The party realizes that the captive on the altar is a medusa, and a powerful looking one at that. The bronze mask on her face both prevents her from speaking and prevents her from using her petrification powers. Despite the risks, the party removes the mask to talk with her.
They learn that she is Sashra, ruler of the Caves of Menace deep in the Enduring Forest. She was betrayed by her brood sisters and handed over to the followers of Zehir to be sacrificed in the temples consecration rites. She was specifically selected because they cultists believed that her blood has special properties because she wields magic.
In the ensuing conversation the party learns that she has been alive for over a century, and that she charges a toll for people to pass through the Caves of Menace (since it is connected to a deep gully that provides quicker and safer travel through the forest).
When they ask about Vesemir, she says she has heard of the Mad Mage, but that he never troubled her. She does not know of the Bluehollow legend.
When the party asks about the druid grove, she says that they each keep to themselves. But she knows from travelers passing through her domain that within the last couple of years some of the druids were suddenly afflicted with madness.
The party decides to release her, and she vows to greet them warmly should they ever go to the Caves of Menace.
The party then proceeds to Legion’s chambers and sees that the floor is covered with the ground bone dust from all his previous opponents. In the chamber are four flame pillars, an altar, Legion, the tears of shar, a treasure pile and a mirror fragment. Legion turns out to be immune to damage. They party has done enough research and deduction to realize that it can weaken Legion by exploiting the varying and contradictory personalities of the souls trapped within him. Later the party notices a series of small weak points that represent the accumulated strikes of thousands of defeated opponents over several thousands of years. Finally the party realizes that the Altar in Legion’s chamber also helps sustain the construct. The party narrowly prevails when they successfully exploit Legion’s few weaknesses.
The party retrieves a single bulb from the tears of shar plant, and they realize that they can only use it on Neeva or Freugion, but not both. Isaac retrieves the mirror fragment, and recognizes it as a piece of the Shalathi Mirror, a powerful artifact that he believes he must re-assemble to sever the ties that evil being use to influence events on the material plane, as well as saving his own soul from eternal torment.
The party decides that in order to best “help their case” they must return both Neeva and Fruegion to the Sharessan Festhall. To do this they lure Arabel to an ambush site and pull off the perfect scheme, which is only complicated by Voronwe using like 4 powers to throw a net.
The party brings Neeva and Fruegion back to the Festhall and is chastised by Triss for simply obeying every order they are given. It turns out Sharessan’s are kinda fickle that way. The party then learns that they will be granted an audience, but only to one member of the party. You all realize that whomever is chosen risks losing their sanity. Brood cannot pass up the opportunity to charm a goddess, and volunteers.
Over the course of the evening, Brood barely scrapes through with his sanity intact, but more importantly he is able to gain the infatuation of Sharess. The party helped in this endeavor by performing various capers around the Festhall, and was able to restore some of Brood’s healing surges and buff his skill checks. Most notable was Kalkanesh’s acrobatics performance, which she loathed but which will soon become the talk of the town, simply because she’ll hate the attention.
During the evening Sharess revealed to Brood that several centuries ago (600 years) she had been briefly infatuated with one Irena Sevelda. Among the favors she extracted from Sharess was a pair of lips fashioned from a single ruby. Irena had insisted that Sharess infuse it with a tiny essence of her divinity so that Irena would never be apart from her as long as she had it. As other such relics had a tendency to launch bloody and wasteful crusades, Sharess also built a flaw into the jewel that would allow her to destroy it at will if its existence was doing more harm than good, or if she felt its possessor was not worthy of it. Strangely enough, Sharess could sense that Irena never kept the jewel on her, and that no one had even touched it for 600 years thereafter. Around the time of the Hellmarch, Sharess suddenly felt that something had picked it up and was examining it with evil intent. She instantly willed the jewel destroyed and detected the psychic feedback of a deep and profane evil. She does not know anything else except that the event took place at the ruins of Lothering Castle (you know of this place, it is a few days march south of Valena).