On Starday, the 8th day of Wealsun, in the Common Year of 580, the day after summoning into this plane the true Keraptis and witnessing the eruption of White Plume Mountain, the Righteous Vanguard returned to Greyhawk along with a number of the allies which had helped them bring the evil inside White Plume to an end. Upon their return to Greyhawk, the band tended to a number of important things concerning their adventures within the mountain. But towards the end of the day, they also decided to play with one of the magic items found there, known as the Deck of Destinies. Unfortunately, they soon learned firsthand that dealing with the Deck of Destinies was anything but a game. And while some members of the band benefitted greatly when drawing from the magical deck of cards, others were, in some ways, harmed by it. In fact, it very nearly killed Kieranen.
So by the following morning, on Sunday the 9th day of Wealsun, Kieranen had even begun to consider the possibility of retiring from adventuring due to the extreme aging caused by the Deck of Destinies, and the severe physical deterioration that he suffered as the result of that extreme aging. This then became one of the main concerns for the band over the following week and much effort was put into trying to find a way to restore Kieranen’s youth to him.
But there were other things of importance that needed to be dealt with as well, chief among them being the welfare of the newborn reincarnation of Keraptis. To resolve this matter, Book teleported himself, Nicholas, Echab, Nix (who now took the form of a human to avoid causing any alarm) and the baby Keraptis to where Nicholas’ mother and father lived at the edge of the Barrier Peaks in the Grand Duchy of Geoff. Echab was then returned to his parents and his homeland and all was explained to Nicholas’ parents about what took place at White Plume. Nicholas then presented to them the band’s proposal that they take and care for the child Keraptis. After some discussion, it did not take long for Nicholas’ parents to agree to the idea and it was approved by Nix who was given permission to look in on the child from time to time as it grew up. Nicholas also asked his father to return with him to Greyhawk, where he could have the Church of St. Cuthbert cast a regeneration spell on him and return to him the missing portion of his leg that had been lost in his battle against the troll, Grendel. Over the next couple of days this was all taken care of, and Nicholas’ father was taken back to his home.
Meanwhile, back in Greyhawk, Nero and Book paid a number of visits to the Wizard’s Guild and did some dealing with the mages there, selling a few items of magic and buying a few others in return.
They also helped Dravos out in this area as he was forced to sell many of his items due to the great increase in his size to a 10 foot tall half-elf. He then used the money to buy other items, such as clothing, armor and weapons that were better suited to his new size.
Other matters were tended to during this time as well. For example, Ael increased his intelligence with the wish spell granted to him by the Deck of Destinies. The gnomes at the band’s stronghold were informed of Gildor’s death and a funeral service was performed. Al began looking into either buying a large quantity of lead to be turned into gold using his philosopher’s stone or simply selling the stone to someone who could make an acceptable offer. And Book and Nero used much of the time learning new spells.
But, as already alluded to, Kieranen’s main interest at this time, was to find some means of restoring his youth, though he strongly opposed the idea of asking anyone to make any great sacrifice in this endeavor. He began by seeking out the advice of his good friend, the Greyhawk dragon known at this time as Sturtevant. Sturtevant told Kieranen that his best bet would probably be to find a powerful cleric that worshiped a god of time and longevity, such as the elven deity Labelas Enoreth. So with this idea in mind, Kieranen asked Nero if there might be any elven wizards at the Wizard’s Guild who might know of such a priest. After making some inquiries, Nero met with a grey elf, named Seridann, from the elven Kingdom of Celene, who claimed to know of a High Priest of Labelas Enoreth. Nero then met with Seridann and invited him to his tower. The following day, they met at Nero’s tower, along with Kieranen, and a deal was made for Seridann to take Nero and Kieranen to Celene to meet with the High Priest whose name was Telesaran.
Soon afterwards, the three were teleported to Celene and they were introduced to Telesaran, who himself was a very ancient grey elf. Kieranen told Telesaran of his problem, and the priest agreed to cast a series of spells that would restore Kieranen’s youth. But in return, Telesaran required Kieranen and Nero to go on a quest for him and would even cast a spell on them to help insure that they would complete this quest or die in the attempt. Kieranen and Nero agreed to the terms, and by the morning of the following day Kieranen was back to his natural age. Kieranen and Nero were invited to spend the night with Telesaran, as he could not fully restore Kieranen’s youth in one day, and they entertained Telesaran by telling him the story of their adventures in White Plume while they had dinner with him.
The next morning, as soon as Telesaran had finished with his part of the agreement, he gave Kieranen and Nero the particulars of the quest that he wanted them to perform. He told them that he recently had a vision, as he sometimes did on occasion, and saw a glimpse into what he interpreted as being a possible future. Subsequent divination spells that he cast seemed to confirm his suspicions. He told the two that in this vision, there was a force of great evil that was currently seeking out an item of tremendous power which was capable of much devastation and destruction. He told them that their quest would be to destroy this item of power before it fell into the hands of the evil force.
Telesaran also told the two that in his vision he saw what could result if this item of power were to be used by the evil force, saying that cities and forests could be destroyed by the power of this item. He described this item as a sphere of utter darkness which would literally consume all that came into contact with it. He said that his divination spells led him to believe that this item of power was once possessed by a sorcerer whose name was Crane, and that there were rumors that a band of adventurers had recently discovered the long lost Citadel of the Sorcerer Crane. Telesaran then cast a spell and revealed to them, in a pool of water, an area in the Crystalmist Mountains that was only a few miles from where the sorcerer’s citadel was said to be. He had them study this area, so that they would be able to locate it themselves. He then gave them a magical rod of cancellation, telling them it could be used only once, and that it would be needed to destroy the item of power. Once Telesaran was convinced that the two understood their quest, he cast a quest spell on them and informed them that they had only 24 hours in which to begin their quest or they would begin to suffer the consequences of ignoring the quest spell.
Kieranen, Nero and Seridann then returned to Greyhawk, after which Seridann returned to his business while Kieranen and Nero told the other members of the band about the quest. Book was not pleased by the fact that they would need to leave on this quest within the next day, as by this point the band had only been back in Greyhawk for a week, and he did not get as much time to learn spells as he had hoped to. The band gave him the option of staying behind to learn spells in the hopes that his skills would not be needed. But Book decided to go along anyway, most likely believing that he might miss out on something if he stayed behind.
Before setting out however, the band wanted to learn as much as they could about the Sorcerer Crane so they could better prepare themselves for any obstacles they might face. Again they sought out Sturtevant, to see if he could pass along any information. Once again, with his vast experience and a very extensive library, Sturtevant was able to supply the band with as much knowledge about the Sorcerer Crane as they could have hoped for.
They learned that Crane was a lawful-neutral sorcerer of great power and was obsessed with all things lawful. He paid homage to the gods of law, whether good or evil. He was a great scientist and created numerous constructs, such as golems and homunculi. His other interests ran to the diabolic. Crane studied the use of extraplanar creatures as servants and messengers. He also developed a firm knowledge of trap building and alchemy. He acquired and learned to control a sphere of annihilation, with which he carved a dungeon beneath his mountaintop tower. The sphere of annihilation, no doubt, was also the item of great power that Telesaran wanted them to destroy.
The band learned that, about 100 years ago, Crane set off to do battle with a group of chaotic-evil sorcerers, known as the Violet Brotherhood, whose black arts were linked to the foul demon frog-god, Tsathogga.
Though mightier than any individual evil sorcerer, Crane could not prevail against all of them working in concert. Overcome by his foes, he cursed his own arrogance with his final breath. Yet he had taken a great precaution: fearing that, in magical combat, his foes might seize control of his sphere and turn it against him, Crane had decided not to use the magical globe of blackness against the Violet Brotherhood. Instead, it was believed that he sealed his sphere within his tower and protected it with powerful magic. And though many had since gone in search of the Tower of Crane in the hopes of recovering the sphere, none at this time were known to have had any success.
With this knowledge in mind, the Righteous Vanguard made their preparations and on the morning of the following day, Sunday, the 16th day of Wealsun, they set out on their quest to find the Sorcerer’s Citadel.
Having successfully located the area shown to Kieranen and Nero with a scrying spell, the band was able to teleport to the spot, once again utilizing Nero’s portable hole as a mode of transportation. Upon arriving at the bitterly cold and snow covered mountain tops somewhere in the Crystalmist Mountains, those who were in the portable hole climbed out, while their companions looked about for any signs of unwanted observers. Seeing only the mountainous landscape and the spray of lose snow carried by the wind that bit at their faces, the band decided to cast fly spells on themselves to make it easier to move through the frozen terrain. With this done, the band tugged at their heavy outer clothing in an effort to ward off the freezing wind, and slowly flew off in the direction in which they hoped to find the wizard’s tower.
A short while later, the silhouette of a large humanoid was spotted just over a jagged ridge. It ducked behind the ridge, but Nicholas, Book and Dravos flew off in search of it. They quickly found the figure again, which turned out to be an ogre, but saw that it was now accompanied by a few frost giants. Dravos tried speaking with the giants but was soon told in a threatening manner to leave the area. Book, invisible as always, then cast a confusion spell on the giants, which caused some of the giants to fight amongst themselves while the ogre began striking himself. Moments later, more frost giants appeared from around another ridge for a total of 11 frost giants. These giants also had with them four winter wolves. Seeing this, Nicholas threw his recently acquired hammer of thunderbolts, which killed one of the giants with one blow and stunned everything around him as it issued a loud clap of thunder. Upon hearing this, the rest of the band, which had stayed behind and was unaware of the giants, hurried to join their companions.
A very one-sided battle then ensued as the giants, much to their disbelief and surprise, quickly found themselves being pounded on by the smaller humanoids. Book also cast a suggestion spell, making some of the giants run in fear from a red dragon that they believed would soon appear, while Nero blasted many of the giants with a cone of force, knocking several of them down. Other members of the band likewise added to the giant’s misery and it quickly became obvious that the giants would not survive for much longer.