Using Durzo’s skills of stealth and infiltration, it takes little effort to enter the Caldera compound under the cover of night.
The adventurers, accompanied by Kurlot Lanner, meet more resistance than they expected once they get in as soldiers pour out of a hidden door somewhere on the stairwell.
Tracing the soldiers back through the secret door, they find a hidden labortory type complex hidden in what is presumably the basement area. The complex contains six locked, glass-fronted rooms within which are various things of interest.
The First Room
In the first room is a strange pillar or statue of crystal. When the adventurers eventually unlock all of the rooms, the statue seems to come to life and made a break for it, escaping from the complex.
Orryn suspects that the crystal statue was always “alive” and was, in fact, a shardmind, a member of a rare sentient crystaline race.
(A few days later the adventurers will read in the local newspaper of a murder. Close to where the body was found, guards also found a strange pile of crystal, the description of which matched that which the shardmind was composed of. Perhaps that is a good lead in finding out more about the creature.)
The Second Room
In the second room, Aerie Taiel is being held captive although she is, seemingly, well looked after.
The Third Room
At first glance, the third room contains only a weird mist. When the doors are all unlocked, however, the mist pours out into the main floor of the labratory. When Iris tries to explore the room in which the mist orignated, she is attacked by a creature hidden within the mist.
The adventurers figure out that the mist is eerily like the dead grey mists of the Mournland and that the creature itself is secreting it.
When the monster is eventually defeated and the mist surrounding it dispates, the adventurers can finally get a good look at it. It resembles a white-furred ape, and is about 7 feet tall. Tendrils of dead-gray mist unwind from its fur and had been concealing it in a cloud of fog. Its eyes are blank white orbs, its mouth is full of long, sharp teeth and four curling horns jut from its skull.
On inspection, the party identify it as a Mourning Haunt – a demon with a peculiar connection to the Mournland. No one knows whether they originated from demons that were in Cyre at the time of the Mourning, or if the Mourning had effects that reached far beyond Cyre to touch even the Abyss. Some say that every event in the world has echoes and reflections in the other planes, and that the Mourning haunt is such an echo. Perhaps instead, Mourning haunts are somehow related to whatever caused the Mourning.
The salvage teams of Caldera must have captured a Mourning Haunt on their last expedition to the Mourneland and brought it to Wroat for experimentation. Not only was it dangerous within itself but who knows what overarching consequences that letting such a creature live could have had for wider Breland. Could such a thing bring about the second Mourning?
The Fourth Room
In this room a dead body lies across a medical examination table.
It appears to be an elf male dressed in clinical robes – his nation unknown although his skin doen’t appear to be pale enough to be one of the Aerenal or tanned enough to be Valenar. His entire body is covered in what appear to be gouges and scorch marks, as if he has been prodded continually by some kind of branding iron. It’s not a usual branding iron however – it leaves a random shape, maybe vaguely circular or in the shape of the given mark. The marks on the body are of a very precise shape – like a crescent moon but with clearly defined edges and points. This wasn’t brutal torture – it was exact testing of some kind.
The Fifth Room
Held in an entropc shield in the centre of the fifth room is a longsword which the adventurers eventually discover holds the spirit of a white dragon named Shivli.
Long ago, an ancient dwarven warrior came across a hurt baby dragon on the icy plains of the Frostfell. He tried to nurse it back to health but nothing worked. When the dragon was close to death, the warrior had a ritual cast to bind the dragon’s spirit into his weapon.
Orryn recalls some information on the Frostfell -
North of Khorvaire, beyond the icy coldness of the Bitter Sea, the barren Frostfell covers the top of the world. This land of perpetual winter is locked in ice and snow. Sometimes, when winter gets the upper hand, storms blow out of the Frostfell and temporarily turn other regions into semblances of this frozen waste. The dwarves believe they originated in this frozen land, and legends of strange monsters, unrestrained demons, and hordes of undead are featured in tales of the Frostfell. The only known expedition to reach the ice plains and snow-covered peaks and return to tell the tale was led by Lord Boroman of the Wayfinder Foundation. More often, the Frostfell sends bitterly cold winds, snowstorms, and great icebergs to punish the southern lands.
The Sixth Room
In the sixth room is the Siberys dragonshard known only as The Seventh.