Fiendish Semi-Human Assistants: Lynn, Mike
Having said farewell to Ashton in Westgate, Devan decided it was time to see what her old mentor Meg was up to. Asking around, she finally found some people who had heard of Meg in the Lizard's Tooth tavern. One of these was a goth-boy from the Theatre of Pain (an orgainization first encountered in Freeport) named Morden. Another was a monk named Bakhar. He was looking for a relic of his order which he believed had been stolen by Meg.
Morden, after some conversation followed by rough questioning from Bakhar, revealed that Meg had obtained some lead tablets inscribed with demon-summoning information for them. These tablets were then stolen from the Theatre, apparently by the summoner Calembrin, who lived in a tower on the Ashen Plain. The Theatre wanted to hire Meg to steal the tablets back, but had not been able to find her.
Then Morden was attacked by cloaked figures with glowing eyes and distorted dog-like features. He tried to escape, but was incinerated in his tracks by their fire breath. Devan and Bakhar were able to slay them, but couldn't save Morden. At this point they were approached by Brenner, a ranger who had explored the Ashen Plains and could guide them to Calembrin's tower, for a fee. In addition to his own fee, Brenner also extracted considerable payment for provisions and weapons.
Brenner led them into the Ashen Plains. After a long trip during which they had to buy more provisions from the ranger, and fighting off a pack of small but savage reptilian humanoids which Brenner called "char fiends," they found Calembrin's tower. Multicolored lights were flashing overhead and inhuman screams echoed across the plain. Monstrous winged forms soared in and out of the crumbling structure. Devan and company decided to keep their distance for a while.
Late the next day, they finally decided it was safe to have a look around. Brenner disappeared at about this point. As the sun went down, they noticed a strange bluish radiation and the shadows fell longer and deeper than what seemed right. Turning a few corners in the maze-like ruins led them into what almost looked like an alley, and another turn opened that alley into a dark city street. Devan looked back to find no trace of the ruined tower; and Bakhar was gone.
The sky was a deep, starless black, and even normal lights in the city seemed subdued. The inhabitants themselves seemed somehow dimmed as well, usually speaking in hushed voices and wrapped in dark, heavy cloaks. The rusting steel frameworks of giant ruined buildings towered above. Devan encountered a lost goth-boy and a jaded ex-paladin (*NAME*) who informed her that she was in Qalidar, a confluence of ruins deep in the Plane of Shadow.
With *NAME*'s help, Devan made contact with the mysterious armored creatures commonly known as the Tradesmen. The Tradesmen informed her that Meg was being imprisoned on Coil for breach of contract. They didn't explain what Coil was, but said that Meg could be reached from a place called the Mauve Room. *NAME* said that this was a gathering place of mind flayers and other horrible things, but they went anyway.
The Mauve Room wasn't so much a room as an area defined by several crumbling stone walls and a towering steel building skeleton. It was even darker and quieter than the rest of the city. A bar in one of the corners served weird drinks to an assortment of tentacled monsters. As *NAME* had said, some of them were mind flayers. There were also several Tradesmen in the crowd. Deeper into the area there was the single untarnished wall from which the place took its name. The wall appeared at first to be black marble but, as they continued to look at it, swirling violet patterns became apparent, forming disturbing shapes and sickening color blends.