Converging from their different parts of town, Drengy, Tin, Feral, and Klemnon find their ways to the walled and manicured estate of Lord Jules Amcathra, an affluent Waterdeep denizen and researcher into the mysteries of the Weave – the mystical network of magic that saturates all of Faerun.
After having dealt with the Shadow Assassins that had ambushed them, most found the compulsory journey to Amcathra’s uneventful. Only Drengy suffered the awkwardness of explaining to the owner of the home he destroyed while fighting his assailant what had happened – a conversation summarily ended by the bluntness of Drengy’s glower and a terse exchange of words.
The flamboyantly dressed Jules Amcathra was not expecting the adventurers by name, but when told of the compulsion they each felt to come to his estate, and the nightmarish experience in the Chamber of Horrors each had suffered, he confessed that without knowing their identities that he had set in motion a fate-tracing ritual to summon them to his home.
Amcathra’s ongoing research into the minutia of the Weave had discovered hints of someone, or something, destructively manipulating the gaps between the Weave and the Shadow Weave – the swirling structure of necrotic drain that loosely connects the lands of the horrid Shadowfell. Alone, these intrusions were insignificant, but as a congregate they were beginning to weaken the barriers separating the planes, like a majestic tapestry being destroyed one frayed thread at a time.
Amcathra’s inquiry had also suggested the near convergence of four fatelines – four unknown individuals any one of which (or all) could be entwined into the resolution of this unprecedented threat. Unsure of the role any of these unnamed exemplars would have, Amcathra released a fate-bound tracing spell bound in metal, spread coin to coin, upon Waterdeep to find and summon them to him.
While the appearance of Klemnon, Drengy, Tin, and Feral at his doorstep was not unexpected, their shared vision of the Chamber of Horrors was. Amcathra did not know why this happened, but suspected that the spell somehow tied them to the energies of the Shadowfell, and that the echoes of the spell were acting like a beacon for the their Shadow assailants to continually track and attack them. Amcathra could perform a mystic rite to end the lingering compulsion and tracking spell on the explorers, but they would need to act quickly, and their pursuers would likely take that opportunity to attack.
Watching in unnatural silence, Varis Silverblade, elf shadow hunter, hovered on the balcony above the band as they told Lord Amcathra their story. Though his face showed no change in his seething stare, Varis’ pulse quickened as he recognized that the path of this happenstance team was almost inevitably convergent with his own mission to investigate the forces responsible for the abusive manipulation of the Shadow Weave. They may be strong allies in his investigation – if they survived the ritual.
In his library suitable for one of the great Waterdeep universities, Jules Amcathra explained the magic rite to be completed. The two story building was shaped like a stunted cross, with full bookshelves lining each wall on both the base floor, and on the ten foot wide balcony that lined the entire chamber fifteen feet above the floor. A handful of wrought iron spiral stairs linked the first floor to the balcony. The last lingering light of the setting sun defused into the room through the many skylights in the tall ceiling, and luminous globes hung on chains at regular intervals to brightly illuminate the room.
Dominating the center of the library was a towering crystalline column, composed of semi transparent gears and full of swirling multicolored globes spinning in orbits of some mystical design, lined with blue runes and toped with a huge obsidian black crystal. Explaining that the column was a focal construct that he used to research the nature of the Weave, Amcathra tried to calm Feral’s obvious discomfort in the column’s similarity to the one in the Chamber of Horrors.
Using two ritual circles on distant opposite sides of the column, Amcathra would control the purging spell in one circle while the tainted heroes each take turns in the far circle. While in the circles, individuals would be invulnerable to attack, but would be limited in their ability to effect their surroundings. Another person would need to manually prime the column’s gears for each ritual recipient, and the duration of the ritual would vary from person to person. Amcathra had two other warnings: the area around the column other that near the priming gears would likely be awash with dangerous elemental energies, and the rest of the group better get ready to defend the library.
The dangerously mobile Varis retained his perch on the balcony overlooking the ritual area, the ever aggressive Tin positioned himself not far from the library’s front door, and Klemnon and Drengy took defensive positions around the purging ritual circle. As a last minute defense the party braced a heavy bookcase against the library’s front doors. Feral threw two active sun rods on either side of the crystal column to further illuminate the room, and stepped first into the ritual circle.
Immediately three things happened: A blue beam of energy streamed from the column’s giant crystal linking it to each ritual circle, dark tendrils of draining energy flowed from the base of the column and swirled around Feral in his ring, and a roar and charging mass could be heard outside the library.
The sounds of splintering glass and fracturing wood erupted as dark assailants rappelled into the library through the now shattered skylights, and a lumbering hulk of a creature smashed through the front doors like it was made of paper.
While Varis and Tin began to rain a succession of devastating blows upon the brutish hulk (literally throwing themselves off the balcony around and onto the creature), Klemnon and Drengy quickly dispatched two of the cloaked figures that had descended from the ceiling. But before the last two could be dealt with, they threw vials of dense, swirling smoke into the room, areas of complete darkness which gave their Shadow Assassin brethren the power to instantly emerge from the gloom into the fray. Soon, the room was crawling with shadow assassin thugs, brawlers, and mystics, each intent on murdering the occupants of the library.
After Feral stopped pounding on the sides of the ritual cell and calmed down, he realized he could focus his thoughts to cause the Crystal Column to shoot necrotic energy at an enemy- although he was never able to actually hit anything. Meanwhile, Varis got a good look at one of the assassins, seeing that the attacker looked like a corrupted human with luminous green swirls for pupils while still alive, suggesting some kind of demonic presence.
The battle was chaos with design, as Varis leapt like the wind from balcony to balcony, effortlessly dispatching vile poison and disabling blows with his rapier, hand crossbow, and bolas. Klemnon humiliated his foes with sharp blasts of radiant energy shooting out from his deformed fingers. Drengy used his inscrutable command of the magic water arrows he shoots to cause a shot that widely missed the Hulking Brute to make an impossible ninety degree turn so it instead destroyed a surprised shadow flunky that thought he was safely hidden behind the Crystal Column. And Tin’s whirling dual axes left him drenched in the foul ichor of his decapitated foes. Yet waves of attackers continued to arrive.
As each warrior took turns in the ritual circle, the entire Crystal Column inverted with a the grind of mechanical gears, emitting a shifted pattern of light and different elemental overflow. With Drengy, it was scorching flames. During Klemnon’s turn in the tube, piercing blue frost. And while Tin was in the circle, arcing white lightning.
As the ritual ended for Tin and the Crystal Column’s hum of energy shut down, Feral charged a group of enemies demanding to know who was Athola, and why is he trying to kill us, only to be cryptically answered “You serve the Shadow.” Before any more information could be attained, Amcathra demanded an end to the conflict, and enforced his will with a blast of devastating magical energy. The remaining foes were destroyed, save one gibbering shadow assassin that had been permanently rendered a drooling lunatic by Varis’ psychotropic toxins.
In the wake of the battle, Lord Amcathra shared that the decay of the Weave and Shadow Weave barriers seemed to be somehow traced in localized origin to Waterdeep, and that the Shadow Assassins that had been tracking and attacking the adventurers were using these gaps between the Weaves to move instantaneously almost any distance.
He didn’t know anything about a village named Fishkill. He believed Athola sounded like a demonic name, but could provide no more information on the matter. He did, however, believe that the aged criminal known as Calavakos, the Chained Wizard, would likely be able to answer questions about Athola.
Calavakos was a war criminal, imprisoned forever for having conjured a raging army of demons to wage war on the Feywild. The exact details of how the Fey defeated him, and why they forever imprisoned him rather than destroy him, were not known. It is known, however, that ancient Calavakos is incarcerated in an extra-dimensional prison only accessible through a magic portal hidden in an abandoned city in the Sword Mountains – a three week journey from Waterdeep.
Lord Amcathra invited the heroes to make themselves at home in his manor for the evening, and said that in the morning he would offer them some supplies suitable for the journey before them. The band took advantage of chance to rest – especially Feral, who having never before slept in mansion (let alone a city) proceeded to tear all the straw and feathers out of his room’s furniture to make field bedding more to his liking. Amcathra’s house staff assigned to morning cleaning are in for a surprise.