The Sixth Plague
Six lay atop a ziggurat in the Dreaming Jungle, and our heroes stood ready to intervene and save him. The lizardmen were already chanting, and so the Federation Lords stormed the ziggurat. Yet as soon as they were spotted, the lizardmen plunged daggers into Six’s heart, killing the dragonborn. Mysteriously, as he died, his body turned to stone – and then it exploded with the power of the Orb of Acid, evidently now attuned to him. The blast showered the platform with acid, knocking many of the lizardmen aside.
Seven and Sortan teleported to the ziggurat’s summit, hoping to save Six. It was yet too late for the dragonborn, but now the struggle was on. Seven lizardmen sorcerers fought with four Federation Lords – Draven’s magic and Ronah’s arrows providing ranged support while Seven and Sortan fought the lizardmen directly.
The lizardmen took to the skies with magical wings, and four of them, already injured, drew forth magical stones. Crushing them in their hands, they disappeared, teleporting away.
The three left behind did not last long and fell to Draven’s spells and Seven’s weapon. Surveying the battle scene, they realized Six was dead and turned to look upon the distant crater, at the center of the island.
Seven ziggurats, miles apart, surrounded a vast crater filled with blinding white light – likely the center of One’s ritual. Seven draconic statues surrounded the light – or did, for the statue nearest the ziggurat on which Six was slain was now crumbled to dust.
Draven recovered the magical teleportation stones from the slain lizardmen then pointed out where he had seen them reappear – on a distant ziggurat, the next one in the formation.
Realizing it likely that each ziggurat was guarded by more lizardmen or the Plagues themselves, the Federation Lords decided to head off the lizardman and travel to the ziggurat beyond the lizardmen’s destination.
Above them, a gryphon rider struggled against a drake. Draven summoned an illusion to get the rider’s attention, and with Ronah’s arrows giving him cover, the rider was able to evade the drake and land atop the ziggurat. The Federation Lords tasked him with scouting the area and meeting them at their destination ziggurat. Sortan dispatched Ronah to ride with the gryphon rider, providing him cover with her unerring aim. Then the Federation Lords gathered together, and Draven crushed the magical stone – and they found themselves suddenly standing atop a new ziggurat.
And waiting atop the altar was the Fourth of the Seven Plagues.
The Fourth Plague
Sortan drew his weapon immediately, having faced Four previously. Yet Draven was even quicker to act, drawing forth a pouch from Four’s belt with his telekinetic magicks – a pouch containing the Orb of Ice.
Four responded like lightning, jumping from the altar to strike at Draven. Yet Sortan intervened, removing the Orb into the bag of holding. And so Four attacked Sortan without mercy, his fists and feet as strong and deadly as any weapon. He could not avoid Seven’s own strikes, however, nor Draven’s spells, and on the verge of death, Sortan unleashed his righteous fury, smiting the weakened Four, and striking him.
Yet the moment Sortan’s blade plunged into Four’s chest, the Orb exploded within the bag of holding, and the distant statue, far out in the crater, crumbled to the ground.
And that was when the Federation Lords realized the island was floating in the air – and still rising.
The Island Rises
The island was rising, but the battle was nearly over for the armies of the Federation. The gryphon riders at last won the day in the air, and so they descended to aid the Federation Lords, Ronah among them. Seeking more answers, they returned to the beach head where Draven’s shae allies remained – though it was now more cliff than beach.
The shae had captured one of the lizardmen at the Shadow Gate, but he had little to share. They did learn, however, of the eight Blood Kings who ruled over them. The eighth refused One’s rule and so was slain. But the rest served him, and were almost certainly the lizardmen the Lords of the Federation had fought atop the ziggurat.
It seemed uncertain now how they were to stop One. Killing the Seven Plagues seemed to only increase his power – the death of Six and Four seemed to achieve the same end, yet the former was desired by the Blood Kings. Draven realized that the Blood Kings were nonetheless executioners of One’s will, and so they must be stopped.
The heroes boarded the gryphon riders once more, again taking Ronah with them, as well as several shae, and flew back towards the ziggurats – and their confrontation with the Blood Kings.
The Last Blood King
The ziggurat stood empty, but Draven suspected it was merely a ruse. Directing Sortan to where the invisible Blood Kings lay in wait, the drow used his own magic to reveal the location of one. They disembarked the gryphons and set to battle.
It soon became clear that the Blood Kings were single-minded in their intent to kill Seven. Seven’s death here, it would seem, would fulfill the ritual, just as Six and Four’s death had. Yet the kings failed, falling to the assault, until only one remained. This one, the shae held captive, and Sortan bargained with an oath to set him free in order to learn the truth of One’s ritual.
One, it seemed, was intent on becoming a god himself, and intended to sacrifice all of the Plagues to achieve this end. This fact, it seemed, was lost on those still loyal to One (the Fifth, Third and Second).
Desperate to prevent more slaughter that would only fulfill One’s own objectives, the Federation Lords decided to attempt parlay with Two. Still bitter over Draven’s betrayal, Sortan coldly remarked that perhaps Draven would best serve to this end – one traitor convincing another to betray. Draven was less than amused by the remark, and indeed felt his friendship, and the intent of his confession, betrayed by Sortan’s bitterness. And so Draven gave the word, and the shae executed the last Blood King.
His oath broken, Sortan drew on Draven, only barely missing the fetchling. A tense standoff ensued, as the shae moved to aid their lord, Ronah stepped to back up Sortan, and Seven stood aghast, uncertain of how to choose between friends.
After a tense debate, which solved little, Sortan resolved to be done with the fetchling lord. Yet it was Seven’s rebuke that stopped the paladin’s flight, for there was no time for strife when One threatened to destroy all life on Golarion.
Reluctantly, Sortan remained with the group, and they once again took flight with the gryphon riders, heading for a confrontation with second-most-deadly of the Plagues.