As the door shuddered open, the party was greeted by a wizened old man. He greeted them in archaic Turathi and introduced himself as Akathis, the caretaker of this bastion, Kalentha. Drawing his arm from the folds of his robe, he showed an arm cursed by the Vilnach and slowly turning his body into that of a demon. This, he said, is what caused him to search for the bastions of the Aichen in hopes of finding a cure to his malady. As Akathis led the party through the spartan halls of the ruins he explained how he managed to enter the bastion 300 years ago and survived till now, studying the works kept in the library in search of answers.
Upon entering the main hall, the group saw what they assumed to be the entrance to the sanctuary of the bastion. Akathis said that despite many efforts on his part and others, no one had breached the door in the 300 years he had been there. Mithrellis and Riardon stayed to investigate while the others went to distract the old man in the library. Kazamir and Sorin attempted to ask Akathis about his research and the bastion, but each question seemed to further annoy the man until everyone decided it was best to leave him to his research. Jace stumbled upon a hastily covered alcove, but lacked the privacy to investigate properly. Mithrellis luckily had more luck with Eshrim, finding that the door could be opened similarly to the first one, with time and Eshrim's effort. After a brief attempt at trying to get Akathis to join them and failing, the party regrouped at the door to the sanctuary.
The party waited for about fifteen minutes as Eshrim wrestled with the locks, but eventually the door opened to a long, empty hallway. Despite looking like a culling hallway to thin the rank of enemies during a siege, the party found no traps and made it safely to the end where they were met with another door. Despite growing up inside mountains, Kazimir could not shake a sense of unease in these tunnels, and as we approached the door, Mithrellis seemed to be losing his connection to Eshrim. After Kazimir poured some magical energy into Eshrim's orb and Mithrellis began the unlocking procedure again. Upon opening, the group saw a small room with stairs that lead down. After Riardon and Mithrellis's familiar scouted the area, it was deemed safe to proceed.
This time, as the party crossed the threshold they all felt a slight shift around them, but could not make anything out and carried on. After descending the stairs, a large hall stretched before them with alcoves to the sides and a towering statue in the center. Wary after the previous attack by statues at the entrance, the party advanced in battle formation. As expected, the large statue and three smaller ones in the alcoves sprung to life and attacked. Riardon jumped to the closest one, as he is want to do, and struck it down with a fury that easily shattered stone. Kazimir rushed in to confront the largest statue and found his warhammer wanting against the enchanted stone. After two strikes from the giant golemn, Kazimir nearly fell, only surviving because of Jace's healing words. Mithrellis cast a spell upon Riardon, causing his motions to blur at the speed of light. Riardon heard the faint voice of Eshrim say something that sounded like "Get out!" He and Mithrellis then rushed towards the door at the far end of the hall past the statues to begin unlocking it. The remaining statues closed on Kazimir, but a volley of combined spells from Sorin, Jace, and Kazimir shattered even the largest foe. With no more reason to rush, the party stood around the final door as Mithrellis inserted Eshrim to unlock it.
Inside was a massive throne room, in that it was a room with a towering throne with an equally large statue sitting in it. At the top, in the forehead of the statue, there was an indent similar to those in the doors, so Mithrellis climbed to the top to place Eshrim's orb. Kazimir weary from the fight, sat against a wall as Jace tried to convince him that he needed more healing. The others looked about the room and may have even briefly hoped to see Mithrellis slip for the entertainment. As the orb entered the slot, a bluish creature overlapped the sitting statue and then rose to stand in front of us clad in a toga with wings hanging from its back. This creature introduced itself as Eshrim in his true form.
Eshrim explained to the party first that the room they had just been in had been temporally manipulated to slow intruders, which is why we could not reach him. Then he proceeded to tell everyone more about the history of himself and why he needed our help. It seems Eshrim was the third warden of the bastion Kalentha, though there had been others after him. He talked about the barriers between our world and the weakening of the barriers between it and the astral sea. This is what was allowing Vilnach to slip into our world, and if no one prevented further damage to the barrier, more and more Vilanch would come to ravage our world. There are a series of ley-lines that connect the planes, and each has an anchor somewhere in the world. Three of these anchors have been damaged or destroyed, and a fourth was already under attack. We would be able to repair these anchors, but to do so we would need to travel to the Turathi Empire, the Arcosian Desert, Jin-lan, and somewhere on the other side of the world. Eshrim offered the party a gift to aid them.
Starting with Mithrellis and moving to Riardon, then Sorin, and then Kazimir, Eshrim touched each of their heads and a golden light spilled out. Eshrim claimed this gift would allow them to read any of the Aichen's encrypted tomes (each rune actually existed in three dimensions, allowing for dense storage) and to use the teleportation circle in the next room to transport to the foot of the mountain or any other bastion they had visited. Jace, ever skeptical of Eshrim and people in her mind, hesitated before accepting the gift. She said she wasn't sure why Eshrim needed us specifically, or even why anyone else would want her to join them. Mithrellis went off about how it's the noble and right thing to do. Riardon seemed happy to be allowed to kill things. Sorin seemed to understand the best, but said that he couldn't sit by as people died when he could be helping. Kazimir pointed out how Jace had quite literally just saved his life minutes ago and that it had not been the first time she had done so. Finally she relented and accepted Eshrim's gift. As Eshrim touched her head though, there was a brief struggle and a purple flash before the golden light. Eshrim explained that a Vilnach taint had been placed on Jace, and anything she had seen or heard till then was also seen by the Vilnach. Mithrellis did something right for once and wasn't a smug ass about it.