Taking a teleportation circle should have been simple. Atar has traveled through plenty of them in his time. You step through circle A, you land in circle B.
I don't think he landed in circle B, because when Atar summoned me, I didn't see a circle anywhere. Was it destroyed? I don't know, I didn't even see traces of it. Everybody at least made it through with all of their bits and pieces intact, if a little bruised, so that was good! And judging by the uniforms that Sylas found in the locker, we'd even landed at the correct facility!
Facility 131. Our job is to recover a sliver, a magical artifact of some kind that the Indaites have been working on weaponizing. And so far, we've found the sliver... but we're not sure yet if anyone else in the facility is alive. Here's what we know.
First, there are these red ooze creatures, the Administrators. Alta told us NOT to touch them. We saw one on a pedestal in the room we arrived in, and another one in the dining hall. Their job is to give us information, but the one we spoke to was barely able to speak because of a power overload. Too much magic in the system, I think! They asked for ventilation.
We fished out one of the dead bodies - oh, there were dead bodies - and Ceres asked them some questions. That got us some directions and some goals: we needed to retrieve the sliver to open the north door using the 'keypad'.
The sliver was actually being kept in this chamber without any gravity, and Asteria's bird bounced off when they tried to grab it. That was pretty funny, not gonna lie. Alta went in and touched it with her sword, and then Asteria went in and scooped it up with one of the magic bracelets she found... and something attacked her on the way out! It was a sword made out of shadow. It actually ate one of Sylas's javelins, but it spat it out later when it was destroyed.
Imagine landing right in the room with the thing we were looking for, huh? How wild is that! When Asteria got it out of that no-gravity chamber, Atar took it from her and it actually turned into a giant rod of light, like a staff. I think it hurt his eyes for a bit, but he seems okay now.
Once the sliver was back in the main room, all the rectangles with messages went back to what's probably their normal state and started displaying normal messages on them. Asteria found one with a 'username' and a 'passphrase' on it -
forthelightshinesbright. That might be important later!
Anyway, we went through the north hall and met a lantern-ghost named Nym. They died when they were only three, I guess, and their father is Quor'landris, the Head Arcanist... who from what Nym said was probably our contact. I don't know if he's dead or alive. I have a bad feeling he might have been one of those bodies in the other room. Nym wanted to come with us. We grabbed Nym's favorite toy from one of the boxes in the next room and proceeded onwards.
That took us to the cafeteria, and there was some sort of weird light creature on our left and also a sealed chamber on our right which contained... I think it was probably one of the researchers, one of the drow, but transformed into some sort of light-being. And also the grate with the vents. But before we could look further into that, Sylas used his special senses and told us there were four undead present against the wall!
At the same time, Atar, Sylas, and Ceres all applied their anti-invisibity spells, and there was a battle with some shadows and that wobbly ball of light! Well, I say a battle, but Alta took out almost all of the shadows by herself. She was so fast! Atar wanted me to get into position for a fifteen-foot-cone but I didn't even get a chance because WHAM BAM PUNCH.
Atar tried to use a spell that would hurt the creature's mind, and I think it backfired. Better not use any magic that messes with their minds in the future! That might be really dangerous!
Once the big light-ball was dead, Asteria figured out how to use the magic rectangle to move the big metal crane arm around, and she pinned the light-being-drow to the wall with it. We took him down without much trouble, but he threw some beams of cold at us that looked like they could have been really painful if they had actually hit anyone.
Ceres found some sort of recorded message saved on one of the rectangles.
"It was us. It was always us. The reason the Sliver never responded was because of something in a Drow’s nature. We had a voyager join us and the Sliver awoke, thrumming with life and light and possibilities. The Administrator helped us ensure the voyager stayed around. The project is too important. We begin trials on our kind soon. We only need to venture underneath to find subjects. No one will miss them."
Oof. Ethical testing too hard to ask? No? Sheesh.
Once we were done listening to that message, we all left the glass chamber (which Atar told me is sealed with an extra wall of force!) and used the lever to open up the ventilation hatch! It did, and then we watched a ton of red ooze begin to burble up from inside! I guess we ventilated the Administrators, huh?