From my notes for the game with Ormid, Llewellyn and Veteran. No spoilers!
INTO THE RUINS HEART
Time has changed the ruins almost beyond belief, for what was naked stone and crumbling towers in their own time is now shimmering forest, fractured dimensional bounds and confused subterranean mazes. The fabric of reality has continued to shift and decay over the last one and a half thousand years, and the localised climate is an unnatural construct; shifting wildly from day to day, hour to hour. Further in, unnatural energies flicker and rip through the ruins, and magic drawn from divine, arcane, shadow or elemental sources behave erratically. Security is an issue in these areas, for it is within these wild zones that most of the Unified Order's usual defences fail, and more fallible, mundane measures of containment are in place.
All kinds of strange phenomena run rampant in the ruins, and large pieces of debris, shattered structures, and in one area, an entire mausoleum, float randomly above the ruins – sometimes staying in one place, sometimes crashing back to the ground after a while, and other times moving at random; sometimes disappearing only to return at a random location. Weird lights and unnatural pressures are the norm for the ruins, and very often distance and time are “wrong”, the very fabric of reality being warped and deformed.
Indeed, the ruins are a highly dangerous place – more so than when the group explored them in the past – for the continued decay of the ancient Mythal has caused substantial dimensional instability, allowing entire sections of the city to yo-yo between universes, often returning with stowaways and causing the localised unnatural weather. Some of the areas of instability have become permanent portals, and Unified Order Gate Houses (eight in all) have been built to guard over them. This has lead to many unbound elementals, fey and daemons entering the ruins; warping the local life and establishing pockets of influence.
At present a ninth Gate House is under construction along the southeastern edge of the ruins, as a dimensional breach is starting to stabilize into a portal to a currently uncharted dimension. This work has been hampered by the strong winds that are being created by the vacuum beyond this nascent portal, and there have been a number of mages and workers who have been affected by the screaming sound of the winds as they tear into the portal, who have developed psychosis and in many cases, become dangerously violent.
Within the western reaches of the ruins heart, the Unified Order have become aware that an alien stronghold has appeared; a thing of shimmering brass and spiked barricades. At present the Order are keeping an eye on it, and from the symbols and runes displayed on its flickering oriflammes suggest that the inhabitants are Ifrit.
The Unified Order have also recently uncovered a huge subterranean space, which appears to be the remnants of the ancient time distortion chambers used by ancient mages when they wished to conduct long term or dangerous rituals or magic construct synthesis, though the region in which this rests is particularly rife with dangerous and eldritch phenomena.