Bidding a farewell to their allies in Torch, the Torchbearers departed for Iadenveigh, a large and self-sufficient town built by staunch worshipers of Erastil. The Torchbearers tookpains to hide their technology on their persons, as Iadenveigh was well-known as a town of technophobes. A scarecrow made from an eviscerated robot communicated as much at the gates of the city.
Iadenveigh was everything an Erastillian could hope for: farms and their crops covered most of the land inside its tall walls, people all relied upon one another for the various crafts and professions to keep the town running, the town was watched over by the Banner of the Stag (a more militant Ersatillian branch), and they welcomed those they deemed safe and considerate with open arms. For all the idyllic farmlands and kind neighbors, even Iadenveigh had uniquely Numerian problems. The Tochbearers learned as much when they visited the town’s council building, the High Home.
Greeting the heroes first was a local hunter named Redfang. With his bright red teeth, he was a kinder precursor to the dangers that plagued Iadenveigh. A friendly but cautious ally, he inquired to the purpose of the heroes. The Torchbearers assured him that they meant no harm, and indeed were hoping to root out technology that the Technic League may come looking for. Redfang approved, but apologized that he could not realistically trust such claims at face value from a group of armed strangers. He asked that they help him with two problems around town.
The first problem was that the people of Iadenveigh had not heard from Jevik, an eccentric farmer. Upon investigation, it became clear that the man had been murdered by something large and strong. A large, mutated bear called a yaoguai in his orchard was put down soon after.
The second problem was that he suspected, along with Ealdorman Ivek Gunnett, that a Technic League spy was operating in Iadenveigh. They hadn’t made suspicions public so as to avoid alerting the spy or instigating a needlessly violent manhunt from the relatively prejudiced populace. They knew only a few things; first, a group of hunters shot a bird that they later found out was mechanical in nature and was carrying a message that spoke of technological ruins below Iadenveigh. Second, the mutations of Badwater were mentioned in the message to the League. finally they guessed that if their was a spy that they’d be a new arrival, and while most newcomers stayed at the High Home as guests, there was also a group of Varisians staying in a local lumberyard, owned by a kindly man who often rented out the space to travelers.
The family that ran the area of Badwater’s quarry assured the heroes that they had nothing to do with the water going foul, but the youngest boy then produced something he found while exploring: a finger cymbal, an instrument most commonly used by Varisian dancers.
The Varisians greeted the heroes with worry and suspicions, not wanting to simply oust one of their own as any kind of spy. In that moment, the real spy, Ilarris Zeleshi, attempted to sneak from the camp. She was quickly found by the perceptive Torch Bearers and captured before she could escape.
ilarris was brought before the authorities and Redfang, and the next morning she was hanged.
As promised, Redfang introduced the Torchbearers to the council. The aging but considerate council asked the Torchbearers to help them with recent problems. Their main water source, in specific places, had been poisoned. They understood it was a strange affliction called radiation, and it was causing mutations among the flora and fauna in the area, making mutant attacks more common. The council understands that a buried wreck from the stars may be under their home, but have taken pains to conceal its existence from the rest of the town. They explain that a man was torn apart by a cloud of light,and that they can follow this cloud into a well with a large keystone atop it. The Torchbearers accepted their request.
Beneath the well indeed was a cloud of light, seemingly constructed from hundreds if not thousands of tiny metal creatures working together. The crashed ship contained records of a man visiting before the heroes, but before the Torchbearers could go deeper, they were accosted by a horrifying sight. Androids with hunched backs, mismatched facial features, greasy green hair, and simplistic intelligence attacked the heroes from the dark of the ship. Grenades flew in large numbers, and from the deeper dark another, more sinister android assaulted the PCs with pistol of super-cooled energy blasts.
Radika met her end by the grenades of the androids, but the defective androids were pushed back and killed.
The ship seemed to house an android creche, where the androids were being crafted. The machine was broken down from its thousands of years of inaction, but seemed to have been reactivated and spitting out new androids in a deformed and imperfect state.
When the heroes recuperated outside the ship and payed their respects to their fallen comrade, they were approached by a member of the Banner of the Stag, Chase. He offered his services to the Torchbearers while they were working around Iadenveigh. They welcomed his help.
Near the back of the ship, the heroes came across a collection of unique gearsman who demanded that they give them the body of “the traitor Casandalee”. Unable to oblige, and not feeling particularly beholden to the robots, the Torchbearers simply attacked and destroyed the gearsman.
Beyond the gearsman was a control room where the Torchbearers restored power to the ship. Little else of interest was in the room, but the heroes were greeted by a voice in the room. The voice came from an invisible creature named Sahasho. He explained that a man named Furkas Xoud conjured him to serve him and came to the ship months before to investigate for technology. The man was apparently very excited to find the body of an android in this room, and told Sahasho to remain here until he returned. Sahasho had been waiting for quite some time and the wizard had not returned to collect him or anything from the ship. The Torchbearers promised the invisible stalker that they could get him home in exchange for the information.
Finally, the Torchbearers came across the root of the problem, a collection of vats that held toxic substances that were leaking above into the lake of Badwater. With a few keystrokes from Mattias the vats were cleared of toxins and the problem was solved. Badwater’s poisons cleared up and the mutations stopped.
The council thanked the Torchbearers heartily, and sent them on their way with gifts. The Torchbearers’ next clues took them to the Smokewood, a thick patch of forest known for a strange building known as the Choking Tower, the home of a strange wizard obsessed with smoke and gases. This tower, they hoped, would hold more clues to the whereabouts of Casandalee.
The Smokewood held its own challenges, with the first being a clever coven of hags attempting to lure the PCs into saving a lost maiden, who turned out to be a member of the coven as well. Giants also set up camp in their path, and had buried a large security robot in the earth. All these threats were cleared before the heroes found themselves at the foot of the Choking Tower. The colossal building stood among the tall trees and spewed dark smoke above the treeline. Built of metals bolted in exacting fashion, the structure was a prize of a wizard’s tower.
The main occupant still dwelt inside, but not in the form that was expected. Furkas Xoud still existed, but as a smokey ghost, with strange powers over gases and dangerous magic at his disposal. The Torchbearers clashed with him several times in their ascent of his tower. Inside they found level after level of abandoned and forgotten experiments from the wizard’s expired life. His living staff had left his tower, leaving behind only automatons or more animal-like creatures to take care of the tower. Robots capable of wielding magic, arumvoraxes, outsiders with smoke powers, and even an animated crane stood in the heroes’ way. The heroes even managed to saved a trio of azers who had been forced to continue working even though Xoud hadn’t checked in in a long time. They were sent back to Torch to tend the flame atop the Black Hill, seeing as the fires would bring them no harm. They found the work would be its own reward.
The basements of the tower proved no kinder, and even carried some surprises. A bound daemon, an enormous wind tunnel, and a shrine to Zyphus turned out to be the least of the worrying things found below the Tower however. A strange and dark creature called a worm that walks was found imprisoned by Xoud. The shifty man inside the worms asked to kindly be released, having no desire to remain while Xoud taunted him in his imprisonment. Leery of the creature, the Torchbearers still agreed to free him if he told them about the tower. He told them of a prized robot that Xoud held in his deepest sanctum, one that could supposedly take the thoughts from one’s brain. The worm, calling itself Nargin, thanked the heroes for their time, and left for the Worldwound, to find his past and meet it with force.
Behind an impressive door of alien technology and metalworking, the heroes finally found Xoud’s body, long ago burned into a crisp, with the body of an android woman lying on a table before him, her head sliced open.
The robot that Nargin mentioned still remained in the chamber, and found the heroes as tempting targets for its thought-harvesting. The robot was brought low, and the Torchbearers seemed at a lost as they looked on the body of who must have been Casandalee.
As luck would have it, Furkas Xoud has a conversation with her before his untimely demise from a swarm of aggressive nanites within the android’s bloodstream. In a small recording device, they found that Casandalee spoke of a threat to Numeria, and indeed to all of Golarion, within the Silver Mount. She spoke of an entity that she once worshipped as a god within a machine. She explained that this entity that called itself Unity, and that while it may have preached that it sought to unite all people, it truly desired to rule all with an egotistical fist. But this was no mere megalomaniac, this being had power, and the ability to back up its desires. If it was not stopped, all would bow to the Iron God Unity.