After gathering some of Elan Gwaren’s faithful soldiers, the party was able to speak and settle things with the king. Aside from making sure allies were on the way to assist Corneria, Macronian inquired about having Wildflowers rebuilt. Elan explained he had no qualms with doing so, but with the current plague spreading about, open travel had become too dangerous. In the meantime, Elan would protect the Halflings Mac brought with, and Mac would assist the party in their endeavors. Marria then prompty teleported them back to Corneria.
They returned to Viktor to report in, and met on the way an Inevitable named Erred Tour. As Viktor explained to them, Erred Tour was part of head security for the Fortress of Disciplined Enlightenment, a location in Mechanus which contained codex’s of the greatest laws the cosmos held. As such, acquiring Erred Tour services required something more than a simple sum of gold, but something to demand it forgo duties it was built to uphold. And so to the end that security would be tight and their army properly supported, Viktor offered the Inevitable the Book of Everlasting Divine. Since Erred Tour arrived, it had begun to Dimensionally Lock locations within the city to prevent planar travel (along with other details).
Given that the party was done with their task of protecting Elan Gwaren, Zaden Holdstein was once more put under custody, and they were given more news that changed things: the Encompassing Mind of the Iron Giant had requested the soldiers stained their to remove his personal Power Gem and break into the cache which contain the Anaxim, and place him within. The Encompassing Mind within the Anaxim then flew off without a word, the soldiers unable to stop him. In addition, Dion of Incarnum had opened up a permanent Gate to realm containing an untold number of demons, showing the extent he would go for right for demonic summoning. The party was uncertain as to what they should do next, given that Viktor would not let Zaden leave with them lest he was under a Quest. And with the day almost spent as it was, they party rested for the night (Zaden to be taken to the castle dungeons).
The party was woken to the sound of bells the next morning, for the army was being assembled. A Gate from Acheron had been opened in Smallville, presumably by King Farook, and ghosts of the dead had poured out under the command of Farmonian troops. The party, befuddled that even more was going wrong with the world, was still uncertain as to what to do, which meant Zaden required a guard escort at all times till he was given a proper Quest. While the rest of the party went about plans in the city, Sig Ollivander received a Sending from Randall Thay to met someone within his old shop. It just so happened the bulk of the party decided to search the shop as well, Zaden and his collection of guards included. The guards were scaring the contact (discovered to be an invisible Quincy), so the party took Zaden back to the castle to apply a Quest so they could go about their business without eavesdropping. They decided Zaden’s next Quest would be to end the war with Farmonia, though on how to do that was open to interpretation.
Returning to the shop, Quincy lead them through the sewers to an otherwise ordinary spot, and upon saying his duty was done, teleported away. Upon searching the wall of the sewer, it was discovered to be an Illusory Wall covering a hasitly built small cave. Within was Randall Thay, flanked by two constructs. He thanked them for coming, and explained this were going a little out of hand, and he needed their assistance. For a long period of time, Randall Thay was using his position to cut deals and take actions which would otherwise undermine Corneria, but were necessary, for something was going to happen that no amount of preparation could avert.
As such, one such plan involved having the outside walls of Corneria to be damaged, to quicken the speed of Farmonia’s breach. This action would force Corneria to have the city retreat into the inner walls for a long time war effort, and send all but the war effort to Stonehaven via teleportion. If not done, more lives would be lost in what was to happen. The declaration of war from Slingham did change things a bit, but Farmonia was always Randall’s focus. And lest they had reinforcements, Corneria would not be able to stand against it, let alone the constant barrage of ghostly soldiers Farook was sending from Acheron.
As such, Randall asked the party to find the Gnomes of the old Mushroom Kingdom, whom he believed were still below the city somehow. They likely had plenty of magical support to compliment Corneria, which was missing with Incarnum’s secession. But they needed to go soon, for the Kobold’s under his command had fulfilled their duty to Randall, and were likely going ahead of them to snuff out what Gnomes they could in the old city below. Worse, Quincy likely went to Stonehaven and released the remainder of the Koopa family, forced to labor the mines. There was no telling what the Kobolds or Koopas would do should they find the Gnomes first, so getting there before them was a necessary. With Randall’s wishes expressed, he teleported away with his constructs.
Hoping to get the Gnomes of the Mushroom Kingdom as allies quickly, they descended into the old city and came back to the gold door they discovered long ago. They were able to decipher the Gnomish code and found it to be a cryptic riddle, but instead of solving it Macronian took his time to break down the doors magical defenses, unlock it, and have the party physically lift the door open. Behind it was a halfway filled with floating gold coins (left untouched), and even further a ringed hallway leading to another locked door. The inner ring was mirrored, and they were able to note that it was a one-way mirror after seeing something was possibly on the other side of it. Intent on getting within, Zach busted down the mirror.
Instantly, rainbow colors exploded everywhere, rays of the light affecting each of the party differently. Most were simply damaged from fire, cold, or electricity, while Mac was turned to stone, and Razeil Kashar was sent to another plane (otherwise known as Baator). All the glass now shattered, a surprised Kobold looked upon them and cast Cone of Cold, almost killing Alton Tealeaf. The Kobold was quickly slain however, and Mac was teleported back up to the surface to have Viktor restore him. Meanwhile, Raziel Plane Shifted back to the Material Plane then Word of Recalled back to Corneria, meeting up with Mac and the rest before returning back to the Old City.
Now past the second locked door, Marria cast Telepathic Bond between her and the rest so that they wouldn’t need to speak, and could keep in contact should they lose each other. They soon found a defiled statue to Garl Glittergold, and behind that a garden filled with peculiar mushrooms, flowers and trees. They eventually found a kitchen with Kobolds aware of their presence, and after a show of force the Kobolds magically attacked, though quickly cared of by fireballs from Sig and Marria. The rest of the Kobolds were eventually chased down as well, and otherwise gave no quarter. Other rooms found were an alchemy/crafting room left untouched, and the same with what appeared to be a tool shed.
While searching round a set of rooms that appeared to be bunk beds, Mac noticed a section of wall that appeared to have something behind it. Upon inspecting it to possibly open it, sections of wall on both ends of the hallway began to close in upon Mac, Raziel, Zacharaia and Zaden. The rest of the party was cut off from them, though Marria attempted reach them with castings of Disintegrate: first through a section of wall to where they were closed off, and then the pressing wall itself. This however merely showed there was still more wall for the trap to push, and the wall continued to press down.
Mac did manage to open the door in time, however, though it led to a black floored room which upon touching it (as Raziel did) effected people as if touched by Harm. Raziel and Mac happened to have Spider Climb potions, while Zach managed to climb the walls due to his nature. On the other side of the room was another door, which upon opening revealed another room, containing two figures. One was a huge humanoid which appeared to be made of shadow, while the other a Mummy, which stood before an obviously trapped door. Upon closer inspection it was revealed to be the mummified remains of Maya Holdstein. She said their presence was unforeseen, though could possibly work to each of their benefit.