Irthelia presented herself to Astrid, humbly begging her forgiveness for her behavior when the two first met. Before Astrid could respond, Irthelia removed the Dragon Watch from her neck and presented it to the woman. “This belongs to you,” Irthelia said.
Astrid accepted the gift graciously, and the council soon departed their separate ways, leaving our heroes to ponder the specifics of traveling to distant Tzim’chevaghol.
Irthelia pledged to take the group anywhere they wanted on dragonback. Orin describes his hometown’s location to the red dragon, and she departed to the draconian fortress to pick out a feasible route through the twisted wastelands of Golarion. As for Arion, Orin’s father indicated his desire to travel with the group and see his homeland once again.
Here, Orin recalled one item he possessed that may still work in this apocalyptic land of fading magic: the Frozen Heart of Orphys. It would allow him to scry on the distant gillman city, he reasoned, and allow them to know exactly what they would be up against.
The group begrudgingly decided to allow it, wary of Orin’s past experiences with the artifact. Orin departed with the dwarves to discuss magic he might prepare for the upcoming journey.
Meanwhile, Astrid returned to Rogarvia Manor and took a late morning tea with her mother. They discussed her father, with Viktoriya remarking, “You have your father’s hands.”
“They help me do stuff,” Astrid agreed, a typically Astrid reply that earned a smile from her mother.
“I lost your father long before he died,” her mother continued. “He refused to accept this world for what it was. If your friends are not successful and you cannot return to the past and change any of this, then I only hope I do not lose you too.”
While Astrid pondered these words, Orin returned with Hudson and the dwarves in tow. “I’m not going to scry on Tzim’chevaghol,” he revealed. “I’m going to scry on Titanis.”
A bath was prepared for Orin in short order, and his friends gathered around in case things should go wrong while he attempted to use the Frozen Heart. “If this thing overtakes you and turns you to evil,” Rhodin assured the gillman. “I will be happy to bash your skull in.”
And so Orin communed with the Frozen Heart. He was granted a vision of Titanis somewhere in eastern Numeria, in mountains made of metal and iron. It was apparently under assault by strange, quadrupedal creatures, under the direction of a becloaked figure. The creatures had apparently pulled apart a large portion of the ship, exposing the engine’s core and the housing for the AI within.
Orin withdrew from the image, seeking to return to his body. He was compelled in a new direction, however, one he recognized – a distant planet covered in darkness.
He found himself before the same iron throne and the same iron creature as before. Now, the creature was bound in ice, unmoving. Yet in Orin’s presence, it slowly roused itself, the ice falling away from its helmet to allow it to speak.
“I remember you, little wizard. It has been some time since we spoke,” the creature said.
“Well, I traveled through time to be here,” Orin responded.
The creature reaches forth with its mind, and Orin, unable to resist the call, felt the creature search through his mind for something. When he was finished, the creature rose, freeing himself of the ice that still cling to his body. Picking up the swor, he strode swiftly towards the wizard – and bent the knee.
“The Master is truly dead. You are the master of the Frozen Heart now,” it proclaimed.
Orin learned the creatures name was Valourax, and he stood on the planet Eox, sixth planet from the sun. Nochen Valmugen had been Valourax’s Master, and had traveled to Golarion aboard a corpse ship eons ago. Valourax has no master now, and the ravaged Golarion held little interest for the bone sages.
Valourax informed Orin of the Frozen Heart’s power – to commune with Valourax in the Black Citadel, to command undead loyal to the bone sages, and to communicate telepathically with any creature he could desire. “Your mind cannot be compelled by us,” Valourax said. “I can only request your attention.”
Thanking the giant undead knight, Orin excused himself and returned to his body at last. He informed the party of Titanis’ location, but kept the revelations of Eox – and the Frozen Heart – to himself as the party was interrupted by a commotion outside.
Irthelia has returned with a decision to not travel to Tzim’chevaghol by dragonflight. Instead, she would take them to the Mage of Planes, the last mortal on Golarion who could still teleport beings safely.
Diverting their course now to Numeria – to the formations Hudson identified as Scrapwall – our heroes departed Skywatch atop dragonback. They arrived at a summit in the Icerime Peaks shortly after. Irthelia landed at the base of the peak, and granting Astrid a draconic horn of summoning, bade Astrid complete the journey on foot.
At the summit, our heroes discovered an ancient caldera. Contained within its center, almost entirely in status, was the body of a blu-ish silver dragon. Blood dropped from its body, gathering in a pool below to form something few mortals see: a magic ley line.
Their observations were interrupted by Kelvennan Duskwalker. A powerful summoner, still without his eidolon Malam, if indeed Malam ever truly was his eidolon, Kel was now known as the Mage of Planes. Old, weathered and wise, he promised the party an ability to teleport them anywhere they could envision.
Before they left, Kel granted Hudson a special gift in remembrance of their first meeting, so many years ago: a bracelet of friends. Hudson graciously accepted the gift.
Their plans set, our heroes readied themselves. Drawing on the incredible power of the nearby ley line, Kel drew forth a portal to distant Numeria. Our heroes entered, hearts ready.
They were going to save Titanis.