Iom’s consciousness was revealed to exist inside the pyramid device, transferring to the minds of those connected to it and overwriting their memories with his own. So long as the device existed, Iom would remain.
The Iom-possessed Blaise fought the party briefly before retreating into the black cube. The Inquisitor and Orren pursued, leaving the rest of the party to debate whether or not to follow.
Meanwhile, Tranavaros freed nine of the remaining acolytes and priests. Realising time was a factor, Jinx attempted to unplug the rest of the abductees at the cost of their lives in order to deactivate the pyramid. Theron and Maxxos stopped the jack and convinced the party to pursue Iom instead.
The party entered the black cube, appearing in a starry dimensional chamber. Billions of kilometers away, at the centre of the chamber, was the crimson Bilu-sha-ziri star, pulsing like a heart.
Tranavaros followed cables that led into the chamber from the pyramid outside. To his amazement, the cables led to a second pyramid. Iom stood atop the device, ripping cables from the machine’s controls. The Inquisitor and Orren rejoined the party and listened as the magister rambled in his frenzy.
He revealed the pyramids were named the Venerator by Quaran, who believed the device would turn him into a divine being. In truth, the device functioned as a conduit for the Bilu-sha-ziri‘s energy. To draw out the star’s energy and process it safely, the machine needed living brains to power its complex operations — the brains of nanos. The energy could then be used to create powerful esoteries and enhance a nano’s abilities to godlike levels.
Amara had argued against the device’s use after the sanctum leaders Quaran, Rilaq, and Iom activated the Venerator without first understanding it. The result almost led to the destruction of the sanctums and the nation of Navarene.
Iom remarked that the party’s meddling meant he no longer had the luxury of time. He pushed a cable down his throat, directly absorbing the star’s energy. Flame jet forth from his eyes and mouth, fire and red electricity creating a vortex around his body. Flesh peeled away from his face in clouds of ash and cinders. The magister removed the cable and discharged onslaughts of fiery energy down at the party.
The Inquisitor once again teleported to Iom, distracting him as Maxxos threw Ay’lin to the top of the pyramid. Ay’lin lowered rope for the rest of the party to climb up, while Maxxos and Orren remained below to destroy the pyramid at its base.
The Inquisitor, En’ir, Aegan, Ay’lin, and Theron distracted Iom as Jinx and Tranavaros worked on a plan to transfer some of the star’s energy to Theron, the most endurable among them, using Tranavaros as a conduit. Theron had already shown to be unaffected by Tranavaros’s fire, meaning he could absorb the Seeker’s energy without being harmed.
As Jinx gave Tranavaros the power cable, Iom shot the jack with a discharge of energy. Jinx fell over the side of the pyramid, injured and barely conscious.
Tranavaros drew energy from the cable, ciphering the star’s power through his esotery and into Theron at the cost of his own health. Tranavaros collapsed, unable to walk.
A super-powered and rejuvenated Theron brought Iom close to death, but the magister proved ever resilient. With no other option left, Maxxos, En’ir, and Orren destroyed the Venerator. The party and Iom plummeted to the chamber floor among shards of metal and glass.
Iom climbed to his feet just as Maxxos ran his greatsword through his chest. Cut off from his power source and unable to restore his strength, the magister could only look on wide-eyed as he disintegrated.
The sudden destruction of the Venerator set the rest of the system into haywire, alerting the party to the imminent destruction of the sanctum. The party rushed through a warp zone in the chamber wall, created by the star’s instability.
The party appeared in the barren plains of the Cloudcrystal Skyfields, the tower of the Scorpion Sanctum seen out in the distance.
A pillar of flame erupted around the tower. The sky turned crimson and the earth opened into a chasm, swallowing the sanctum’s remains.
A cohort of Aeon Guardian scouts arrived, alerted by the explosion. They aided the party in finding the nine survivors who Tranavaros freed, all of them having escaped the tower. The Guardians escorted the party back to Navarene, where they would explain the incident to the Order of Truth and Queen Armalu.