Separated from each other, the Keg battles what appears to be some kind of family unit of tunnel dwelling non-sentient demon. While Joshua works to free himself from becoming the first meal of the demon’s offspring, Barnaby races to find him while the rest of the company fights off the strange mind bending poison these creatures use to subdue their prey. The delay is costly — both Barnaby and Joshua become implanted with demonic embryos, the rest of the party exhausts what limited resources they have finishing off the demons. Lan discovers that the network of tunnels dug by these creatures continues, off the map of the complex they have, but there are other matters to attend to.
Finding their way to what should be Administration, the company finds a room reduced to rubble and strangely barren — all that remains is an enormous statute of an angel, an almost comical guardian of broken stone and centuries old dust. They find what might be some useful spare parts from the remnants of this level’s defensive wards, but little else. Joshua’s condition worsens and while Barnaby simply refuses to allow anything to remain in his body, the swordmage is forced to chose between trusting Jack with a knife and Azera, who he barely knows. He picks Jack and the emergency surgery is successful, to a point, but he’s left with a nasty abdominal scar to remember the encounter by. No one sleeps well here, except Joshua who’s body forces him to sleep. The more perceptive members of the Keg note that Jack’s eyes never really close, and that even the normally calm deva seems to have disturbing dreams.
Pressing on, the Keg finds a control room similar to the one several levels up. It too is mostly destroyed. After sifting through some of the rubble and finding more components but little else, there is talk of consulting with Szo-ahm to see if his knowledge can give them any insights, but an argument breaks out about whether he can be trusted. While the argument goes on, Barnaby gathers bits and pieces of broken crystal together. After he accumulates a critical mass of a heavy, purplish stone which seems drawn to itself, there is a flash of light and the halfling goes catatonic. When he is awakened, he spouts garbled prophesy and speaks nonsense about a blue light and a woman’s voice. The Keg strains to understand him, and out of desperation asks Szo-ahm for assistance. The voice can only tell them that it is likely they have located the Codex’s main information storage, or what’s left of it — the Maruc Codex that they sought. The content? All he can make out is that it has something to do with a former prisoner — Bel Shalor, the Shadow in the Flame.
Szo-ahm offers to help them repair the Codex and possibly to see what other systems he can repair, but only if they will strike a further bargain with him — place his soul jar into a construct body, because he no longer believes that the company can get his people to safety. There is some brief discussion before the Keg agrees. To get back to the top level, Barnaby and Joshua engage in some rappelling and locate the lift. With a little jury-rigging it becomes operational, and with a great groan carries the company to the top level. The wards are gone, but there are no demons. Joshua in particular seems disturbed — it is simply too quiet for a place that was swarming with demons the day before, and the party has not been concealing their presence.
Maze and Mama 1200xp
One (1) Codex Information Storage Crystal, gently used
19000 gp worth of platinum fittings, electrum wiring, and non-magical gemstones (which may be useful as spare parts)