With the roar of thunder, a spiral of fire lances into the night sky above Westcrown. Its heights scar the clouds above, while its base blasts and burns one of the most infamous manors in the city—the mayoral residence known locally as Aberian’s Folly. As city guards rush to blockade streets leading into the blighted section of old Westcrown, panic grips the city by its tens of thousands of throats. It is not fear that the fires could spread that fuels Westcrown’s terror, nor the idea of riots that could erupt in the wake of such unexplained devastation. What lies heavy and ominious in Wiscrani minds are those longstanding rumors of a powerful devil’s prison being located below Aberian’s Folly. It is not a fear of a city-wide inferno that spreads through Westcrown, but the fear that Hell itself is belching its rage and children into reality.
Both yourself and other citizens rush to the streets, temporarily forgetting the peril of the shadow beasts that stalk its alleys and arterials, to gape in awe at the sight. You are confronted with a ball of fire and smoke rising into a mushroom-shaped cloud to the south.
Perhaps it is just Logen’s obsession with the infernal, but it seems like the fiery scene becomes even more sinister — as the ball of fire and smoke rises into the sky, it seems at times almost to resemble a leering devilish face, with eyes of hellfire and teeth of white-hot ash. The initial explosion is over soon enough, but what remains behind is even more unusual. Five pillars of fire, like stationary tornadoes of flame, spiral up into the sky around the explosion site, trailing into the clouds above and lighting the southern view with an infernal radiance.
Deciding to investigate this explosion your group rushes to the mayoral residence. However, while rushing toward Aberian’s Folly, Kaer’s tiefling vision picks notices the mayor hiding in a alley.
Aberian is in terrible condition—his clothes are filthy and torn, blood cakes his head and hands and stains his clothes here and there, and his expression is one of fear and persecution.
“I have something of dire importance to speak to you about before you take another step toward the ruins of my home. But first we must find somewhere safe to speak, it is not safe out here in the open.”
After returning to the Gold Goblin, the mayor begins telling you a tale of what occurred this night.
“I’m talking to you because I love this city. I know I’ve not been the best mayor, and those who hate me have plenty of reason to, but what’s happening up the hill will ruin everything. You’ve doubtless heard the rumors—that there’s a devil imprisoned under my home and its infernal power is the source of my manor’s extravagances. Those rumors are correct. The devil’s name is Liebdaga the Twin—he’s an infernal duke from Avernus, and the House of Thrune put him there. But now something’s gone wrong. I caught my majordomo, that bitch Crosael, trying to steal the contract that details the conditions of Liebdaga’s imprisonment from a hidden safe in my chambers, and now the ruins of my home are crawling with devils, thugs, diabolists, and worse. Seems Crosael’s more than she appeared—not only is she actually a damnable tiefling, but she’s been working for the Council of Thieves all this time!”
“What can you tell of this devil Liebdaga?” Logen asks
“Liebdaga is a pit fiend, and while the two previous mayors probably had ways to contact and communicate with him, the prospect of contacting a infernal duke of hell was always to frightening an idea for me, so I have never bothered attempting such communications. I am certain that Liebdaga is still imprisoned in the infernal engine, since otherwise the pit fiend would certainly have emerged to destroy Westcrown already. And since the devil is still imprisoned, there’s a chance to avert such a doom if someone can reach the engine and either defeat the surely weakened devil or repair the engine so he cannot escape.” Aberian says with some hope.
“Based on what I know of Pit Fiends, I don’t think we can survive an encounter with one, so what can you tell of about repairing this Infernal engine?” Murgash asks
“I don’t know how to fix it, all I know is the infernal engine is running out of control, but I must place my hopes in the belief that you will be able to figure it out once they reach it. I know some information about the nature of the infernal engine, though, I mostly learned this from a reading of Liebdaga’s contract.” Aberian explains.
“Contract?” Sofia asks.
“Yes, it is the contract originally created by the House of Thrune. It is what that bitch Crosael and her masters in the Council of Thieves wanted.” Aberian says.
Aberian takes out a contract from his jacket and points out a section of the contract that mentions what could be a way to shut down the infernal engine safely. Somewhere in the Nessian Spiral are five “cooling pools,” where waters from the River Styx are drawn in from the Great Beyond to regulate the infernal energies drawn off of the pit fiend, and in the event of a “cataclysmic failure,” the flow of waters from the Styx can be shut off with the application of a device called a Stygian Keyrod once kept by the Spiral’s Keepers. Shutting off this flow of unholy water should throttle the engine’s energy output, and while this could cause the engine to falter and fail, it is a much preferred solution than the destruction of the engine and subsequent release of its occupant.
“I would be willing to sign partial ownership of the contract over to you. It might help you bypass certain guardians or maybe even help against Liebdaga if it comes down to a fight.”
Looking over the contract you attempt to see if the contract has hidden clauses that could be used against the you but the language is too complex for you to be sure whether any clauses might affect you should you sign. You do notice that the contract closes with a notation that “This contract remains binding and legal for all perpetuity so as long as the consigned component of the infernal engine be a viable source of power, as witnessed here by Signatory Vaccha, Kolyarut of the Scriptures of Adamantine.”
“We need to think about that. What can you tell of about the guardians we might face and anything about the Nessian Spiral?”
“I only entered the first couple of chambers in the Nessian Spiral and only had dealings with the Tunnel Rats..er..the tieflings that lived in indentured servitude in the dungeons below the manor. These tieflings were responsible for cleaning the complex, making minor repairs and general upkeep, and guarding against intrusion. They took up the task semi-voluntarily, having been offered the job by the House of Thrune as a way to work off a ‘debt to society for being an otherwise inexcusable stain on the purity of the Chelish race.’ Tieflings who assumed the role of a Spiral’s Keeper and spent 20 years servicing an infernal engine were to be paid a healthy fee and be granted citizenship—otherwise, they would be kept as slaves for life by the House of Thrune. Of course,” Aberian adds with only a hint of rue and shame, “those tieflings who did serve were never allowed to fulfill their 20 year contract. They were packed off to parts unknown by Thrune agents, I assume, to be enslaved elsewhere or simply exterminated. In any case, the Westcrown infernal engine has been in operation for close to 70 years. The tieflings currently serving there are the fourth generation of Spiral Keepers, and I remember when Thrune agents arrived to install them and take the old ones away. In particular, he recalls the tiefling priest who Thrune had selected to be the commander of the Keepers. Veladness, a dark-eyed, evil-looking mongrel with glowing spidery stripes along the sides of his head and whose grating voice sent chills down the my spine. I stayed out of the inner workings of the place, and left the shipments of food and supplies to the tieflings to his majordomo, Crosael. I believe Stygian Keyrod you’ll need to help deactivate the infernal engine’s cooling pools is likely to be in Veladness’s possession, but dont trust that tiefling. Something about that one still makes my skin crawl.”
“I guess my advice to you is avoid the thieves and devils and make your way into the Nessian Spiral, find the key rod to shut down the Stygian Cooling Chambers, and then make your way to the Spiral’s center to banish or even destroy the pit fiend, certainly weakened by its long imprisonment as a fuel source, before he can regain his power and escape. Now, if there is nothing else, I must make ready to depart this city.”