To Kelouth of the faction formerly known as the Fanghunters,
My good friend, I remain indebted to you and your kin for returning my brother Thorin to us. I hope you are well. We continue on our quest to uncover the magic required to reseal Sevalaxos and it has taken us to strange and wonderful places.
As we have communicated in our sending and messages, we learned in Matt Sadom that the information we seek may have been moved to Arcarost but its former Mage Lord. As one of my dear companions had a personal quest in the Arcarost Tower as it is where her father met his untimely mysterious demise, we resolved to make this our next destination.
We used a teleportation circle rune for a location in Arcarost that our companion Fierna had discovered long ago. We were unsure where it would lead us, but felt the risk was well worth it. We arrived in a dark round chamber that had been abandoned years ago. Its door was rusted and required substantial effort to open. When we left, we found ourselves in a new part of the city that we had never been before. There was a large statue of a women surrounded by strange magical metallic objects. Most of the houses around were ruined but there remained a domed building with a strange large metallic tube sticking out of its roof. We oriented ourselves and headed towards to Mage Lord’s Tower.
We soon found ourselves near the Temple of Lugh. The fiend imprisoned on the square in front was now long deceased. We had hoped to visit our friend Pax in the Temple but were surprised to find it closed and trapped. We were worried for our friend and when Varis approached the doors he found that they were unlocked surprisingly! So we entered to find the temple abandoned but everything remained in its place. This is when we sent out a sending to Pax and he promptly returned. He scolded us for tripping up his defenses, but he could tell that our intentions were good. We told him about our quest to retrieve the ancient sealing magic. Pax knew of the magic but said that the information has been fragmented. Though it may be possible to reunite all of the pieces. He also confirmed to us that the being we encountered known as Bringers were heretics and could not be trusted. We left the temple once again, not wishing to take up too much of the divine creature’s time.
As we made our way to the Tower, we encountered a strange crater with a floating keep. We flew unto the courtyard of the keep using bats summoned by Nissa. We found the keep to be filled with strange creatures with pincers and tentacles. We found them to be dangerous and very aggressive. The first of them we saw, we were able to kill quickly. But the entire keep was filled with them and we took our time to work our way through them. We climbed up higher in the keep’s tower and found a strange creature asleep. The creature was clearly some kind of evil outsider but was docile for now. Miri took no chances and killed the creature lest it wake and kill us all. The chamber where it was resting was clearly some kind of bedroom for a ruler. It was very spacious and had a grand bed. We found a fancy chest and a crystal ball, which were claimed by Fierna. We made our way down into the basement of the keep. We found more of the strange creatures and more sleeping creatures. We also found a library where Nissa acquired several books of her interest. Finally we also found a creature that could talk and was awake. It was a strange lanky creature with tentacles for a mouth. I had vaguely heard of these beings but until now had never seen one. The creature was clearly weakened and soft spoken. It did not attack us so we took it for a friend rather than a foe. It told us that it and the entire keep had been brought here to our place from the Grey Wastes. It had also placed a spell on the keep and put all of the creatures to sleep. It promised us a favor if we could help him return to his plane. We took pity on the poor creature and Fierna banished the willing creature back from whence he had come. We searched the remainder of the keep but found nothing more than decomposing dead extraplanar creatures.
We had a rest in the keep and took flight the next day on giant bats towards the Mage Tower. We flew over an area that had been heavily damaged but was webbed with strange walls of glass. We encountered a bunch of kobolds that were collecting glass for their god. They seemed mostly no hostile as long as they could be bribed with glass and we convinced them to take us back to their leader. We were then brought to a dragonborn called Graiss, a scholar who studies dragons who has been residing in Arcarost for some time. Graiss led us the rest of the way to the kobold’s god. He took us through a network of tunnels formed out of glass to a large central crater. In the center was a very ancient red dragon. Graiss warned us to be careful what we said to it as the great red dragon was often confused. Its name was Luacharn Grainne and as we discovered it is the father of Sevalaxos. Though this would have been cause to worry, we found Grainne to be mostly harmless due to its age and confusion. Its large scales were withered and often missing. Its teeth were yellowed and again often missing. Although hard to see in its curled form, it seemed like it may have also been missing a wing and a leg. It remained a formidable creature to behold, but one could not help but pity the once great dragon. Grainne also seemed to be fixated on creating glass structures. But the glass sculptures he made took my breath away. They were massive scenes with creatures of all kinds. They filled the entire crater as if it was one big painting. With the light pilfering in, the glass structures radiated with colors. There were three big scenes that had been placed. One saw Dwarfs fighting alongside a set of two Dwarfs who were forging something unseen. The second was a group of Elves arranged in a circle under tree cover. The Elves were clearly performing some kind of ritual, but those details could not be ascertained. The third was a collection fo humanoid creatures, who may have been in discussion. We tried to speak to Grainne, but we had trouble making sense of his statements. He told us that he had travelled here from the west for his son and that he had to protect something, but seemed confused about this fact. He spoke of two other Dwarven twins that he had once seen, maybe from afar. The Dwarfs did something, but he no longer knew what. One of them was Borum, whom we know helped forge a legendary Dwarven weapon. As Grainne spoke and moved, we noticed that he was protecting a central glass sculpture. Within this sculpture was a red gem, similar to the one that released Sevalaxos once before. But Grainne was very protective of it, and he became angry when he noticed that we had seen it. But Graiss informed us later that when Grainne had more of his wits, he referred to the gem as belonging to his son, as if it was his heart.
Not wishing to anger the great dragon any further, we turned to leave. However as we did so Grainne unleashed a torrent of fire in our direction. We thought we were doomed as the wall of fire washed over us, but it twisted and turned to avoid us. The walls were however left red with heat. It was then that the glass walls revealed a secret message in Draconic: ‘Always look on which side you place a lock’. We do not yet know its meaning but feel that it is linked to the sealing magic that we are trying to find. As we left the crater and the kobold tribe, Graiss bestowed upon us a parting gift. A scroll with the symbol of a teleportation circle for the Arcarost Palace near the Tower. We thanked him as this would reduce our journey by quite a bit.
We teleported to the palace and ended up in a grand hall covered in ice. Nissa turned into a fire elemental to give us heat and light. We then saw several guards around the hall in uniformed clothing filled with symbols and marks that have long lost their meaning. But they were all frozen in place, covered in ice. As if in a single flash, the entire palace and all of its occupants were stuck in the position that they were holding. There was nothing we could do to save them as they have likely been trapped this way for hundreds of years. We soon ran into the new inhabitants of the palace, a group of hobgoblins and their ice fiend lord, Abduxel. Contrary to many other fiends we have encountered, this one welcomed us into his home. He got his hobgoblin servants to bring us warmer clothing so we wouldn’t freeze. The clothing was made out of a strange leather and fur combination. Abduxel explained that they were fashioned from the hides of chimera’s that roamed free in this part of Arcarost. He also warned us of our destination, the Arcarost Mage Tower. It was well warded and has strange effects at all times. The Tower has even been known to disappear for short amounts of time in the past. Abduxel did remember the party of Nissa’s mother that travelled through towards the Tower all these years ago. He did not speak to them but he did distinctly recall two gnomes and a dwarf.
Abduxel gave us quarters so we could rest before entering the tower and proposed a feast in the evening. He said that the best time to travel would be during the day as the chimeras are less active then. While we rested, we sent a sending to Nissa’s mother to ask for advice on how to best deal with the tower. She replied that we shouldn’t read any glyphs, open any locks, look at any statues and definitely don’t cast any magic. As I recall this advice now, I realize we did all of these things later in the Tower, and most of the results were indeed unpleasant. As promised that evening, we had a feast with Abduxel. Varis performed a beautiful aria of poems and songs. Abduxel was so captivated by his performance that he granted Varis a sword infused with his touch that would be particularly effective against the chimeras. We took an evening walk and saw a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors arching across the sky due to the magical instability of the area. We also laid our eyes for the first time on the Arcarost Mage Tower. It is a massive structure that was fronted by a large statue. The top of the Tower seemed strangely fragmented. We could not discern any windows or balconies from where we were. In fact the size and structure of the Tower was hard to behold, as if it was a mirage. With this image in our minds, we retired for the evening.
The night Thorin had a strange dream, one that involved Abduxel. He was unsure what to make of it. I warned him to we should be wary of a fiend’s gifts, but so far Abduxel has been nothing but kind to us. We left the Arcarost Palace that morning and headed towards the Mage Tower.
We entered through a gate surrounded by statues carrying orbs. Varis was the first to open the gate and when he did so he was engulfed in a circle of light. Varis got the sense that someone was checking him, but he himself has wards to protect against such intrusions. The rest of us managed to enter without incident and found ourselves in a dark corridor. Hesitant to us our magic, we lit a candle. We then took the first door to the right and found a kitchen and then a dining room. While the kitchen showed its age, the dining room looked like the table had just been set five minutes ago. Cutlery and plates had been laid out and the table was filled with all kinds of food. Nissa couldn’t resist trying some and promptly changed into a statue.
We lugged the Nissa statue back into the first corridor and Thorin carefully used his divine magic to restore Nissa. However Thorin was the first then to experience the effects of the magical chaos that embraces the tower. Just as his spell completed, Thorin’s hair grew greyer and wrinkles appeared on his face. By our estimates, Thorin seemed to have aged by about 10 years. So for the first time in our lives, Thorin was the oldest one!
We returned to the dining room and investigated its three other doors. Two of them led to three bedrooms each. Each bedroom door was engraved with a cityscape. There were skeletons in the beds but they seemed to have just died in their sleep, their bones still preserved after all these years. The final door out of the dining room had a magical trap, which Fierna managed to disarm. Behind these doors, we found a set of six teleportation circles. Each circle seemed to be attuned to a single Jewel, and according to Varis, was likely used for rapid transportation between the cities back in the day. Another door further, we found ourselves in a large room with a beautiful mosaic inlay. The mosaic below us was a rolling landscape, the walls and ceiling showed clouds and sky. The entire room gave the effect of walking through the clouds, it was quite a sight to behold. In the center of a chamber was a large glyph engraved on the floor. My memory does fail me towards the significance of the glyph, but after exploring the remainder of the Tower, I can almost guarantee that it was a trap. We left the cloud room and entered another corridor.
To the south, we found a laboratory with a small winding stair case. When we tried to move down along the stairs, it broke under our feet. We fell about 50 feet and were suddenly in a dark room. The only light we could see were two glowing red eyes. And they were growling. Eager to get out of this room and return to our companions, Varis used his magic to levitate me up. However due to the chaotic nature of the magic in the Tower, this caused Varis himself to fall down another 50 feet in a new hole. Varis was now 100 feet below everyone else. He did not break his concentration on his spell and could use me to escape the pit he dug for himself. When we all arrived back up top, Nissa discovered that she had a rope in her bag all along.
To the north, we found a library with a pile of burned books. they were all unusable. There were also five corpses. They seemed to be adventurers who had tried their luck with the Tower, but didn’t make it. They were arranged in a circle and seemed to have been fighting something that was attacking them from all sides. Though we do not know who these individuals were, they died valiantly and alongside of their companions.
We continued on through the central corridor and found a set of stairs that led up. The second floor had several rooms, including a map room with sofas and a globe, a circular star room with constellations lining the walls and a war room complete with miniatures of wizards and fighters. Finally we also found a central case that seemed to lead higher in the tower. There were however two sets of tiles on the stairs, one grey and one purple. Not wishing to use magic to identify the possible trap, we took a guess and choose the grey steps. This, as we learned, was the wrong color.
At the first turn in the stairs, we were split up and ended up on different floors. Nissa ended up near the top of the physical tower in a room with mirrors for walls hidden behind curtains. The mirrors showed your reflection based on what you would likely become if you took mastery of the Tower. At the center of the round room was an alter were an offering of blood could be done. Thorin, Varis and I ended up on a different floor. Not knowing what happened, we first explored our location. We found several trapped doors. Varis disarmed all of them but one, which he triggered supposedly on purpose. On the floor, we found a library with information on different types of magical beasts. We also found a strange museum with a great variety of objects, a prison for magical creatures (now all deceased) and a laboratory with vials and books. At the back of the floor was a small room with three chimera statues and a stairs that led to nowhere. Not finding any clues to our location, we returned to the stairs and took the purple tiles this time. We managed to find our way back to Nissa, Fierna and Miri.
We returned to the highest floor where Nissa had been. Noting that there was nothing of immediate danger there, we took a short rest. However as we did so, Nissa grew restless and started talking to herself. It was almost as if the Tower was calling out to her to take control of it. We left as quickly as we could and went one floor down where we had found the three chimera statues. With a little more time and the aid of all of our allies, we managed to solve the puzzle. One had to match up the right potion (alchemical fire, acid, poison) with the right glowing chimera head (dragon, goat, manticore). Once solved, the stairs opened up. We found a wand with strange runes at the top of the landing and a hidden balcony behind a sealed door with a giant chimera statue.
We then went one floor down again and found a sitting room with a throne and a mirror. Nissa told us that this was the mirror that killed her father, so we stayed well away from it. However as we looked at the books that were in the room, we triggered another trap. Varis and I were teleported to an exact copy of the room and were tasked to finding the way out. After searching for what seemed like hours, we started getting desperate and Varis used his magic. The first side effect was that he turned himself and I blue. The second side effect was that he dropped a giant anvil on himself. The third side effect was that he teleported himself and Nissa, who had joined him by then, to the plane of Forgerus. I do not know what transpired in Forgerus but when he came back, Varis was no longer blue and behaved very strangely. He started apologizing for lies that he had told us and resolved to do better. Though I admire the gesture, I feel like there was something off about Varis, as if he is no longer his true self.
We all got freed of the maze trap eventually and found a stairs that led up to a bedroom. There we found several interesting books on Dwarven history and Arcarost itself. The latter informed us that the city was founded using magic, and that the clockwork statue on the Tower was a representation of an avatar of Gobnu. We also found another secret, another mirror hidden behind a cupboard. The mirror was trapped, but Varis managed to dispel it, with the only effect that he became even smaller than Nissa for three hours. The second spell that Varis then cast was worse, as it summoned a very angry snake demon with six blades. Luckily we were able to kill it before it could kill us.
After that, we decided to take a rest in the bedroom. However, while we slept a vulture-like creature entered the room through the mirror and conversed with those left to guard, first Nissa and Thorin, later Miri. The creature used to be an apprentice to the mage lord, but when Arcarost was ruined, he was cursed in a new form. He has spent the last few hundred years searching for a cure. In the morning, we ourselves stepped through the mirror and entered the Ethereal plane, where the Tower continued. However the apprentice lay in wait and unleashed a torrent of magical spells upon us. But Varis quickly cast a single spell and mesmerized the apprentice, after which he surrendered to us.
The apprentice said told us that everything went wrong after his master had captured Sevalaxos. The Mage Lord had hoped to steal Sevalaxos’ power by imprisoning him, which is why he had himself summoned the creature. But the spell he used had destroyed Arcarost and locked the Mage Lord in an extraplanar dimension. The apprentice told us of the vault where the Mage Lord kept all of his prized possessions. But he himself could not enter it as his magic was not powerful enough. The apprentice said that he would show us the location of the vault, if he could keep one item. We agreed to this terms.
The vault was hidden back in the sitting room with the throne and the mirror, and was indeed warded by powerful spells. But they were no match for the competences of Varis and he broke through without a sweat. At least on the third try, because the first time he fell against the ceiling and the second time he dispelled Thorin. The last spell did have to be removed by Nissa, which worked but she lost three years of her memory. She was very confused for a time as this was long before any of us had met. Fierna tricked Nissa by saying that Varis was her husband, which was a bit mean spirited. But I didn’t immediately correct the situation as it seemed like it calmed Nissa down a bit, so I may have misjudged Fierna’s intentions. The vault was open and we stuffed our bags full of gold. There were three gargoyles that protected passages onwards. The first gargoyle was attuned to blood from a divine creature and led us to a room with an arrow and a scroll with instructions on how to destroy the arrow. The second gargoyle was tuned to a primordial creature and led us to the item that the apprentice desired, a lamp that could grant wishes. The third gargoyle was attuned to the arcane, and led us to a magical tome where the Mage Lord had described his research for imprisoning Sevalaxos. We took the tome and left the Tower as quickly as possible, not wanting to tempt faith.
But just as we crossed the threshold into the outside air once more, a thunderclap reverberated through Arcarost. The more arcane sensitive among us felt a shockwave of magic expanding from the Tower. Arcarost felt different somehow. The feeling of dread seemed to be gone. It is safe to assume that there is a new Mage Lord in Arcarost as the Apprentice has gotten his wishes. We went back to the Palace, but found Abduxel gone, the ice melting and his servants looting. Whatever happened to the Tower also seemed to have restored Abduxel to his home plane. We chased away looters and teleported back to Matt Sadom.
We went back to our trusted inn with no name, and my companions sped off to go on a shopping spree. I settled in and treated the bar to some of the finest Dwarven Ale that gold can buy. We rested a bit the next few days as we went over the books we had secured. Fierna studied the magical tome that we secured from the Mage Lord Vault. It indeed contained the notes that the Mage Lord had made regarding the sealing magic. He seemed uninterested in the divine aspects of the magic, but seemed intent on using it to steal the powers of others. It does contain the runes that can be used in the sealing magic, but these too were copied from the Mage Lord’s notes. It turns out that the Mage Lord did not take the notes of Matt Mattonwy, but that had disappeared from Matt Sadom before he got there. So he went to the Dragon Empire and their vaults to learn about the sealing magic. There are details on the ritual he attempted to perform, but as we know this failed badly.
Meanwhile, I spent my time studying the book on Dwarven history. Thorin and I have been trying to restore the legendary Dwarven weapon, Peacebringer. According to the book we found in the Tower, it was made by two mountain dwarf clerics called Borum and Olorik. They were twins, just as we are, and this was a requirement to forge the weapon. Borum and Olorik got the plans to make the weapon from Morrigan and forged it together. they both had to make a sacrifice to do so and the sacrifice had to be equal between the two. Though the plans were not included in the book, it did mention that they lived in the capital of Deeproot.
We are now planning our next move and will keep you informed. I expect we will make the long journey to the Dragon Empire at some point to learn what Matt Mattonwy and the Arcarost Mage Lord learned there, but first there are some other tasks that require our attention.
I hope this information is useful to you.