With little other option, the Torchbearers made plans to make for the Felldales, where Casandalee supposedly hid her mind to escape the wrath of an entity she called Unity. Unity, she told them, was some kind of god that granted powers to those who worshiped them, much like Hellion from Scrapwall.
Upon returning to Torch, it was clear that the heroes were certainly not alone in their desire to free Numeria. The ranks of the Torchbearers organization had grown twice over, and soldiers with a symbol of a burning flame held in a sconce patrolled the streets and roads. While Meyanda took the reins in training the new troops, Khonnir Baine worked to keep the base of operations up and running.
The citizens of Torch were excited to hear more of the heroes’ exciting adventures, but the story-telling had to wait. As Unity surely grew in power, Casandalee was their best source of knowledge regarding the Silver Mount and its dangers. After some preparation, and a few goodbyes, the Torchbearers set out for the Scar of the Spider, one of the most notorious locales of the Numerian badlands.
The journey was made simple by the aid of Longdreamer, who happily transported the heroes without easy flight methods. Though she refused to join the heroes within the Scar itself, claiming she felt unnatural presences within. Taking the hint, the heroes stepped lightly.
The first sign of trouble came when the heroes passed by a destroyed robot of immense size. Sporting four large spider-like limbs and a metal scorpion tail, this could have only been an annihilator robot, one of the most deadly known variants of automatons in Numeria. It had suffered extensive electrical and fire damage, and its core had to be made stable to avoid explosion, but the heroes became only more wary.
The canyon of the Scar was not strange upon entering. A chance encounter with a mad druid broke up the monotony. The druid, calling himself Mad Paeytr, spoke of creatures not of Golarion deeper in the Scar, calling them the Butchers. He told them that he had escaped their horrific tortures and their dark ally, the “flayer.” The druid’s ramblings continued as he shared fruit that had been grown in the strange influence of the Scar that poisoned as often as they provided aid both understandable and not.
He told the heroes of a small group who distrusted machines to the south, a dark man with the “stink of the rifts” on him, and a four-armed woman who hunted the Butchers. While he did not trust the dark man, he knew that the four-armed woman had blown up one of the annihilators and sent the other home to its Butcher masters injured. The heroes could do little for him at the moment, but resolved to heal his mind as well as his body one day. Paeytr remained in his cave as the heroes left, continuing his quest of purifying the Scar for good.
The machine-despising humanoids turned out to be a strange cult of technology-hating androids. Paradoxes themselves, they saw the dangers of technology as a kind of anathema to life, and sought only to remove tech from the world. While they made no small effort to destroy the technology held by the heroes, the Torchbearers talked down the zealous androids from fighting. Not pleased by the heroes, but unable to offer no respects of peaceful and friend folk in dark places, they left the heroes to their own devices. They offered what few supplies they could to remove the otherworldly influence in the Scar, but made little other effort to help the “blasphemous” heroes.
After cutting their way through a copse of trees that turned out to be aliens in horrid disguise, the heroes came across a cave system. Inside they found tunnels that lead to what appeared to be a garbage chamber filled with simple scrap and skymetal debris. The chamber lead to curiously precisely cut tunnels of more skymetal. After cutting down several small flying robot guardians, the heroes stepping into the worked tunnels. They had been sculpted with great care and skill, and were guarded by human-resembling machines. The master of the machine caves was a large reclamation robot named Binox. Binox spoke of an era of machine-like perfection, and all things would conform to Unity’s grand designs. Upon hearing Unity’s name, the heroes felt little sympathy as they attacked Binox. Binox was slain, and several technological treasures in Binox’s horde were collected.
On their way out of the caves, the heroes encountered a strange woman. She had a tall skull and pale skin, two pairs of arms, an impressive suit of aurumvorax-pelt armor, and a fine Numerian rifle that spit cold bolts like a polar wind. She invited them to her small cavern to rest.
Her name was Isuma, and she had woken up in the Scar of the Spider only a month before. She had been pulled from slumber by the same Butchers who had experimented on Paeytr. Her and four allies had been found in capsules buried beneath the dirt, but she was a last one freed. Her four friends had been taken as body-slaves by hideous creatures that had scooped out their brain-matter to make room for themselves. As she escaped with a few recovered weapons, Isuma swore vengeance on the creatures that had taken the only remaining kin she had on an unfamiliar world, and pleaded that the heroes’ help her in this quest for justice. She found ready allies in the Torchbearers.
In the forests the heroes met a stranger with stranger features. A tiefling named Hyrsek Caio greeted the PCs with disarming civility. While he was difficult to read, he was eventually forced to admit his motives. He had come to the Scar of the Spider on a job from the Technic League. His job was to search for a member of the League named Therace, who had led an expedition into the Scar and hadn’t reported in some time. Hyrsek was tasked with finding the expedition, or what was left of it, and return to the League with whatever he could find. Seeing that the heroes were of a capable sort, he offered to help them on their own expedition if they would help him with his. Apprehensive, the Torchbearers agreed to take him along for a while.
With Isuma and Hyrsek at their side, they discovered a sickening cave system that was not settled by the Butchers, but another faction that had followed them across the stars, the Mi-Go. The terrifying fungus-insects had dug in to fight the Butchers, but their presence was as welcome as the Butchers was. The heroes and Isuma performed two assaults on the caverns. They cut through simple mi-go soldiers, their towering gug allies, and their fell priest-commander. All their dark knowledge and power was not enough to stop the Torchbearers from lighting the caves.
At the back of the mi-go nest, the Torchbearers discovered a human brain placed inside a kind of life-support device. The brain could still speak to them, and told them he was Therace, a member of the League. His expedition was found by the mi-go before they could send any reports, and the rest of his team was likely long gone. Hyrsek received permission from the heroes to return Therace to the League, and took the brain with him.
As they journey deeper, the heroes found an undead gunslinger with a grudge, an alien color that infected the creatures and land it touched, and finally came upon the Butcher’s dropship. The “ship” was more of an organism, living tissue that propelled itself and its many strange guardians through space and landed on Golarion with a collection of Neh-Thalggu pilots and soldiers who had colonized the caverns beyond the ship.
The ship’s mind, calling itself “The-Stars-Whisper”, greeted the heroes and even armed them for the coming battle with the Domion of the Black’s agents. The-Stars-Whisper despised the Domion for constructing him only to have his ship-body rot around him when the voyage was over, and finally challenged the heroes in a fit of mad logic to test their ability to fight the Dominion.
After defeating and collecting Stars-Whisper (and transforming him into a petromin for safe-keeping) the Torchbearers finally approached the Dominion Hive alongside an anxious Isuma. The Hive quickly changed from rocky caverns to fleshy tunnels like the intestines of a large beast. The entrance was guarded by none other than the remaining annihilator robot, and it fell upon the heroes in a destructive surge of bullets and plasma.
Disgusted by the organic machines the Dominon seemed to grow rather than build, they eventually stumbled upon several kasatha, Isuma’s former comrades. The creatures residing in their skulls were ripped from the desecrated bodies and killed, and Isuma asked the heroes to stand vigil with her for one night over their graves, as per custom on Kasath.
Cutting their way past Neh-Thalggu soldiers, jellyfish-like wall decorations, an outer dragon controlled by a potent intellect devourer, and the “flayer”, a cruel kyton in service to Zon-Kuthon, the Torchbearers and Isuma finally came upon a small square device that was guarded by a zealous and hideous abomination, “Dweller in Dark Places,” and his golem servant constructed from the countless bones of Dominion test subjects.
The creatures of the Domion were wiped out of the Scar, and Torchbearers finally claimed the strange device. Upon activation, the device displayed the face of an android woman. This was Casandalee, and while grateful for her rescue, she had many things to tell the heroes. She feared the coming of Unity, and saw in the heroes a chance to make things right and stop his rise to power.
With two new friends and strange new pet, the heroes reunited with Longdreamer to return to Torch.