Allow me to set the stage: Astaria and Elias are researching The Wolf in the Library of Isard. Neuala, the Ice Nymph is with them, in hopes of finding a way home. Corrin is at his brother’s pawn shop, readying himself for an altercation with The Wolf, along with the hope to change Winifred back to human. Mara is off alone on a mission of her own. Everyone else is around, and each has their own tales to tell, but their stories are for another time. These four adventurers are about to embark on a long (very long) but productive day.
Mara sits in the The Shrew and Demon – an inn that Forge master Thorve Daxos frequents. She is looking for information on him. She has heard some disturbing news about this blacksmith. Mara decides that she does not have much to do until nightfall; however, she manages to find where the forge master’s house is and scouts around the premises. She notices that the place is not overly secure. It’s a small but sturdy 2-story home with a small yard. He doesn’t seem overly wealthy. As she scouts around the perimeter of the home, she detects a chaotic entity; possibly the two year old child that lives in the house. Mara bides her time during the day, awaiting nightfall. She decides to nap, having spent the previous night watching Neuala.
Elias, Astaria, Neuala, Steve, Asanja, and Boba are in the library, each doing their own work to find information on The Wolf. As Elias begins collecting books and information, Astaria looks at Neuala, wondering what they are to do with her. Knowing that the University is a place of great magic, there must be a wizard somewhere within the walls that will be able to help her. Astaria seeks out a nearby librarian and begins to ask about experts in planar magic. She is given two names: Arion Koerwe (a second-circle magus that does a lot with The Green as well as flux and chaos magic) and Magus Thrakun (another second-circle magus who researches lower planes, including The Howling Dark, and the Winter Kingdom, where Neuala is from).
Before we continue on with the story, allow me to illustrate some history: There are 7 ranks of wizardry: an apprentice hopes to become a Prestidigitator. From there, a wizard will enter the circles of magi, of which there are three. Of those wizards, there is one high magus, who eventually becomes part of a council of arch magi. The council of arch magi consists of nine powerful wizards. Of those nine, they alternate being named The High Magus. Magus Thrakun is a wizard within the second circle of the three. Astaria is told that he has an office three floors up and can be found in the Aleph chamber.
Astaria, Neuala and Steve ascend the stairs toward The Aleph chamber. As she approaches, Steve appears, stating that he does not wish to enter the Aleph chamber for fear that he may find himself back in Hell. He agrees to wait outside while Astaria and Neuala seek out the Magus. The Aleph chamber is a floating tower, once tall and thin, but has grown outward to incorporate new renovations. Astaria enters a large quad, filled with students going about their own educational business. In the middle of the quad, unbound by any walls, stands a door with markings on it, stating that it leads to the Aleph chamber. Astaria circles the door with a cautious curiosity. She opens the door which leads to stairs leading downward, each step engraved with runes for gateways and summonings. As she descends the staircase, Astaria can feel herself changing planes. The as she walks down, she notices a large column of changing-coloured light. The light goes all the way from the floor through a hole in the ceiling. As she reaches the bottom of the stairway, she is approached by a Phalanx. She explains that she has business with the Magus. He tells her to wait on a nearby bench until the Magus arrives.
Finally, after several minutes, Magus Thrakun arrives. He is a Tiefling, a creature that has ancestors from the Howling Dark. He has red hair with grey streaks. Like many mages here, he does not wear robes, instead he wears trousers. He pauses at the top of the stairs and sees Astaria and Neuala. He smiles with pointed teeth and his eyes are inky black. He pauses as he approaches and sniffs the airs. “Are you here to find out if you are related? I’m just guessing, but I’m happy to help”. He tells Astaria that her aura smells like brimstone. She explains to him the predicament Neuala is in, and he is willing to help. The Tiefling says, “Follow me.” As they walk towards his office, he begins, “Do you know what Alpeh means? It is a wizarding word that is a point to see all other points. We do summoning…calling” As they walk toward Thrakun’s office, which winds up being more like a workshop, They notice that there are doors leading to several other workshops. As they pass by them they can hear a cacophony of horns and yelling. They go to a workshop labeled “Thrakun”. There is a summoning circle on the floor. He takes note of Neuala. The Magus takes note to saying, “everything happens for a reason”. He states that he cannot bring her home himself, but can summon a creature that can. Astaria thanks him, and as she is about to take her leave, she hands him a scarf, saying that it is from a friend of his. He looks at it, delighted, saying “oh, a token!” He then states that he and the owner of the scarf and he used to date. “How is she doing?” he asks “She seemed be doing well”, Astaria replies. Thrakun then goes to Neuala and says “Let’s get you home”. Before Astaria leaves, Thrakun offers to take her to the Shrew and Demon. She accepts his offer. He says “no demons, I promise. I leave my work here”. She agrees and takes her leave. “Good luck Neuala, it was a pleasure meeting you”. Neuala smiles and thanks her, profusely. She offers Astaria a future reward. She gives Astaria a token, a small ring of white gold set with a blue stone, assuming that Astaria can scry on her, either now, or in the future.
While Astaria is off finding Neuala her home, Elias, thirsty for information, yet unaccustomed to Universities and their library policies, seeks out books that may help his research. He looks around the library and finds a kobold that must be the head librarian. As he approaches her, she sneers at his lack of magical talent. She introduces herself as Elior. As he begins asking her for what he seeks, Elior folds her arms, rolls her eyes and sighs as she listens to his request. Elias asks about ancient vampires and she looks at him cockeyed and explains that her research is primarily in the Bunnybadger. Elias conducts polite conversation about the Bunnybadger, but manages to redirect the conversation to vampires. She tells him that he is not the only one looking for information on vampires. She further explains that there is a vampire hunter that also has been seeking information. She does not know him very well, but gives a brief description of him and tells Elias that he lives in town and owns a bow shop.
After finding several books at Elior’s suggestion, he starts reading several books from the library. He finds out that vampires, unsurprisingly, are very dangerous and not-accidental. He reads histories, searching for references to “the Wolf”. Elias finds out that The Wolf is one of 3 or 4 brothers, possibly simply “siblings”. They were forged by the Lich and live and die in his service. Elias notices that the authors are typically crazy wizards, with most writings by Ingol the Conjurer. There are a few accounts by a necromancer that had some inside knowledge named Ellys Grani. Both authors are essentially dead; however Ellys has more ascended, and is thus pretty much gone from the world. Upon finding this information Elias finds Elior once again. The Librarian says that she may be able to look into Ellys’s last appearance, for a price. Elias thanks her for her help, gets her contact information and returns to the books to finish up his research. Elias selects several books, but three books stand out from the rest: Narvi’s historical Companion and Accounts by Ellys Grani and the Enchiridion of Bones. Elias asks Elior if he can take the books for the night. She scoffs at him, saying that he is not a student and therefore not part of the university. However, he could borrow the books, if he finds a sponsor within the university to ensure Elias’ responsibility and the books’ safe return. Elias waits for Astaria’s return. She returns shortly after. Neuala is not with them, and Steve is still following Astaria. Elias asks Astaria to if she can use her connections with the university to get a sponsorship to sign out the books. Astaria sighs, saying “I was just there!” Elias convinces her to return to the Magus. Following the same path she took before, and waiting again for the Phalanx to summon him, Magus Thrakun returns, explaining that he was just about to summon a Genie to help get Neuala home. He agrees and Elias takes out the three books:
“Corrin!! Corrin!” Finsy cries, as Corrin starts to leave the pawn shop. Corrin turns round to acknowledge his brother. Corrin is given a secret mission by his brother, unknown to the group. Beyond that, Finsy tells Corrin about the Waking of Sleepers. There are people going around finding ways to wake undead creatures, and they are beginning to stir. There is a small village in the west was destroyed by a ghoul that woke from a tomb. Finsy continues to explain that a group of adventurers came around and killed an army of resurrected skeletons. He warns Corrin that there are tombs of sleeping undead creatures that are waiting. There are groups of people prodding them into wakefulness. Corrin uncovers one name in connection to several of these instances: Mr. Sabbat has been hiring mercenaries to do suspicious things around tombs. Corrin’s brother also tells Corrin about a local man: a bower by day and vampire hunter by night named Bishop Ryan. Intrigued by the news, Corrin seeks out this Bishop Ryan.
Corrin makes his way to the Bower’s home. The main floor is a bow shop, filled with several carved bows, made by pristine hands. Bishop lives on top of the shop. An old man sits in front of the shop, sanding a bow. Corrin clears his throat, saying “Excuse me, are you Mr. Ryan?”
“Yeah, I’m Ryan” he replies, not looking up from his bow. Corrin presses him, “My brother is Finsy, and he speaks highly of you and told me that you’re the one to talk to about vampire problems.” Ryan gets up and begins to walk toward Corrin. Corrin notices that he walks with a limp. Corrin asks if he can ask the old man some questions. Ryan invites Corrin inside. “What kind of vampire problems do you have?” he asks.
Corrin replies, “Well, I know how to avoid vampires, but can you tell me anything about their weaknesses? My friends and I encountered one and it didn’t go so well”
Ryan considers this, “I imagine not, seeing the look of you,” he says “Sunlight, running water, and stake to the heart.” Ryan continues, “for running water to work, you have to hold him down. That’s the hard part.” Ryan then explains that he had killed 16 vampires, and once didn’t go so well. Through discussions about what the adventurers had encountered, Ryan explains that they must have found an old, dangerous vampire. Corrin asks him to join them if they find where the vampire is. Ryan refuses, and explains that he is retired, but he adds, “Killing the vampire is easy, fighting is the hard part.” He explains that they can call on minions, mind-trick your friends, or just suck you dry. He explains that those are powers of a young vampire, but an old one, he has no idea. He suggests it’s a job for someone else. Corrin explains that he’d love to leave it to them, but this is something they have to do. Corrin leaves the old man to his bows to return to the inn for dinner.
The group meets back up at the inn. Elias tells the rest of the adventurers what he’s learned. Corrin explains about his ideas about the Waking of Sleepers and that he’s already met the vampire hunter and that he is retired. They decide to disband for dinner.
Corrin, Mara, Elias and Astaria sit together at a table at the inn, anxiously waiting for something to eat. Mara asks Corrin about Winifred being turned into a vampire. “So, what protections are we taking so that she’s not following us here? I mean, she’s already been meeting with Saena, so she’s following us” Elias raises his eyebrow, saying “what?” Mara looks around the table and apologetically explains, “This one thought that everyone knew?”
Corrin sighs, his great secret now revealed, worst of all to Elias. “In Malkara,” he explains, “they kind of bumped into each other. Saena didn’t want anyone to know about it. Winifred didn’t hurt Saena. As far as I can tell, she’s friendly, for a vampire”. Elias then throws down his cutlery, gets up and walks out of the room. Astaria stays silent and puts a hand to her head and sighs.
Mara asks, “Didn’t your brother say that, once you’re changed, you lose your alignment?”
Corrin replies, “One can hope, but she said that there’s still good in her.”
Mara says, “You also said that a Vamp has to kill every couple of days, if this is the case, and she approaches Saena and gets her and possibly the rest of us, while our guard is down? Shouldn’t we take precautions?” Corrin, ever the optimist, says that he has hopes, and also states that Elias may have anger issues, possibly thanks to a low charisma score.
Elias, angry, goes to the Bow shop to meet Bishop Ryan. He sees him yelling at kids and sanding a bow, possibly the same bow he had when Corrin came by. Elias introduces himself. Bishop explains that, if a person is turned, they keep their personality, but they are a vampire; he cautions Elias, saying that being a vampire tends to change a person though. Ryan gives Elias the Elysium Tempest, a silver, dwarf-forged long sword. As Elias is leaving the shop, he sees Winifred. He draws his sword. She looks at him and nods. Elias follows her to an alley, but she is gone. Elias uses every resource his ranger training had taught him, but gains nothing. He hears Corrin say “It took you half a second to draw your sword when you saw her. I just wanted to see what you’d do. I don’t think Saena’s gonna like this.”
In the cover of night, Mara begins to wander around. She hides as she creeps onto the property of Forge master Daxos. Mara envelops herself in stealth equipment, careful not to miss anything before daring to sneak into this home. Mara creeps around the home, looking for clues for her quest. She hears someone clear their throat and turns around. Daxos had found Mara easily, having detected her magical items after a magical, silent alarm had sounded as soon as she entered the house. She stands up, still hidden from view and says, “Forge master Daxos?”
Unimpressed, Daxos replies, “Yes? What are you doing in my home?”
“I’m looking to solve a mystery that makes no sense”
“And it brings you here, now?”
Mara explains that she has heard that all she knows that he is a great blacksmith but can’t figure out why she’s heard that he has been using black magic to forge weapons.
“Black magic is an irrelevant thing. Get out of my house. Solve this mystery if you wish, but you will find nothing here, where my children sleep”. The blacksmith’s tone had a threatening air about them.
She replies “I will leave, and if these weapons have been taken from you and can do harm this one will help”
The blacksmith explains that the weapons were received. Mara contests, saying that she heard they were stolen. Daxos tells her that she was ill-informed and gestures her to follow him. He takes her to his back porch and says, bluntly, “The weapons were collected; they were forged to pay a dept. I did so on my own accord. They are a harm to others and I was told that people would come looking for them.”
Mara asks him to tell her the names of the people who took them. The forge master simply tells her “The Wolf”. He goes on explaining that his family owed him a dept which was repaid by forging these weapons for him and his siblings. The weapons included a Long sword, a pair of daggers and a pair of hand-axes. They channel the power of vampires. They are weapons built for vampires. He also mentions that The Wolf is going to wake his siblings and is planning something. He gave him a message saying that people would come looking for them. “The message”, he tells her,” is to tell the ranger that he is looking forward to the chase and the kill.” He finishes by saying “if you wish to find me, you can find me at the Aetherforge.” The blacksmith directs Mara away from his home, inviting her to never return.