[Above is a picture of King Uridan’s palace as you see it through the Eye of the Planes (or the “cyclop’s eye” as you guys have been calling it.]
(From the tales told by Noddyl Talowyn, an Ihniko elf, once a pilindor of the tribe, then a legend in Ursa Major as one of its heroes (maybe), as he relayed them to his children in a Time of Peace after The Planes War:
“We, the other heroes and I, met in council with the regent, Coranil, and Tenebron, the Keeper of the Hate. We showed them a map of the old city, told them about our history with the Shadarkai and the Lich King, Thizeroth. My sister kept her eye on Varis even then.
“We gathered our things without much of a plan besides entering the city through Bells Gate. At the entrance, King Uridan’s Head Wizard, Cyderel, greeted us. He was dubious of the nositi orso’s chances. I was too at the time.
“Cyderel told us that he existed between the planes, trapped as a ghost on the magical fringe of what happened the day of the World Storm. He didn’t know what magic caused the protective shell around Ihniko to shrink and strengthen to seeming impenetrability around the palace. He told us that the magics on the Ihniko side were of the strongest wards and protections against all types of harm, except perhaps psychic. He also told us that there had been talk at the time of a new kind of residuum bomb the Aeristhyde were supposedly working on. Perhaps the Aeristhyde had finally created this device, but his best guess was that there was some kind of godly magic at work – either a high level sacrificial/pact like spell or direct imposition of at least one diety’s hand.
“Cyderel also revealed that the lich Thizeroth took up residence in Ihniko specifically to study the effects of that day to try to discover the elements that caused them, to backward engineer the destructive magics employed so he could wield their awesome power some day. [DM’s HINT: If there is someone who might know more about the shell and how to pass through it, it might be this lich.] Cyderel warned us not to fight the lich for he obviously was too much a match for us. He said if we faced him, the only thing that would keep him from killing us would be our usefulness to him and his maniacal schemes.
“Cyderel wondered if we might be able to bargain with the lich if we had his phylactery to use as leverage against him. The Shadarkai are back in the city looking for the lich’s phylactery, which is said to be a fist-sized sapphire that the Eternal King had hidden in the city somewhere. Supposedly one of Thizeroth’s minions moved the gem about every so often. Maybe the Shadarkai knew where to find it? Maybe they knew something else about the lich that you could use against him? Maybe we could sell out the Shadarkai to curry favor with the lich? Cyderel wondered all of this for our benefit, but he reiterated his caution about approaching the lich quite sternly, ‘Whenever you deal with powerful, evil undead, you must make sure they have good reason to keep you alive or you have a good way to kill them.’
“We thought the Shadarkai would know nothing of a way into the palace, though they did have their tunnels, city sewers which were fortified and expanded in order to fight Thizeroth’s army. [Streetwise/History] I wondered, did tunnels exist that went below the palace, providing a way into the underbelly of it? Cyderel did say the protection around the palace was a sphere though…
“So, we entered the city, unclear about how to gain entrance to the palace, but with a good deal of knowledge and certain to find undead eager to kill us. Right as we crossed the plane into the Shadowfell, and that awful miserable chilling feel of the place grabs you, we had to walk over the Ring of Bones that lines the city walls. Grasping skeletal hands and skeleton warriors sprang up to impede our progress and take our lives. We fought them back to death only to be charged by a herd of zombies. We mowed through them with little harm done to our party, until a flesh-crazed ghoul and a giant-sized zombie joined the fray. These two put some fear into us before we put them down for good.
“We rested a short while, finding no loot on the bodies. There never was on Thizeroth’s ‘subjects.’ We then moved on to Hill Street, past the statue of the Raven Queen, Shadarkai goddess of the Dead Realm and the Shadowfell. There, like she summoned them, a pack of ghouls, gnawing on some recent acquired meal emerged from a nearby house and came at us with what looked like a desperately insatiable hunger. They had a gruesome attack: once one of us was dazed by a strike of its claws, it would chomp its jagged teeth on us doing terrible harm. We were never too close to death, however, and the ghouls were eventually defeated.
“In the short rest that followed the battle, a few of us saw movement down an alley. We went to investigate that movement and wound up trailing someone, probably a Shadarkai, to a sewer grate. We then had a choice: 1) Follow/track the voyeur through the grate and into the sewers, or 2) go back to the house from which the ghouls emerged, or 3) embark on a new, as of yet undefined path.”
[Ihniko’s symbol, which adorns many Ihniko items, but most obviously their banners and clothing.]