I forgot to mention last time that during that time resting in the cart, Atar and the others picked through the stuff we got back in the facility and found some potions! That'll be relevant later.
Sooooo the Driver parked the cart and actually began taking the collars off of the slaves as we went up to the bridge to speak with the druids. We met the Voice of the Land and his two dryad companions. The Voice of the Land told us he was related to the woman in the box in some way, that she had great ties to the land itself, and that he wanted to perform burial rites on the body. He appeared not to trust the Driver at all, but was very courteous and patient with us as we went back and forth. We got the Driver to agree to let the druid perform burial rites... with the casket closed. Again, he told us, opening the casket would go really badly for everyone in the area. Ceres was getting increasingly frustrated that he refused to tell us why.
As Sylas and the others went to confirm with the druids that yes, to perform the burial rites they did need to see her body, Atar went to identify the casket with the Driver's permission. Atar figured out that there was a nondetection spell on the casket and he dispelled that, then identified it again. It had a gentle repose spell on it to keep the contents from becoming undead, an arcane lock, and also imprisonment was cast on whatever was inside. Atar figured, well, we really shouldn't open that casket. So he went back to try and convince the druids of that, but he couldn't. The Voice of the Land was determined to open it, even if he died in the process. The group was torn on what to do. Ceres really wanted to free whatever was in the casket and put it to rest. Sylas thought that if whatever it was got released, it was his responsibility to help deal with it, and if we just moved on and it got unleashed behind us, that would be his fault. Asteria just wanted to cause as little trouble as possible.
But when we went back to the Driver... He'd locked himself upstairs in the top of the cart! He left all his slaves outside and he just went and hid! So... Atar asked the slaves to follow him and brought them to the druids, and the Voice of the Land turned them ALL into birds, all at the same time. WOW. Not some little birds, either. All eight of them, bam, giant eagles! And they all flew off to the south together.
Then we went and got the casket, moved it a bit of a ways away from the cart... Oh! Sylas took one of the potions and grew to be about twenty feet tall! He carried the casket all by himself. We picked a spot on the other side of the bridge, Atar removed the arcane lock, and then Voice of the Land did something fancy to open it... I don't think it worked, actually. But a moment later, BAM. The casket broke in half and the Driver and an earth elemental emerged from the sand. The Driver was in his true form - a dao djinn, just like we'd predicted.
We definitely couldn't have predicted what had happened to the body in the casket, though. No way. So, uh, she'd been down south, I think, and somebody had experimented on her. There were these five keys stuck in the back of her body and Atar told me there were souls trapped in them! She was also absolutely gigantic and her hands were big fan-like knives. Her HANDS were KNIVES. I repeat. HER HANDS WERE KNIVES.
That was a really tough fight. The Driver wasn't actually that dangerous-- I mean, he had a giant hammer, but Atar was able to shield himself from those blows and we focused fire on him pretty efficiently. He could have been dangerous if we'd given him the chance. But we didn't. Ms. Knife-Hands was much tougher. She was fast. Like, super duper ridiculously fast. But eventually we won and none of us died! Go, team!
Even though she was super different-looking, the Voice of the Land still did the rites to lay her to rest. As for us... well, we had a cart, and we had about five hours until Galathir arrived. So we settled down in the cart to rest...
When it was getting to be about time, Atar went inside the demiplane. The next time he recalled me outside so I could see things again, we were in another plane, outside of time. A clocktower.
It was absolutely beautiful, like, I don't know if I can really describe just how beautiful it was, but it was super beautiful. And Galathir told us that we were going to kill them today.
I guess I have to explain what they told us, huh? They're a sapphire dragon, part of a group called the Daughters of the First Flame. They told us a bit about the others, too. Daughters of the First Flame They said that the others have gotten... complacent? Static. Nothing changes. And that killing them would shake things up, force them to take action. Atar was really upset about this, but it does seem to be what Galathir wants. In exchange for the Coldlight Sliver, which we're going to take to another dragon, he offered Atar an item from his hoard. He picked this really beautiful robe. Red Claw's Regalia Apparently it came from a red wyrm named Ovidian. Galathir killed him themself. They also gave us this Chronomancer's Eyepiece in exchange for the Scarlet Sigil of Chilitract, which is definitely in a much better place in their hoard. Sylas is going to wear the eyepiece for now, because he doesn't have a lot of other things to react to in the middle of combat and he's usually in the middle of things.
We had a discussion about which of the others to give the Coldlight Sliver to...