt our ability to restore the wards at the strength that had been maintained by diabolic compact. We initially tried to place a magic circle on the pinnacle of the plinth, but found it impossible to draw a circle on that impossible geometry.
We settled for placing a circle against aberration upon the doors, sealing the doors with arcane lock, and then shielding the doors from intrusion on our side with an arcane barrier. I activated a ritual candle Keffin had lent us to aid our efforts. (Next time I see him I will upbraid him for his insolent instruction labels. “apply fire to wick” indeed.) Our results seem strong and sound, if somewhat less potent than the previous hell powered wards. Perhaps the empire yet contains someone capable of reinforcing these efforts through divine agency.
On returning to the main room above we found our captives still bound. Thaiel insisted upon rousing them for some ill considered attempt to sway them from their diabolic devotions. She slew them when they did not. Had either of them given honorable surrender, and/or not been Fiends, I would have felt obliged to intercede. I judged that following the letter of the laws regarding the lethal exception regarding dealing with fiends was best served by not wasting our time or subjecting command to whatever tempting lies they could manufacture if given time and opportunity. Those two were assuredly more fiend than man.
Regrettably, the girl consort of Lumeria was brought down from the dirigible just in time to witness Thaiel putting “Rose” to the sword. She seems entirely deluded by this whole diabolic sham. She’s going to need extensive counseling. It seems as though many of those here will need extensive rehabilitation and reorientation. Those who are in power have so far all been true believers in the lies of Asmodeus. Those who serve here, like the girl, know nothing of freedom or the outside world, only the iron hand of subjugation.
I issued a sending to command asking for instructions. “Lumeria regrettably slain resisting arrest. His death unleashed unspeakable horror formerly bound by diabolic pact. Aberration slain and contained. Barony not yet secured. Orders?” All I got back was an apparently astonished “WTF?”. We really need someone with more aplomb to report to than Rialle, as that was entirely unhelpful.
Given that a rabble outside had begun to shout and hammer upon the doors, and that command was unlikely to issue useful instructions any time soon, I gave the following orders. We would announce that:
1. The otherworldly threat had been put down and so the city is now safe.
2. Baron Lumeria has been deposed
3. Lumeria is now under martial law under Emperor Marcus and the Oathsworn.
4. Lumeria is free of baronial control.
5. We will accept deputations regarding ongoing administration and organization of Lumeria in the morning.
6. Everyone should peacefully return to their homes and think about their new found freedom.
This was sufficient information and reassurance to turn away the crowd and leave to rest from our long day of many battles against the infernal and aberrant.
We chose not to make any pronouncements regarding their religion as that isn’t a problem we will be able to solve by decree. We’ll try to get some divine orators in here to give these ignorant folks some ideas about a different way of life.
Several notes arrived from various nobles. We will no doubt have to suffer through some tedious discussions with them. Regrettably, anyone in the city with any rank or experience is extremely likely to be a diabolist. If not, then they must have been sufficiently convincing liars to play along with the centuries old Lumerian state sponsored heretical religion. In neither case are they particularly trustworthy. This leaves us with the difficult situation that anyone here who had the merit to rise to power is almost certainly not someone we want to leave in charge of anything important. Anyone they know and trust is not someone we would want to trust, so a compromise position will be difficult to reach.
Installing someone from outside will be an imposition requiring the deployment of additional forces to maintain security against insurrection and betrayal. If the Oathsworn has anyone trustworthy who ran away from the horrors of Lumeria, who is savvy enough to survive this vipers nest, they might be a suitable middle ground. Someone like Quartermaster Infierna might be our best choice as interim governor.
Kong Meng has some crazy idea about these people developing their own form of government. I seriously doubt enough of them have the mental frame of reference with which to do such a thing. They have known only the hierarchy of master and slave enforced by tyrannical authority and diabolic heresy for centuries. Maybe they can get there some day, but we need to replace the current power structure first and then educate them about options, or this place will collapse into dueling factions of power mad nobles in a hot messy second.
- Oathsworn Captain Hibernius Lapidus