Our story begins with our band of adventurers just returning from slaying the evil ogre Grauth. Allen Godfrey, Lord of the City of Langston, commissioned the bravest and strongest (it's no wonder that two of them were orcs) in the town to combat this threat. While drinking away the spoils in the town tavern after their successful return, the party saw a very alarming sight: Hanover House burning.
Despite the danger the fire presents, the party rushes to help. Borag rushes inside [earning 1 her point] with Shalus following, while Janis and Snake attempt to help from outside. They manage to free two servants trapped inside under a fallen timber. However, there is no sign of the Lord's daughter Anyaka, nor of her tutor Aurelius Sanz.
The party heads out to speak to the Lord on this development, hearing he is residing in his estate outside the city. When they arrive they find out that the Lord is nowhere to be found, and the normal contingent of guards is not on duty. They return to the city to spend the night.
The next morning, they are summoned by Lord Godfry. He gives them some gold in thanks for helping save the servants, and asks them again for another favor for himself and the town. The characters learn that Anyaka, who is alternately liked and loved by the people of the city was kidnapped. Godfry asks their helping in tracking her down and returning her safely. He explains that the fire was a ruse to distract the guards and the lord while the bandits kidnapped the girl. Godfry also explains that he has also sent her tutor Aurelius to find the girl, but that he does not fully trust the man anymore. He gives no explanation as to why this is the case, since he has lives years of Langston without drawing suspicion.
The party interrogates the servants on what happened. They learn that the assailants were between six and twelve in number, but it all happened very quickly. The party examines the tracks left outside the estate, and quickly follows the trail. They notice it splits once, and the rogue Snake goes off to pursue one set to the north, while the others follow the larger trail to the west.
The main trails leads to an encampment by the road that seemed hastily evacuated. The party finds and kills a particularly vile and nasty zombie, which may have been the cause. Borag, in slaying the creature became infected with its contagion, weakening him slightly. Continuing to follow the tracks leads the party to a cave. Killing some dire rats at the entrance, the party enters the cave to see what they can find. Inside they find a dying horse, having fallen victim to more vermin. dispatching the vermin and examining the contents of the saddlebags, reveals what appears to be a clerical holy symbol, a silver amulet in the shape of a dragon's head, but it is not the icon for any known god or goddess.
Further in the cave, they find the floor covered with many small openings, though which fire beetles crawled. The party dispatched these. More typical cave vermin and fungus are found before the adventures find themselves in a maze of caverns where they find themselves easily lost. Janis suspects that magic is involved.
Eventually, the party finds a small opening in a side wall about five feet off the ground. Inside they can see humans talking, but cannot hear them. Simultaneously, they noticed that they have been followed by a grimlock. Quick action by Borag ensures that the grimlock will not be alerting anyone to their presence.
When the humans see the party, they quickly urge them inside where they tell their story. They have been trapped there for days, waiting for the return of their leader Vladimir. Apparently, there are monsters in this caves in which they sought refuge from the undead that attacked their camp. Their current place acts as a safe haven from the creatures, werebats, because they locate by sound. When Borag is certain that these men are indeed the bandits that kidnapped Anyaka, he roughly interrogates them, asking about the girl. All the party learns is that shortly after the raid she was lead off by a single man they didn't know, though Vladimir might know more. Therefore, despite the dangerous creatures in the caves, the party goes forth to find out more, leaving one bandit killed, two unconscious, and one having fled the relative safety of the alcove.
After some wandering around the maze, they find a new exit and it led to a large cave, where a flying half man, half bat, attacks them from the air. With few ranged weapons except for Janis's magic missiles, and without appropriately silvered weapons, the battle is difficult. Seeking to move on quickly, they ran past the creature into a what appeared to be a throne room. A man was sitting on the throne and warned them to leave. He had a dead body lying at his feet. He then took to the air changing into a hybrid man-bat. After a retreat to safety, resulting in the near death of Borag, who needed to be dragged out of the cave, the party returned, and was victorious. On the body, they found a short note:
Work waits for you in Frosthollow.
So, with only this meager clue, the party returns to Langston to tell Godfry what they have discovered and to prepare for the 3 days journey to the town of Frosthollow to the north. After meeting with Godfry, who is sad, but still hopeful for Ankaya's safe return, they are met by Daviel Corosh, known leader of Langston's thieves guild, who has gifts for them to help in their cause. He explains that there are many who want to assist the party in securing the safe return of the beloved Anyaka. He gives them a magical cloak which he says will protect the wearer from magic, a magical short bow, and magical ring. A visit to the healer Omas Renquist cures Borag of no fewer than three diseases he picked up. The party also buys and sells equipment, making sure to have silvered weapons in case of future encounters with werebeasts.
While traveling along the road to Frosthollow, which runs parallel to the Dunbar river, the party suddenly realizes that the sound of the river can no longer be heard. Simultaneously, they hear the roar of a wounded animal, and decide to investigate it. They find a young black bear sparring with a large viper who has nearly killed it. In an act of heartfelt goodness, they slay the attacking viper and let the bear run off. [party gains 1 hero point each]
Ignoring the mysterious stopping of the sound of the water, they hurry onward to Frosthollow, eager to not let the trail get too cold. Along the road they meet a bugbear named Ugruk on which Janis uses her magic to befriend. He has no seen anything on the road that the party would consider helpful. The charm wore off just outside of the town, and he ran off without incident.
Arriving in Frosthollow, they find that things are amiss. The town seems in a state of fear with few guards patrolling the streets, and most businesses shut down. After a short wandering they find Dorgan Hammerheart, the captain of the guard, in battle with a young scrag, a troll-like creature. They party aids him in defeating it, and after fetching some oil to burn the remains, he tells the party of some of the happenings.
Three days before, Frosthollow was attacked by undead from the cemetery just outside of town. They repelled the attack, but took substantial losses, especially among the guard. Dorgan himself has been on duty patrolling non-stop since that time, since the occasional zombie still wanders over from the graveyard. He begs the PCs to take over for a few hours so he can get some sleep, seeing how they've proven their worth with the scrag. Borag agrees to help, while Janis and Shalus try to find out more about what's happening, and to find out if anyone knows anything that can help them find Anyaka.
Borag, on patrol runs into the town's mayor who was helping to patrol. He paced around muttering under his breath about Asheba saving the town, the Red Sage going missing in their hour of need, and the river ceasing its flow. Borag speaks to him and learns that the Red Sage is the town's wizard, who is apparently away.
Meanwhile, Janis and Shalus visit the inn, which is busting with activity. The townsfolk, apparently, seek the safety in numbers and are conducting daily business entirely within the walls of the Fire Bridge Inn. Passing around some coin, with mixed results, Janis speaks with Myra Kenly, a waitress, Angus Firebrand, a friendly, and slightly inebriated dwarf, and Aryken Smythe, a small quiet little man who end up having the most useful information. He, unlike the other town's occupant is certain that the Red Sage is inside his home, and he saw a harried man in full plate mail try to gain entry three days ago, just before the attacks. He does not know the man or his business.
Meanwhile, Borag's patrol leads him to a woman Asheba Delor, who is Frosthollow's high priestess. She is blessing and burying bones at a new site. She tells Borag that her work is important so that the bones do not re-animate, and confirms the story about the attacks three days ago, but also says the river ceased its flow only yesterday. She is sure the two events must be related.
Leaving the inn, Janis and Shalus find their way to the Red Sage's home to investigate. They find the door yields a mild shock when they attempt to touch it and that nothing can be seen in any windows.
The party meets up again near the center of the town where a frightened woman named Anna is hurriedly filling a bucket with water. At the strangers' approach she starts to run off, but is convinced to tell her story. She is worried for her son, who was hurt in the attacks, since Asheba has not had the time to tend to him yet. Janis promised to do what she can, and later does convince Asheba to take the time to heal him [earning 1 hero point]. Borag peers into the well to see the ripples indicating running water instead of the expected still water.
Venturing into the graveyard, the party finds all the graves torn up, and evidence of much recent digging. They dispatch a zombie and a ghoul found, respectively, sealed in two crypts on the northern and southern sides of the yard. Heading over the hill to the north they see the river flowing into a large hole in the ground. They return to town to buy proper gear to secure rope down into the 100' deep hole.
The next day, with rope properly secured, Borag climbs down the rope. He is assaulted on the way by a lizardman hiding in an alcove behind the waterfall. Jumping to the alcove, Borag begins the fight. Upon seeing this Shalus borrows a ring of featherfalling from Janis and jumps into the hole to assist. He lands badly in the alcove, just as the lizardman flees down the rope and into a side passage leading slightly downward.
Regrouping at the bottom, the party sees the bulk of the water proceeding down another hole in the ground, going at least 500'. The decide to explore the side passage. A short ways down they find the lizardman who has fallen victim to a falling spike trap. Since the rouge is still not around, this makes all uneasy about what lies ahead.
At least an hour down a straight smooth tunnel, which is only slightly damp due to the river's moisture, they reach a mud pit, wherein they are attacked by elemental mud men. Effective use of melee and magic dispatches them. Further on the party encounters tiny moving mushrooms among the regular variety. Following them onward, the are attacked by a large purple toadstool covered in moss, which is also defeated.
Shortly afterward, they find a set of large iron double doors. Though the long tunnel continues, the party open the doors and head inside. As soon as they enter, the door slams shut behind them and a hiss is heard as a citrus smelling gas fills the room. They manage to force the door and get back outside, but not before the poison takes its toll. Shalus, drinks a potion, delaying the onset of its effects, and attempts to assist the others once outside. Greatly weakened by the gas, the party is forced to spend several days recovering. During that time, they are attacked by zombies and a wraith, which comes through the wall of the room, which Borag has made safe by disabling the trap through removing the door trigger from its hinges. Shalus, each time, assists by using his magic to turn the undead away, and in the case of the zombies, turning them to dust. Once they are mostly recovered, they press inward, opening the door on the far side of the room.
Inside they find a corridor leading to two libraries on the left and right, and continuing down. Investigating the left library reveals many books, none of which seem interesting enough to read, a book containing two magical scrolls, and a hidden hole behind the books, wherein lies a magical purple crystal.
Not wanting to waste her casting of magical detecting, Janis quickly hurries to the other library, where she finds two auras around a clear and another purple crystal. Upon touching the clear crystal, she feels the room start to turn, and does not get out before it rotate around on its axis, trapping her in a prison of stone.
Though Borag and Shalus can communicate with Janis, they can find no way to release her from this prison in the immediate area. So, they continue down the corridor without her in the hopes of finding a release mechanism further down. Instead they find a door being guarded by a 10' tall huge zombie, with a third purple crystal in its chest.
It remains motionless, while Borag falls back to range and attacks it with the magical shortbow obtained from Daviel. Shalus stands ready to heal Borag in this melee. The zombie animates, and Borag and Shalus fall back to the gas room behind the entrance door. From there, through the use of magic and mettle, they defeat the zombie.
Even with the purple crystal from its chest, an examination of the door it was guarding reveals three slots in which to place the crystals. Begrudgingly, Shalus and Borag return to town to obtain proper excavation tools or a magical solution to the problem.
Along the way they fight more zombies in the corridor, but have had so much experience with them that they are not a problem. Back in Frosthollow, things are pretty much unchanged. Asheba has finished her duties and agrees to help scribe a scroll which Shalus can use to form an opening in the rock. Borag buys a pick axe, just in case. Since the scroll will take a day to prepare, Borag decides to see the Red Sage's home for himself.
He tries the door, and to Shalus's surprise he is not shocked, and it opens easily. Inside they find a man in a chair held prisoner by ghostly chains. There is a large sphere of inky blackness with waves of purple lightning flashing on its surface floating in front of him, a hair's with from his face. He is straining his body to its limit to keep the sphere away from him. Though he cannot hear the party, he hears them an accuses them of coming to watch the end of his long torture. Quickly realizing that there are would be rescuers and not his torturers, the sage tells Borag that he must find his vault beneath the graveyard, find the Rod of Shandrulaarr and take it to Lord Eston. He obviously wants to say more, but at that moment, the sphere contacts his face and sucks him into it. There is a sudden expansion of the sphere in response and Borag almost doesn't jump out of the way in time to avoid it himself.
After alerting the town to these developments, and obtaining their new scroll and equipment, they head back down to rescue Janis, and hopefully find this rod. Fighting past more zombies on the way back down, they reach their destination, and Shalus successfully opens a hole in the rock wall. Janis crawls out, and now with all three crystals, they open the door. Inside, they find the vault consists of concentric rings whereby each forces you to encounter an obstacle to proceed inward, and that once inside a ring, the wall shifts to disallow exit. After fighting past several undead, the party reaches the final ring where they fall victim to a trap which tries to holds them while the floor is shifting causing impact with the wall and dumping them into the final chamber. Shalus and Borag fall victim to it, while Janis escapes and does her best to hold off a Wight in the center, the vault's final guardian, while the other fight off the magic.
Through luck, skill and courage, the party defeats the Wight without any casualties, and recovers the rod it was guarding. The rest of the contents of the vault turn out to be illusory. But a hidden cache of items is found under a false stone in the center upon a careful search. Inside is a set of levers, a quarterstaff, a longsword, and a circular prism set into a frame. The rod, is about two feet long, and has an image of a dragon's head identical to that on the holy symbol found. This leaves little doubt that this is connected, somehow to Anyaka's kidnapping.
Flipping all the levers, the party move the vault's walls back into place, and make a hasty exit from the vault, and they return to town to decide their next move. Borag visits Asheba to see if she can cure his lingering ailment, but she claimed it was beyond her help.
As they were leaving her place, a man on a warhorse wearing full plate armor rides into the center of town. He recognizes the party, as they did him. Aurelius Sanz, greets the party and asks if they have been sent by Lord Godfry. Aurelius explains that he has successfully tracked Anyaka to Lord Eston's estate, the same place which the Red Sage told the party to take the rod, but that they cannot complete their plans to sacrifice her without something called the Rod of Shandrulaarr, which, of course, is currently in Borag's backpack. Not trusting, the party doesn't tell Aurelius that they have the rod, but instead say that they talked to the sage before he died and that he directed them to a vault under the graveyard. As Aurelius was on his way to the sage, he laments the death of the wizard, thanks the party and heads off toward the graveyard, asking the friends to make haste to the estate to assist in Anyaka's recovery.
Visiting a merchant at the inn, the party acquires some supplies before heading off, including scrolls to identify the unknown magical items. On the road leading to the Eston estate, Janis uses the scrolls to identify their spoils from the vault. The longsword is moderately magical (+2), the quarterstaff has several useful adventuring spell powers (dispel magic, knock, shield, and detect secret doors), and the lens aids in searching and trapfinding (+5 to competence bonus to search, trapfinding ability, and a +5 insight bonus to finding traps). The rod, has an overwhelming aura of power, and with the identify spell, Janis is able to read its school: conjuration. A short discussion about the wisdom of keeping the rod with the party ensues without any decision to the contrary.
The following day, the reach the estate. It is set in an area of farmland and consists of several buildings, and a small tower surrounded by an 18' high wall. There is no answer to a knock on t he door, and Jareth is sent to investigate the grounds. He returns seeing no one, but is very frightened by something inside the gates.
The party scales the wall on the southwest side, and investigates the first building, a smithy. It looks in order, but to not have been used in months. Janis searches a bit, and discovers sufficient tools to conduct the appropriate crafting if anyone should desire.
The next building turns out to be a stables. No sooner do they start investigating it than a young green dragon emerges and asks their business, seeming especially annoyed that there is an elf in the party. Borag begins to bluff the dragon about their business, mixing half truths with lies. The dragon invites him to bring his tribe to come and live in the estate as it is empty and the dragon could use the people. After a while, the conversation grows too boring for the dragon, especially when he begins to think that Borag has no intention of bringing more orcs, so the dragon breathes his acidic breath on the whole party.
Shalus, having cast a protective spell on Janis to take her wounds upon himself, immediately falls to the ground dying. He is dragged into a stall, and fed a potion while Borag keeps the dragon busy. Once all three has rejoined the battle, Borag scores a hit on a vital area of the dragon and causes it to flee, flying away far too quickly for anything but a vain attempt for a lucky bowshot.
Immediately upon the dragon's departure, the courtyard is filled with gnolls leaving the compound. They stream out of both the tower and an underground entrance. Though expecting the gnolls due to Aurelius's warning to that effect, the party simply waits in hiding for them to all leave before investigating further.
The remaining buildings uncover little of interest as they clearly have been looted before. An iron chest left untouched in the barracks, poses no match for Borag's uncanny ability to bash things open, and yields a valuable gem, but an ooze in the supply room does give the party some trouble. Shalus's magical cloak and his masterwork chain shirt both fall victim to its corrosive touch, as does he, initially, though he is again saved with a quick potion.
A search of the tower reveals that the dragon has spent much time filling its walls with acid, but the party uncovers a hidden cache containing some gold and a letter written in a language that none could read. Janis attempt some magic to read it, but it is of no help either.
Finally, the underground room is entered. There is much evidence that many gnolls have been living here for some time. A search of the room reveals a secret door in the northern wall. Behind it, the party beholds an interesting sight, an invisible door behind the initial one. Beyond it are three items, a sword, a cloak, and belt seemingly designed to hold potions. A casting of magical detection reveals the sword and the cloak to have magical auras. An application of Janis's staff opens the invisible door, and Borag goes in to retrieve the items.
Upon touching the sword, all three are cast back out of the room by a wave of magical force, and the sound of the invisible door closing and latching is heard. Angry at this development, Borag begins to bash down the door. Unfortunately, this attracts the notice of creatures lurking nearby.
Three unusual creatures with the bodies of snakes and the heads and torsos of men enter the room. They move slowly (one suspects they'd move much faster in water), but it soon appears they can emits blasts of electricity from range. The party successfully defeats the creatures, after taking some heavy damage. Shalus gets to work on healing, while Janis reuses the staff's power to open the door, then uses the new lens to find the trap. It appears that the sword was actually a non-magical, but masterwork scimitar, and a casting of dispel magic from the staff suppresses the trap long enough for it to be retrieved. Shalus moves the weapon stand in front of the door to prevent its closing in the case of an accidental retriggering of the trap.
In desperate need of rest, it is decided that the three will hide in the secret alcove, shutting the outside door. Janis identifies the cloak as similar to the one Shalus lost and he gratefully takes it. They rest for the night.
The party is awakened by Jareth's hoots, as he hears the sound of someone in the outer room. Borag decides to investigate. On the other side is a human male, Osric, who claims to be a friend and cleric of Fharlanghn. After a few questions are exchanged, and, at Shalus's prompting, Osric heals Borag's lingering cough with a scroll he obtained from Father Renquist in Langston. Deciding to trust the newcomer, Shalus takes the opportunity to take the Rod of Shandrulaarr away from this place and the hands of evil, promising to bury it beneath Borag's house in Langston.
The remaining three set to the task of investigating the remaining basement levels for some sign of Anyaka. They find many rooms filthy, with the mire and muck of months of unsanitary use by the gnolls. In one room, a trapped iron chest is found wherein lies a silver comb, quickly appraised at 100gp, and a letter which identifies the owner as being one of Eston's men who doesn't want his chest looted.
Most of the rooms are empty of anything interesting, but do show signs of recent gnoll use. On the second basement level, a practice room with a bath and fire pit is discovered, and Osric takes a dagger from it. While Janis was searching a store room on the same level Borag and Osric discovered a very large chest with a string of pearls lying across the lid. Suspicious of it, seeing as everything else of value had been taken, Borag carefully takes the pearls, but is still surprised when the chest itself animates and grabs him into itself.
Demanding more treasure and food, the chest and the pair fight, with Janis arriving a short while later once she hears the commotion. The conflict ends with the chest being defeated but not killed. Osric heals its wounds, seeing as it was an intelligent creature.
After some talk, the chest agrees to accompany the characters in search of his former master Lord Eston, who always provided food in exchange for protecting his treasure. In return, the chest would assist in fights where it could, but it was afraid of the snake men. The chest also mentioned that after Lord Eston disappeared, Orcs, then Hobgoblins, then Gnoll all came to dwell in this place, each slowly diminishing in number as they were taken down into the earth below the basement.
In the wall of one storage room, a tunnel existed, having been broken through from the other side. The party explores it and it seems to go for miles and becomes very cold. Eventually, a snakeman is encountered standing guard. Outmatched, he retreats down the side corridor and dives into a pool of water. A second snakeman does likewise. The party retreats to rest and prepare for the this new opposition.
After resting in the room where the chest was found, they proceed down with magical protection from Osric against the cold. The chest, however, did not receive this enchantment, so after a few mild complaints, Borag offers him his winter blanket, which he takes gratefully.
Upon reaching the side tunnel, the two snakeman guard are ready for them, and they each blast Borag with their electric blast before again retreating to the safety of the pool. The party decides to pursue them into the water, using another enchantment from the cleric which allows them to breathe.
A pitched battle ensues between the party and several snakeman, who also have a giant eel-like pet. The party is victorious in the pitched underwater battle. They quickly surface in the cave and continue to the east wherein they discover a prison filled with gnolls, orcs, hobgiblins, and a few humans. One guard is driven off, and the other killed. Amongst the raucous cheering upon seeing salvation in sight, one human in particular gets the party's attention alerting the to the fact that Anyaka was only just taken into the water pool at the back of the prison to be executed. Borag rushes ahead, with Osric following, while Janis frees the prisoners using her staff.
Another short underwater trip brings the party to a giant whirlpool with a strange blue glow in its center. Borag attempt to stay to the outside, so as not to be lost in the current, but the current gets the better of Osric until another large snake beat grabs ahold of him, offering him some possibly unwanted stability.
Another battle ensues, this time the foes include enlarged snakeman. Janis joins the party shortly, having taken some time to take care of the prisoners and making sure that Jareth is safe. Taking a minute to regroup and heal, the party then continues in search of Anyaka. They discover a gigantic cavern wherein is discovered Ithixial, literally licking his wounds. Since he is not itching for another fight, the party makes their way past him and his treasure hoard into a small side room where, clearly, a sacrificial ceremony is taking place. Though four heavily armed and armored guard block the entrance, Janic still manages to kill the insane cleric in the room before the ritual can be completed. Two guard are captured, and another two are killed. Anyaka is saved.
Just as the battle finishes, the sounds of a man in armor is heard racing up to the party. It is none other than the human who urged the party onward. He identifies himself as Lord Eston, and thanks the party for their assistance. He has managed to find his armor and weapons. Anyaka is in no condition for an interview.
Leaving the caves, the party encounters more of the snakemen, but they are not fighting, instead they appear to be leaving, obviously beaten. Several caches are seen on the way that that strike some as being very like nurseries. The parade of random humanoid races has cleared out the way out of traps and monsters, for the most part. Though the party does discover a pool with some piranha in it, in additional to a frozen hobgoblin corpse.
Once back in the estate, Eston fills them in on some details, gives them a reward for saving him, and offers the chest too. The party refuses to take the chest, but they happily accept the gold. Asking Eston about the Rod, he responds that the situation has changed and that it is probably best off in the hands of the paladin Aurelius. The party takes the prisoners and Anyaka back to Langston.
Upon seeing them approach, the whole town comes out cheering. Lord Godfry takes Anyaka, and sends the party to the inn, on his tab. After much celebration, the part y receives an invitation to attend lunch the following day at the Lord's mansion. During lunch, Godfry thanks the PCs for saving Anyaka, and gives them a very expensive reward. A suit of glittering mithral plate armor.
Shalus also contacts the party about what to do with the rod. It seems that Aurelius is not to be found, and still, possibly, not to be trusted, so he says he may have found a safe location for it. He has uncovered in some research the existence of an ethereal Elven city located somewhere in the great Celedon forest to the south. the rod should be safe from magical detection, as it will exist on another plane. Hopefully, they party will be able to convince the elves who reside there to become caretakers of this artifact.
Desperately in need of resources which Langston simply could not provide, the party decides to stop by the large metropolis of Bluffside on their way to finding the Elves. They buy light warhorses for the journey, which is uneventful, the roads being clear of threats, though they are only able to spend two of the seven nights indoors at the small roadside towns.
Bluffside is a city built on a cliff, with Old City existing as a crescent around a cape, and the rest of the place surrounding it on all sides (including the island called "Sordadon" part ways out into the water). There is much activity in the shipyards below as well as additional activity in caves within the cliff itself (Undercity). The riches of Bluffside come chiefly from the abundance of adamantine found in the surrounding mountains.
Borag and Janis immediately set about the business of selling unused equipment, upgrading old equipment, and buying some new items and supplies. Osric eventually gets bores and wanders the city. They agree to meet back up in the Not Just Half-Orcs Inn that evening.
Janis buys some scrolls from Sam's Magical Goods that allow her to identify magical items, and she verifies that the Cleric's Mace was a simple enchantment. She also waits in line at Maximillian's Magic to purchase a shiny new hat. Other items purchased include a bag of holding for gear and potions of healing.
Janis spends the rest of the day doing some research at the Library of the Magical and the Mundane, limited time only free admittance to all, wherein she learns some more about the ethereal plane and possibly the location of Aniel on an old map, but she fails to learn any more about the Cult of Shrandulaar.
That day, the party learns that there is an important council meeting that night wherein the matter of a city wide sales and services tax will be settled. Upon hearing the news, Janis and a slightly drunk Borag head to Undercity, where some shops are still open for business at the late hour, to purchase the scrolls which will allow them to enter the ethereal realm. On the way, one of Janis's rings is purloined by a clever thief.
The next morning, the party finds the tax act to have been passed, and they find their shopping much easier as the citizens seem to be following a kind of silent protest. They purchase a backup scroll and get a cleric to cast a plane shift spell on them taking them to the ethereal plane. (The cleric did not appear to travel with the party). By the time they finally leave, the protests on the streets have turned less silent.
Once ethereal, the party finds they can see the prime material plane from which they came, and even a little better due to a low level light extension. Experimentation shows that there appears to be no gravity, and shortly everyone is trying out their wings. Janis and Osric have no problems with this, but Borag flaps his arms about uselessly for some time, looking awfully silly. Shortly, Janis has gotten her bearings relative to the map, and the three, with their horses, set out towards the spot which appears to be three to four days journey.
On the first night, the party receives a nasty shock. A large undead creature attacks. The devourer is a tough fight, and both Borag and Janis are felled by the beast. Luckily, Osric is able to revive both before they die. At this point, Janis suggests hiding in an extradimensional space she creates for a few days while they heal from their ordeal. The party uses some hero points to ensure the drain from the undead does not become permanent.
The following day's journey is uneventful, but in the third they encounter an Allip. Another undead creature, which they easily dispatch. It seems the ethereal plane has many dangers beyond those in the normal world.
Near the end of the fourth day of travel to Aneil, Borag stops the horses upon seeing a red shape in the trees ahead. It turns out to be a Xill chasing an Ethereal Filcher. Borag attempts to trip them both, and in doing so, picks a fight with the Xill, while the Filcher runs and hides behind the party. The fight with the Xill is tough, with it's four arms and a nasty, poisonous bite which it delivers to Borag while they grappled. Eventually, being extremely effective at wrestling, Borag keeps the Xill at bay long enough for Janis's magic and Osric's lethal combination of clerical and melee abilities to finish it off. Before it dies, Osric stabilizes its wounds. Meanwhile, the filcher, makes off with a magical ioun stone of Janis's. He is immediately chased by Borag, and also attacked at range by a lethal pair of Janis's lightning bolts. The Filcher falls, and is also saved from death by Osric. Rousing the Xill first, after he is bound, the party learns that the Xill does not speak any language they know, but that, though gestures it was chasing the filcher for making off with a small prism it owned. Eventually, the party returns to item, and his two short swords to the Xill, who leaves, after, with permission, biting the Filcher one more time. The party, cursious as to the effects of the bite, since it obviously only rendered the Filcher unconscious, waits for it to awaken, which it does so in about an hour. Satisfied as to the effects of the Xill's bite, Janis again knocks the Filcher out and the party leaves it.
Shortly thereafter, Borag finds a solid tree, the hard way. The party surmises that this must be the start of the outskirts of Aneil, and travels directly into the now solid forest. In the center they find approximately 30 homes situated in the branches of about ten mighty oak trees. They are greeted by elven guards, who quickly fetch their master, a ranger named Tarien.
Tarien invites the adventurers into his home where they exchange tales. About 300 years ago, a traitorous elf named Navae killed his master Revan and took the magical gem the Galadiir to seek favor with Evil gods. He was stopped and killed by Tarien before he could get away, but before dying he used its power to place a curse on the town, causing it, its occupants, and the surrounding trees to become trapped in the Ethereal plane. To do so he simply held the gem aloft and utterred "I may be dragged into death, but where I go you will all soon join me." Tarien placed the Galadiir back into its protective box, which, later, the elves discovered to be a mistake, for the box was designed so that only a direct descendant of Galad could open it again. Since Revan was the last of the bloodline, they buried the box, and all records of the gem they could find with Revan, and marked the gravesite with a tree, as is their custom.
Tarien offers the character a place to stay as several homes are unoccupied. Aniel has suffered a decrease in population due to being cut off from the world and not having enough women of childbearing age. For this reason, Tarien urges the party to do what they can to reverse the curse, even if, in doing so, they ruin Aneil as an effective hiding place for the Rod. The party agrees to the quest and Tarien accepts the Rod of Sharandulaar for safekeeping. Janis stays with Tarien to relate their full tale while Borag and Osric are taken to an empty home to rest.
In the morning, Tarien takes the party to the grave tree of Revan and points it out. It is the only incorporeal tree around the village, meaning it must exist for real on the other side. Osric offers to attempt to take up to five other elves back with him to the prime material plane with his plane traveling spell. Tarien is doubtful of the success of this, but sends three volunteers anyhow. He seems wary of raising the hopes of the townspeople too much, and so seems to be keeping the purpose of the visitors quiet.
With three elves going as well, Osric is forced to leave his horse, Misty, behind. The plane shift spell succeeds, the elves do not come with its magic, but all five creatures end up falling into water. It seems that the spell has taken the party out into the middle of the ocean. Quickly, Janis imparts the ability of flight to Borag and Osric, and Osric quickly doffs his armor and puts it into his backpack so that he can swim more easily if needed. Luckily the water is clam, and the day is clear. With some searching, Jareth finds a sailing vessel and leads the party to it. Janis's entrance to the ship is dramatic and she quickly gets the captain to change course to pick up Osric and Borag whose power of flight diminished before fully reaching the ship. It is three days journey to the port at Bluffside. Osric pays their way by attending to some sailors afflicted with an ailment. Janis makes an attempt to rescue the horses, but they cannot be found.
Little time is spent in Bluffside, only enough for Osric to inform the local temple of the existence of Aneil. The party, low on resources and no longer under the time pressure of carrying around the Rod, walks the distance to Aneil in the Celedon forest, going by way of Langston. It takes them over a month, wherein they have few adventures. They warn Shalus of the success of their mission, but also that they might need another place to hide the Rod if this new quest is successful. Borag retrieves his trusty shovel.
The party eventually finds the site they seek. From this side to looks like a large clearing of bare earth in the middle of the forest with one lone tree growing. It takes all day to dig out Revan's coffin, since care is taken to not unduly hurt the tree. It is dark by the time the task is complete. Checking it for traps, Osrick locates a magical trap which Janis suppresses with a spell from her staff. Opening it quickly, they discover bones, an intact Cloak, a book, and the box. Strong magical auras are found on the cloak and the box. Borag goes to take the cloak, and this starts an argument with Osric who thinks the cloak should be left behind. Meanwhile, Janis takes the box 50' away and attempts to open it. It opens easily in her hand. At this moment, the argument is interrupted by the attack of spider who appear out of thin air, attack, then disappear. While the spiders are attacking Janis is seen running away from the clearing without giving reason. It takes over a minute to dispatch the three spiders which is a difficult battle for the two remaining adventurers. Their bite is poisonous and drains the strength from their victim. With the battle over, Osric and Borag have no choice but to wait until morning to try to figure out what happened to Janis. In the morning, they find no trace that she was attacked. They also find the box, opened and empty, laying on the ground.
Hoping that whatever possessed her passes and that she'll then return to town, Osric and Borag return to Langston. Shalus is dismayed that Janice is missing, and immediately organizes a search party. Osric remains behind to help in the search. However, Borag has a letter from Aurelius Sanz, begging for his urgent help:
I would like to thank you again for rescuing Anyaka. Her part in this is through, and I only hope she can resume her life in as normal a manner as possible. I fear I have failed her through all these years. Yet, there are more pressing matters than an old man's grief.
A new threat has risen from the ashes of the cult cell that you destroyed in the caverns beneath Eston Manor. An artifact, a stone tablet from days long since past, was recently discovered beneath the city of Bluffside. Until several days ago, the tablet stayed in one of the city's archaeological museums, under the watchful eye of the Guild of Archaeologists. It is now missing, presumably stolen, although we know not by whom. I believe this tablet is not thousands of years old as the archeologists suspect, but merely hundreds, and rather than unlocking the secrets of an ancient language, I believe that he who learns to read the stone will hear a voice from hell, the voice of Shandrulaar's mate, the demon lord Abraxu.
If the tablet's disappearance is in any way related to the Cult of Shandrulaar, then it must be retrieved before they can decipher its message. I know not what reading the tablet will do, but I fear it will come to no good in any event. The city of Bluffside may be in grave danger, even though they remain unaware of the true nature of the threat. I bid you go to Bluffside, speak to Aeron of the Archaeologists' Guild, and find the tablet before its secrets can be discerned. Once you have done this, return the tablet to the Archeologists' Guild so that no suspicions will be raised. I will deal with the problem from there, and I shall have a sum of gold awaiting your return. I suspect the archaeologists will also reward you for returning their precious artifact.
I have no need of a response; I can only hope that you will heed my call. I also believe that I owe you an explanation for all that has happened. I shall deliver that story to you as soon as I have finished some current pressing business.
Borag takes Shalus' horse and rides for Bluffside immediately. He hopes he can find magical aid there to help solve the problem of the Sem La Va stone and the Galadiir to save Janice as well.
Upon entering Bluffside, Borag inquires at the Adventurer's Guild to find a wizard to help. The guildmaster suggests a cleric instead, and he agrees, going to visit the Temple of the Dwarven God. He meets with Urgle, a cleric who has been assigned to investigate the suspicion that clerics of the teacher were seen near the Museum on the night the Sem La Va stone was stolen. As an outside cleric, she can be impartial to any kind of corruption to the church, and is doing it as a favor to the other temple.
Urgle gets her gear, including masterwork plate armor and a tower shield, and goes with Borag to find a wizard and to visit the Archeologist's Guild to inquire about the stone. At the museum, they meet Aeron. Aeron is a nervous young man who was worried about the responsibility of the task given to him. He believed the guildmasters when they told him that this might be the key to unlocking many of the secrets of Sem La Vah, secrets that no previous find had shed light upon. He is very upset at the loss of the stone, and is happy that help has finally arrived. He claims to have payment ready for Bora, should he manage to find the stone. His opinion of what the stone says is that is it a translation key to many of the old texts, should they be able to decipher it, this clearly differs from Aurelius's opinion. About the robbery, all he can offer is the rumor about the priests and a piece of a broken shortbow.
After several failed attempt to get a wizard from the wizard's academy, Borag finally reveals the book he's carrying on the Galadiir. It is enough to warrant a meeting with a wizard. They meet a young mage named Aramil, who seems to be expecting them, and knows what they are looking for. He seems thankful that they have finally arrived, and immediately sets out with them. Borag and Urgle fill him in on the happenings thus far.
The party decides it would be best to gather some underground information on the robbery, so they seek out the Thieves' Guild, Umbra Incognita located in Undercity. They discover that the man to talk to is named Jefrey "Jef" Jefferson who runs a Tally shop in the Coach and Six market. He greets the party warmly, and chats them up a bit. He agrees to look into what he can discover for 50gp, promising to return the gold is he can uncover nothing. Though, he does add a disclaimer that he will tell the truth, unless, of course, it does turn out to be the guild that performed the heist.
Upon leaving the shop, Borag notices a pickpocket try to make off with one of his belongings. Taking quick action to detain the thief, the party rents a shady room, and takes the hastily tied up rogue into a back room for an interrogation, tipping the innkeeper to forget what he sees. The rogue is wily, but after a few threats, reveals that he knows who took the stone they seek, and it is the new rival thieves' guild located on Soradon. When it becomes clear that the party intends to rob him of the rest of his belongings or kill him, he activates a magical device he had yet to use and disappears from the room.
Investigating his information, the party heads to Soradon using Urgle's magnificient magical ebony fly mount. They find the guild hall, and receive a welcome very similar to that of the other theives' guild. Again, the 50gp are asked to investigate, but the party instead demands to talk to a higher ranking offical in the guild before forking over any gold. The thief promises to send someone to the party's inn that night to conduct the business.
With some time to spare, the party investigates their last lead, the Bower's shop, Take a Bow, run by Arlen Perdergrast. Aramil recognized the insignia on the broken shortbow from the robbery as being his mark. Arlen is immediately disquieted when asked about the bow, and it takes some negotiating from the cleric to persuade him to tell his story. Apparently the bows were commissioned a few months ago by a huge man surrounded by shadow who somehow forced Arlen to take the commission. Aramil told the bower that he had nothing to be ashamed of as it was magic that caused his predicament.
Staying at the Green Dragon Inn. Borag and Urgle spend the night drinking and Aramil takes the time to prepare for a possible attack by the thieves that night. His caution is rewarded when his alarm spell is triggered and he has time to wake the other two as four assassins come in through the windows of the suite, bearing poisoned daggers.
In the battle, Borag is wounded several times, but Urgle handles both the poison, and the wounds, and they manage to kill or drive away their attackers. One is taken alive for questioning, and Aramil fetches the innkeeper who fetches the city guard.
The party is asked to come down to a guardhouse for questioning on the attack. A man named Hawk Drydor questions them in a room specially designed by magic to compel truthful answers. Each party member resists this magic and reveals little about their true suspicions on the assassins, and the ranger lets them go.
Getting back to the inn to prepare some magic, the party immediately launches a retaliatory attack against the new guildhouse, hoping that it was indeed them who send the attackers. They sneak into Soradon then literally bash down the door and kill everyone inside, except for a bard who seems to be their leader. The guildhouse has a back stairway that leads down below the surface of the ocean. Within they find the place mostly empty, but there is evidence that the complex itself is used in nefarious ways. A lever is discovered which allows water into one of the rooms. The walls can slide revealing or hiding hallways, and a central room is surrounded by arrow-slit-like small holes all firing into a room with one secret entrances and exits. Beds are discovered as well as rooms of ale and foodstuffs. An office is discovered which contains a desk with several notes and books on summoning demons and a trapped treasure chest. Within is a found holy water, acid, gems, a greataxe, antitoxin, and a map of Bluffside with three points of interest circled: the palace, the Umbra Incognita guildhouse, and a cemetery in the Wizard's District.
Interrogating the bard Myron Farragut (using both Wizard and Clerical magic) the party discovers that the Shadow Striker's did indeed steal the stone, but they gave it to strange priests. Borag, revealing the holy symbol he wears around his neck, asked if the priests wore this symbol, and Myron confirmed it, though now embittered that his guild had been double crossed. Myron knew nothing of the stone's purpose, and seemed only interested in the well being of his men. He did reveal that his boss was named Moolak, who was a Minotaur, but that he had no way of contacting him. The party lets the bard go, under condition that he leaves the city immediately.
Seeking this Moolak, Aramil uses his scrying mirror to search for him, having a copy of the map which Myron confirmed came from Moolak's office. The scrying works, but only reveals a tightly enclosed darkened coffin-like space in which the minotaur is resting.
Taking a day to prepare for this possibly vampiric threat, Urgle creates a few potions to heal wounds while Aramil enchants Borag's mithril armor. Then they party heads to the graveyard to seek Moolak.
Using some magic, they locate the crypt, only to find it larger than they thought. They descend to find guards including two fighters, two priests of Shrandulaar, and two small dragons. The priests seem nearly insane yelling about how the "Great Dragon is awaking beneath their feet". The part y dispatches the foes and heads deeper into the crypt. They are attacked by two vampire spawn which likewise pose no great difficulty, then backtrack to another passage where they are ambushed by hiding rogues, some of which are recognizable as their assassins. They defeat all these, but wonder at what remains of their strength and ability to descend deeper into the crypt.
Taking a short respite, they loot the bodies of anything useful before venturing on, and make sure that they are physically prepared for what lies beyond. The corridor past the crypt is 100' long and ends in an illuminated room. However, once they are halfway across a deadly trap is triggered. The corridor slowly starts filling with spinning blades from the ends inward, leaving no avenue of escape. Aramil quickly shatters one blade and disables two using his magic. Everyone quickly makes their way back to the safety of the previous crypt room. After some deliberation, it is decided that they're going to run for it, and all except make their way past the spinning blades. Borag and Urgle do so unharmed, but the wizard is gravely injured in the attempt. Luckily, he is quickly healed by the cleric.
The illuminated room is found to contain a table with five colored figures atop it, each figured having inscribed upon it a name: Endon (Red), Chekel (Yellow), Sara (Green), Bart (Blue), and Leigh (Indigo). Upon examination, a ghostly figure appears and offers healing in exchange for figuring out a riddle. His riddle is thus:
You have braved much to come here, and I would give you aid
But first you must complete this task, before you I now lay.
These figures on the table are my family, Each a Rigby in name.
Place them in order, child to elder, and healing you shall gain.
They were born, beginning in May,
Each thirteen months apart.
My daughters were Sara and Leigh,
My sons Endon, Chekel, and Bart.
Each of my children were given a gift,
Bart was not born last,
Please heed my words, whatever you do,
And place my children in order at last.
Sara was born in July, this I tell you.
In September, a hat was gifted to my newborn.
Endon, who has never liked swords, was my firstborn.
Leigh was given a toy bear thirteen months before
a silver bell was awarded my newest child.
Still magically prepared for fighting, they ignored the riddle and pressed on. The next room proved to be empty except for a chest. Sure that the statues would animate, Borag covered them with his chain, while Urgle cast a spell to check for magic in there room. Aramil started to examine the walls for secret doors, seeing as there were no apparent exits and promptly disappeared. At first thinking he might have gone invisible, Borag calls to him a few times, then moves to the spot where he vanished and vanishes himself. With little else to do, Urgle also enters the teleportation spot.
Meanwhile, Aramil appears inside another underground chamber where Mookal is see sitting on a large stone throne atop a dais. He is just completing a spell of some sort and he shatters the Sem La Va stone while is floating in mid air. Aramil quickly protects himself by putting up a sphere of force around his person. Moolak, the minotaur vampire, stares at Aramil and command him to remain still while he attempts to attack him. The attack fails due to the sphere and Moolak angrily demands he drop the protective sphere. Knowing that following this command would mean certain death, Aramil fights off the domination magic and resists. Simultaneously four flying fire breathing mephit demons appear in the room, and start moving toward the wizard too.
Borag now appears in a different corner of the room, and prepares to face the mephits he sees, two attack at first and later the other two. Borag fends off a lethal charge from Moolak once the minotaur notices the orc. Finally, Urgle also pops into the room in a third corner, and immediately upon seeing the vampire unleashes a deadly bolt of holy light at him, which instantly smites him into his gaseous form. Aramil watches where the gas escapes while Borag and the Cleric finish off the mephits. Moolak escapes to beneath the throne.
Moving the throne aside, some time is spent trying to find his means through the rock, but, eventually, with the aid of another spell from Aramil which increases his strength, Borag simply starts smashing through the stone floor until Moolak's coffin is discovered. Dragging it out, and staking him with a piece of his own wooden coffin, the party cuts off the vampire's head and heads back outside to subject him to sunlight.
Urgle notices that the south wall of this room is illusory and also acts as a sound barrier. On the other side is the room they left containing the chest. Borag, deciding he wants the treasure removes the chest from the wall when a familiar Xill appears and tugs on the other end of the chest. A brief fight ends with the xill running away back to the etheral plane. Borag then takes the chest and opens it, falling victim to a very damaging lighting trap. Taking this opportunity of weakness, the Xill reappears and attacks Borag. However, he fails to fell the orc and ends up running away again. The treasure chest contains over a thousand gold pieces, which Borag tosses into his magical bag of holding.
Upon leaving the crypt with the vampire's immobile body, they find the trap to not be an issue on the way out if they stand on the spot where the disc was shattered and wait out the duration. Unfortunately, they find the outside, not as they left it. A strange dark sky with purple clouds is now above the city, and it is raining quite heavily. They decide to rest back inside, where it is, hopefully, safe.
The following morning Aramil sends magical scouts outside to investigate the state of the city and identifies some magical items while he waits for their return. Only one makes it back intact and it has horrors of Bluffside being inundated by demons and of the sky raining down fire.
Bypassing the deadly trap once more, the party heads back into the throne room to recover the broken pieces of the Sem La Va tablet, which the cleric magically makes whole again. She attempts to read it using more magic and is able to make out that is is similar to page in a history book describing some demonic event, but not enough text exists to make full sense of it. Meanwhile Aramil finds a hidden cache of items behind the throne which contains some silver, bloodstones, a magical horn and a powerful magical shield.
Urgle and Borag play with the ghost's riddle, and eventually solve it causing a blast of healing power, which is unnecessary, but the ghost also drops a small ring. Meanwhile Aramil studies the strange teleporters to figure out how they work. He realizes that there are nine patterns followed by a dark period. The party decides to enter the teleporters during the dark periods, to see where it goes, so one at a time, they do so, Borag first, and Aramil last. They end up within a large cage, 25' on a side, with a mangled opening in its top, as if whatever creature was contained within burst its way through. The sky contains a vortex cloud similar to that above bluffside. The party quickly surmises this is the other end of the portal, somewhere in the abyss. Each is weakened here, so they decide to leave, hopefully via the vortex. Aramil gives the power of flight to himself and Borag, and Urgle flies through the vortex on her Ebony Fly. The other side did, indeed, lead to Bluffside, however it was a sufficiently bumpy ride that the fly bolt and leaves the vicinity, while Borag and Aramil are forced to land as the spell's duration expires.
On they way out of the city to regroup with the cleric, Borag and Aramil encounter a pack of hell hounds with an imp directing them chasing a frightened group of citizens. The imp escapes, but they slaughter the evil hounds. On their way out of the city, the acid rain seen before showers the pair. They take cover in a nearby stall, and wait for it to pass. Just outside the main gate, they meet back up with Urgle, who has returned her mount to statuette form.
Proceeding inward again to the library, the trio encounter a wave of magical energy that animates Urgle's mace and attacks her. Aramil, thinking quickly, dispels the magic and it returns to normal. Further down the road, a group of a dozen children are seen playing ball in an alley. Thinking this is not normal, Borag calls out to them and readies an attack. Sure enough, they turn out to be Dretches with long claws and sharp teeth. Half engage the party, while the other half cast spells, including a stinking cloud which fills the area with noxious and concealing fog. Aramil and Urgle leave the cloud, but Borag remains to fight the Dretches alone. His health is nearly spent when Urgle rejoins him and grants a healing spell. With renewed strength, they finish off the demons.
The next encounter finds our party rushing to help a group of town guards fighting off more hounds. The guards finish their work of slaying the demons, before they can join in to help, but the guard is questioned. The party discovers that martial law has been declared and that the people are told to remain in their homes while the threat is dealt with. volunteers to join city patrols are welcome to all who can fight. Aramil learns there is some trouble in the Wizard's district.
Proceeding in that direction, Aramil sees an acquaintance, Rundaar from the house of Divination who is organizing the wizards resistance on the steps of the Academy. He asks Aramil to take his party to the house of illusion and retake it from evil, if he can. Accepting the quest, the party goes there.
They find the house of illusion as it normally looks (which is to say constantly changing looks, in a slightly disturbing way), yet finds the front door locked with a note from a wizard Shalanin saying "This door is locked. Do not enter!". The party proceeds to allow Borag to work his brawny magic with his chain and the stone, and bashes a way into the building.
The entry hall has four doors. Aramil enters one of the doors and it promptly disappears preventing Borag from following. So, he and Urgle choose two other doors. Behind the doors is a 100' long corridor surrounded by mirrors. Borag proceeds to attack the mirrors but is met with the sound of a wounded Urgle, who eventually, disbelieving the illusory wall, shows Borag this is instead a large room with false mirrors and walls.
The corridor ends in a wide room with a dozen doors. Several turn out to be traps of various kinds, two lead to lounges, which Aramil searches, but finds nothing worth taking. Two doors lead to corridors of quarters for the wizards, which also yield little of interest. One leads to a storage room containing a couple dozen bolts of fine silk, which Borag dumps into his bag after returning to a lounge to empty some other cheaper items. The final door leads into a trophy room filled with stuff animals of various kinds.
Thinking the trophy room might be dangerous, Borag begins hacking his way through the statues to allow for better visibility and room to fight in case something threatening is discovered within. Sure enough, as he approaches a corner of the room, a rogue jumps out and lands a surprise attack, just as the room comes to life. Borag attacks the rogue back, and Urgle dispels the animated trophies. At this the rogue offers to make a deal for his life. The party comes for him anyway and he escapes down a rear staircase. The party follows and the corridor below ends in a platform, upon which entering it one disappears from sight from one side and finds himself on a tall column surrounded by darkness and a sheer drop on all sides.
All three enter the platform area and find themselves upon this platform with no apparent way to get back, or get across to the next platform 40' away. The party decides to rest on the column. After several minutes, a voice is heard "Can we please make a deal?" Apparently the rogue had been hiding just over the edge of the column, and was getting tired. The party talks to him and barters a deal for his freedom. He says his name is Nyseth, and he was hired by the wizard Shalanin two days ago to help him take this guild house. He apparently didn't do much, but was coming to investigate an alarm that was raised when he encountered the party. He claims to not know much of Shalanin's business, but says that he was the only other person with the wizard. He also says the wizard came in, scared off the students, and locked the door. He was to wait with the wizard a few days longer while the wizard "got set up".
When Aramil asks for a lock of hair to secure his freedom, the rouge decides to run for it, and the party doesn't give chase. At the very least, they learn that the way back, though it looks like the edge of a column is, instead just the same corridor from which they came. the party returns to the lounges to rest and recover their strength.
The following day, they attempt to get through the illusion room. The pass to the second column by throwing one of the balls of light to it, then climbing across the now sturdy beam of light. On the second column, Aramil uses a stone shape sell to create an eye hook on which a rope is attached. Upon the second platform, Urgle notices a small glowing hook in mid-air. Borag uses the new three balls of light on this platform to make a flexible rope with a lasso and hooks it. Then attempts to swing to the other side. Mid flight the rope breaks and he plunges into the darkness, only to reappear above the second column, coming down hard upon it. Then two light ropes are tied together to increase their strength and Aramil attempts to swing. He makes the other platform and secures real rope with a rope trick spell. All three use this rope to cross. Upon the next platform, which turns out to be the final one, Borag uses the three red balls found there to make first a javelin, which he throws at the dim archery target seen in the distance. Having it fall short he fashions an arrow with the next one and uses his bow to hit the target. Hitting the target causes the magic in the room to end and the party finds themselves in a normal stone room with the only evidence of columns being magical runes inscribed upon the stone floor in the shape of three circles.
The corridor ahead is cloaked in magical darkness and the party proceeds through. On the other side await two large animated skeletons and an evil cleric. The party is forced to withdraw initially, but goes and rests and comes back the next day to secure a victory. The cleric makes one final vengeful attempt to call down the wrath of his evil god upon Borag, but, luckily Borag survives. Urgle quickly heals the party and they enter the next room, wherein the sounds of spellcasting can be heard.
Upon entering the room, the party sees a massive globe depicting Bluffside hovering in the middle of this gigantic room. It even has small people (and demons) represented. In each of five alcoves in the far wall a wizard can be seen casting. Aramil immediately sends a magic missile to each which reveals them all as illusary. Borag steps in melees with a half-Orc fighter in plate mail momentarily before becoming confused via a spell from the as of yet unseen enemy wizard. Aramil enfeebles the fighter, causing him to flee. Over a minute of taking hits from the invisible wizard transpires, when Urgle and Aramil are forced to fall back. Soon, Borag is free of the confusion, and he eagerly awaits the wizard's appearance, knowing the magic must expire soon. The wizard escapes, still unseen, and slowly all the illusions in the room expire.
The party rests and upon exiting discovers an acolyte sweeping the trophy room. He hurriedly fetches Midar, now head illusionist of the guild, the previous head having disappeared in the tumult surrounding the storm and presumed dead. Midar explains that the storm ceased suddenly the previous day and that the city is getting back to normal. He gives the party their promised reward. It is later discovered that, for whatever reason, the Illusionist was keeping up an illusion of the storm using the powers of the guildhouse.
An uneventful month passes. Urgle fills her time by selling magical potions. Aramil created magical items, and Borag travels back to the Langston area to tie up loose ends. He informs Shalus of Janice's passing, returns lord Eston's scimitar and ledger, and checks to make sure the Sphere of Annihilation is safe. It turned out to no longer be there.
When he returned, the party decides to finish up the final loose ends and to track down the remaining living members of the party that took control of the Illusionists' tower.