The party depart from the Five Finger Discount and stow away on a train into Seflheim, arriving with Dauphin Maximilian’s coronation imminent. They locate a rebel safehouse and make a plan.
The crown, they hear, has been moved to the University to be verified by academic experts. More recently, the University has been sealed by magical wards: nobody is getting in or out.
Thinking back to Praxia, they recall that Rebecca Byrne also wanted to speak with them, to try and explain her defection from the rebels. Feeling short of information, they decide to take her up on the offer, and meet her in an upstairs office over a barbershop.
Rebecca doesn’t deny that she’s working with Zaszperezal. She says that he showed her the afterlife: an endless caldera of obsidian and brimstone, where mortal souls are enslaved to devils for eternity, and where their devil overlords are themselves enslaved to other devils. Zaszperezal has been employed by the Dauphin in order to oust his father and allow him to take control of the Empire; Zaszperezal plans to rule from behind the scenes as an advisor, and harvest its’ inhabitants souls, in order to form an army and storm the afterlife.
Rebecca warns them that they cannot defeat Zaszperezal, but he is willing to make a deal: if they allow him to complete his plans for the Empire, he will persuade Maximilian to abandon any claim to Arakesh or Riverport.
They refuse to deal, and Rebecca — with a certain amount of regret — calls for guards. Imperial soldiers burst into the room, and Rebecca rips a document in two, then tries to flee. The party fight their way out with some difficulty, Freddie hampered by a series of concussion grenades hurled by Rebecca, but Jal and Nyke manage to take down Rebecca before she flees, as the south wall of Rebecca’s room starts to open into a vast, flaming portal. Angela takes cover, preparing an ambush, as portal opens onto the inside of a command tent in Arakesh. Leaping through come three Hellfire Batallion elites, backed by Zaszperezal himself. Angela gets off a surprise attack, and blinds Zaszperezal in one eye; he screams furiously for his elites to take down Angela, but they’re not able to catch her. The party flee, and regroup once the heat has died down.