Session Log 2021-09-03
Dusting themselves off from the wall of golden fire, the party found themselves in a vast cubic chamber. Boat-sized statues of dragon's maws lined the walls to the left and right; the metal pipes diverged in this room each into a separate maw. Tools and small debris littered the floor. A mosaic of a golden dragon leered regally from the far wall.
The fireproof Ignis was nominated to search the room, and he bacarried Ekkels with him to carry out the task. Ekkels found a rabbit-sized metal contraption, reminiscent of a quadrupedal crab with tool-like forelimbs, half-buried in the rubble. However, neither found any evidence of traps or other danger.
Robin investigated the far wall mosaic and discovered not only was it not made of real (chiselable) gold, but in fact it was totally illusory, concealing a short passage to a large spherical chamber in which she spied Vicriax. She slipped closer in order to scout and was able to spot Abar guiding more quadrupedal metal constructs as they made precise alterations to a vast runic seal on the floor dividing the upper and lower hemispheres of the chamber. A vast serpent of flame with encircling bands and a draconic face of iron filled the lower hemisphere, writhing and occasionally spewing flame and smog up through the floor. Abar and the constructs were unaffected, though a golden glow around them intensified in the wake of the attack.
The party discussed the options available to them. Ekkels, realizing it might be pertinent, was able to recount via pantomime the ritual he had witnessed before being abandoned at the entrance to the underground dungeon - the Mirror Skull claiming to be the Image and familiar of Haxryn of the Emerald, claiming the right to designate the next scion of the Emerald's power, and citing the Gold's distant relation to the Emerald as justification that it be Vicriax. The party decided that Vicriax was seeking further power in addition to the Council's and resolved that she needed to be stopped, electing to distract the part-dragon with an illusory Ignis - "Ignish" - while Ekkels used chaos magic to disrupt the seal on the wyrm.
Ignish approached and chastised Vicriax for her betrayal. She seemed amused that he had come and surmised that he had not come alone, but indulged the opportunity to monologue as Abar continued her work. She claimed that the ruins they had followed her into were none other than Goldthrone, the once-capital of the Golden bloodline's empire. The Elder Forge Elemental in this room, bound by her ancestors, was the source of that Empire's and Twinpyre's industrial might. She claimed she was altering the bindings to gain power over the Elemental and to put in a dead-man's-switch in case the Councils decided that her usurpation of Onox's power justified assassinating her back. To Ignish's accusation that she was acting selfishly, she responded that she held no animosity towards him or his allies, and would be willing to leverage her power to achieve their goals, once she had secured it.
Ekkels reached out from the hallway to channel chaos into the binding, but Vicriax spotted him and attempted to rush over to stop him with force, her assuredness dropping in an instant. Klaitos was able to interpose, though he noted that she seemed faster and stronger mantling the Council's power. She claimed that breaking the binding would unleash the Elemental to kill all of them and destroy the city, but Ekkels decided to pour his power into the seal anyway. He was able to tarnish a small section of it, and kept his hand on the metal to push further for leverage. As the Elemental twisted in its prison to investigate the tarnished spot, Vicriax demanded pretenses be dropped and that Ignish's allies negotiate instead of hiding and plotting. Ignis remained hidden as Robin stepped forth to negotiate.