She's been alone in there too long this time.
Has she, though?
I ruffle my delicate golden wings, the warm color reminding me of warmer days, the days before She took us into the sky. I eye my companion suspiciously.
You can't tell any more, can you?
My companion's dark eyes go uncharacteristically cold, the relentless smile fades reluctantly. She looks down at her hands, adorned with fine jewels, pulls at her gown, made of the finest silks, up and around the room that makes the giants seem tiny. For the first time in eternities, her insufferable, self assured confidence is gone. I know the answer before she says it aloud. I save her the embarrassment.
Neither can I.
There is a pause, a long, timeless silence held between us. She breaks the silence, back to her old, darkly glimmering self.
I heard Her muttering about finally finding the final piece. I guess it's time we finally bring them in. Or, at least, it will be if She ever comes out of there.
I sigh, settling into a particularly comfortable dahlia I often use for these familiar long waits, in direct sight of the entrance to the Core.
She will come out eventually, and when she does, all these lifetimes of careful building and planning will finally mean something.
If She is true to her word, we might, just maybe, be able to go home.
Purpose / Function
An intricate structure floats effortlessly between atmosphere and space, high above the surface, where the curve of the planet extends as far as the eye can see, framed by the endless blackness of space and the countless sparks from the stars.
On first approach, it appears a massive, impossibly faceted, blue sapphire. It's exact purpose unknown.
One purpose becomes readily apparent when closer. The surface is thick ice, each facet a smooth block, carefully preserving different various life forms; a rainbow of flora and fauna from the Prime Material plane and the Feywild. Some appear to have been preserved in moments of celebration, some were clearly frozen just before the moment of death from a variety of causes. Each facet a tableau of the creatures' final moments.
Descending through the thick ice layer, time begins to move strangely, more so the closer to the middle one goes. All along the way, the walls are delicately woven stone patterns that tell the story of the creator. Throughout the entire puzzle-like structure there is a theme of preserving life, avoiding death at all costs, almost obsessively, maniacally. It's secondary purpose seems to be to tell and preserve the story of this necromancer while testing an adventurer's worthiness between each step with puzzles or encounters.
It's final purpose becomes apparent at the end by giving them a choice whether to release the Time Stop on the structure and let the trapped creatures continue down their path, or do nothing and keep all the life here technically alive, although not living. This is done by destroying the massive statue in the center of the structure.
This seeming statue was actually the source of power for the whole thing, the remains of an epic level mage, the necromancer's old teacher who betrayed her so she killed him and used the residual magic from their encounter and his remains to create this mausoleum puzzle box.
Crafted layer by layer with meticulous use of Stone Shape, Move Earth, Control Water, Flaming Sphere, and Program Illusion, and a massively enhanced Time Stop field, this once humble stone structure became an intricate construct, telling her story within the very walls.
Her deep loneliness drove her, first to "preserve" life with her ice and stone abilities, filling the space with it, and expanding further and further out into space. When that wasn't enough she began craving contact with real, living people here but her fear and madness twisted that desire into something dangerous; a puzzle to test the worthiness of an adventurer.
From a distance it looks like a massive, spherical, faceted sapphire with hints of colors beneath the surface. The facets are triangular slabs of ice held together in a lattice of clear, white diamond. Each slab holds a specimen or group of specimens. Descending through the ice, layer upon layer of these create a gleaming lattice of color and light, each layer gets darker.
Dizziness and confusion set in temporarily as time begins to move differently.
After about 300 feet, a space about 100 feet high opens between the bottom surface of the ice and a cold, colorless stone surface is revealed. The ice above is now colorless, the flora and fauna now shadowy silhouettes dancing in the faint rays of light from the surface. The silence is immense.
All around are thousands upon thousands of humanoids, turned to stone, aligned in perfectly straight rows. Some look happy, some look terrified, some look asleep. The ice descends in massive, arching pillars down to the ground. The pillars glow slightly with light from above.
Shadowy figures within the ice pillars are even more humanoids, larger groups of them, frozen in ice and time. Some at parties, some clearly survivors of terrible accidents or crimes.
An enormous ice door leads inside to a massive spinning puzzle which, once solved, leads to the interior of the sphere.
There is the observatory. More than half of this nearly half mile wide sphere is just one open room. The massive dome fills with stars and nebulae and galaxies, animatedly moving along their celestial paths, being born and dying in massive explosions and collisions. Then it zooms into the galaxy, into the planet, into the very room the adventurers stand in, then reverses to focus on the moon. Adventurers must solve a puzzle based on the cycles of the moon to reveal a humble stone building, the original study.
The original study is the epicenter of the Time Stop field, an ice dome protects the rest of the structure from the majority of the time effects, inside the dome time flows like water, making the falling snow dance in a deeply unsettling way. Inside the study, is the frozen pixie village. A trap door in the floor of this room reveals the last part of the structure. On the other side, gravity is reversed and there is a nearly exact replica of the study. Here they find the statuesque remains of her former mentor. Outside a lush forest fills the other void and the leaves dance in the watery time, instead of snow. In the center of the forest is the final test, the final piece of the puzzle. A massive corpse flower, that takes the bodies of the dead and reanimates them as zombies.
It began as the study used by the necromancer and her teacher until she discovered his betrayal. She killed him in the small building and over the years, as she lost her mind in seclusion, she slowly created the time warp and then used that to take all the time she wanted to create powerful magic throughout the building, causing it to, first, float, then to slowly grow, layer by layer of stone, ice, and plants.Her only companions have been two pixies, one Bright, one Twilight. They befriended her as a child and after she lost her mind, she froze their whole settlement, shrunk it, placed it in her study, and now uses its power to enhance her magic and ensure the loyalty of her two assistant pixies.
Initially she used the construct as an observatory to watch the stars but as she became lonely she tweaked the magic to watch the lives of the creatures far below on the planet. Her deep aversion of death drove her to compulsively "save" the lives of the creatures she thought she loved, freezing them or turning them to stone and preserving them in her bubble of undeath. Until she decided to turn it into a terrifying, wondrous adventure puzzle.
Should the adventurers decide to destroy the statue, all flora and fauna will be released and all life will be reanimated, the living will go on living, and the dying will finally die. The structure will slowly descend, melting as it sinks into the warmer atmosphere releasing the animals trapped within the ice. The necromancer will have her memories erased and be transported to a random location on the Prime Place, to finally start a new life. The lush jungle will become a strange new forest, halfway between the Prime Material and Feywild. The Pixie city will be returned to the spot in the Feywild it was whisked from.