Nice Day for a Funeral
Before the funeral…
A crowd soon formed around the bloody scene. Where a crowd gathers, the City Watch follows, and whatever the City Watch takes an interest in, the Draco are likely to check in with suspicion. The Guard marked off the area with all due haste, and the Draco were quick to lose interest—unlike the crowd. Keeping curious city folk at bay, the guardsmen asked you a number of questions about the wizard, and his death. They took two bloodied bolts for evidence, but left the other four in your care, least they help you track down the killers. Ekoor arrived soon after, but there was little he could offer you except his sympathies and willingness to help.
The rumors of the Red Hounds being the killers quickly spread, to which several public members of the Red Hounds came out to publically denounce the claims, and to voice their great disappointment in the corruption of the legal system to come to such conclusions. The City Watch publically denounced such rumors, saying that they only had second-hand witnesses to the killers. The Mayor made a public appearance later that day, saying that it pained him that the City Watch could find no concrete evidence, but that the killer would be tracked down. He declined comment as to if this killing was connected to the earlier attempts on his, and the other ward masters’ lives.
Ekoor found you after the mayor’s speech, a mix between apologizing for the Mayor, and defending the man and the position he as win. He then went to explain that a man, both a Priest of Corellon, Erendar’s god, and an eladrin wished to perform the burial ceremony for Erendar, and was willing to pay for the burial in its entirety. The burial was slated to occur the following morning.
After a late night of resumed questions from the guards—from which they gained nothing new—you found rest at a guard station that Ekoor arranged. Early the following morning, you awoke, and under escort were taken beyond the city limits to the graveyard. The sun has yet to rise, and a thick fog rests on everything…
The funeral then proceeded. Everyone paid their final respects towards Erendar. Once the ceremony was over, the group followed Ekor back to another tavern, where they were meant to rendezvous with an assassin who had information about the Red Hounds. She hid her identity at first, but the group eventually realized who she was. Before the woman would divulge any information, she instructed the group to use a secret passage that would lead them to different trials. These trials would test the group’s mettle and confirm for her whether or not they were indeed worthy of being privy to information.
Vira instructed Ekor to stay behind. They would later find out this was a wise idea, as the rope from above soon fell to the ground—their passageway had been cut off.
Meanwhile, the group proceeded to work out a puzzle that required four different words. After struggling along the way, they eventually realized the answer was “Justice commands your obedience.”
The Seer Enters
After they completed the puzzle, the group encountered a very strange man in the next room. After speaking with them briefly, the man revealed that he could show them visions…truths of events that were happening elsewhere, in secret.
First they saw the Lord and Lady. It was revealed that the writings from Black Vira found were planted for them to find. They spoke of White Shield and trying to complete some grand plan.
The scene then shifted to the ward masters and the mayor arguing. The ward masters felt he was overstepping his boundaries. The argument grew very heated, but the group couldn’t quite understand what they meant.
The vision again switched, this time to Gregory—who had been missing from the group for quite some time. He appeared to have gone berserk, killing guards for some person who was probably affiliated with the Red Hounds. He spoke of things that did not seem quite normal, as if he remembered more of his past life than he cared to mention to everyone. The scene then took a strange twist as Gregory met Cleric Barse, the man ultimately responsible for the death of the captain back in the fort. Gregory, for some reason, demanded that the cleric reveal his previous name before becoming a captain or cleric.
The scene faded. They were then shown a masked man and a woman speaking. They, too, spoke of a plan none of the others could quite make sense of. The woman asked if something “would be ready” soon. She also asked if Vira was still alive upon hearing about Erendar’s death. In the very last second, the woman called the man “Black,” the name of the person the group had been searching for.
The final scene showed a bizarre ritual of hooded figures chanting. Ghorrd and Kevian soon recognized the main man overseeing the chants as one of the people they encountered at the front gate into Springdale. The very last thing the group saw was a face, but they either couldn’t make out who it was or did not recognize the person.
Almost immediately after their visions returned to normal, the next part of the trials began. The statues seen earlier came to life! And the back wall, now filled with darkness, began closing in on them slowly. The group put their thoughts aside and immediately set to the task of removing this latest challenge.
They fought hard against the statues, but the battle remained difficult. The darkness began to slowly encase the group as they fought their way through. Though they put all their energy into making it out relatively unscathed, one party member was not so lucky—Airahzhol. She died a horrible death—the darkness surrounded her, which eventually caused severe poisoning, immobilization, and gradual insanity.
The party reached the beginning room and quickly closed the doors. They then had to search for an alternative way out. Eventually they realized that the statue bases were actually triggers that, once stood on, would reveal a secret passageway. After several moments of maneuvering, the group managed to enter the next room, away from the black cloud.
In this next room, the group encountered a large golem (later learned to be called “Dektor”). They eventually earned his trust long enough for him to show them around. He frequently referred to some unknown “mistress” of the place. As they examined the area, various members gradually stumbled upon scrap pieces of paper lying around, which were commonly written in either Fran’miri or Common.
While the group went their separate ways into different areas, a woman (learned to be Orphesu) suddenly appeared before Vira and Wanderer. She held a violin. After observing the two for a few moments, she began to play a haunting song. The music sent a chill up Vira’s spine and, sensing imminent danger after reading the papers and battling the dragons, she tried to grab the instrument away. But it was as though the woman and the violin were connected, and everything they tried left no effect. In the end, they fled the immediate area.
With the danger passed temporarily, they continued to look around in what was increasingly obvious to be a maze of multiple rooms and locks. They encountered orbs that could help them unlock such areas, provided they knew enough information in the form of the papers they gathered from the floors. All the while Orphesu continued to roam the halls.
Treading carefully, the party began the work of unlocking rooms, finding the occasional treasure, and generally learning more about the strange place. Everything was underground, and the city seemed to be unaware of the entire expanse underneath it. They stumbled upon a strange mirror that showed three reflections…women very similar in appearance to Cleo, Wanderer, and Vira. Rubetta theorized they were seeing shadow magic. Though this made them uneasy to say the least, they did not know what to make of it, and so moved on to other areas.
On a hunch, Vira walked to a separate area that she suspected was now unlocked. Upon meeting another golem and looking around, she accidentally stumbled upon a room of horrific imagery—there on the table lay a part of a corpse in what was obviously a long-forgotten scientific experiment. The others caught up, and they realized the room adjacent to that one was even more appalling, as it contained dozens of skeletons callously dumped long ago; probably once of no more use for whatever twisted experiments were performed. Kevian, after reading another page, affirmed that the original experimenter claimed this was the will of the Raven Queen, goddess of the afterlife.
After more exploring, they eventually ran into a new companion, a Kenku spell-caster by the name of Flutterclink who proved to be an interesting fellow. Introductions were cut short, as the group tried to flee the dangerous tune of the arch angel’s violin. Later yet they came to blows with the strange doll-like creatures. With enough items to secure an exit from the underground labyrinth, Kevian powered up the portal, and the group escaped. However the magic was flawed; someone would have to not only close it behind the group, but hold of the arch angel while the portal collapsed. The mysterious woman, name given simply as “Wanderer,” elected to fill this role, and so she sacrificed for the good of the group. Into a strange realm they were forced with no walls, floor, nor ceiling. Gracefully, strangely they drifted towards the only portal yet open…and onto a rain drenched battlefield.