A sense of urgency hangs heavy over the adventurers as they witness the aftermath of the destruction of the infernal machine within the ruins. Orryn suspects that the machine is beginning to create a tear between planes, that if another such event occurred, its effects would change Xen’drik, and likely the entirety of Eberron, forever.
Ryld lie dead, crushed under a fallen tree, and the heroes bury her in a shallow grave, En keeping some of her personal affects so that they might deliver it to her next of kin. Deciding that they need assistance, the party decides to find a Drow city, Voss Che’el, Ryld had mentioned in their time together.
Managing to navigate the jungles quite well for most of their journey, it wasn’t until they were nearing the city that the party got lost in a smelly bog. Both Orryn and En made a show of igniting methane patches. The next day, they found Voss Che’el deep within a recess below a mountain.
On approaching the gates to the city, the party is quizzically approached by Zazt, Captain of the Guard. After some talk of their adventures and Ryld’s death, Orryn proves his prowess with magic by divining a flaming clone of himself which takes off running through the fields before the city squeeking his signature cry “EeeeeeEEEeeee!”. Zazt is impressed and a bit confounded, so he brings the group before the council where they explained the current state of affairs: the cult, infernal machine, aberrations and the death of Ryld. Crestfallen at the news of the loss of their fellow council member and distraught over the idea of fighting a war against another foe, the council erupted into chaos. Serra managed to bring order back to the group, slamming her hammer on the stone floor of the council.
The group learned of an insectoid race called the Xathrid, and an attritious territorial war between them and the Drow. En and Orryn convinced the council that finding a way to communicate with the Xathrid might encourage them to move on the giantish ruins near the Xathrid’s southeastern boarder. A Drow arcane researcher described the difficulty of communication with the Xathrid, but stated it might be possible with a Dwarven Scrying lens. These lenses are exceedingly rare, and none has yet been found, but the last Dwarven ruin was a fortress, a very secure place where the Giants would have likely kept such an artifact. The council agreed to send a band of fifteen soldiers to help secure the ruins (three remained).
Tired from their journeys, the party headed to a local tavern to rest and recoup. Orryn managed to awkwardly draw the attention of most of the tavern, getting high on a potent mushroom tincture, telling silly jokes and explaining convoluted magical formulas. Serra learned how to belch fire, thanks to some Dragon Whiskey. Meanwhile, En and Thenan encountered a mysterious Drow woman named Mara who was examining them carefully from a booth at the far end of the tavern. She informs them of a business opportunity with her organization that could prove quite fruitful. All she asks is a bit of secrecy, and that the group give her any Giantish artifacts they come across. Her client is paying top coin. She hands en a mati stone, and tells her to think on it then get back to her.
In the morning, the party went shopping. Orrin, in search of arcane materials, went to the city’s museum where he met its curator: Erlach. The little gnome ignited a spark of curiosity in the curator, and upon learning of his power, Erlach showed him the museum’s secret treasures: a trove of Giantish artifacts. Serra, looking to sell some of the loot she had acquired, went in to a weapons store and sold her extra items. She was hoping to find something special there to purchase, so in an attempt to impress the shopkeep, she tried to lift a massive black safe. Miscalculating her efforts, in her strain of athleticism, Serra shart herself. Angry and disgusted, the shopkeep urged her to leave before he could notify the authorities. She managed to find a hole-in-the-wall bar to clean up in and hurried back to find her friends. En and Tenahn spent their time shopping and gathering information on the Copper Fingers. They learned that the authorities regarded them as an illegal organization, wanted for theft and larceny. They also found out that the Fingers were loosely associated with anonymous donations to the poor and hungry.
The party met up in the council chamber and discussed strategy. After talking to Mara through the mati stone, En learned that there was likely another infernal machine in the southern ruins and a khyber dragonshard mine in the northern one. The party decided to take the ruins with the machine due to the delicate nature of that situation.
Despite a lot of failure on the party’s part, they invaded the ruins and foiled the plans of the cult again, with less disastrous results on the machine. The garrison of Drow troops managed to halt the mining operation, securing ten slaves, several crates of khyber dragonshards, and two cultist prisoners. The party rested and prepared for their final assault on the ruined Giantish Keep.