We return to our adventurers barricading themselves in the chambers of the Karavakios-thing. Vicendak took the Adamantine key from the corpse to keep it safe. Fin’gould jury-rigs a trip-wire alarm, and Sir Valis Frost ponders resetting the trap that nearly killed them all but desists upon the angry protests of his companions, and instead stocks up on several hundred pounds of dried meat, which he stores in his mystical handy haversack. He also remembers that Vicendak is afflicted with steadily worsening Moon Frenzy and cures him. Kane Karrath meditates and Lady Ming entertains all with a display of gymnastics. Kane Karrath notices something leaking from the ears of the severed head of the Karavakios-thing that turns out to be words and sentences. On an impulse he retrieves a book rendered blank by the eaters of thought and uses it to sop up the text pooling around Karavakios’s head. When he has soaked up all he is able, he begins to read to the party:
Karavakios – Will
Delm, tiefling son of Karavakios – Steve
Vyrellis, betrothed of Karavakios and princess of the Fey – Peter
Burgos, necromancer adviser to Karavakios – Alicia
Irkalla, angelic envoy from the Celestial Court – Kaitlyn
Juriko, a demon from the Abyss – Thomas
Winterpone, vizier of the kingdom of Karavakios – David
The demon Juriko has appeared to the tiefling king Karavakios in his palace to tempt him into a bargain, while angel Irkalla had been dispatched to keep the king from allying himself with demonic forces. The demon offered various blood exchanges, but none quite tempting enough that Karavakios would be lured into parting with his countrymen, or his son. Over the negotiations it became clear that Karavakios had a relationship with Irkalla that wasn’t purely diplomatic. Ultimately, and in secret, the fey princess Vyrellis allied herself to the demon for the power he offered, in exchange for the life of Karavakios. In the open court she pounced on him with a dagger as he raised his mighty arcane hand to defend himself. The king’s necromancer general, Burgos leapt to the king’s defense and yet the king’s son, Delm, leapt upon Burgos to prevent her saving her liege. All the while the angel Irkalla screamed horribly yet did nothing. The demon Juriko delighted by the spectacle, used his magic powers to destroy the mind of Burgos, held helpless by Delm.
Heading out from the barricaded chambers in the morning, Moloch carefully and arcanely folded the angry, hostile curtains in a way so that they do not attack him. Lady Ming does her “morning flips”. The party proceeded across the length of the pyramid to a leafy area known as the Verdant Ruin, where they were led through a hedge maze by strange plant creatures to their leader, the vine speaker Crannor, and his faithful companion Beloved Bear. Crannor intimated that his people had been tainted by their attempt to escape the pyramid by opening a portal to the Far Realm, with all its infinite and nameless horrors, and had become enslaved by a being known to them only as The Master. Crannor explained that it was tempting to try to escape that way, because the pyramid made it easy to open portals there, since the Far Realm was constantly struggling to get into our world – and it was easier to help it break into a quasi-dimensional space like the Pyramid of Shadows. He even showed them the portal, a pinprick-sized hole in the fabric of space. Bravely (or foolishly), the brave knight of the Raven Queen, Sir Valis Frost, looked into the hole. And the hole looked into him. What he saw there was … too inhuman to even understand, let alone describe. The githzerai psion Kane Karrath touched with his mental hand the space where reality met the Far Realm. Aside from a strange lingering numbness, he does not seem to have suffered any ill effects.
One other thing Crannor mentioned is that the last Soul Shard of Vyrellis, a translucent jelly looking thing, was most likely in the possession of the dragon of the pyramid, who has a fondness for jelly looking things. Vyrellis again exhorted the party to find her body and her last remaining shard so she might live again outside the pyramid – and still promising to explain all she knew about the pyramid if her shards were safe.
Parting from Crannor, the party ventured across the Harpy Bridge, and were almost lulled to their doom by the creatures that dwelt there. Vicendak in particular, for some reason, seemed extra susceptible to the wiles of the demon women. The adventurers slew the harpies and narrowly avoided drowning and/or being eaten by the fish men who lived under the bridge, and ventured on, deeper toward their objective.