As the party approaches Embered Peaks, they find a town on the edge of extinction. Illuminated by the flickering wisps of burning buildings, the party looks around. Signs of destruction and violence can be seen everywhere, and the remaining residents remain wander about in a daze, a stupefied look on each of their faces. They stare straight forward, eyes wide open, uttering stories about how each of them suddenly turned on the other, life-long friends strangling each other in the streets, and parents bashing in their children’s skulls with rocks. It quickly becomes clear to the party that no one is in a state to provide them with any information, so they quickly head to the largest building in town in hopes of finding some answers.
The inside of the building fares almost as poorly as the outside. Papers and machinery are strewn about, and large splatters of blood cover the floor and furniture. The signs of struggle are obvious, and as the party follows the blood trails past the main room into one of the narrow corridors leading deeper into the building, it becomes clear that this building was the site of a massacre. The corridor leads them to a set of stairs slick with blood, and as the party follows the stairs deep underground, the temperature rapidly plummets, the frozen blood and ice on the steps leading to even more treacherous footing. Finally, the stairs end in an doorway, slightly ajar, and the party can hear the clack of boots from inside the next room.
The party opens the door and is greeted by a tall, gray-haired man with clean black shoes and carefully tended robed. “Are you here to hinder me or help me?” he asks in a low voice. The party takes a quick look around the room – a dozen stone-slabs rest on the floor, each one occupied by a body shrouded in a reddish-purple cloth. The heads of the bodies are exposed, all freshly shaved and branded with a black symbol about the size of a fist. At the far end of the room rests a vat of opaque, orange goo, and the man himself holds a large syringe full of the same liquid. Unsure of exactly what to do, the party states their names and says that they are there to help. The man introduces himself as Yieran, and as he does so, plunges the syringe deep into the eye socket of the man he was standing over. He then says a short, unintelligible sentence and brings his ear close to the man’s mouth, listening for a response. The dead man’s mouth begins moving, but as he speaks, Yieran visibly grows frustrated, and exclaims that he has asked the wrong question yet again.
The party presses Yieran for more information, and he answers their questions as he prepares the next body, he explains that Embered Peaks is home to a machine capable of resurrecting the dead. However, through his trials with the bodies in the room, he has learned several things – that the machine cannot raise the dead, but rather returns them to life long enough to answer a single question, and that the dead always answer the question with a lie. As he plunges the syringe into yet another body, he mentions that he has killed all of these people with the hopes of discovering the machine’s true nature, and to prevent it from torturing everyone in Embered Peaks into madness with its silent whispers. As the party explains that Embered Peaks has already descended into chaos, Yieran collapses on the ground and exclaims, “I have killed so many, and I have learned nothing! But I must continue, or all will have been for naught.”
Hearing this, the party decides to put an end to his experiments, and resolves to destroy the resurrection machine. They attempt to subdue Yieran, and although he puts up a fight, the party prevails and takes the syringe from him. Looking around the room, Ignus finds a hidden panel next to the vat of orange liquid, and pushes it aside to reveal an entrance leading even deeper underground. As the party descends, they find themselves in the remnants of an ancient building, walls made of rusted blue and silver metal. As they proceed with Delin leading the charge, the party encounter minuscule amounts of light, glistening off of something in the middle of a large, otherwise empty room. Delin rushes forward to investigate, but before he has a chance to understand the situation, he slams into a web of hair-thin metal wires, each strong enough to cut through iron.
Although he manages to stop before he completely slices himself through, he only just removes himself from the web before several spiked, metallic spheres roll down the web, intent on impaling their prey. Delin backs off immediately, as the others move to cover him. The spheres spin rapidly on the web, building up energy, and as they launch themselves at great speed towards the party, Ignus gets struck with one and notices a strong poison spread from the spikes into the rest of his body. Lloyd notices that his lightning appears to be very effective against the strange machines, and single-handedly destroys one with bolts of lightning from his hand. Ignus and Leanna take the other one down with a combination of thundering axe-blows and precise beams of light, and having had a chance to recover, Delin finishes a third off by grabbing it by a spike and hurling it against the wall. After their encounter, Delin takes a liking to one of the creatures, naming it Spikey, and carefully places it in his bag as a constant companion.
The next room the party comes across contains several control panels lined along the wall, along with several dozen globules of orange goo seeping from the walls and ceilings. Although a quick investigation fails to reveal anything about the control panels, Leanna blasts one of the globules with her light, and watches as it grows warm to the touch. She continues to pour more energy into it, and it begins to glow white-hot. Expecting it to burst, the party hides behind a metal wall, and Leanna hits it with one last burst of light. Suddenly, the ooze puts off an incredible amount of heat, and in a brilliant flash of white, it explodes, leaving a crater where it once sat and covering the room in reddish-orange piles of goo, still hot enough to burn skin. Excited about their new discovery, the party collects several jars full of ooze, completely ignoring the fact that they now carry several large containers of explosives on their person without knowing its true properties. Undaunted by this, they move through the only exit in this room and down a short flight of stairs.
However, before they manage to get far, they quickly run into a seemingly insurmountable obstacle – the room ahead of them is flooded with the orange goo they found on the walls earlier. They notice that the thick ooze would support them for a short while, but they would sink into it before they made it across. Remembering one of the cyphers they picked up earlier, Ignus runs back into the previous room and pries off a large metal plate off of one of the controls panels, and coats it with a luminescent spray. Suddently, the plate becomes weightless, and begins floating up towards the top of the room. Ignus grabs it and returns to the party, where he explains his plan – Delin will tie a rope to the panel and hover across the pool, dragging the panel and its occupant along with him to the other side. The panel should sink far less quickly given its larger area, and as long as the person riding it doesn’t move too much, they should make it safely across.
The party agrees with the plan, and Delin begins dragging Ignus across the pool of goo. They make it across without issue, and Ignus steps onto a platform on the other side and starts working to unlock the door. Delin heads back and begins towing Lloyd across the pool, but as they reach the center, Lloyd feels a heavy thump as something hard contacts the bottom of the panel and tries to tip it. He manages to hold on, and as Delin pulls them faster, he sees a thin, metal spike pierce the spot they just occupied. A second spike springs up from underneath the ooze, and stabs into the back of the plate, nearly locking Lloyd off. A third puts a solid dent in the middle, and Delin hurries to get Lloyd across to safety. Without anyway to determine the cause of the metal spikes, Leanna is left with no choice but to try and cross the pool, despite the obvious dangers.
Delin begins pulling her across, and the spikes immediately begin pummeling the underside of the plate. Leanna manages to hold on, white-knuckled hands tightly gripping opposite edges, but as they approach the half-way point, one of the spikes knocks the back end of the plate up into the air, sending her tumbling forward into the goo. The spikes quickly find their prey, but as one of Leanna’s arms get pierced through, Ignus manages to get the door on the opposite end open, and some of the goo begins spilling out into the next room. As the room drains, the party learn the cause metal spikes – a massive crustacean with two large pincers, resting on the bottom of the pool. Several slender spikes sprout from its shell, showing severed skulls that spin and stare with stark sockets. The skulls begin chattering, as the party wades into the ooze in their attempt to rescue Leanna from becoming yet another head on the creature’s back. Although the sticky ooze makes it difficult for the party to move, the creature’s pincers fail to hit their marks, and they soon retrieve Leanna, bloodied, but alive.
As the party steps through the door, they are confronted with a mass of large black, transparent spheres with glowing orange centers, stacked on top of each other like bubbles. The mass takes up most of the room, leaving little space for the party to move around. Inside the room, the party is assailed with a wave of angry, unintelligible gibberish shouting from deep within their minds. As they endure the pain of the intensifying screams, Lloyd finds a set of controls along one of the walls, and pushes several of the buttons in an attempt to end the voice. Suddenly, the black bubbles begin to burst, revealing a petrified brain with dozens of wires attached to it, sitting on a faintly glowing pedestal. Asthe last of the bubbles disappear, the voice in the back of the party’s mind becomes deep and clear. “Thank you for freeing me, I am Boregal, and it has been so long since I have been awake.” He converses with the party, explaining that he had been sleeping until just recently, and awakening to find that he could not move or speak sent him into a panic. Unfortunately, he had the same ability as Seria, the ability to touch the minds of others, and amplified by the spheres around him, his power caused his panic and distress to spread to people all over the desert.
As he speaks though, the party begins to notice that Boregal is not as calm, or as innocent as he makes himself out to be. Although the party seemed to handle his influence without issue, the entire village of Embered Peaks was in ruin because of him, and he brushes the villagers deaths off without remorse. Ignus notices the dark undertone of his words, as he discusses his suffering he caused as though it were entirely natural. The conversation takes a turn for the worse, as the party asks him what he plans to do with his freedom. The first word out of his mouth is “revenge”, and dozens of rocks break off from the walls and fly towards the pedestal, forming a vaguely human shape around the brain. The form walks towards them with the brain at its center, and Boregal explains that he will leave them unharmed as a reward for freeing him, but that those who put them in this machine, and their children, and their grandchildren, and any descendants still remaining, will pay with their lives.
Unable to stand by as a powerful, psychic entity leaves to sow death and destruction among his enemies, the party attacks. Delin kicks off the floor and launches himself towards Boregal, but as he gets close, he finds that his body no longer responds to his commands. Instead, he watches helplessly as he changes course and barrels into Leanna, trying to bash his skull into her with enough force to kill. As Lloyd and Leanna move to stop Delin from hurting himself or the rest of the party, Ignus bursts into flames and leaps towards Boregal, axe raised high above his head. However, a heavy rock flies out from Boregal’s body, smashing into Ignus before his weapon can connect. Realizing the difference in power between themselves and their enemy, Leanna pulls out several contains of the orange goo that she collected, and with pinpoint accuracy, hurls them at the brain in the center of Boregal’s body. As rocks fly out to intercept the jars, they shatter and cover Boregal in a sticky orange goo. Coming of out his stupor, Delin rushes forward to grapple the advancing enemy as Delin and Lloyd intercept the flying rocks and Leanna blasts Boregal with beam after beam of light. As the goo begins to glow white-hot, Delin sprints to the back of the room, and Leanna fires a final beam, causing the body and brain inside to explode and throwing the party against the walls of the room.
The voice in their heads silenced for good, the party salvages whatever pieces of technology not destroyed by the explosion and returns to the surface, taking a tied up Yieran with them to try and explain the situation to the remaining villagers. Once outside, the party gathers a crowd of villages and Ignus gives a speech about how Yieran, their leader, betrayed them and killed the others for his own selfish desires towards the machine resting deep underneath Embered Peaks. He takes his axe and unceremoniously beheads Yieran, expecting the villages to praise the party for their hand in ending the nightmare brought on by the resurrection machine. Instead, the crowd turns against them, and upset at the death of their leader, they begin to move closer to the party. Thinking quickly, Lloyd and Leanna attach two of their cyphers together, creating a massive, mile-wide cloud of amnesia gas that covers the entire village. In the confusion, the party quickly makes their exit, hoping never to have to return to Embered Peaks again.