By some miracle, Aysel remained alive from Birdfood’s relentless assault. A deep breath was shared by all. Birdfood’s supplies were ransacked and his head was mounted on Baqir’s pick as they sauntered back to report their success to Sevroth Slaid. Not a soul remained on the street for long when a they saw a smiler’s head carried by the new folks in town.
The Steel Hawks were impressed and pleased by the heroes’ prowess, and they promised their support in the future. They had a made a swift friend in Scrapwall, but they would not be the last.
Landing on a window frame at the Steel Hawk’s guardhouse was a curious device: a small, mechanical bird. It played back a scratchy sound of a woman’s voice, that asked them to come to the Clockwork Cathedral to the north. With few other leads to go on, and a need of allies in one of Numeria’s least hospitable locales, they decided to follow the bird’s message.
The Clockwork Cathedral was a noisy cave of turning gears. A large wall made of gears, as well as gear-shaped doors greeted the heroes. As they called for the resident of the Cathedral, a large golem in the shape of Brigh, but built from scrap metals and trash, attacked them. The golem was destroyed, and an annoyed half-elven woman approached from a workshop further in, grumbling.
The strange and straight-forward woman introduced herself as Dinvaya, a cleric of Brigh. She greeted the heroes and asked for/demanded their assistance. She offered her Cathedral as a place to rest between scrapes in Scrapwall, and offered what little healing services she could to keep the alive. She knew of Hellion, the being that ruled Scrapwall with the help of the Lords of Rust. She told them of the many current lords and ladys of Rust and what they may expect from them, and that they must exercise great caution in confronting any of them. Meyanda took a quiet liking to Brigh after the encounter, and remained at the Cathedral for some time, finding a new faith in a goddess who was also half-flesh and half-built.
Scrapwall was never the same when a day ended for the heroes.
On their next day of conquest, they approached the Smilers’ base and slew every member inside, including the gang’s leader, Marrow. During their battles with lobotomized members of the gang and strange technological undead hybrids, they also rescued a ratfolk named Whiskifiss, who thanked them to the point of prostrating. He assured them that his sister, Redtooth, the leader of the Redtooth Raiders gang, would reward them for his safe return. Eager to make more friends in Scrapwall, Whiskifiss was returned to his concerned sister. Redtooth quickly saw the value in new and strong friends in Scrapwall, and thanked the heroes for unintentionally taking the down the gang that had most harassed the Raiders in Scrapwall. She offered her den as a resting place and a few technological items as a reward. Redtooth also shared that they may be able to get into the Lords of Rust’s basemost easily if they are invited themselves. She suggests several ideas for gaining scrapworthiness, including slaying or driving off a mutant manticore that occasional would scoop of Scrapwall’s residents, investigating and possibly claiming treasure from a haunted canyon in the norther tip of Scrapwall, and helping the Raiders strike a blow against Hellion by destroying a large tower of theirs.
The next day, the heroes indeed drove off the manticore, mutated by radiation, and claimed its small horde. They visited the dish tower and found the remains of one of Scrapwall’s late gangs, the Thralls of Hellion. The gang of all choker worshippers of Hellion was long dead, and the tower seemed empty. The tower did contain one mysterious inhabitant, an elusive and strange creature from beyond the stars. It stalked the heroes throughout the tower and finally attacked them as they tried to leave. It managed to escape after a quick battle, and it rocketed into the sky, never to be seen again. The heroes coordinated with the Raiders to plant explosives and destroy the tower, knocking down Hellion’s chance of siphoning more power from far-off sites.
The next day the heroes traveled to the haunted canyon, where they found a crashed starship through the necromantic fogs that clouded their vision and blocked the sun’s light int he canyon. The ship, surrounded by necromantic energies, held many long-dead occupants who did not sleep easy. Unquiet spirits, skeletal astronauts, and even a wraith in the form of the ship’s former pilot hungrily reached for the life the heroes held in them, and all were slain. A small device, containing the pilot’ final log, spoke of the ship’s final hours as it tumbled through Golarion’s clouds to meet its grim fate.
With friends beside them and the challenges of Scrapwall bested, they finally received a missive to visit the Scrapmaster’s Arena, the front door of the Lords of Rust’s home. The heroes accepted the challenge and found themselves before a crowd of Scrapwall ratfolk, humans, and orcs, cheering for their current champion, the master of the arena, and the face of the Lords of Rust, the ogre Helskarg. Her chariot pulled by ogre slaves rushed the heroes to the cheer of the crowds, but the heroes were quick and strong, and the mighty ogre was brought down to the dirt.
The base was all part of a large machine that had been buried beneath the earth for millennia, slowly being excavated by the Lords of Rust and their minions. Strange square panel lit up as the heroes entered, and their were greeted by a wrathful image of a strange fiend, and Hellion’s voice boomed through the panels. He mocked the heroes, but said eh would wait for them, and they would be brought to heel like all the other mortals he had met.
Hellion’s high priest, Nalakai, along with a group of acolytes were the first to fall, but the battle also proved that Hellion was no mere voice behind a screen. As the battle was fought, strange magic flew from a large projector that projected Hellion’s fearsome fiendish image. This being was something beyond a construct.
The second floor below the ground housed most of Hellion’s forces, who awaited the heroes’ attack. When the heroes found a large and strong door, their curiosity took over and they attempted to break it down. With a below, Hellion called all his forces down on the heroes. A troupe of orcs, ratfolk, darkfolk, and tiny robots fell upon the heroes as they broke down the door to the control room of the large machine-base. Surrounded on all sides, the heroes still held their own against the lesser foes.
Then the sounds of a loud, grinding chain filled the air. The lackeys cheered as Hellion’s second-in-command, Kulgara, stomped into the cramped halls of the machine-base, followed by an ettin named Draigs. Grenades flew, blades clashed, acolytes fell, but Kulgara would have her day. Her mighty and alien weapon helped her cut down Baqir, who she finished off in a gorey display. With their front line broken, as well as the heart of a surprised Meyanda, the heroes retreated to the Clockwork Cathedral, Hellion mocking their every step.
As fortune would have it, Baqir’s loss would be covered by support from Torch, an Jadwiga man by the name of Radika. He accompanied the heroes on their second foray into the base, whereupon a second mighty battle was fought, Kulgara nearly claiming everyone’s life a second time with her chainsaw. A desperate fight turned victorious with a final blow from Baqir’s own pickaxe. The mighty Kulgara had fallen, and the heroes ventured even deeper, into the caves surrounding the machine.
It became clear while outside the machine that it was not only an enormous vehicle, but a machine for digging. Journals from Kulgara and Nalakai suggested a plan hatched by Hellion. Once the machine had been excavated from the earth, it would be powered and reactivated to drive past Starfall, and bore into the side of the Silver Mount itself, where Hellion claimed an even greater being like himself dwelt. He wished to claim its strength, and become a rightful ruler of all life on Golarion. The final Lord of Rust, Zagmaander, struck a deal with heroes. They had Meyanda release her from this plane and she would leave peaceably after slaying a number of the guards ahead of the heroes. The deal was held and Meyanda sent her home with her new cleric powers from Brigh.
Now nothing stood between the heroes and Hellion, the Lord of Rust.
At the base of the digging apparatus, they finally found Hellion, in his robotic glory, inhabiting a large spider-like chassis. He cursed the heroes for wiping out his gang, and promised them that he would visit his retribution upon them for defying an Iron God.
The robot did seem blessed by something, laser weapons and claws were not Hellion’s only means of attack. Divine magic sprung forth from the construct, tearing at souls and constructing barriers, strengthening the chassis and even healing it. The battle was furious, and the heroes began to wonder if they truly faced a god. The chassis bent and broke, his magic eventually ran thin, but with exhausted heroes before him, he attempted an escape to plot revenge. In that moment the digging machine sprung to life. Lights switched on, engine began to hum, and the tools of the machine began to turn as if to dig further into the ground. The machine carried Hellion’s screaming chassis beneath the stone where it was crushed with the last ounce of the digging machine’s life. As Hellion’s screams faded, so to did that small amount of power Hellion had given the machine, and Meyanda’s hands fell from the controls.
The people of Scrapwall rejoiced as the heroes left the machine base, the reign of terror had ended, and now only the Redtooth Raiders and the Steel Hawks remained. They thanked the heroes and sent them on their way, with Meyanda and Dinvaya in tow. Sevroth and Redtooth began plans to merge the gangs to make Scrapwall a place worth living in.
The crusaders were overjoyed to hear that Scrapwall would give travelers less trouble, and they too wished safe travels to the heroes.
Torch’s council, likewise, was excited to hear that the threat posed by Hellion and his Lords of Rust was finally ended, and people in Torch could return to relative safety. The heroes had earned the nickname “Torchbearers,” a name that Khonnir encouraged as a symbol of hope in Numeria. He and Dolga agreed that they would be great boons to this country that was sorely in need of heroes.
A final entry in Kulgara’s journal, however, brought something new to the Torchbearers’ minds. In it, she mentioned that Hellion spoke of a “sister” of sorts. Not a second Iron God, but a fellow who knew of the threats within Silver Mount, one who also came away from the being hidden within, Unity. Calling her a “prophet of Unity”, he’d hoped to track her down and find something that she had stolen from Unity: a device known as a neurocam. It could record memories and even minds, and Hellion thought that it may contain information about Unity’s defenses within the Mount and, more importantly, it’s weaknesses.
Hellion had tracked Casandalee to a place called Iadenveigh, a town of Erastil worshipers, and was planning an investigation with Kulgara. It seemed that the Torchbearers had a new destination, i they hoped to deal with this threat from within one of Golarion’s most mysterious sites, and perhaps its most mysterious enemy.