After acquiring extra help from the mysterious skeleton, Setah decided to settle on some more research into the history of the complex and of the fire realm on the other side. Although she did not recover a huge amount of information, she found mentions of a “Sulmond” who had taken over the project, presumably once the identity of the skeleton the party met earlier.
The party’s next visit to the fire realm resulted in several discoveries. First, it seemed that Virio’s new blade had no effect while sheathed, a convenience which allowed the party to interact with the friendly inhabitants of the fire realm without issue. Furthermore, after visiting a nearby Salamander and Fire Spirit village, it seemed that the ruins had once been a colony of Keriyan workers and researchers intent on discovering the secrets of the realm. After several skirmishes with the now-inhabitants of the western fortress the Keriyans eventually retreated back to their world and only ventured into the fire realm again in short intervals.
Speaking to one of the older inhabitants of the Salamander village, the party learned that the ruler of the fortress, known as Stromgral, was a mysterious being known as Emos, and that Lile was his lieutenant. They also learned that there were numerous smaller operations around the world which they might try to disrupt to get Lile’s attention, including one near the nexus of portals by which they entered the realm. They decided to attempt to do so and confront Lile after first returning to their world and regrouping.
When they returned, Setah and Thaddius decided to once again talk to the skeleton, confirming that he was in fact Sulmond and asking for a bit more information about the Keriyans’ past operations in the fire realm. Satisfied that they had enough information to confront Lile, they set forth to the fire realm once again.
Shortly after infiltrating a network of caves which apparently had some sort of place in Emos’ designs and meeting minor resistance, the party found a Fire Giant who seemed to have been trapped in servitude. After attempting unsuccessfully to free him and talking to him briefly, the image of a giant winged creature appeared and mocked them as they attempted to threaten it. Eventually it ordered the giant to attack the party and he seemed to be forced to do so with little choice in the matter. Realizing the giant’s great strength, the party fled at the soonest opportunity, pursued to the portal by Lile’s fiery arrows shot from great distance. After reaching their world once again, the party realized that the mysterious figure was no doubt Emos and that they might not be ready for another confrontation with Stromgral until they were more experienced in the ways of the world. After seeking advice from Sulmond, he told them of a city to the southwest where he had learned much, and burned a snowflake pattern which nobody else could see on to Setah’s skin, allowing him to communicate with her at his leisure if necessary. The party convinced the Zhejun that they ought to leave the complex due to its dangerous proximity to the fire realm portal and planned to set out for the city Sulmond told them of to see what its ruins had to offer.