While walking through Skyhammer after your meeting with Lyle, you happen by Simon Range’s old house, which now belongs to Aaron Donaldsson. As you do, you hear whispers calling your name – “Athanatos. Athanatos.” They beckon you to get closer to the back of the house.
You approach the back of the house, and you hear the familiar voice of The Shadow.
“Athanatos. There is some rift in Skyhammer’s protective magic, permitting us to speak once more. However, we can do much more here. I believe it’s time we met face to face.” Suddenly, at the intersection of several shadows in front of you, a portal opens up. It is completely dark, like a pitch black shadow, but it feels warm and inviting.
You step into the portal, and as you emerge from the other side, you are met first with a wave of intense heat, the likes of which you have never felt before. As your eyes adjust, you take in an unexpected sight. There is no shadow as far as the eye can see, as you would have anticipated. The ground beneath you is white and dull, as if it were made from bone. The air around you is reddish brown, the color of copper. The landscape that extends infinitely in all directions is black stone, angled in many different ways but never flat. Amidst all this, you do see one familiar sight, however – far on the horizon, surrounding you completely, there are large white pillars of light that extend from the ground far into the sky. You cannot see where they end.
You stand in an elevated structure of some sort. Around you is a sprawling fortress with buildings and walls made of more black stone and reinforced with copper at key areas. You can make out some movement on the ground below, but you stand a good 300 feet in the air, making it impossible to determine exactly what or who is moving around.
And then you focus on the sight directly in front of you. Sitting atop a throne carved directly out of the white bone material that this structure is created from, is a woman. She is adorned in priceless jewelry, silks, and other finery, and is a vision of beauty, even by Tiefling standards. Her dark skin, wings, forked tail, and horns give her away as something other than human, and something not quite Tiefling either.
The woman stands from her throne and takes a few slow steps toward you. Trailing behind her, connecting the throne itself to both of her wrists, is a thick chain made entirely out of light – it must be related to those pillars in the distance. The two shackles around her wrists give her enough room to gesture with, but not as much freedom as she’d like.
“Welcome, Athanatos.” As she speaks to you, her voice echoes all around you, seeming to come from everywhere but her mouth. “It is so nice to finally meet you, face to face. Come, sit, let us chat for a while.” The woman steps back to return to her throne, and as she does the ground in front of her cracks and splinters, and a similar bone-white chair rises up from underneath, facing hers.
The two of you speak, and she informs you that you now stand in Malbolge, the sixth layer of Hell. She is Glasya, the ruler of this layer and one of the most powerful devils that exists. She is imprisoned here, however, because of Skyhammer on the Material Plane. She has been in contact with you because she believes you to be the key to freeing her and others like her. The recently captured James Madsen was doing work with a similar goal, but he is now out of the picture. Fortunately, there is one other that can assist you – an old friend of yours that goes by the name “Shield”.
With that, Glasya must send you back to the material plane, before Skyhammer notices the link between planes. The world around you grows dim, and almost instantly you find yourself back in the material plane. In front of you is the shadowy portal, which closes in on itself and disappears completely.