After battling the Horror King and freeing his victims, the PCs returned to their home in Throal. They had gathered several trophies, including the twisted, bony crown of the Horror King himself, and set about creating a Trophy room there, to keep the various treasures and artifacts they had acquired.
When wandering the city, Nazeer was approached by a Human Named Kos Steelgaze. Kos had a job for them, but first he needed to know something: Where did their loyalties lie? After some consideration of this question, the PCs determined that their loyalties lay with the free peoples of Barsaive, and no other. This answer was satisfactory to Kos, who revealed that he was a member of the Falcons, the air defense force of the city of Jerris. The Falcons had been outside the city when it was taken by the Denairastas during the war, and had been unable to return while it was under their control. He was looking for a group of adepts to infiltrate the city and aid the Rebellion against the Iopan usurpers. The PCs gladly accepted this offer, and made their way to Jerris.
In the city, they were met by agents of the Resistance, and escorted to their secret headquarters in the ancient sewer tunnels. There they met with Chardis Morningfall, the head of the Engineers guild in Jerris. He told them about how the Iopans had come to him, asking for volunteers to help them discover the secret of the ash that blew in from the Wastes and fell constantly on the city. Apparently, the Iopans had managed to clear out a kaer in the Wastes, and planned to use that as a laboratory to study the ash. Chardis did not completely trust them, but finding a method of stopping the ash-fall would be a tremendous blessing to the city, so he agreed. He arranged for his people to contact him secretly though a messenger spirit, and sent out five volunteers. The first spirit arrived successfully, giving the location of the kaer and directions through the Poison Forest to find it. But the next spirit never arrived. He had waited as long as he could, and now he wanted the PCs to journey into the Wastes, find the kaer, and determine what had happened to the Engineers.
They were lead through the sewers to the Poison Forest, where they met the Obsidiman Purifier Orin Draneth, who gave them some healing poultices against the rotting disease of the forest. The PCs journeyed into the Forest, and after battling some of the corrupted creatures within, they emerged on the other side and headed into the Wastes.
After traveling through the desert of blowing ash for a short time, they discovered a crashed airship, and the entrance to the kaer. There was no sign of activity outside or in the kaer that they could see, so they made their way into the airship, where a group of ashen cadaver men attacked them. After defeating the cadaver men, they discovered two Iopans who had been trapped inside the vessel by their attackers. One of them was nearly dead, and the other was poisoned by the ash getting into the various cuts and wounds on their bodies. They both had strange marks on their faces, and the conscious one explained that they were Oathbreakers, and that mark indicated that he had betrayed the Denairastas by refusing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the ship. Nazeer offered to dispatch them right there, since they were obviously dead men anyway, and the Iopan took him up on this disturbing offer. Buulgath and Phylinius left the ship while Nazeer performed his gruesome deed.
Inside the kaer, there were signs of a fierce battle, with broken and shattered equipment everywhere, but no bodies to be seen. Nazeer ordered Phylinius and Buulgath up the stairs to the second level, where they proceeded to explore. As they entered an empty room, Nazeer ordered the two to watch behind them and make sure nothing snuck up on them. However, both Buulgath and Phylinius thought that the other was watching behind them, and the trio ended up trapped in the room, with a wall of ashen cadaver men blocking the exit stairs.
After battling their way past the animated corpses of the researchers, they discovered a room that looked more like a torture chamber than a research lab: there were shackles on the walls, and a pair of dead figures still chained into them. One of the figure looked as though it had somehow “unraveled”, like a tapestry coming undone. Searching the room, they discovered that these dead figures were the lost Elementalists, and a fragment of a journal told them why: the Iopans had overcome the mages immediately upon their arrival at the empty kaer, and began using them as test subjects, injecting the distilled ash directly into their bodies to see what effect it would have. The effect took them by surprise: one of the Engineers had become a Horror construct, and began rampaging through the kaer, slaughtering the researchers and even downing the airship when it came to investigate. Before the PCs could escape with this knowledge, the horror attacked and nearly slew them. Ultimately they were triumphant, and escaped back to Jerris with this terrible news.
Upon their return, Chardis and the rest of the resistance were outraged. Chardis wanted immediate revenge on Gellad Denairastas for his slain people, but Pihgram Tor counseled restraint, especially against directly confronting Gellad. He was a Denairastas, after all, and a very powerful magician. Ferrin Avric suggested an alternate plan, but Chardis was determined to make him pay directly for his crimes, and resolved to confront him the next day.
The Samsarans accompanied Chardis to the city’s central square, where he intended to confront Gellad with proof of his crime in front of all the people. Gellad was there, surrounded by his personal bodyguards as well as members of the Firescale Trollmoot. Chardis confronted him and attempted to attack him, but the bodyguards and Gellad’s personal power was too much for him. A fray broke out in the square, and the Iopan guards quickly descended on the crowd. The PCs pulled Chardis out of the melee and escorted him safely back to the resistance hideout in the Wastes.
Later that day, Chardis agreed that his action had been foolish, and agreed to the proposal Ferrin had made earlier: Gellad had a Pattern Item in Jerris with him, a malachite dagger. They would create a diversion, steal the dagger, and cast a spell on him though it – he would have no defense against that. While others created the diversion in the airship yards, the PCs agreed to do the sneaking, and that evening they made their way to the manor house that the Iopans had occupied.
Upon arriving, they heard a tremendous explosion from across town, and several guards rushed out of the house, led by Mara Corovan, Gellad’s personal assistant. With the distraction firmly in place, they snuck into the house, Phylinius disguising himself as a guard captain and ordering the remaining guards to follow the first group and help with the fire. They then made their way to the second floor, where Gellad had his quarters.
Upstairs, they found several magical traps which Buulgath managed to disarm, and they gained access to the room. As they searched the room for the chest they knew contained the Pattern Item, they found something odd: on the a nightstand was a wide variety of makeup, and several wigs each matching Gellad’s hair. They were confused for a moment: was this not the real Gellad? Did he have a body-double? They eventually decided that it didn’t matter, because the Pattern Item would only affect the real Gellad. They quickly acquired it and made their way out of the room.
Out in the hallway, they heard the sound of approaching footsteps, and Phylinius quickly transformed into the guard captain he had previously copied. Just in time, Mara Corovan walked around the corner, and questioned the “guard” as to why he hadn’t followed the others. Phylinius told her that he saw someone sneaking around, and came up to investigate. She ordered him off to fight the fire, and Phylinius quickly escaped with Buulgath and Nazeer sneaking along behind him.
Upon returning to the resistance headquarters, they presented the pattern item to Chardis. Chardis immediately began a ritual spell over the item, sacrificing an Elemental Fire Coin as well as several drops of his own blood, and sealed the act by declaring it just revenge for the death of King Varulus. Somewhere in the city, Gellad Denairastas was consumed by a pillar of fire. Chardis immediately left for the Wastes.
The next day, Mara Corovan paraded an Elf who looked exactly like Chardis Morningfall through the town square, reading off a list of the crimes he had committed. When the list was done, the doppelganger immediately caught fire, and burned alive in front of the entire town. This, she said, was the fate of all who resisted the Iopans. The PCs were concerned at first that Chardis had actually been caught, but upon returning to the resistance’s hideout in the Wastes, they found the real Chardis in perfect health. He thanked them for their bravery, and asked them if they would be willing to perform one more task for the resistance: he asked them to go to Parlainth, and ask the Dragon Charcoalgrin if she would be willing to aid their cause. They had discovered a powerful item that they thought would be a suitable gift for her: The Sword of Vargas, the legendary Dragon slayer. The PCs agreed, and set out for the Forgotten City of Parlainth.