The Singers, now free of danger, proceeded to surround and confront the duergar they had forced into submission during their Welcome to Fauxcrest. Putting Alain on watch, Sasz, Valmir, Winward and Mark 9 pulled away to discuss their strategy. Realizing the duergar was injured, they made a decision to be careful, with Sasz standing by to address any health problems that arose during the enhanced interrogation.
The duergar, a foul mouthed rapscallion, soon earned the ire of Mark 9, whose metal backhand sent the duergar reeling in pain, and opened the line of questions. Through the skillful manipulation of mind and will, the Singers ascertained that Valmir did indeed work for Asmodeus, although they did not dig into the nature of the relationship. However, the duergar confided that Asmodeus was concerned regarding the Prophecy of Galaxis, and the Singers potential role in that conflict.
Questions from Valmir and Winward proved the duergar had no idea how to get out of the pocket dimension, as he had been cut off from his allies, and presumably the skills necessary to teleport out of the dimension. But, after coercion, he did explain how he was able to manipulate the illusions, which functioned as an inverse of a normal illusion. The secret was apparently to allow one’s self to believe the illusions were true, therefore granting a connection to them, and forcing the illusion under direct mental control.
The Singers cut their interrogation short to test this, unfortunately leaving many questions unasked. As they attempted to control and manipulate the nearby houses, they all failed in succession, which resulted in the party being teleported to the entrance of Fauxcrest once again. They were yet again greeted by the large hovering illusion of the Gorgori, which was pleased to see they had mastered the situation. It urged them to continue their quest to free themselves, and let them know it looked forward to seeing them in person. Winward tried to manipulate it, but it tossed him back and laughed.
Once started down the same worn paths, they saw recreations of all their earlier events, with the same individuals who had come and asked for their help before, which led into the first trap. Realizing that what they saw was an echoe of what had come before, the Singers made their way up to the beacon which had lit the darkness and gloom of Fauxcrest. Coming to a bridge, Winward manipulated it, which allowed them to cross the river safely, only to realize that they needed to go to the middle of the river. Thus, they transformed the bridge again, and walked onto the island.
Observing a large building, Mark 9 was able to determine that the locus of magical energy was centralized there. Instead of going in the front door, the Singers tore down the tower which hooked around the building, leading them to an empty room, with a door, some illusory furniture, and a switch. Pulling the switch, the mercenaries were granted access to another chamber, this one with a strange teleport device on the floor – the first real object they had encountered in the plane. While Mark 9 was unable to make it function, he recognized there were magical auras or power sources coming from nearby.
The party ventured into yet another room, and Valmir noticed a strange sigil on the floor, with an inscription in deep speech. None of them were capable of reading it, until Valmir manipulated the illusory sigils to “make sense,” leading to a very plain translation of “To activate the portal, remember to pull all the levers.” The Singer continued on, until they reached an illusory door, which they transformed into one way glass, allowing them to see through…to the back of what was likely a large throne.
Deciding they had had enough, the door was opened, and Mark 9 turned the throne into a trebuchet, with the hope that whatever was seated upon it would be trapped. Unfortunately, no one was seated upon it. In the room, they could see a weird rite being attended, with several strange figures working runed, floating circles. However, the creatures were caught by surprise, allowing the Singers to launch a blob of hellfire and acid into their midst, creating confusion, and killing one of the creatures outright, while visibly harming another.
However, Winward noticed several more creatures lurking in the shadows, and one descended from where it had been flying above. With such an entrance, the Singers had gained a temporary advantage, but the portal was still open and the battle was to begin in earnest…
(Oh, and the duergar? He got roped in along with them…)