Altinum is east of here, just south of another coastal town, about a full day’s ride.
Martin and Snitch/Narc travel with us before turning south to Kelman Pass where we bid them farewell.
On the way we pass through a small town to grab a quick meal and drink and sit for a few before continuing on. The town guard come and ask us our business; we tell them we are on our way to Altunum. A rep of the town leadership then arrives, offering to pay for dinner.
Geoffrey “What do we owe that to?” He figured it was a nice opening for a job offer. The guilds in this area had a recent problem they need sorted out. Really almost half a year now, began when guild council decided to improve the library to a cheaper and efficient way than the librarian. His name is Thadrubul the Unctuous. This had unforeseen effects, he got so enraged by the sudden micromanagement he removed the hated globe and hid it. Study there has ceased. 2 months ago a detective was hired named Snirg Foddlefaddle. He has not returned. The guilds are very concerned and now want to hire us to follow up. Recover the stolen globe and return it to the main hall of the library, find out what happened to Snird. Thadrubul must not be allowed to stand in our way, even with force; he’s missing. They will pay 1000gp upon completion. The globe is magic, created by one of the guilds to allow them to decipher Master Dewey’s accursed code. When created he had an order of librarians who would pass on the knowledge of the system. It was put there about 8 months ago; been 2 months since he and it vanished. They figure Thadrubul got bored not being needed anymnore.
We say we’ll check things out when we get there. They say return here if we accomplish it to their liking.
Then, arrive Altunum.
Peacefull village of maybe 200. Most of men are in some industry related to bookmaking. Very scholarly town. The only inn is the Harry Hobgoblin run by Madame Wodge. We get a room for the night and eat, then turn in.
The library is cut into a granite outcrop just east of the village. Most who go there are visitors looking for particular knowledge. Master Dewey was one of the most sadistic of Masters. His system is senseless unless you are initiated into the order and taught the sacred knowledge. The first librarian was a First named Marcus Exitio Adducere; obsessed with knowledge for its own sake. Long dead now.
They wish us luck.
After breakfast, we make for the library and enter w/o issue. The doors are open. Stairs then descend into the cool dark below. Lanterns lit we go.
It ends in a hall lined with books all about and upward. Quite impressive. Domed ceiling. In the center is the pedastal for the globe. 6 hallways lead out, one with a portcullis directly opposite and closed; 2 on each other wall besides our entry.
No light from anywhere. First Kaelen scouts the hallways.
The first on the left leads to a door marked bindery; second has a overpowering stench, turns right.
Opposite our entry: left hall we can see sunlight, its an underground garden with roof openings, 1 hall leads out; portcullis blocks this one, terrible animal smell from beyond, lever is rusted into place.
First to our right: long carpeted corridor, walls lined 40’ high with books, walkway midway up both sides, to an iron doorway on north wall, brass statue at end of hall with head of fish and body of serpent.
Last passage on right: short downwards steps leads to an antechamber, another room beyond that.
Back to the group.
To bindery first, but a ghostly figure appears from the iron door hall, bald and long beard, floats to center of main hall. His words are not understandable while gesturing to books, then points to the passage with the steps down. We back up to him at the pedastal. He reappears, repeats the cycle. Kaelen and Loriel to a lesser extent, find him to be speaking Master Latin, welcoming us to the library and to look around all we want, and pointing to reading rooms to research further.
Back to bindery. Kaelen picks the lock and in we go to the workshop. An old man sits working at one of the benches, headless of us. Kaelen enters followed by Geoffrey.
K “Excuse me sir.”
He responds “Ssshhhhh.”
She whispers an apology “We’re looking for Thadrubul. We’re here to see if he is all right.”
He says Thadrubul is fine, he’s in the main room. We say all we saw as an apparition. He asks us for help holding a book flat down.
Geoffrey walks up to hold it down as Chris enters the room. Loriel suddenly gets a shiver. Kaelen’s rogueish senses go off “It’s a trap!”
The binder turns and he is a wight!! 6 Shadows approach from the corners fo the room as well!
Clyde leaps to Kaelen’s side as the Wight attacks with its bookbinding tools, goes to pin Geoffrey’s hands to the book but he reacts just in time. Chris and Loriel go for the far corner shadows, left and right respectively.
Ean enters, blocking 2 others on the left from getting to Loriel.
Kaelen pulls a wand of magic missiles and kills one outright as Loriel casts Daylight and step behind Ogrumat. They engage us; Geoffrey draws and stabs the Wight deeply.
After destroying them all, Ogrumat is down 3 con; Een 6 intel and 2 cha.
He was taking the book apart, not making one. Cover feels like wet clay. Inscribed with a poem “Life, Death and non being, the state of all things, this is the universal order which brings”. Loriel feels it may mean something for our situation here. She opens and peruses. Chapters on golems, animated objects, things not living nor dead nor undead. Created and with some sort of sentience. Intelligent weapons, etc. She feels a magical energy around her as if its trying to do something but can’t.
Title “The Book of Nonbeing”.
Back to the main hallway, she takes it with her. Now to the garden next.
The door slams shut in front of us. A sign says ‘Private, do not enter’.
It will not open though it seems unlocked like its being held from other side. Geoffrey kicks it right in! Ready to fight. A loud yell of anger meets him.
The apparition appears again, but eyes manic this time hair wild and robes flowing as if wind is blowing it. He begins speaking in the Master Latin again very fast and angrily. Not happy we are here. Points at Kaelen an an acid arrow misses her. Then he fades back into the wall. Forward we go. To Chris and Een the hall begins to ungulate and swirl to their eyes. They back out to the main room the rest of us continue to short flight of steps into the garden. There we feel an emination of great anger from behind us like a wave hitting us where the spirit appears again letting out a horrible wail. It shakens Loriel. It continues to blabber angrily at our movement.
K “All right we are leaving”.
We back out of here to the main room. His words become comprehensible “If you want to be in there, fiiinnnne!!!” Kaelen and Loriel are blown back 10’ into the garden by a hateful wind. There they hear an insectiod chirping sound. Clyde and the pseudo quidkly follow them in. The door slams shut on them.
The garden is lush but overgrown, 50’ deep shaft up to a lightwell. 3 paths wind through the garden; alcoves around the room;1 door leading out to our right; In the center a rust monster attacks!
Something else moves low through the undergrowth. 3 Phantom Fungi.
Loriel glitterdusts the fungi then backs into cover. They split, one on each of Loriel, Kaelen and Clyde.
Kaelen tumbles away as Geoffrey and Ogrumat kick the door in. The rust monster makes for Ogrumat.
We clean house but Clyde is taken down.
The 6 alcoves are empty. One has a loose part of the floor with a pale yellow book, warm to the touch. It is titled The Book of the Living, with same poem as previous book. In the’ deep well’s shallow water, something shimmers, multiple places.
Lowering Kaelen down on the rope, its less than 6’ deep, no longer being fed into. She finds 30 gems at the bottom. Each only 1 gem. Lot of work for nothing.
Now the 2 doorways out. Door on left opens into an office, with a tapestry of a great sailing ship and a dark wood cabinet (600gp but heavy). 6 drawers in a writing desk. Contains 6 journals, each a diary of former librarians. Loriel starts perusing the journals.
Kaelen searches the desk, finding a short rod with a socket at one end.
Doombringer was obsessed with knowledge, especially esoteric and arcane. He died in the act of studying and scribing according to next librarian. Loriel notices 1 trend. W/in weeks of getting the job, every successive librarian would get violent headaches and eery feelings that someone was with them when they were alone. Each only lasted 5 to 10 years. Their health would progressively get worse ending in suicide.
Other room is a private bedroom with 1 door out. Pervaiding damp odor. Wooden chest under bed has a few of Thadrubul’s belongings.
On table is a journal which Loriel looks into. He complains of same issues as all the others. Last one dates 6 months ago, writing has detoriorated and in 2 differing styles of writing. Kaelen finds a secret panel at back of fireplace with a set of chimes and coins.
The other door is to a latrine.
The chime set has 5 hanging chimes. On each is a symbol like an entryway or the like. Each exactly the same. Each of the chimes is a different size, so different sound.
Keoghtom’s Ointment x5 doses
Chimes of Opening
Now back to the main hall. Now to the hall the apparition pointed too, down short fight of steps.
Portrait of man holding the yellow book, with 2 other books at feet, and 3 doors; signed by one Fenga. Loriel and Kaelen know the name, well known artist from aroudn 40+ years ago.
Brass plaque names him as Doombringer.
Hall leads to a reading room, hundreds of books. Some out on the table, dusty, seem of no interest, as well as a bone ear trumpet.
Ear trumpet: understand any language, including gibberish/inconherent speech.
Back to main room to hall, next the hall with the rotting smell, not the porcullis. Stench gets stronger to a door at bottom of stairs. Geoffrey leads us into a rot smelling room of books and furniture, now in a pile in the center. 3 pale figures are attached via tentacles to a big nasty creature. One is the missing investigator and likely 2 hirelings of his! The beast is central toothy faceless maw surrounded by tentacles.
The 3 captives struggle to pull themselves free!
Chris drinks a potion of speed as Kaelen and Ean fire missiles; Loriel inspires courage; Ogrumat drinks hill giant str potion.
Kaelen and Loriel realize those guys are dead! Its using them like puppets to fool us. Each has a tentacle stuck within them.
Chris, Ogrumat and Geoffrey charge as Ean and Kaelen continue fire. They kill the body eliminating the maw! But the tentacles still attack, dropping the 3 bodies. Soon as they hit the floor, splatting open in a cloud of spores! Each spore looks like a tiny minaturized version of this thing. We start hacking tentacles off. Loriel casts a gust of wind, blowing spores away.
Ogrumat gets a rib broken from a crit! We finish off the tentacles otherwise.
We have to assume from here Ogrumat and Geoffrey, from their minor symptoms, need cure diseases asap.
Back out to main hall and down final open hallway, lined with books ending in the 6 armed statue. Brass, worth 1200 but quite heavy. Kaelen searches the statue are first, finding a secret hall under it, steps down which
we follow into a vaulted room. Center is 6 statues standing like they were people petrified in place. A stone sarcophagus, alcoves with more coffins. The coffin number equals the number of librarians, but for Thasdrubal’s. They are labeled as such.
Each statue depicts a former libarian. To the right of each coffin is a small platform where the statues seem like they should be placed. All now surround the central sarcophagus of Doombringer, all looking upon it.
We start to return the statues to their homes. All goes well, Wennington last. Each coffin opens inside the niches!
Taking a book from Rabadabadas’s, the skeleton turns to ash. Would take a bit of work to translate the arcane writing.
Next has 3 rubies that we leave.
Next a walking stick.
Next, the Zoot’s is empty.
Next, we open a leather back w/o taking it out, but looks empty but for several small balls of fur.
Loriel says we should pause, as she looks into each of their journals to find the item. After some time, she finds the info. Rabadabadas’s is a book he was enthralled with, a quasi autobiography/diary/delusional fantasy of one of the Masters. Switches tone tween the 2. He read it all the time; she notices his writing switches to other different writing styles. The first is the same as they all included, but the third is completely different. Like all 3 were trying to wrestle each other. Its also full of spells and such.
Baltin’s 3 rubies: not magic so much as precious to him; unique in structure, an oddity; they are basically priceless
Walking stick: he was lame due to a hip contidion; grants plus 6 to balance if you wield it.
the Zoot: very uninterested in any kind of prize posession.
Bag: Tan bag of tricks.
Wennington: his bones are dense, fine sword with him; he was a warrior as well as a mage; sword was his prize posession called “stealer” which he used to kill himself. 9 lives stealer!! Still radiates magic! They explain Marcus possessed each of them, unwilling to give up his job. Our job now to defeat his unrest.
Each statue has a magic mouth, that once we place them says that for restoring them we are permitted their prized possession from within!
A voice comes from the sarcophagus, hailing doom to us all in Doombringer’s voice!
We open his sarcophagus, as it continues to protest. As loriel and Kaelen though, its a magic mouth.
Inside are his mummified remains. Leather gloves of dex, a segmented rod, each of the pieces ar sunrods, detachable (if you light all at once, 5 minutes of Daylight as the spell;; each 2 used takes off a minute of time) and a dark leather book within.
Its the book of the dead, we now have all 3.
Loriel wonders if the 3rd hand was the 2 battling at the same time, and though it is a bit chaotic she thinks its too distinct to be that after another look.
Now, the doorway in the hallway. It has an arcane lock upon it. The rod with the socket opens it!!
The room is lit by glowing stones in the ceiling, nicest smelling room in the complex. More books with gold leathering, like the private collection. Kaelen notices a pressure plate trap on the way in. She deactivates it. This room has hundreds of books, maybe a thousand, all about everything arcane and secret you could want. We reactivate the trap and lock the door on the way out.
The portcullis leads to the dog kennel, now mastiff type sized corpses.
We rest up while Loriel reads the 3 Books to try and find the orb.
It takes deep into the next day for her to figure out what to do. Each has a ritual spell, opening a gate to a particular dimension. Each has a key to get you to the next one. You do them in order of Life, Death, Nonbeing.
Through the Life Gate, we have 2 hours before it shuts: through mist, we come out of the gate from a tree in the midst of a dense gnarled forest all round us. Cloudy and silent. Ean climbs the tree to get a high ground look. Sees flat forest all around.
Kaelen “This doesn;t look right for a gate of life.”
He does not think things are right about his. Everything but the tree we are in fades away, poppy fields and savannah and grassland, a hut maybe 2 miles off. We make for it fast.
Pain goes away from all of us as we stir up the poppies.
The hut looks deserted. Gold key upon the table. Kaelen walks toward the key, then an old man comes from the only adjacent room, robed “Visitors, how nice to see you.”
He says he’s the Zoot!
Kaelen explains why we are here, he says he has been awaiting this. When Marcus made him kill himself, he was lucky enough to come here as his heaven.
The key is the only means of getting what we need from the 2nd dimension, of Death. Though has no worldly items, he does have a gift. First, when we return to our plane we will feel much better. Also, Ogrumat being half orc and looked down upon, anytime she is trying to be personable with social skills she is at plus 2, or a minus 2 to such opposed checks by the npc.
Then Clyde, a “poor unfortunate…..thing, you get the cute and cuddly” a permanent enchantment will stop others from having the natural viseral reaction to such a creature. More like seeing any other normal animal they wouldn’t be surprised to see. But, in combat or the like this will turn off basically.
He gives us the key. We rush off to the gate.
There is a disturbance in the poppies, a swarm of formians making their way for us!!
We get through just in time; as they are swarming the gate is closes. We are all completely healed of any damage/reserve spent.
Through the mist again; on a beach, clear night sky; river at edge with a boat moored captained by a beckoning hooded figure.
We board the boat. His hands are fleshless, he greets us, but he may fairy only one person across at a time; the youngest. Kaelen goes across.
The boat moves downriver. She gets tired as it seems to go on forever. She even feels older. If she were not a First, she’d feel like an old hag of a women.
The voyage ends at an island of crushed bone for sand. She goes to a standing stone in the island’s center, set into the rock is an iron box with a keyhole. Using the Life key, she opens it to a cup scribed “chalice of youth” filled with a dark drink.
Also a scroll of runes.
The liquid will not dump out. She takes both then back up river with the ferryman. Her youth returns during the ride. The runes are a spell.
Chalice of Youth: drink and lose 10 years per dose (10 doses)
Loriel says the rune is a reverse prismatic sphere, for dispelling it. We make sure we have that fully deciphered before using the 3rd book.
at end of a tunnel, darkness ahead and water dripping. At end is a large cavernous room. At center is a multi colored sphere of light; a large humanoid figure and a stump beside it. Other passages lead out like ours.
In we go. Loriel is ready with the spell. The figure is a mix of parts from various people. The stump is a pedastal, topped by a head. It warns us to not enter the cavern or die.
The head orders the flesh golem to attack as it levitates upward.
Loriel readies to dispel the sphere. Geoffrey moves up to stop the golem, Ean assesses it and moves with him. Chris and Ogrumat move after the head; Kaelen keeps her eyes out for unseen enemies.
The head creates mirror images of itself as the flesh golem engages.
The flesh golem takes no damage though it was hit well, and Chris has barely a chance of hitting the heads they are so elusive.
Geoffrey “We need a change of tactics here!”
Kaelen “Dispel the sphere!”
It goes away. Inside is a globe on a 3 pronged pedastal, glowing faintly from within. Kaelen rushes for it and grabs it. The head looks at her and tells her to put it back down, but she resists.
Kaelen tries to get inside of the globe to no effect.
Loriel “Run, let’s get out of here!”
We flee for our lives as the enemy chases, but we make it out.
Soon as the gate closes, we hear a horrible scream from the direction of the crypt. We go check it out. The mummy, once doombringer, is on fire! Wailing for its unlife but it is consumed by the supernatural flame, utterly destroying the scum. A 7th niche opens out of the wall, a statue appears next to it of Thasdrubal! A coffin forms within the niche, then a flash of light from it as it opens like the others revealing his body. The spirit appears before us, thanking us for his freedom. He explains that a man came some time back inquiring about certain knowledge. The globe is the new librarian, magic, and can show us the particulars. The man was Kael, seeking the resting place of the Malakhaz in waht used to be their home territory. The 3 books we have gotten here are all books we must take and will need. The Malakhaz followed the same order, info in them to help you vs them when teh time comes. They were once very long lived beings; eventually died; mortal coils became nonbeing but in death they were also brought back in a way. The books will explain more. He says ask the globe to find the books Kael had come to look for.
With that, we say our fairwells.
We put the globe on the pedastal in the main room. It leads her to all the books in the hall first on lands east of our southern civilizations giving her many clues.
In the room of Forbidden Tomes (the private collection) it leads her to books on magic items, spells, which will take Loriel a long time to study. Like couple years.
A book of theology has lots on cults and such related to the Masters, especially the Covenant of the Return and its various subsects and the Crimson Path!!
We then return the orb to the pedastal. An earthquake erupts, the place is shaking that its collapsing. We escape with all the books the globe said we need.
The library entrance caves in.
Finally breathing fresh air, we make back for Altinum. However, its strangely quiet and utterly deserted.
At the church, a large X is painted on the doorway. Inside, the entire village lies in a heap, covered in boils and bruises.
Loriel “It’s an arcane plague!”
We are out of here to the nearby town where were offered the first reward deal.
The gates are closed; guardsmen warn us off, plague here too! Priests are here now, curing it, directly from Norcross!! Deathrate is sky high.
They say its 2 weeks later than we though. The gates took more time here than it did there. It started with the head scribe in the temple in the town we just came from.
The plague priests stopped the spreading, after they hung and burned all the augments and Firsts, put the arcanists to the screw, it all stopped.
We burn it out of here to our neck of the woods, Restenford, to warn them and Farmin, Saltmarsh, etc.
No problems there yet, but they know of them. Makes our Norcross trip all the more necessary. Martin and Snitch/Narc have been back a solid week, with the ettin’s studded warclub.
Group is Kaelen w/ Clyde; Chris; Loriel; Geoffrey; Een; Ogrumat
Thadrubul the Unctuous
Ogrumat can not heal 15 pts from broken rib for 3 days.
She and Geoffrey need cure disease asap