As the wall to the next room lowered, the Pathfinders faced a monstrous construct trapped beyond – an iron maiden golem. The holem immediately pummeled Batman and seized Spectre by the neck. As it raised Spectre it open its torso maw, revealing a lethal trap of blades. Hex opened fire, puncturing its dense metal frame only a few times before the bullets bounced off harmlessly. Groot rushed to Spectre’s aid, wrapping his vine-like hands around his ally and pulling him free. The golem inched forward, continually slamming and grabbing the heroes. Doctor Fate found many of his spells to be ineffective against the construct. Still he adjusted his tactics, using force blasts and acid arrows to gradually weaken and corrode the golem. Batman threw down a smoke bomb to cover his withdrawal. The others fell back as well. As the golem, stopped by pillars in the hallway, reached for another victim a faint light flickered behind it. The injured golem turned to fight an unseen foe. While it was distracted, Jonah Hex fired several more shots – breaking the servos in its limbs and causing the golem to collapse.
The smoke finally cleared to reveal a luminous angel, a solar archon, with four wings and an orb of light where a face should be. “Apologies for the delay,” he calmly said in Celestial. “I bring tidings from Sarenrae.” The archon explained that he was sent by the sun goddess to aid the heroes, but was not allowed to intercede without a planar breach to necessitate it. The escape and animation of the golem provided that reason. The archon claimed four mortals had been seizing the Omega Gems, seeking the primordial planes, and that they were currently in Manah. He was not permitted to cross into the plane on his own accord. Instead he gave them a divine talisman of Sarenrae. With it, he assured, they could summon assistance and permit that interplanar breach. With no further questions from the Pathfinders, the archon asked one of his own – inquiring what happened to Specre’s vessel. Specre explained his predicament and the archon offered him assistance – which Spectre gladly accepted. The archon whispered a prayer to Sarenrae and cast a powerful miracle spell. Kneeling down, he conjured a new body for Spectre, draped in immaculate white cloth. No longer separated from a body, Spectre became a ghost yet again. The archon bowed silently and retreated through the Elysium portal.
The Pathfinders took some time to clear out the ruins, gathering an incredible treasure trove. They then retreated to the Watchtower, where they peacefully rested for the night. The next morning they wasted no time in returning to Stonetree, where they made final preparations before stepping through the portal to Manah.
As they stepped through they found themselves in the center of a large, obsidian disk hovering above a pool of liquid gold. The disk stood at the heart of a beautiful marble temple – its white columns inlaid with mithril runes. There was no roof above, and they could see a bast but cloudless sky. Mimicking the sun was a radiant brass orb, pulled along its track by a metal arch. Across from it was the mithril moon, which made a similar track in a different direction. A flock of birds composed of blue mist fluttered above, breaking the monotony. All else was silent. Exploring the temple on their way out they discovered nearly a dozen Jinn slain by blunt trauma and magic.
Outside the temple, a flight of white stairs descended to a road. The rolling hills beyond were made of stone, adorned with polished boulders. The road forked: left toward a forest of crystal trees, forward toward a river and right across the plains into the distance.
In the intersection sat what looked like a stone, but soon it stood on two tiny legs. As the group approached cogs whirled when the construct opened its mechanical mouth. Soon a surprisingly human and supple voice issued like a recording: “All across the countryside, to front doors he travels. But you never invite him in. Please, this mystery do unravel.” The Pathfinders confered for a while on the answer to the riddle and came up with “Death.” The clockwork replied “Then death it is,” before charging the group and exploding.
There was no permanent damage done, but the heroes had their first taste of the oddities they may yet encounter in the Arcane Plane.