Philomena found information on our next stop while we were out saving Hank and friends. She found tablets with iconography showing the six gods at war with chaos. They gathered together and went to the source of the chaos and returned with a prized possession that looks a lot like the mirror. They used it, broke it, and then sealed it away from man. It depicts each of the places we have been so far, plus the one remaining spot in the desert. It also seems to say that once five of the pieces are together, they will reveal the way to the final piece. The people on the tablets are represented by the different animal images we’ve seen at the various locations.
The others have mostly all just died and come back, so we leave them behind and head for the desert. I send some messages along the way to check in with folk. My brother is safe and says nothing much is going on. Nat’s family is also safe. Unfortunately, Xin Yue isn’t doing as well. She says that the Golden Horde has taken over her entire country and her brother is being held by the Khan of Khans. She says the Golden Horde isn’t done, and is likely to come for us, too.
Flying over the salt flat desert is pretty disconcerting, so I just cover my face and trust Nat to guide us. She directs us to a huge dormant volcano and then to a winding trail up the side. We land at the foot of the path and start walking up. There’s a marker with a lizard on it, and it glows as we pass. These markers continue as we go along the path, so we follow on up, hoping that they will let us in if we light them all up. The ground seems to be vibrating and shifting beneath us. As we make our way further and fruther up, the top of the volcano starts smoking. The volcano is waking up. About halfway up, the magic suppression started again.
It’s sunset by the time we get to the top. A large crater holds six large iguana statues made of amber, and a small 10′ tall pyramid. As we head down into the crater, the statues light up. There’s a loud crack as the ground shifts and begins breaking apart as lava surges up. Most of the group manages a dimension door to get out, but Gerhard and I can’t quite manage. Klyce transforms and lifts us up out of the lava for a moment until I can pull myself together and get us out.
The entire caldera becomes a lake of lava, and the pyramid and statues reappear, appearing to float on the lake. Klyce flies over to the pyramid, and finding it stable, waves the rest of us over. Dalish tries to fly over with Remy, but it’s too hot and they end up d-dooring very quickly. I do the same with Maribeth, Gerhardt brings Nat over.
Inside is unadorned smooth stone and stairs leading down. A familiar voice calls out: “Touch nothing but the crank.”
Remy and I tell the others and we head down the stairs. Into a massive room of treasure. Money, art, magic items. Everyone stays on the path, but as we get further into the chamber, the gold lessens and the items increase. Some of them on plinths tempting us in our minds, offering us their power. Sunblade, Oathbow, Mirror of Lifetrapping, Tomes… But we press on. Across a bridge over a pool of water to a short set of stairs leading up to a landing with a crank, lit with light from above.
Klyce steps forward and activates the crank. Tremors pulse through the structure. The voice calls out again: “You have passed. Now comes your trial.”
Lava starts pouring into the room and we start running. Well, okay, Some of us start running, and some of us start looting the room. Okay, everyone but me starts grabbing items instead of running away from the lava. I yell at them to stop it and just run, but as more and more of them grab things, no one listens anymore. Even Klyce circles back for a book.
By the time we get up the stairs and away from the pouring lava, we’re all a bit singed. The pyramid is stable, but there are massive wings beating the air outside. A massive real-life, red Dragon is flying around out there. I think it was Remy who asked if it had a name, or what it wanted, I’m not sure anymore, because the answer was DEATH.
I manage to peak out of the pyramid to call up a storm, but that was one extremely scary dragon. As usual, a lot of fire, spells, lightning, and bullets fly before we manage to bring it down. Klyce yanks the mirror piece out of its forehead, that ought to have made anyone cranky, before it sinks into the lava. The lava then solidifies over it’s body and the lake and dragon are no more.
The fifth piece acquired, we head down the mountain and back to Buenos Aires.