Returning to Vaerna, the party was greeted by Alain, who expressed both shock and gratitude that not only had they returned successful, but that they had managed to rescue the captive villagers. In return for this exemplary success he gifted them with both a magical crossbow and a suit of leather armor, both heirlooms of his adventuring days. Alain was disturbed by the demonic summoning the party had so recently warded off and asked the group if they would carry word of this to a demonologist named Lydian, a Mordulkin Guild of Mages exile, who lived up on the coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars, to see if he could tell them anything about the failed ritual. They also met up with a new party member, Jack Nickles, who at first appeared to be little more than a madman but on application of judicious amounts of caffeine was unaccountably insightful.
After a night of drunkenness and caffeine fueled antics, the party set out the next morning for the lonely wizard’s tower by the sea.
Immediately after entering they were both surprised and confused by what they found. The first level was nothing more than a repository for discount occult junk, ornate tomes with no text in them, overly elaborate golden pews which were nothing more than gold-plated iron benches. Two of the three doors leading off the room were tightly locked however, and the party wanted to find out why. The first room they entered, after having the lock deftly picked by Orbdrinus, was a room with an elaborate golden compass marked out on the floor, surmounted by a statue holding a non-descript brown leather bag. Crispin could feel a strong aura of magic emanating from it but Larien could see that the statue was trapped, and that removing the bag from the pedestal would cause it to activate. The party quickly devised a plan. Using a grappling hook and a rope the would hook the bag, and reel it back in from outside the room. The plan went off perfectly except for one unfortunate snag. When Ordrinus tried to pull the bag off the pedestal, the grappling hook got caught on one of the statue’s legs. With ponderous momentum, the compass fell inward on a hinge, revealing a pit of unfathomable depth and pulling the unfortunate Drow in with it. He was now hanging suspended over the drop by the grappling hook and rope which was still attached to the leg of the statue!
Fortuantely, Fenrak was able to pull him up to the level of the statue, at which point they were able to drop him down a rope to climb and Crispin conjured a mage hand to rescue the rope, resulting in the party happily greeting Ordrinus and rejoicing in their new Bag of Holding. The second locked door revealed another room with a pedestal but this one was much different than the first. On the floor were chalked ornate runes in the praise of Orcus , and in the center the pedestal, surrounded by black tendrils of darkness leaking in from the plane of shadow. On the pedastel was a vast collection of gold and gems. Thinking quickly, Crispin utilized his mage hand to carry the new bag of holding close to the pedestal, and scrape the treasure into it. As it approached the centre of the room the bag began to freeze, until it was covered with a thick layer of solid ice. However it was undamaged by this trial, and the party were able to scrape up the loot.
Through the middle door could be heard a distant clanking and clattering. Cautious now, the party had Ordrinus sneak in to investigate. He hurried back and relayed to the party that there were animated corpses in the adjoining room whose flesh had long before rotted away…skeletons! The party quickly swung into action having a long and arduous battle with the undead creatures and a minor Abyssal demon who arrived from deeper inside the abandoned structure. Finally, a combined effort from Fenrak and Crispin relieved the final blazing skeleton of both his head and his homicidal tendencies. The party were left alone amongst the carnage, wondering what sort of a person this Lydian was, and why he had allowed these monsters to live right on his very doorstep! Only time would tell…