Transcript of Interrogation Session 17
Screaming stops, whimpers.
The Thrannis: Now, son, have I stripped away your flippancy for at least a few moments? Can you bring yourself to be honest with me at last?
Carmine: y-y-y-yes… of-of course Father. I'm al-always honest with you. I'm sorry if my sense of humor offended.
Th: I am unoffended. Start again from the point after your party destroyed the scarab-factory.
C: Yes, of course. We ventured deeper into the ruined Titan. It became increasingly clear that these ruins had been long-inhabited, and that there were many alterations to the power systems and other ancient functions to serve new, mysterious ends. We eventually entered a room where progress was halted by some walls of lightning. Uncle Xedris studied the…
Th: You are being disrespectful again.
C: y-y-yes… s-s-sorry. The Noble Xedris of the House Thrannis, forever may he live, studied the wall and determined it could be de-activated, but doing so would route power to some other effect. After some debate they chose to risk it. As soon as the wall of lightning fell, however, a… strange heaviness afflicted us, a sensation of a malevolence bearing down on us, and six of the seven Forged in our party dropped dead. Only the Cleric of Brahma remained standing. Then two of the slain stood back up, blue fires burning in their eyes and red energy leaking from their joints. By their first few words, it became clear that they were the "siblings" we fought at the Archive, incorporeal spirits somehow prevented from passing through the Halls of the Dead, capable of possessing and puppetting constructs of flesh… and, well, apparently also constructs of other materials. As we engaged them in combat, they began animating the other slain by pulling spirits into the, um, corpses? I'm not sure if constructs of metal, wood, and wizard-glass count as corpses? They were alive, so I'll call them corpses.
Th: Fascinating. The Risen Son has learned how to undo the imperfect gifts of the Slain Tyrant. A shame you fled in cowardice and shame before you could learn how he accomplished this.
C: y-y-yes father. You have my abject apologies. We dispatched the newly undead, and the Cleric of Sarasvati managed to restore three of them to life once more. He's much more powerful than I at first thought. Lord Xedris realized, then, that the Risen Son had developed the means to specifically separate the imperfect souls of the Forged from their bodies, and that this made their otherwise-inanimate forms similar enough to "corpses" for other spirits to assume control. He theorized, then, that the party of undead seen heading for the Wall of Dawn may be seeking to breach the Dawn Forge, and possibly create thousands of bodies for his wraiths to inhabit… an endless army of shock troops. It also explained the interest in the Forged village of Coil. The four living Forged realized that progressing any further to face a foe who could slay them with a whim and possess their bodies was folly. They turned to escape and warn their village while our group retreated to a defensible position to rest and recover from the fight.
Th: And nothing assailed you as you rested?
C: No, the place was pretty much empty. The only fight was using bodies we brought with us… although the sensation of being watched by invisible, perhaps intangible presences never went away.
C: Yes sir. We continued into the wreck and we finally found the Heart chamber… and it was really strange. Instead of the "heart" I was vaguely briefed about there was an enormous clockwork sarcophagus attached by dozens of tubes and pipes to various conduits on the walls and ceiling. The sarcophagus was open and empty. The inhabitant was… a big guy, but not around when we got there. The druid noticed that one of the pipes led into some particularly strange shadows and discovered… uh…
Th: You're prevaricating again. Don't lie to me.
C: I-I-I w-w-wasn't sir! I swear! But the truth is so strange I wasn't sure how to express it. It was a Dragon sir, Tamra the Copper, it was asleep, curled around the immense corpse of the buried Titan.
C: y-y-you're not… you believe me?
Th: I do not believe that even you are foolish enough to fabricate a story invoking the accursed Tamra to my face. You uncovered its resting place then… excellent.
C: It's not there anymore…
C: It… woke up. I'm getting ahead of myself. Lord Xedris began investigating the sarcophagus. It was a masterwork of thaumaturgy, powered by the magically-rich blood carefully siphoned from the sleeping Tamra. It became clear that the Risen Son slumbered in that construct for… centuries, maybe millenia, carefully absorbing power and understanding before arising.
Th: That is… ingenious. The daring of it… tapping the power of our most implacable enemy for his own purposes… using the enforced slumber of the gods to drain the life from one of their most powerful weapons. I find myself almost admiring the audacity of it even if I recognize the insanity of the Son's ultimate aims.
C: Yes sir. The druid was offended, though, and sliced through the conduit. Dragon blood poured into the room which was disorienting enough, but then the sarcophagus started to melt down and… the Risen Son appeared before us as a illusion. He was… a large Forged of incredible elaboration and detail. It seems he created a custom, bespoke body out of a dead Forged, heavily augmented over the centuries and powered by Dragon blood and a thaumaturgical mixture of arcane magic and the power of the Great Lord Surya as generated by the Titan's heart… and that's when I… blacked out.
Th: Yes. Your blackout.
C: I came to a few minutes later and the image of the Risen Son was ranting at me, practically screaming at me, calling me "father" … I… was I being possessed by someone?
Th: That is none of your concern. Be certain I do not hold you responsible for whatever you may have done or said during this… moment of disorientation.
C: Thank you father. He stopped ranting pretty quickly once he saw how confused I was, and pretty much admitted he had left his sarcophagus behind as something of a trap, and he wished us unpleasant deaths before vanishing. The system was melting down, and Lord Xedris clearly feared a… significant explosion. I… um… volunteered the fact that I could get them out, but without… telling them exactly where I'd be taking them. They opted to try to stop the meltdown and to take advantage of my offer if they should fail. Fortunately, they worked together as a team pretty effectively. Tavi uh, the gnome… climbed up into the sarcophagus while Lord Xedris and the Cleric of Sarasvati desperately tried to figure out the mechanism. It seems the Cleric had a control orb! One of the orbs used to control the Titan's Heart from back in the war! The guy was full of surprises. Vin seemed fixated on the dragon… he's a worshiper of Lakshmi and Jyestha and I guess he felt responsible for the Dragon and worried that the explosion would hurt or kill it, so he woke it up.
Th: … And how… did he do that?
C: Please, Sir, I don't know… he just touched the scaled flesh we could see and meditated… Fortunately the rest of them managed to stabilize and shut down the system as the Dragon roused. They seemed to have things in hand, and the place was coming down as the Dragon tore itself loose from the earth all around us, and I had no confidence that I would survive much longer considering how many of them wanted me dead, so I came here. That's all, I swear.
Th: You have done well my son. You may rest and recover. I will have food and refreshment brought for you. Spend as much time here as you like. I will send you back when you are well.
C: Thank you Father. You are very generous.
Th: One more question… if they survived the collapse of the ruins, where do you think they would go?
C: They were… very worried about the possibility that the Risen Son might somehow be able to access the Dawn Forge. If I were to guess, I'd say they'd head there as soon as possible.
Th: The Dawn Forge has been sealed for three millenia… then again, with the power of Dragon blood at his disposal, the Risen Son could theoretically accomplish anything. Have no fear, my son. The Emperor will be immediately informed. Your role in gaining this information will be relayed in glowing terms. I am sure His Eternal Majesty will wish to reward you personally when you return to the material world.
C: I-I-I'm … I'm honored Sir.
Th: No need to look so terrified. His Eternal Majesty's attention will not stay upon you for long I imagine. You're… not his type.
C: muttered Thank the Chained One for that…
Th: What was that?
C: Nothing Sir! Nothing. I look forward to my audience.
Th: That's what I thought.