Helios noticed that the ground below the Wood manse was a little different. Darker in an unnatural way. So the group uses the drill to downwards and discovers some tunnels about 25 feet in diameter that look lined with ultra-hard compressed bone, an inventive and horrifying substance.
The tunnels appeared to be extremely echoic, and noise traveled very far. The group hears a raspy voice say, “It seems like such a waste. Your master would not want us to dally.” Kunai estimates the distance as a mile away.
A sigh is heard, and a female voice says, “Fine, Tars. Let us begin.”
Then the sound of bells were heard.
The group gains an urgent need to beat each other silly. While the Solar Exalted retained enough control of themselves to not use lethal attacks, they after fighting for hours they tired out and lost consciousness. The last thing Trevan and Kunai saw was a girl standing over them.
When they came to, they found themselves disarmed, but apparently well taken care of. That same girl seemed to be tending to them. Trevan sat up and addressed her. She was shy and did not speak, but wrote words on a pad and sent images to their heads and Trevan learned that she was Misena, the water spirit. She had rescued Trevan and Kunai, but their compatriots were not there when she came back. She had also seen a different female figure with an umbrella lined with bells, and the vision of her was filled with fear.
Their equipment was in a separate room, and Trevan and Kunai were introduced to Larsika, a night caste who was above ground at the time but managed to escape the effect of the bells. Misena and Larsika explained to the two what had happened above ground: the two had been unconscious for the last three days, and above ground the people grew insane at the effects of the bells and tore each other apart.
- 90% of Factoria’s population just seemed to have disappeared. None of the regents seemed to be around.
- Slave and enforcer conflicts were happening frequently in Kuz
- In Lusin, there were rumors of strange war machines killing everyone
- Half of Cartan was on fire—Carta seemed to be crazy, despite her spirit nature presumably protecting her from the bells
- A strange plague afflicted Sicta
- In Traza, the two regents were in deadlock with a cold war. Little actual fighting had occurred, but the distrust had locked down the entire area.
The three Exalted agree to band together to fight against the Abyssal. Trevan binds Larsika to an Eclipse-oath that she will not betray him intentionally and states that he will not betray her either. Trevan also promises Misena that they’ll do what they can to help Carta.
Together, they set off to determine what has happened to their allies. Misena grants them an artifact that allows them to summon her, provided that they are on the coastline, and delivers them onto the coast of Factoria.
Most of the buildings seemed to be in ruin. The group goes to the secret factory where they first met Silver, and found him dead, with none of the golems activated—it appeared that he had been surprised and quickly given the mortal blow before he had a chance to raise his defenses.
Trevan put his investigative skills to use and discerns that Silver had died of a puncture wound that cleared straight through his body, but did not find a bullet or arrow. He also saw that after Silver took the mortal blow he did not die immediately, but dragged himself to the specific spot where they had found him. Underneath his body was a hidden compartment on in the floor, and inside they found a journal and 5 rings.
The journal detailed the functionality of the rings—they controlled golems, but also allowed the use of golems as an avatar with direct control. The journal also showed the history of Silver’s influence on Sprocket, how he decided to leave Smith in peace, creating the golems to combat against the Abyssal, but did not expect the bells. He feared for Professor Smith.
The group took some golems with them and proceeded with grim expectations towards Professor Smith’s factory. Along the way, they encounter and defeat a group of zombies and a rolling ball made of toothy maws, constantly chewing and apparently the source of the tunnels.
When they arrived at Professor Smith’s forge, they found it in disarray. Inside was Carta, who looked incensed and immediately accused them as being the cause.
Trevan and Larsika talk down Carta from attacking them and later got to the root of the issue. Carta had witnessed the capture of Professor Smith by two figured enveloped in darkness, but was unable to stop them. Smith had been a long time companion for Carta, so she had become distraught and began burning much the surface trying to seek vengeance.
Trevan declares that they are looking for Smith as well. The group searches for clues and take inventory of the place. Most of the warstriders that Professor Smith had been working on were gone, but they found some pieces that were artifacts in their own right.
- A magitech HUD helmet for Trevan that enhanced his perception, awareness, and visual investigative skills
- Gauntlets that enhanced Kunai’s killing power
- A bow that allowed Larsika to use her essence arrow but not count against her charm activation
They discover boot marks that indicate that one of the assailants was heavy and one was much lighter, and they begin to follow the trail.