After a restful night the party sets off and travels for another whole day uneventfully. The road passes through mostly wilderness, but there are scattered farmsteads and towns as well as the constant smattering of ruins from past aeons. Some ancient structures are hidden beneath plants, rocks, and dirt; others are prominent with silvery spires that can be seen for miles or floating monoliths that serve as reference points for a hundred miles around them. The party finally camps for the night beneath the light of the green full moon and the various other skylights that either dance quickly around the sky or journey so slowly they seem static.
Waking with the sun they set out turning southwest towards the Dark Hills down a very sparsely traveled path. The Dark Hills are known as a barren wasteland with few people and many dangers including frequent and fierce iron wind storms. As they draw closer the black oily drit for which the region is named is lightly coated, but it begins to make plant life more sparse. To the right up ahead are what appears to be the remnants of a town. In the distance the increasingly barren black hills roll ahead for many miles before large formations of obsidian and glass of dark purple and black completely obscure the horizon. The skyfall should be this side of the obsidian and glass mountains and in this general direction. They should hurry if they want to lay claim to it and the other skyfalls before other scavengers or explorers who might be searching them out as well.
The party first climb on a hill and survey the area. They see a settlement in the distance and get a better look at the ruined town. They briefly explore the ruined town (which they will learn was called Thrax) before setting out for the structures they can see ahead. Bumble gets a warning from a “weather oracle” that warns of severe atmospheric conditions in the area.
The next group of structures they come upon the shanty town of Bandish. Outside the town they talk to a drit farmer scrabbling in the drit looking for shiny things who says he used to live in Thrax and explains how the Lord of Dross and the Mayor of Bandish are oppressing the people here.
They enter the shanty town and go to a silver bubble in the center of town. Inside the bubble they find Amel, a giantess who is mayor of the town. She greets them warmly and welcomes them to her city. Gerard tries to parlay with her but she blows him off because he is so small. Goredard explains they are just passing through and looking for some shelter. She shows them to a hovel they can stay in. They investigate the town a little more not wanting to leave because of an impending storm. Bumble uses his breather symbiote and dives to the bottom of the lake adjacent to the town. At the bottom he finds a cypher and a few shins. They wait around a bit longer and Bumble gets another weather warning. The storm picks up around them and the group abandons the hovel they are in, take their chocobos and break into Amel’s silver bubble house with Bumble’s remote activation ability. Gore negotiates for their shelter in the dome with the addition of a bribe of 25 shins. The party rides out the storm safely inside and bide their time. Bumble practices his meditation and hears the chaotic “voices” of the iron wind, Gerard studies the language in his monocle, the woodsman carves some bones, Cook works on fashioning a vest from ravage bear skin, and Gore works on some of his tech crafting. After the storm passes they leave the dome and sleep for the night.
The next day they survey the devastation of the iron wind and speak to a peasant and ask if they noticed the skyfall days ago. He says issues of the heavens and such are not his concern and are matters for magicians and enchanters. They ask if he knows of any such people and he directs them to a man named Skrzypek who might be found in the glass woods a few hours away. They proceed to the glass woods and encounter a trap which activates 6 flying blades. They take down the blades with some help from Bumble’s deactivation ability. After surviving the trap a purple woman (named Genesta) in a stygian green cloak calls out and ask what their business is here and if they are agents of the Lord of Dross come to destroy them. They assure her they are not on the side of the Lord and they are searching for something fallen from the sky. She takes them to Skrzypek who has a helmet with metal horns and a staff he uses to blast fire. He claims to be a sorcerer gaining his power from the gods and finds it very invigorating to blow things up. He is found near a crater made by a large glowing sphere which they determine is a power source. While they are investigating it sandworms grasp the core. Skrzypek tries to burn them but more sand worms suddenly attack entangle the sorcerer and Cook. The worms draw power from the core and use it to summon sandmen to fight and generate more sandworms to bolster their number. Gore uses a cypher to create an electromagnetic shield around the core which does a great deal to stop the worms siphoning the power and prevent them from regenerating. In a difficult and protracted battle they fight off the attackers and free Skrzypek who is able to make quick work of the remaining creatures with his fire esoteries. They salvage an artifact (phased slugspitter) from one of the sandmen. They take stock of themselves after the battle and securing the power core feeling that they’ve come a long way in the world and gained a good deal of experience and power. (Everyone levels up to Tier 2)