Finona realizes that she is too outnumbered to take on the party and surrenders. They question her but she doesn’t have much more to add. She doesn’t have anything interesting on her person other than a gold ring with the inscription “Original Brave Ideas”.
Paco thanks the party for giving him his dig back, and Xambria asks to sail alongside the party back to Flint. The party hires a few more sailors from Ber so they can bring back both the Red Rocket and Il Dracon de Mer.
On the second night of their voyage, hydras and slime walkers attack Il Dracon de Mer from the starboard side. While they are busy fighting off those monsters, something on the Dagger (which is on the port side of their ship) explodes and it catches fire. When the party goes over to take a look, they find the charred bodies of the Dagger’s captain and crew, but Xambria is missing. They also later discover that Finona has died in exactly the same manner as Caius.
Back in Flint, the party reports in and finds out that Hans Weber is looking for them. He received a note a few days prior that he believes is from Xambria, which suggests that she is being mind controlled by some creature, and that it wants try to get the relics. Hans asks the party to provide security for the upcoming Gala where the relics will be unveiled to the public.
The next day, some of the constables who are on the Macbannin case ask the party for a second opinion on a crime scene. Only Daniel goes in though, and points out some things the other constables already knew, then leaves.
Later, Saxby calls the party into her office to hear the results of the audit. She grills them on pretty much everything, in some cases getting very nitpicky, and often jumping to conclusions. The Lord Viscount Inspector arrives and smooths things over a bit, saying that no one is in trouble but it’s important to nip any bad behavior in the bud.
At the Gala, the party sets up some defenses and keeps an eye on the crowd looking for suspicious activity. Qizarld’s Eye of Alarm detects Xambria shortly before she crashes through the skylights above, bringing some implanters and a worm maw with her. She quickly surrenders though, and asks to be cuffed and taken somewhere safe because she’s afraid the thing that’s possessed her might make her hurt more people. The party still has to deal with the monsters though, and a total of six of the Gala’s guests are slaughtered during the attack.
The party finds a letter on board the ship written by Bergeron addressed to someone named Finona. It goes into detail about Bergeron’s work at various digsites around the world, and includes precautions one should take when opening these “seals”.
With matters under control on board, the party decides to head underwater to inspect the digsite and take care of the team down there. They take a look around, and find an orc druid with a pair of sharks hiding in the ruins, and a fight breaks out.
During the battle, a number of other people join the fight, including Finona Duvall, a tiefling summoner who works for Caius and performed cleanup at the Ziggurat of Apet. The party focuses their attacks on the druid Kranto, and his body goes flying into the Seal of Mavisha, which blasts open.
A bunch of fishmen and a huge water elemental come out of the opened portal, and these creatures begin attacking everyone in sight – including both the party and Finona’s team. Finona shouts for everyone to help her close the portal, but the party is too busy battling sharks and octopi that were under Kranto’s control (and he can’t call them off).
Once the other threats are dispatched, the party finally starts working on closing the portal, but they have enough trouble just getting close enough that the elemental eventually dies from their attacks.
With nowhere else to go, the party decides to head for the coordinates on Bergeron’s map. Connor receives help in the form of some extra sailors from the Lord Viscount Inspector. They set sail and it takes 7 days to reach their destination.
They arrive at night and they can barely see a large ship close to the coordinates and two smaller ships close together, a few thousand feet from the the large one. They approach the large ship at dark, and it fires warning shots across their bow, so they decide to wait until morning to take stock of the situation.
That morning, the large ship (Il Dracon de Mer) signals with semaphore for them to stay away, so they go over to the two smaller ships to try to figure out what’s going on. They meet up with Dagger, which Xambria chartered from Flint, and La Inspiracion, which the Beran archeologist Paco de Los Loros is on.
Xambria explains that she was attacked by some tentacled monster, so she ran to the docks and chartered a ship to get away. She decided to come here because she wanted to prevent another tragedy from happening.
Paco is pissed off because Il Dracon de Mer showed up with a bunch of mercenaries and threatened his team away from the digsite with force. He was supposed to be the first Beran archeologist to find Ancient ruins.
The party decides to try a stealthy approach, so they quietly row up to Il Dracon de Mer, and are not spotted by the lookouts. They sneak aboard threw cannon holes, and kill many of the mercenaries in their sleep. The lookouts above, as well as the captain, figure out what is going on, but not until their forces have been cut down considerably. The party handles them without much trouble.
The party emerges from the ziggurat, only to find that every dead thing in a large radius has risen and is heading towards them. The only safe way is up the ziggurat.
After they climb to safety, they witness a massive creature destroy the undead in one motion. Several party members recognize it as the Voice of Rot. It commands the party to cut the flesh of the intelligent creature that escaped the ziggurat by following its scent.
They use Detect Planar Energy to follow trails of Apet energy back to Flint, stopping in both Agate and Bole to ask the locals but not getting much information.
They then use the ritual in various locations in Flint but it’s difficult to get a good read since the trails go all over the place – as if the creature has been in the area for a while.
They detect Apet energy in Xambria’s apartment and see signs of a struggle, but Xambria is nowhere to be found.
They detect Apet energy on Rock Rackus’ things at the fair (which had been moved under the stage after his arrest). They go talk to him in jail about it and he provides more details about working with Caius Bergeron but otherwise isn’t a whole lot of help. He does offer to bring the party along using his last scroll and will split the treasure with the party if they can get him out of jail, but he also needs to find it first.
They are then called to Caius Bergeron’s hotel room where he has been murdered – his lower jaw was unhinged and his brain was completely removed. There is no sign of a struggle, but the party does find a map with the same location they found on the map in the ziggurat, this time with precise coordinates.
At the campsite outside the ziggurat, the party finds some dead bodies, and notices that they had been shifted about. When Qizarld performs a rudimentary autopsy, he finds strange tumor-like bulges inside the body.
The party cautiously descends into the ziggurat and begins exploring the interior. Right away they are greeted by some not-so-friendly traps: spears that try to impale people that walk past, colmuns that emit bursts of flame, and an area that produces a crushing force from above.
They decide to investigate a room containing, small platforms separated by a pit full of spikes many colored walls of light, and some colored stones on pedestals. The stones trigger bridges and the walls of colored light to appear/disappear.
The party is working on navigating the room when they are attacked by floating orbs of light, mutated centipedes, and other strange bug-like creatures. They need to fight off the enemies while they are split on various sides of the room with only some of the bridges up.
After they dispatch the monsters, they complete the puzzle and Connor (who touches the last stone) receives a vision of Ancient orcs fighting off similar monsters, and it implies that the monsters can be weakened by directing one’s thoughts at them.
In the next room, they find a strange contraption of plates suspended from the ceiling with a large white stone. Shining a light on this stone causes beams of light to shine through the plate and illuminate two locations on a map below – this one, and another, off the coast of present-day Ber.
The party explores further and finds a room with a large golden plate up against the wall. After burning the corpses in the room, they move the plate to find a portal to a strange void behind it.
This triggers a toxic fluid to start flooding the ziggurat. The party starts carrying the plate toward the map room, but realizes that the ziggurat is filling up too fast for them to be able to make it. They run for it, triggering multiple traps along the way and repeatedly being blocked by mummies popping out of the walls. At the entrance they fight three mummies – the ones from Connor’s vision, who originally owned the three relics that Kaja had gotten hold of. They defeat the mummies and narrowly escape.
The party apprehends Kaja and takes her to the magical holding cells at RHC HQ, but decides not to interrogate her until the following day. Among her contraband were a sword and amulet that are also both of Ancient design.
The next morning, Kat receives a letter from Colonel Sebastian Harlock requesting that she aid The Battalion by stealing one of the monster corpses so it can be studied (since there is no known record of their existence).
Everyone in the party got a letter from Lorcan Kell threatening them if they didn’t release Kaja, but by that time she was already dead. The party finds this out when they get to the RHC that morning. At first glance it appears to be a suicide (she is hanging from a belt), but there is a tiny hole in her neck, and multiple people recall her not wearing a belt the previous day.
Without any other clues at the RHC, they go to meet with Harlock to check him out and discuss the plan. Later that night they steal one of the bodies from the morgue and drop it off on the specified ship.
The only other lead to go on is the large number of Ancient relics that have popped up, so the party meets with a professor who studies the Ancients, Hans Weber. He recognizes the relics as ones that had been found at a recent dig in the High Bayou but had since gone missing. He offers to arrange a meeting with Dr. Xambria Meredith who was in charge of that dig, and was the only survivor of a horrible catastrophe (because she was away picking up supplies).
Xambria was clearly still affected by these events despite the fact that they had happened almost 2 months ago, and experiences fits of odd behavior while meeting with the party. She is a bit fuzzy on the details but tries to help out the party however she can. She appears genuinely encouraged at the prospect of getting some answers about what happened at the digsite.
Eager to get some answers themselves, the party boards the next train to Bole, walks to the small town of Agate, and from there rents a boat to navigate the High Bayou to reach the Ziggurat of Apet.
The local police arrive on the scene and begin questioning everyone. Three were killed by the tentacled monsters – the son of a nearby shopowner, a wizard with a curious staff, and another random bystander. Marie investigates the staff further and finds that its design is consistent with the Ancients, and that it was what summoned the monsters.
The fourth victim was killed by a gunshot to the forehead. Various accusations fly, and Kvarty Gorbatiy, a dwarf who aided in the fight, fires his carbine into the air and claims that he had a high vantage point and saw that it was Rock Rackus who fired the shot. The police enthusiastically beat the crap out of Rock and arrest him.
The party is summoned back to RHC HQ to give their report of what happened, and while they are there they are called into Saxby’s office to meet Lord Viscount Inspector Nigel Price-Hill (the head of the whole RHC), who is conducting an audit of this branch to root out possible corruption.
They head back out to follow up on leads, and they receive a tip that a big drug deal is going down in Bosun Strand. Daniel goes undercover as Wruce Bayne to get info from a few Dockers around the area, and the group follows the trail back to the Family. When they go to Morgan Cippiano, he offers them a month’s supply of Fey Pepper for them to back off, but they refuse and force him to pay his taxes.
When they head back to the fair, one of the child pickpockets finds them and lets them know that the man who the amulet had been stolen from had surfaced. The party confronts him, and he tells them how they can set up a meeting with Kaja Stewart (who sold him the amulet).
The party goes to meet Kaja at an under-construction subrail station, and they try to come off as legitimate buyers, but they tip their hand too early and Kaja draws her musket and tries to back away slowly. The party engages, and she lets loose a variety of mechanical minions, but they manage to take her down.
Following the trial, the party was taken off the Macbannin case by Lady Inspectress Margaret Saxby, and assigned to other, more mundane tasks like security work. Their latest assignment is the Kaybeau Arms and Technology Expedition.
The party walks around and checks out the main pavilions and major tents, as well as the various merchant stalls near their assigned area of the park. They find a few shady characters, arrest a woman who had a barrel of witchoil at her tent (she turned out to be an associate of Lorcan Kell), and investigate the Pemberton Industries tent but are unable to find anything incriminating.
They meet Rock Rackus in his tent, who is popular among Dockers for his stories of traveling to exotic locations and escapades with women.
They also identify a ring of child pickpockets that is being managed by a middle-aged woman named “Mama”. When they confront her, she shows all of the items that have been stolen, and the party recognizes an amulet similar to ones found at Macbannin’s lab. They agree to let the charges slide in exchange for help tracking down the man it was stolen from.
The next day, the party is making their rounds when sudden screams erupt from the crowd. Strange tentacled monsters have appeared and attack the fairgoers. The party fights off the monsters, but not before four people are killed.
The party continues down into the Witchoil Lab with Macbannin in tow. They can hear an alarm going off below them, and the faint sound of bubbling liquid (which they determine is backflowing).
They find a confused and groggy Wolfgang von Recklinghausen behind a trapped door, who offers to help the party.
When they reach the lower level of the lab, they find that the witchoil level is much higher than normal, and rising. Macbannin faints at the sight, and the party is left to figure out how to prevent disaster on their own.
Inspecting the machinery in the lab, they find a large engine that is damaged, a control panel with various speed options, and a valve control wheel near two large pipes labeled ‘Down’ and ‘Relief’.
They find supplies to repair the engine and turn it back on, and start fiddling with the controls to figure out how to get the witchoil level down, when Creed (in his shadow man form) and a few thugs pull a surprise attack.
On his last leg, Creed yells, “Everything I did, I did for my country!”. Connor pushes him into the reservoir of witchoil, and he dies.
With the attackers dealt with, the party finishes adjusting the controls and pumps out enough witchoil to expose the eldritch machine that is creating the witchoil, and they shut it off with its own control panel. They exit the lab and take Macbannin into custody.
A week later, the party is called to testify at Macbannin’s trial, but before the trial can begin, he kills himself by repeatedly smashing his head into the wall. There’s no sign of foul play, but Marie doesn’t find his spirit (which is strange).
The party’s investigative efforts begin to pay off:
The arsonists break under the threat of execution, and claim that all communication and payment went through a carriage driver named Alfred Eccleston. They also give up the location of their lair.
They track down Eccleston, who knows that the letters came from a man who frequently traveled to/from Cauldron Hill, and wore multiple disguises.
At the arsonists’ lair, the party finds letters that identify which factories to target. The handwriting on these letters matches the note they received from the shadow man.
Looking over the documents recovered from Wolfgang, they discover a connection where many of the factories documented in the report were later targeted by the arsonists and then purchased by proxies of Lorcan Kell.
The party, unsure of whether to trust or suspect Macbannin of being involved, heads up to his manor. After talking to him for a few minutes, Delft contacts the party to tell them that the note found in the warehouse (where the party fought the golem) matched Macbannin’s handwriting.
At this moment, a massive earthquake begins and witchoil erupts out of the ground. Macbannin orders his butler to “check on the lab”, and he and his house staff attack the party.
The party defeats Macbannin, and they tie him up. At his urging, they bring down to check on the lab as well. Once inside, they are attacked by a few flayed jaguars that got loose during the earthquake, but manage to put them down.