Tales of the Righteous Vanguard

Part Seven: Vale of the Mage - Chapter 10

On the morning of Starday, the 1st day of Flocktime, in the Common Year of 580, the Righteous Vanguard resumed their exploration of the Obsidian Citadel. But rather than return to the third floor, where they had run into so much trouble before, and where Nero had been killed by an aerial servant, they decided first to take a closer look at the bedroom, which they now suspected belonged to the First Protector, whom they now believed was the drow female featured in a number of paintings and statues they had seen in other parts of the citadel.

However, as the band approached the door to the bedroom, and as Aejiri placed his hand upon the door to open it, a magical trap apparently went off, which the band had unwittingly avoided the first time they visited the room. Whatever the case, Kieranen, Nero and Nicholas suddenly became confused and began behaving irrationally. Initially, Kieranen attacked Aejiri while Nero inflicted harm upon himself. The others tried to stop Kieranen as Aejiri retreated into the bedroom. They were unable to stop Kieranen, but fortunately he was not able to hit Aejiri. Then Kieranen, Nero and Nicholas began changing their actions up; sometimes they would act normally, sometimes they attacked others, sometimes they did harm to themselves, and sometimes they just stood and babbled incoherently. While all of this was going on, Gildor tried several times to dispel the magic that was obviously affecting his companions, and Nero managed to make the attempt once. Finally, on the third try, Gildor was able to remove the confusion and bring the chaotic behavior of his friends to an end. Luckily, the only real harm that they had done during all of this was inflicted upon themselves.

Once the band had regained their senses and everything was under control again, the band entered the bedroom and looked around. This time, Aejiri picked the locks on three desk drawers and they examined the contents. The top drawer had only a quill and some ink. The second drawer had some expensive parchment from Sterich. The bottom drawer however, had a diary and a book of handwritten poems, all of which were written by the same hand in drow. Since the drow language is very similar to elven, some members of the band were able to make out some of what was written in the diary and realized that the poems were mostly love poems about someone named Jason, which the band suspected was the first name of The Black One.

The diary apparently described how this female drow was forced to leave her home in the Underdark and eventually made her way to the surface world where she met The Black One. Some of the later entries in the diary often spoke about a waterfall where she would sometimes meet The Black One.

This waterfall reminded the band of the painting of the waterfall that they had seen earlier in another room, and they wondered if this might be where they could locate The Black One themselves. The band went and spoke to the grivelings and asked them about this waterfall. The grivelings told the band that it was a waterfall near the town of Ebonwood, which was the main town of the tree people. They indicated on the band’s map, where the waterfall was. Then, after some debate, the band agreed it would be as good a place as any to try and find The Black One. In fact, they felt so strongly about this that they decided they no longer needed to return to the third floor to investigate. Instead, they decided to set out immediately for the waterfall.

In order to leave the citadel without falling victim to the traps at the entrance, they used the same trick they had employed before to enter the secret stairwell, and climbed into Nero’s portable hole, then had Gildor fly with the hole across the floor to the front door. After exiting the citadel, Nicholas looked around for tracks and found the tracks of the four necromancers that they had battled the day before. He also found the tracks of two more people, which were a few days old, and they concluded these tracks probably belonged to the other members of the Six Necromancers. All of these tracks headed off to the southwest along the course of the Javan River, which also happened to be in the direction of the waterfall.

The band assumed that the Six Necromancers might have also come to the conclusion that they could locate The Black One at the waterfall, and immediately set out after them. However, shortly after leaving the citadel, they came upon six owlbears that spotted Nicholas’ wolf Whistler, and began chasing after it. Whistler quickly retreated from the owlbears while Nicholas and Aejiri dodged into a wooded area off to the side, hoping the owlbears would not see them. The others then stayed back and prepared themselves as they waited for the owlbears to enter a clearing by the river’s edge. Nero then sent his familiar, Raaze, after one of the owlbears to attack with a vampiric touch spell. Unfortunately, after successfully delivering the attack, Raaze was snatched out of the air by another owlbear and very nearly killed. Using their weapons, the other members of the band took down several of the owlbears very quickly and tried desperately to get to the owlbear holding Raaze, while Nero used his magic missile spells. Unfortunately, it appeared they would not get there in time to save her.

But Raaze, in a desperate attempt to save her own life, used her telepathic powers to plant the thought in the owlbear’s mind that she would not taste good. Whether or not this is what saved Raaze’s life, or if it was the obvious threat of the other band members that were rapidly closing in on the owlbear holding her, none can say with any certainty. But whatever the case, the owlbear threw Raaze to the ground, knocking her unconscious, and turned to face this new threat. The owlbear however, did not live much longer.

When the battle was over, the band had to search around in the dense foliage in order to find Raaze, as she had activated her ring of invisibility during the struggle and could not been seen. They did manage to find her in time though and administered a healing spell and a healing potion.

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arkhemedes

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